A little bit of Spain in the Philippines: Mestizo district in Vigan

Mestizo. A term used in Spain and Latin America to refer to people who were of mixed origin. But the first time that I heard this word, was in Ilocos Sur, at the Northern tip of the island of Luzon in Philippines.

 

In the capital of Ilocos Sur, Vigan, a Mestizo street came to life in front of me.

 

And if the name is familiar to you, it is because Vigan is also one of the New7wonder cities in the world


Further Reading: Check out one of Philippine’s most colourful festivals: the Panagbenga


Vigan – The beautiful Shores


Vigan is one of the last remaining cities in Philippines, which still has the Spanish influence remaining intact. But what developed this place – not so unbelievably – was the Chinese influence.

 

Chinese Settlers were already in Vigan when the Spanish came to colonize it. They called it ‘Bee Gan’, or ‘beautiful shores’. And since the Spanish preferred the V sound better, it became Vigan after the Spanish conquest.

 

Juan de Salcedo, when he founded Vigan in 1572, decided to plan it on the same lines as the Intramuros, Manila’s famous walled city. And one of the districts, was the Mestizo district. The recreational, touristic and shopping capital of Vigan.

 

In the Crisologo and Plaridel streets of Vigan, I took a stroll through history. And also, some lessons in movies, because apparently some scenes of ‘Born on the 4th of July’ were shot here. Took a Kalesa ride, in the horse chariots of Luzon. Ate local longganisa (pork sausages).

 

And I let my camera just click away.

Vigan kalesa
Calesa is the horse-drawn carriage that can ply you anywhere in the city, and carries the same rate as the motorised tricycles.
Mestizo district vigan
The historic mestizo district of Vigan, where the architecture is still distinctly Spanish.
vigan philippines
Small shops line up on the mestizo district, selling everything from trinkets to t-shirts.
Vigan mestizo district
Streetlamps line up the mestizo district at night.
Mestizo vigan
Mestizo at night

Further Reading: Check out ‘the ruins’, the building they call the ‘Taj Mahal of the Philippines’


This post is part of my Philippines Travel stories. Click here to read more amazing travel stories from the Philippines.



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