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Heritage Houses in Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Fred and I both have a thing for looking at old houses. More specifically, old Spanish houses. Our penchant for this architectural beauty began long before we met.

When I was a pre-teener, I would always stop and linger for a while whenever I see Spanish houses. I remember there was one along the street where I grew up. And there was another on the way to school. A rich classmate lived there and his stories of his Spanish grandmother's extravagant parties and condescending attitude were reminiscent of my childhood's after-school days. Because the house was so big that it stretched over half the street, my other classmates and I found joy in walking along its beautiful garden. We didn't drop by to enjoy the flowers but to get a good glimpse of what's inside that old mansion. Sadly, befriending the caretaker and the gardener and convincing our rich classmate that we wouldn't be over five minutes inside his house were all futile ways of getting past that elusive main door. I blame it on my classmate's antagonistic portrayal of his grandmother. I got so scared of her that I left the idea of discovering how Spanish houses look inside. I haven't seen that old Spanish house in decades but its facade is still etched vividly in my mind. Such beauty.

Even if they look a little eerie, Fred, on the other hand, would sometimes get closer to old houses trying to explore them from all angles. As weird as it seems, these beauties make us stop, look and listen to their stories wherever we find them. But when you're in Luzon and way up north, relive Spanish colonial times by walking through the Heritage Houses of Calle Crisologo.

Maybe just like my classmate's old mansion, these Spanish houses evoke stories of love and war. One tourist guide told us a story behind all these preserved houses. A Japanese war official fell in love with a beautiful local. Because he knew beforehand that the Americans were going to drop bombs in Ilocos Sur where he and other Japanese soldiers were hiding, he ordered all residents to lay down American flags on the roof of their houses. Upon seeing these flags, the Americans spared all Spanish houses of Vigan from destruction. Such a lovely story, right?

What better way to enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage Site than with a calesa ride. For P350 per hour, you can tell the calesa driver which mansion or tourist spot you'd like to visit. We chose the Syquia Mansion, the Burnay Pottery, and these Heritage Houses.

The Heritage Houses of Vigan is too beautiful to be ticked away on my travel bucket list. But I'm so glad I've seen them before they become more famous. With Vigan being nominated as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities, I'm sure more tourists would flock to this beautiful city. Please click on the link and vote for Vigan!


Reena said…
Hi Beth. Grabe havent't visited your blog for a while. :) So nasa Philippines kayo now?

It's so nice that you have finally seen Vigan! Ilocos Sur is my Dad's hometown so madalas kami sa Vigan, to the point na we're taking it for granted na. It's good too that you've seen the heritage sites at this time when there's little vacationers. ANg daming tao dyan pag holy week or Pasko eh.
Missy said…
We were in Vigan last June 21, we went to Ilocos too for our Philippine vacation and until now I haven't bogged about it yet hehehe.

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