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...these intersections are surrounded by massively preserved and elaborate ancestral houses that show you that unique townscape you cannot see anywhere else in the world due to the unique mixture of cultural elements that's uniquely Vigan.
...these intersections are surrounded by massively preserved and elaborate ancestral houses that show you that unique townscape you cannot see anywhere else in the world due to the unique mixture of cultural elements that's uniquely Vigan.

► Having a limited knowledge on how heritage conservation works, I thought before that putting contemporary cobblestone on these narrow streets would endanger the authenticity of the place.

► We were the kids from the barrio and our perspective of a personal play space has changed into a shared space.

[Vigan, Ilocos Sur Province, Ilocos Region, Luzon Island, Philippines]
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Writing this piece put a grin of pleasure on my face. Dang! I can't believe it has been more than a year since I wrote my last blog about Vigan. Significant events in my life have changed my routines, plans, and priorities. My life as an Ilocano blogger wasn't spared. I had to hush. However, tons of ideas were stored in my creative vault during my silence and I was just waiting for that right time to unleash them. This day is surreal. Yes, I'm blogging again and there's no better way to pour out my spirit of excitement than to write about my hometown that I dearly love.

In this blog post, I would like to share to you my thoughts and observations as a homegrown Bigueño about the changes happening at the streets of my hometown now.


Of Cobblestone Streets and Street Memories


You know what, as that little Bigueño growing in our idyllic town, I didn't care about cobblestone streets. What I remember was the poor road condition in our barangay (Ayusan Sur) when I was a kid. I was so delighted when they paved our road. My cousins and I even played on the semi-hard, wet, newly paved road. When it fully dried, we laid our back and felt the cold, hard pavement. We used it as our playground.

PLARIDEL STREET, VIGAN CITY
| 1 | [VIGAN] ► MY CHILDHOOD PLAYMATE/BROTHER STANDS AT THE CORNER OF SALCEDO AND PLARIDEL STREETS.
Gone are those careless and candid childhood moments as the street we used to play at is now a busy road linking the city proper to the Vigan Airport and to the tourist spots of Vigan's southwest area. It's no longer a playground for the kids of Ayusan Sur but a danger zone that parents fear for their kids. Tourist vans, tourist-laden calesas, tour buses, and tricycles are regular mainstays of our road.

For Calle Crisologo's cobblestone street, I didn't care. I even didn't care about the old houses. All I knew was I grew up seeing those. They were just 'normal' houses that I see everytime we go to the poblacion to play at Plaza Burgos' playground for kids. Everybody was fellow Bigueño kids. Faces were no stranger. All we did was to enjoy ourselves—no social media, no smart phones, no selfies, no cameras, no drones. We went home with dirty feet, dirty clothes, and sometimes, with abrasions on our elbows and knees.

Fast forward, our streets will never be the same again. My perspective of our streets and old houses changed when other non-Bigueño kids—with fairer complexion and dressed differently compared to us—started to join us in our old 'play territories' with their parents. They had colorful toys, we had bamboo guns emitting young "kapas sanglay" fruits as bullets. They wore light-emitting shoes, we played in barefoot. We were the kids from the barrio and our perspective of a personal play space has changed into a shared space. More and more people kept visiting our place of birth, our personal spaces. That time, I didn't realize I was already experiencing first hand a phenomenon called 'tourism' that our town was embracing.


Calle Plaridel and Calle V Delos Reyes


Together with my two brothers and childhood playmates, we visited our old playgrounds and our childhood "pagpasyaran" (a place for leisure and play) to see what has changed. Take note that I was sporadically away from Vigan for more than a year and I was just so eager to revisit our old spaces to see what has changed.

We visited the popular Calle Crisologo but my main purpose was to see the two other streets that run parallel to it—Plaridel and V Delos Reyes. When I started appreciating the addition of cobblestone at Calle Crisologo (we stereotypically called as "Heritage Village" although Vigan as a whole, is a heritage village itself) that complemented well with the ancestral houses, I also wished that V Delos Reyes and Plaridel Streets would also be like Calle Crisologo. Those were wishful thinking that came true today. I was so glad to see in reality the look of Vigan that only happened in my imagination during those days.

