Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and from Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-East Asia.
Vigan is the most intact example in Asia of a planned Spanish colonial town, established in the 16th century. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines and from China with those of Europe and Mexico to create a unique culture and townscape without parallels anywhere in East and South-East Asia. An important trading post before the colonial era, Vigan is located at the river delta of Abra River, along the northwestern coastline of the main island of Luzon, in the Province of Ilocos Sur, Philippine Archipelago. The total area of the inscribed property is 17.25 hectares. The traditional Hispanic checkerboard street plan opens up into two adjacent plazas. The Plaza Salcedo is the longer arm of an L-shaped open space, with the Plaza Burgos as the shorter. The two plazas are dominated by the St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, the City Hall and the Provincial Capitol Building . The urban plan of the town closely conforms with the Renaissance grid plan specified in the Ley de la Indias for all new towns in the Spanish Empire. There is, however, a noticeable difference between Vigan and contemporary Spanish colonial towns in Latin America in the Historic Core (known as the Mestizo district), where the Latin tradition is tempered by strong Chinese, Ilocano, and Filipino influences. As its name implies, this district was settled by affluent families of mixed Chinese-Ilocano origin. The area contains the historic footprint of the entire town and consists of a total of 233historic buildings tightly strung along a grid of 25 streets.
The two storey structures are built of brick and wood, with a steeply pitched roof reminiscent of traditional Chinese architecture. The exterior walls of the upper storey are enclosed by window panels of kapis shells framed in wood which can be slid back for better ventilation. Most of the existing buildings were probably built in the mid 18th to late 19th centuries. Due to the economic decline of Vigan as an economic center after the World War II, only a few of the historic buildings had internal reorganization for alternative use. The Chinese merchants and traders conducted their business from shops, offices and storerooms on the ground floors of their houses, with the living quarters above. In addition to the domestic and commercial architecture, Vigan possesses a number of significant public buildings, which also show multi-cultural influences.
Vigan is unique for having preserved much of its Hispanic colonial character, particularly its grid street pattern and historic urban lay out. Its significance also lies on how the different architectural influences are blended to create a homogenous townscape.
Criterion (ii): Vigan represents a unique fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning.
Criterion (iv): Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and South-East Asia.
Candon, officially the City of Candon (Ilocano: Siudad ti Candon; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Candon), is a 4th class component city in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 60,623 people. Dubbed as the “Tobacco Capital of the Philippines” the city is the country’s largest producer of Virginia-type tobacco. This once small resort town is known for making the heaviest and largest kalamay, a sweet and sticky snack made from sticky rice, coconut milk and sugar, in the world. This city also has a rich historical background. In its legends, the name of the city is derived from the legendary “kandong” tree which is now but extinct in the area. Its patron saint is John of Sahagun and his feast day is celebrated every June 12. Candon is the center of the 2nd district of Ilocos Sur. Government District offices are all located in the city [read more].
Laoag is a city and the provincial capital of Ilocos Norte. Laoag’s history stretches back to pre-colonial times. It has been a trading post between the local Austronesian population, and the Chinese and Japanese. Laoag was then called Samtoy, from the Ilocano for “this is our language”. The Spaniards came in the 16th century, when Miguel López de Legazpi’s son, Juan de Salcedo ordered the invasion of the northwestern coastline of Luzon, from Vigan toward the present location of Laoag. Colonization began when Spanish friars seized lands for churches, where their belfries also double as garrisons through an Spanish royal edict. Due to the law, as well as the abusive treatment of the Ilocanos by the Augustinian friars, locals started numerous rebellions, most notably the Silang rebellions of 1762—63. The first of those rebellions was led by Diego Silang, who led victories against the Spanish colonial authorities in 1762, then in war with the British during the Seven Years’ War [read more].
Baguio is a highland city of 345,000 people (2015) in the province of Benguet, Philippines. Due to its cool mountain weather relative to the rest of the country, it is considered the “Summer Capital of the Philippines.” The city is abundant in pine trees, so it is nicknamed the City of Pines. Baguio, to many, is best known as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines”, with its cool climate making this a spot to escape the chaotic scenes in Manila. The city is also home to tropical pine forests, lending the city the nickname “City of Pines”. It serves as a tourist hub in the Cordilleras, serving as a jumping point to other tourist spots like Mount Pulag, Sagada and Banaue. Baguio is considered a city separate from the province of Benguet, but it is considered part of Benguet practically, and it is the economic center for both the province and the Cordillera region [read more].