Posted By Lester V Ledesma
It's the same old cobblestoned street, the same old homes, the same old church. Yet there is something different about the heritage city of Vigan these days. In what must be my seventh visit here, I arrived to find the place bustling with tourism-related commerce, even in the midst of the rainy low season.

M. Crisologo Street, the centre of the Kamestizoan district, where these homes have stood since the 1500's. Back in '98 when I first came here, these structures had crumbling facades with peeling plaster. Today many of them sport freshly restored faces. Souvenir shops and a few cafes' now inhabit most ground floors. There's even a t-shirt boutique store and a photography studio inside one house.
Vigan Rain

A store owner told me that Taiwanese tourists flock here on Mondays and Thursdays, and that they make a good money from the handicrafts that these foreigners buy. A local guide also told me about new government regulations concerning the restoration of antique Vigan homes - they now need to be faithful to the original designs, and approval from the heritage board is now required.

St. Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral looks as good as ever. During this Paulinian Catholic year, pilgrims to the church are rewarded with holy indulgences.
Vigan Kalesa

Ilocano garlic bunches await customers at the public market. My favorite commodity - hand- rolled binatis cigars - used to cost Php2.50 a piece. Now they go for 3 for Php10. There used to be loads of old ladies here smoking them with the burning end inside their mouths. Now the cigarillo of choice is La Campana filterless matamis.
Vigan Garlic

Business is good even for the lowly calesa driver. He's probably smiling because he's been ferrying tourists around all day. During low season! High season this coming December will surely bring in more money for these guys.
Vigan Kutsero

It's good to know this heritage city is finally getting the care and attention it deserves :)

2 Comment(s):
Joseph Florendo said...
Hey Les! That first picture is of corner Crisologo and Salcedo, right? The house there is my dad's old house, currently my aunt's, with those two shops if I'm not mistaken.
Monday, Sep 1, 2014 1:50 PM
Alaric said...
Thanks for pointing me to your blog, sir! I love your take on the rained on Crisologo street. Beautiful warm glow and nice inclusion of the people walking.
Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009 5:55 PM
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