"To get inside the shopping tents, you have to survive the crowd by squeezing yourself in between strangers, literally."

[VIGAN, ILOCOS SUR, PHILIPPINES] ▬ It has been a tradition in Vigan to turn the streets near the Vigan Cathedral, Plaza Salcedo and Plaza Burgos (Burgos and Florentino Streets) into a shopping haven for cheap goods and cheap local hawker food stalls every Holy Week.

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► SHOP AND SURVIVE THE CROWD. MAKE THIS A PART OF YOUR BUCKETLIST. 

Bargeynan, etiology

#VIGAN


IN VIGAN, WE CALL THIS HAWKER STREET
as bargeynan. I'm not exactly sure where this word bargeynan came from but my theory is that it came from the word 'bargain." Basically, this hawker street is a place for bargain goods (a thing bought or offered for sale more cheaply than usual or expected). So we Ilocano Bigueños have called it bargeynan. The word bargain evolved to its Ilocano spelling bargeyn then the suffix -an was added. The latter suffix is used in Ilocano grammar to turn its root word as 'a place or the location for something.' For example: empanadaan (empanada + an: a place to eat/buy empanada), sinanglaoan (sinanglao + an: a place to eat/buy sinanglao), computeran (computer + an: a place for computers—computeran or kompyuteran is our Ilocano term for an internet shop/café).

Take note that not all Ilocano words follow the same grammar rule and some words follow a different rule by adding prefixes ka- (like ka-longboy-an, ka-mangga-an, ka-buslig-an), pag- (like pag-parti-an, pag-panday-an, pag-tienda-an) or repeating the first syllable with the prefix ka- (like ka-kaykayu-an, ka-banbantay-an, ka-taltalun-an, ka-balbalay-an). Ok, enough for this Ilocano 101.

Bargeynan for Holy Week

THE BARGEYNAN DITOY VIGAN (BARGEYNAN HERE IN Vigan) usually appears in our streets at least four times a year. Its first appearance is during our LONGGANISA FESTIVAL

[VIGAN] ► Longganisa Festival: a Colorful Vigan City Fiesta


TEASER ▬ The Longganisa Festival marks the opening of a year-long cultural celebration in Vigan.

week, (the bargeynan is located near the carnival grounds though) then followed by the Holy Week (March), Viva Vigan Festival of the Arts Week or the BINATBATAN FESTIVAL

[VIGAN] ► Binatbatan Festival: a Festival of Cottons and Fabric


TEASER ▬ Binatbatan Festival traces its roots from the abel weaving industry of Vigan which has been in existence even before the Spaniards came to colonize the Philippines.

every May and the World Heritage Cities Solidarity Festival every September. If there are special occasions, it may appear again. The KANNAWIDAN FESTIVAL

[VIGAN] ► Blog Coverage: Kannawidan Festival's First Street Dancing


TEASER ▬ The present has almost erased all the things of the past but some individuals have always been interested in bringing the old back to present.

used to have its own bargeynan also in Vigan until it transferred to the Quirino Stadium featuring more of OTOPs.

For Semana Santa (Holy Week), the bargeynan is located in its traditional location: Burgos Street (south of the Ilocos Sur capitol and the PLAZA SALCEDO

[VIGAN] ► Dancing Fountain: Plaza Salcedo Repackaged


TEASER ▬ History tells that this plaza was susceptible to fire during the Spanish regime. So the plan then was to create a man-made lagoon to minimize fire incidents. The original concept dating back some hundred of years ago is retained until March 2013 wherein a dramatic addition has been added to the once quiet and laid back park in between the Vigan Cathedral and the Ilocos Sur Capitol.

) and Florentino Street (south of PLAZA BURGOS

[VIGAN] ► Plaza Burgos in Orange Bloom


TEASER ▬ Together with the Vigan traditional horse-drawn carriages [calesa] and the century-old belfry, the orange bloom colors the atmosphere of Plaza Burgos making way for a great summer ambiance and cultural escapade experience!

).

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► SHOPPERS' PEAK OF ARRIVAL IS FROM 5 PM TO 7 PM

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► THIS MERCHANT TRIES TO CONVINCE POTENTIAL BUYERS.

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► A FOOD STALL ALONG BURGOS STREET IN FRONT OF NATIONAL BOOKSTORE VIGAN

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► ANTIPOLO DELICACIES BROUGHT TO VIGAN


Merchants from as far as # M A N I L A

#MANILA


secured a coveted space in these seasonal hawker streets to grab the opportunity to attract buyers from the huge volume of tourists.

Dry goods sold cheaper than usual ala Divisoria attract locals while the section for OTOPs and local Vigan products attract the tourist crowd.

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► THIS VENDOR ATTRACTS THESE CHILDREN

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► FLORENTINO STREET CROWD

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► AN OLD BUILDING AT THE BACKGROUND

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► TOY VENDORS ARE EVERYWHERE.

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► AL FRESCO ON FLORENTINO STREET

Florentino Street

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCES HAWKER style, Florentino street (south side of the Plaza Burgos) is the place to be. You can dine here al fresco, have some bottles of beer if you wish, enjoy sizzling food, spot for mouth watering bagnet and Vigan longganisa or simply indulge yourself to familiar grilled street food.

On a Maundy Thursday, my brother and my cousin joined me to see what's new here. It was the same bargeynan we've known before. Unfortunately, there's power interruption this day so the hawker street and the Plaza Burgos as a whole went dark. It's also noisy around due to gasoline-run power generators.

