Vigan is among the tourist friendly destinations in the Philippines. Every attraction within Vigan is almost walking distance from each other. Obviously, the Mestizo District featuring Calle Crisologo, Vigan’s main offering to the travellers is just several steps away from its main square, Plaza Burgos.
At the plaza, during the day, to avoid the searing heat, people scamper to the kiosks for some hearty empanda and okoy and cold drinks. During the evenings, people do some leisurely walk, earning some breeze at the promenade. And if you are kid, you may be playing some hoops or just doing some freeform inline skating and skateboarding.
But there is a factoid that catches one’s eye. In the marker for Padre Jose Burgoz, one among the three martyred priests whose deaths started the domino effect for a series of upheavals against the Spanish regime in the 19th Century, it clearly says that the hero-son of Vigan was a doctor. So it had to be asked – was he also a doctor of medicine, just like national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal? It turned out that the fallen priest had acquired two doctorate degrees from Collegio San Juan de Letran and University of Santo Tomas before his execution at the young age of 35.
It can be noted that within Vigan, the only public transportation available is the ubiquitous tricycles. The trikes of Vigan can be characterized as the neatest and snazziest in this part of the Philippines. Such are adorned with stainless appliques that have relief art in them. Even one driver boasted that their cabs are larger than those in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, thus people are more comfortably seated. His assertion seems to be correct.
Where the McDonalds is located was once a seminary stood. Apparently, a huge fire broke out in 1968, gutting the preparatory school for priestly duties, just right across the Vigan Cathedral. It could be a myth but the Mc Donalds at Vigan is said to be the most expensive in terms of construction, among the many branches in the Philippines. Its architecture has to blend in with the ancestral feel of the area. An ordinance is in place for all dwellings and buildings at least in Vigan proper, to follow such format. In fact, Mc Donalds Vigan has its own bell tower, almost challenging the belfry of St. Paul Cathedral of Vigan.
Speaking of which, St. Paul Cathedral faces Plaza Salcedo which is in honor of Juan de Salcedo who was the first Spanish conquistador to inhabit Vigan. The church faces the West. And apparently all churches in Ilocos Sur somehow face to the West. So far no reason is given for such queer manner.
Going back to Vigan’s prized son, many may not know but Padre Burgos was not laid to rest in Vigan. Apparently, his remains, together with the remains of the other two martyred priests, Padre Zamora and Padres Jacinto are in Paco Park ( http://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/buried-in-secret/) where Jose Rizal was first buried as well. A poignant fact is that Rizal dedicated his novel Noli Me Tangere to his personal heroes – GOMBURZA.