Vigan is so special, UNESCO deemed it a World Heritage Site and noted, “Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and Southeast Asia. The architecture is truly reflective of its roots in both materials and design, in its fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning.”

For travelers, it means only one thing—this could be a romantic adventure. And although the Philippines has many period-haciendas and mansions, Vigan has an entire district of them. It’s like gallivanting through time.

Unlike many of the Spanish outposts in the Philippines, Vigan was chosen not only as the capital of Spanish conqueror Juan De Salcedo’s Ilocos, but also as a trading center. When he arrived, the place was already a center of activity, with direct trading relations with China. The Europeans sought silk and porcelain, and so the city became part of the 250-galleon (ships) trade that linked Asia to Europe and the New World. Vigan, apart from many cities, became an entrepot of different cultures.

Walk down Crisologo Street and check out “Earthquake Baroque” homes.

Plaza Burgos opens up to St. Paul’s Cathedral while on the other side, Plaza Salcedo opens up to the Municipal Hall.

The town itself is a wonder, but click on “Top things to do” to get a deeper experience of Vigan.