For ordinary tourists, Vigan City in Ilocos Sur is a boring destination. The UNESCO Heritage City freezes in time. It transports you back to the early 1800s when the Spanish illustrados established a flourishing civilization here which they called Nueva Segovia.
Ordinary tourists will probably just go around the famous heritage walk, be a amazed a bit at the ancient houses with tiled rooftops and capiz windows, take a souvenir photo, and head to the shops for the token mementos. That is Vigan City tourist spots in fifteen minutes, tops.
For ordinary tourists, Vigan City is a short-stop destination – on your way to other more exciting places like Baguio up the mountain or Pagudpud further north.
But for culture-lovers and history addicts, one week in Vigan City is not enough. There is so much to discover. Ancient carvings and modern sculptures combine in creating a world of its own. Turn of the century furniture and Baroque architectures are a delight. Just to look at the intricacies of an ancient balcony might probably take a day.
Vigan City as a destination is a specialty. It is not for everyone. The climate reminds you of Spanish summers when the road is oozing with heat. Their so-called specialties like bagnet, Vigan longganiza, and bibingka are not really delicacies – they are simply novelties. You want to try them to gain the bragging rights. But you won’t crave for them, unless you have acquired the taste.
Like the history of Spanish colonization here in the Philippines, Vigan City is an acquired taste, which you won’t develop if you just stay there for an hour.