Known for its century-old colonial structures and cobblestone streets, Vigan is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
Vigan, a UNESCO World Heritage City, has been recognized by Atlanta-based media company CNN as one of the “most beautiful towns” in Asia.
Established in 1572, Vigan is cited as the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial townscape in the region—one whose architecture is the conglomeration of cultural elements from the East and the West.
It is also one of the few towns left in the Philippines whose old structures have mostly remained intact, including the Plaza Salcedo, the 1800s-Baroque religious landmark of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Calle Crisologo.
“Conquistador Juan de Salcedo developed a grid-like plan for the city, churches, schools and grand mansions with dazzling capiz-shell windows and dark wood interiors,” the CNN Travel article, published on August 28, reads.
The list further highlighted the city’s public market and pottery workshop that gives tourists an opportunity to craft traditional earthen jars, as well as culinary activities such as food adventures that features unique native dishes, such as Bagnet, a deep-fried crispy pork belly dish; Poqui-poqui, a mixed vegetables dish; and Empanada, a stuffed fried pastry.
“The CNN citation of the City of Vigan means that sustainable tourism is not just about environmental protection but also the preservation of the country’s history and culture,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement released by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
DOT said that this is not the first global recognition awarded to the capital of the province of Ilocos Sur, relating that in May 2015, Vigan was also officially recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities.
Other cities on the CNN list included Hoi An (Vietnam), Yufuin (Japan), George Town (Malaysia), Luang Prabang (Laos), Kampot (Cambodia), Phuket Town (Thailand), Saikung (Hong Kong), Zhouzhuang (China), Kota Gede (Indonesia), Galle (Sri Lanka), Mawlynnong (India) and Ghandruk (Nepal).