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Vigan – A Heritage City

Crisologo Street at night

We had already gone to Calle Crisologo or Crisologo Street, which has cobblestone roads, Spanish style architecture, tourist shops, cafes/restaurants, and calesas (horse drawn carts) to ride. The street makes a nice picture, but it is quite touristy and pretty much just good for food and souvenirs. However, our last day in Vigan was a whirlwind tour of the city that was much more profound. We went to Burgos Museum, where they have historical artifacts and lots of information on Filipino heroes and the Spanish occupation. Burgos Museum houses 14 original paintings that were done by Esteban Villanueva, which shows scenes of the 1807 Basi Revolt. He was a self-taught artist with work that’s historically important but also has a nice folk art feel to it. It’s definitely worth stopping by to learn more about the history of the Philippines.

Katy looking at the Ilocos Hall of Fame

Also on the tour was a stop at Fidel Go’s pottery shop. He is considered a national treasure of the Philippines. When he found out my ancestors are from China like him, he gave me a high-five. We watched him throw pottery. It was amazing how fast he could make a perfect pot, all the while telling riddles for the audience to guess.

National Artist Fidel Go

We also visited Syquia Mansion, a historical building full of personal artifacts from back in the day, where the caretaker/tour guide is a descendent of the late President Quirino (6th president of the PH). He even showed us his personal room in the top tower, where he hangs several famous portraits and has a sweet sound system set up. The family originated from China and made their fortune in trading. There was even a vase sent from the last emperor of China, stamped with the emperor’s seal on the bottom.

Katy and Mary with caretaker at Syquia Mansion, in his personal room

After an amazing meal with the mayor at Café Leona, (where the best pizza in the Philippines can be found) we went to see weaving workshops. The first workshop was in a garage, and wasn’t officially open, but the woman living there kindly let us in and gave a demo. The second workshop was in this woman’s bedroom. She makes the most interesting cloth. I got a roll of cloth (P500 ~ $10) that has an optical illusion feel to it, not sure what I’ll do with it, but if anyone has a suggestion, please let me know.

Mary and Andrew with weaver in garage workshop

The BEST holidays

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