Having a limited knowledge on how heritage conservation works, I thought before that putting contemporary cobblestone on these narrow streets would endanger the authenticity of the place. I was wrong. As I embrace the changes happening in my hometown, I'm also learning new lessons about our conservation measures, rich culture, and heritage, that I am naturally part of but unaware that I'm actually part of it.

CASA FERIL, VIGAN CITY
| 2 | [VIGAN] ► CASA FERIL STANDS AT THE CORNER OF CALLE CRISOLOGO AND SALCEDO STREET.
VIGAN CITY
| 3 | [VIGAN] ► THIS ANCESTRAL HOUSE STANDS AT THE CORNER OF SALCEDO AND V DELOS REYES STREETS.
VIGAN CITY
| 4 | [VIGAN] ► THIS CHINESE HARDWARE SHOP STANDS AT THE CORNER OF PLARIDEL AND SALCEDO STREETS.
VIGAN CITY
| 5 | [VIGAN] ► LOCALS KNOW WHERE TO AVOID THE TOURIST CROWD.
VIGAN CITY
| 6 | [VIGAN] ► THIS COUPLE GAVE WAY FOR A CROSSING VEHICLE AT THE PLARIDEL AND SALCEDO STREETS INTERSECTION.
VIGAN CITY
| 7 | [VIGAN] ► THE SEGMENT OF SALCEDO STREET CONNECTING CALLE CRISOLOGO AND CALLE PLARIDEL IS NOW A COBBLESTONE STREET.
Indeed, the changes in the streets of Vigan is remarkable especially those near and connecting to Calle Crisologo. In my point of view, this move would stimulate tourism activities in these streets too and would help disperse the tourist-concentrated Calle Crisologo.

We walked along V Delos Reyes and Plaridel Streets and saw new shops opening at the ancestral houses lining these relatively ignored streets overshadowed by the well-lighted and highly-advertised Calle Crisologo.

PLARIDEL STREET, VIGAN CITY
| 8 | [VIGAN] ► CALLE PLARIDEL IS NOW MADE OF COBBLESTONE.
PLARIDEL STREET, VIGAN CITY
| 9 | [VIGAN] ► I SPOTTED THIS NEW RESTAURANT ALONG PLARIDEL STREET.
PLARIDEL STREET, VIGAN CITY
| 10 | [VIGAN] ► WELL-RESTORED ANCESTRAL HOUSES LIT THE BONIFACIO-PLARIDEL INTERSECTION.
BONIFACIO, VIGAN CITY
| 11 | [VIGAN] ► TOURIST ACTIVITIES ARE ACTIVE AROUND THE CALLE CRISOLOGO-CALLE BONIFACIO INTERSECTION.
My hometown is getting lovelier and lovelier. I'm so happy that the people who started to advocate for our culture and heritage conservation were the best people to do it so. We've been recognized internationally for our excellence in handling our conservation programs. Indeed, ours is a success story that has inspired other cities to also preserve their culture and heritage not just in the Philippines but also around the world.

Sooner, the cobblestone-street-image will no longer be associated solely with Calle Crisologo as it has expanded to nearby streets. It will no longer be just Calle Crisologo. It will be Vigan, as a whole.

PLARIDEL STREET
| 12 | [VIGAN] ► PLARIDEL STREET IS NARROW YET HOME TO MANY OF VIGAN'S MASSIVE ANCESTRAL HOUSES.
PLARIDEL STREET
| 13 | [VIGAN] ► MY HOMETOWN IS WHERE THE OLD AND THE NEW INTERTWINE.
PLARIDEL STREET
| 14 | [VIGAN] ► LEONA FLORENTINO MONUMENT IS SITUATED IN BETWEEN CALLE CRISOLOGO AND CALLE PLARIDEL.
PLARIDEL STREET
| 15 | [VIGAN] ► MY BROTHER STANDS BESIDE THE LEONA FLORENTINO MONUMENT.
The beauty of the houses along Plaridel and V Delos Reyes Streets was accentuated with their new Calle-Crisologo-feels. During my walk, I've seen several intersections that were paved with cobblestones and I've never seen like these before.