On a Good Friday

BEING A RESIDENT OF VIGAN MYSELF, I would attest to the common local observation that Good Friday is the most crowded day in Vigan in a year because of the annual pursisyon. Vigan is a predominantly Roman Catholic city that used to be the center of Roman Catholicism in Northern Philippines during the Spanish colonial era as evidenced by the presence of the last/only surviving Spanish-era archbishop palace in the Philippines, the transfer of the seat of the Nueva Segovia under King Philip II of Spain and the centuries-old churches within and around the city.

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► BARGEYNAN ON A GOOD FRIDAY

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► WELCOME TO VIGAN'S BARGEYNAN


As expected, the bargeynan on a Good Friday is also crowded. To get inside the shopping tents, you have to survive the crowd by squeezing yourself in between strangers, literally.

Are the Street Foods Safe?

FOR HEALTH-CONSCIOUS INDIVIDUALS, THEY MAY HESITATE joining the street crowd in giving the street foods a try. So are the street foods safe?

Like any other street foods and street dining areas in the world, 'trust' is a big word. We cannot control the conscience of the vendor if he/she didn't prepare the food cleanly. However, in terms of food safety and health regulations, the city of Vigan is probably one of the most strict cities in the world. Every person who has food-related job is required to undergo chest radiologic studies and laboratory exams annually just to make sure they are free from any contagious or communicable diseases. This requirement from the city government is infamous among businesspersons and minimum-wage earners in the service industry because they think this is an additional burden to them (I know this because I work in a hospital and I usually take part in their medical screening and sometimes they share their sentiments to me as a health care provider) but they have nothing to do but to comply with the strict requirements of our city. Even dishwashers, taho vendors, fish ball vendors and balut vendors are required to undergo laboratory and radiologic exams every year or at least more than once as the case may be. As proof that they are free from diseases, the city government issues a yellow health ID to them. They will be fined or penalized if they engage in food-related business/job without health clearance.

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► CALLE FLORENTINO HAWKER FOOD STREET

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► SOME FOOD CHOICES IN THE STREETS

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► ANOTHER FOOD STALL

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► THE RICE WE ORDERED

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► BAGOONG  WITH CALAMANSI + TINUNO NGA BANGUS

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► OUR FOOD, ALL CONSUMED

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► SWEET CORN STALL


If you observed, we did not use plates to eat. We rather placed our food on a banana leaf inside a basket to safeguard ourselves from diseases that can be acquired from shared utensils or reusing public plate. This wasn't our request but this is the practice being observed by street food stalls as imposed by the city health unit and related legislations. The use of reusable spoon and fork is not prohibited though but you have the option to eat with bare hands. Non-biodegradable disposable eating paraphernalia aren't encouraged though because this may add to the bulk of garbage made by tourists daily in the expense of our city and its people. So tourists should also be responsible. In fact, the city government imposes the rule that every waste brought to our city should be brought back home.

2016 Highlights and Remarks

HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS I observed in this year's Holy Week bargeynan that don't usually happen so I made notes about it so that I may have a personal database of the unusual happenings or observations that are unique or remarkable for each season. For bargeynan 2016, here are my notes:
  • It's campaign season so expect campaign streamers. Around the bargeynan and the hawker street, you can see streamers of Bongbong Marcos—probably a manifestation of the Solid North Marcos movement. Well, you're in Ilocandia and this is something to expect, didn't you? (This scene may never happen again in the future unless BBM will run again for VP, hence, this note).
  • This year's bargeynan is a little bit less nicer. There was power interruption on a Maundy Thursday so the usually vibrant and lively Plaza Burgos and the Florentino hawker street went dull and dark. Tourists weren't able to see their food well because there were no lights inside some of the covered dining areas. (It's rare that the seasonal hawker streets of Vigan, especially during Holy Week, experience a black out. So this deserves a note for future reference.)

Ending Notes

I don't usually leave Vigan during Holy Week for holiday tours because I expect that the other tourist destinations are crowded too (unless the trip I'm going to do is worth the time and effort). The only time I left Vigan on the course of the Holy Week for the purpose of leisure traveling was in 2014 wherein I thought it was a worthy Holy Week travel when me and my friend Hazel Ramos embarked to a tandem motorbike adventures from Vigan to Sta Ana, Cagayan with side trip Fuga Island of the Babuyan archipelago. Well I also have several travels within the Holy Week but they are all one-day adventures wherein I also go back home within the day.

I always opt to stay in Vigan during Holy Week and I love documenting the culture of our city during this season. Agyaman 'ak, Vigan nga nakaiyanakak ken dimmakkelak, ta ditoy ko nga nasursuro nga apresiyaren iti nabaknang nga kultura ken kannawidan nga isu iti nang-inspirar kanyak nga ag-viahe ken ag-ballog tapnu bumirok iti lugar nga kapadpadam. Daksang-gasat, awan pay iti nabirukak ta iti kinapintas mo ket naipadpaduma. Itatta, haanakon nga agbirbiruk pay it kapadam no diketdi itultuloy ko it ag-viviaje tapnu ipannakkel iti nasudi nga lugar nga dimmakkelak ken nakasursuruak nga agsao nga kasla kalding (meh, meh, meh). Angaw ko lang diay naudi nga imbagak. Agpayso met, 'di ketdin? / end

Have a blessed Holy Week everyone!

VIGAN BARGEYNAN, STREET SHOPPING

[VIGAN] ► ME AND MY BROTHER AT FLORENTINO STREET WITH BONGBONG MARCOS STREAMER AT THE BACKGROUND

► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] This post is filed under the category "Urban Life." This is a category here on my blog where I write my stories about city lifestyle, city events, shopping, food trends and related topics.

[2] All maps I used on this post are the works of Eugene Alvin Villar and Mike Gonzalez published on Wikipedia. Source: 1 | 2

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EDMARATION #TownExplorer


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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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