Viva la Vigan! Places to visit with your family in Vigan

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Learn, play and bond as a family in this city filled with history- Vigan!

During the summer, many Filipino families choose to go down to the beach or up to the cool mountains. But it would also be good to plan a different kind of holiday, one where the kids can enjoy activities beyond swimming or shopping.

Up north is a quaint city that is perfect for family fun. This is the heritage city of Vigan in Ilocos Sur.

In December 1999, Vigan City was honored with the distinction of being one of the UNESCO Heritage Sites for its successful efforts at conserving its historical sites. Then, in December 2014, it was declared as one of the New Seven Wonder Cities (N7WC) of the world.

It’s one thing to read or watch about this fantastic site in magazines or TV. It’s another to actually roam Vigan’s famous cobble-stoned streets, ride the calesa, and touch and feel the antique furniture in the heritage houses. Here, you can view the collection of masterpieces in a museum hotel, travel through time in a conservation museum, see the birthplace of a former president, and watch how traditional crafts are made by third or fourth generation Biguenos who have learned their art and skill from their elders.

So, if you’re planning on enriching your family’s next travel experience with a little historical flavor, check out some of these favorite Vigan attractions.

NEXT PAGE: Must-visit places in Vigan!

Calle Crisologo

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This is the main street of the Historic Core, or what is known as the Mestizo district. With its original cobblestones intact, only calesas (horse-drawn carriages) are allowed on this street. Of course, your kids will delight in this fun mode of transportation!

On the other hand, parents on foot can take their time walking along this street, reveling at the sight of heritage houses, while shopping for curios, souvenirs, and pasalubong (items to take home). Calle Crisologo ends at Plaza Salcedo, the city plaza, where there is a nightly 30-minute Vigan Dancing Fountain show.

NEXT PAGE: Home of history

Syquia Mansion

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This is one of the well-preserved centuries-old residences in the Historic Core. It belongs to the Syquia family, and has become a testament to how the rich and famous of eras past lived. While its heirlooms and antique furniture echo those glorious days, the mansion also showcases an extensive memorabilia of former President Quirino, who was also a member of the Syquia family.

NEXT PAGE: Laugh and learn at the Buridek Children's Museum!

Buridek Children’s Museum

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This museum was designed to delight kids, or “buridek” (younger sibling), as well as the whole family, featuring a swimming pool, picnic grounds, lush scenery, and a thrilling zip line. They even have a game that teaches Ilocano words! Here, the kids get to watch as well, videos of Ilocano legends with child actors portraying the characters.

NEXT PAGE: A hotel with history & heritage

Hotel Luna

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This old mansion, that used to be the ancestral home of the Encarnacion family, is now the 54-room Hotel Luna. Considered to be the first and only museum hotel in the country, it prominently exhibits rare and magnificent works of national and master artists such as Fernando Amorsolo, Benedicto Cabrera, Napoleon Abueva, Vicente Manansala, and Juan Luna. Educate your kids early on the rich history of Philippine Art.

Owned and managed by Artstream Hospitality Management Group, Inc. (AHMGI), the hotel was envisioned to be both a traveler’s home away from home, and a haven for art and artists. Hotel Luna has recently been included in the list of Top 25 Hotels of the Philippines for 2014 by the highly regarded travel website, TripAdvisor.

NEXT PAGE: The Live Tradition of Pottery

Pagburnayan Pottery

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Founded by a pure-blooded Chinese man named Ongcay Go, the tradition of pottery making was continued by his son, Fidel, when the old man returned to China. Fidel Go is now the Philippines’ National Folk Artist for Pottery, the only one in the country. Fidel’s son, Bong, is a third generation potter.

If you're lucky, visitors can watch father and son create valuable vases and jars (burnay).

NEXT PAGE: When the Bell Tolls

Bantay Bell Tower

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This centuries-old bell tower is located right next to the Sanctuary of the Nuestra Senora de La Caridad, one of the oldest churches in Ilocos Sur. The climb to the bell tower may be challenging, but it is rewarded by a most scenic view upon reaching the top. Let your kids burn off excess energy on the long climb to the top!

For more about Vigan, visit

For more information about Hotel Luna, visit; or call (632) 5844945; (6377) 6322222.

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