I love the intersections of Bonifacio Street and Plaridel Street as well as of Calle Crisologo and Bonifacio Street as these intersections are surrounded by massively preserved and elaborate ancestral houses that show you the unique townscape you cannot see anywhere else in the world due to the unique mixture of cultural elements that's uniquely Vigan.


Cobblestone Streets Around Plaza Burgos and Plaza Salcedo


We exited Plaridel Street from its northern opening (beside Leona Florentino Monument) which is connected to the Leona Florentino Street—one of the four streets surrounding the Plaza Burgos.

FLORENTINO STREET
| 16 | [VIGAN] ► LEONA FLORENTINO STREET IS ALSO A COBBLESTONE ROAD NOW!
It was a big surprise for me to see that the Plaza Burgos segment of Leona Florentino Street has also transformed. It looked visually appealing for me at night. The texture and feel of the cobblestone-paved street made me want to just walk and advocate Vigan to be a pedestrian city.

plaza burgos
| 17 | [VIGAN] ► THIS ICONIC MONUMENT IN VIGAN STANDS IN THE MIDDLE OF PLAZA BURGOS.
ARZOBISPADO NUEVA SEGOVIA
| 18 | [VIGAN] ► THE PALACIO ARZOBISPADO DE NUEVA SEGOVIA SHOWS TO US THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS.
PLAZA SALCEDO
| 19 | [VIGAN] ► LOCAL VENDORS SELL STREET FOOD EAST OF THE PLAZA SALCEDO.
PLAZA SALCEDO, VIGAN
| 20 | [VIGAN] ► COBBLESTONE PLACEMENT IS UNDER WAY ON BURGOS STREET.
E JACINTO STREET, VIGAN
| 21 | [VIGAN] ► THE OLD PAVEMENT OF JACINTO STREET IS UNDERGOING COBBLESTONE REPLACEMENT TOO.
E JACINTO STREET, VIGAN
| 22 | [VIGAN] ► COBBLESTONE STREETS WILL SOON SURROUND THE PLAZA BURGOS.
I also visited all the streets surrounding Plaza Burgos and Plaza Salcedo. The dancing fountain was currently on display when I was in Plaza Salcedo. Street vendors were present in front of the Vigan Cathedral. I noticed that the Plaza Salcedo segment of Burgos Street is also undergoing a face lift including the very short road connecting it to Nueva Segovia Street.

Speaking of Nueva Segovia Street, it was also undergoing cobblestone replacement when I was here. Nueva Segovia Street is where the Arzobispado Nueva Segovia and Mart1 (old Rosary College) are located. The latter street runs north of Plaza Salcedo perpendicular to Quezon Avenue.


Ending Thoughts


In my travel blogging journey, I've met amazing people in the industry who happened to be very knowledgeable of conservation. I've learned from them that a truly living culturally rich destination is something that is dynamic and continuously evolving yet the the strong elements of the past is still strongly felt and very present.

E JACINTO STREET, VIGAN
| 23 | [VIGAN] ► THIS IS MY 2018 YEAR-END PHOTO IN VIGAN (TAKEN BY JOAN TACUD).
As a resident, I didn't care about all of these before. But upon knowing that there are so many non-Bigueño people who love my hometown and even fight for its preservation to death, my eyes were opened of the value of my birthplace. If these people are willing to selflessly fight for my hometown, who am I not to join the force? I mean, as a resident who is continuously learning and appreciating the big role of my hometown in nation building, I came out with a Spiderman-ish perspective—being a Bigueño is both a great honor and power but it also comes with a great responsibility. | end |

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Map Showing the Location of #VIGAN

MAP OF VIGAN
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

✈ This post was filed under the category "Special Features." See more posts related to this below.

✈ The maps I used on this post are from maps.google.com.ph.

✈ The insights, condition and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you try the activities or see the properties/places mentioned here. Names of places and properties may also change by time.

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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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