The Spanish colonized the Philippines in 1521 under the direction of Ferdinand Magellan. Spaniards impacted many facets of Filipino culture during the long years of occupation, like religion, language, festivities, food, utensils, and architecture. These influences are still visible even in the present, bringing forth Filipinos in the preserved culture of the past. One is the Spanish colonial design which is evident in one of the country’s tourist attractions – Vigan.
A world heritage
On December 2, 1999, UNESCO granted Vigan World Heritage status in 1999. The province received this inscription for two main reasons. First, it is an exceptionally intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and East Asia. Second, Vigan has a unique fusion of Asian building design. As well as construction with European colonial architecture and planning. The indigenous Bigueno populace rebelled against Spain’s enforced rule. However, the architectural integrity survived and evaded heavy bombing during World War II. Long before this, according to the local government, it took a long process to get on this esteemed list. They maintain a strict set of regulations to preserve more than 200 residential, institutional, commercial, and religious structures in the city.
The island of Vigan splits into the Abra River, the Mestizo River, and the Govantes River. In the Philippine Archipelago, Vigan stood in the Province of Ilocos Sur, along the northwest coast of the main island of Luzon. The inscribed property has a total size of 17.25 hectares. Local and international tourists appreciate most the model of Spanish Colonial Design in architecture. It includes opulent plazas, churches and convents, affluent mercantile homes, and cobblestone alleyways. The Spanish Colonial Design retains characteristics influenced by Chinese-Ilocano culture.
Take a tour
In the 18th and 19th centuries, some of the city’s most attractive streets were visible. One of these is the two most historic plazas, Burgos and Salcedo. These are located below the junction of the Mestizo and Govantes rivers which provide a beautiful sunset cruise. The sound of kalesa, or horse-drawn carriages, offers rides that you should try to avoid due to ongoing worries about the welfare of the horses. Meanwhile, the St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral, a reconstruction of the Augustinian cathedral, was built in 1574. It is a noteworthy landmark because of its interior features and the typical bombast of Baroque design. When it comes to museums, make sure to visit the one on Reyes Street that is close by and is devoted to Padre José Burgos, a reform-minded Filipino Catholic priest of Vigan.
In other parts of the province, there is still a charming symmetry of architecture, particularly in the ancestral homes with solid walls, substantial doors, and red-tiled or corrugated-aluminum roofs. Be on the lookout for regional accents like charming sliding windows composing of capiz shell, a less expensive alternative to glass. Crisologo Street is the most pleasant of them all. It is a bustling, traffic-free cobblestone street with historic buildings and numerous cafes and bars. It is an ideal spot where people can escape the day’s intense heat. This is Vigan’s tourist spot, which is why business thrives, with many souvenir stores offering largely crap.
Sapnish Filipino design
Among many other influences, the Spanish colonial design becomes patent to some parts of the Philippines like Vigan. The province’s grid street layout, medieval urban design, and open area usage have helped preserve its authenticity. The ancient structures continue to stand for their original use of housing the owners on the top levels and businesses on the lower floors. Indeed, Spanish colonization greatly influences the Philippine arts and is helpful for tourism and its economy.