Historic Vigan, A UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Crisologo Street, Vigan City Vigan Historic District – Photo Credit: aroundguides.com

Vigan, the provincial capital of Ilocos Sur in Luzon northwest region on the Mestizo River, was built by the Spaniards in 1572, their third oldest settlement on the islands after Cebu and Intramuros. Unlike Intramuros, it was never fortified. It has some of the Philippine’s best remaining Spanish colonial architecture.

Before the Spanish arrived, trade with Chinese merchants was well established and over the centuries numerous Chinese settled in Vigan, intermarried, and became wealthy. Many of the big Spanish colonial houses in Vigan were built by Chinese mestizos. The conquistador Don Juan de Salcedo, the 22-year-old grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, (the former governor-general and founder of Manila) explored the area in 1572 convincing the Ilocanos that a Spanish garrison might be useful against the headhunting neighbors they had earlier displaced. He was made lieutenant governor of the entire Ilocos region and…

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