Known for its perfectly-preserved Spanish Colonial architecture and culture, Vigan, Ilocos Sur easily became one of the country’s tourism giants. Inviting millions of tourists not only from different parts of the country but the whole world!

This undeniably charming beauty of Vigan is exactly the reason why it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all the more reason for you to visit it! Well, who wouldn’t want to experience traveling back in time, right? Imagine yourself at night walking along the cobblestone streets of Vigan City with rustic mansions and horse-drawn carriages or kalesa around you. And by the streets, you’ll spot local vendors offering some of the best Filipino dishes of all time such as Ilocos Empanada, Bagnet, and more. Ah, what a beautiful experience indeed. Well, I guess it’s your lucky day today because we’ll be exploring the 15 Best Tourist Spots in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and its nearby provinces!


Are you ready? I sure hope you are because this will be one of the most memorable trips of your life. Let’s go!


1. Calle Crisologo

The first one on the list and probably the ultimate destination in Vigan City is the iconic Calle Crisologo which beautifully embodies the historic Spanish Colonial Era in the Philippines. With streets filled with timeless cobblestones, lines of rustic mansions, tungsten lamps, and horse-drawn carriages or kalesas dwelling on the streets, it will amazingly feel like you’re traveling back to the olden times when our national heroes like Dr. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and Apolinario Mabini lived.

Although Calle Crisologo only spans a short 500-meter distance, walking along this historic half-kilometer street will certainly be the highlight of your trip. Well, on top of the fact that Calle Crisologo is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Calle Crisologo Vigan

Vigan Ilocos Sur


Oh, and aside from admiring all the breathtaking attractions of Calle Crisologo, it’s also the best time to try out some of Vigan, Ilocos Sur’s finest treats and delicacies. There are lots of souvenir shops and local vendors stationed along Calle Crisologo selling all-time favorite snacks like Ilocos Empanada, Bagnet, and more! If I were you, I wouldn’t miss this chance to buy merienda and lots of pasalubong!


2. Bantay Church Bell Tower

Our next destination is considered one of the most significant historical and religious symbols of Ilocos Sur. The Bantay Church Bell Tower was built in 1591 and was originally intended to be the watchtower of the town of Bantay, Ilocos Sur.

For many centuries, the tower watched over the safety of the people living in Bantay and Vigan. It’s strategically located on top of a hill so soldiers would be able to have a great vantage point over the towns. Well, that also meant that tourists would have a spectacular view of the landscape today! It’s even believed in history that the Bantay Church Bell Tower was the favorite date spot of the famous couple Diego and Gabriela Silang!

Bantay Church Bell Tower

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Today, Bantay Church Bell Tower serves as the bell tower of Saint Augustine Parish Church, which are noticeably detached from each other. This is because the bell tower was constructed way before the church! Interesting, right? Anyway, make sure to take lots and lots of amazing pictures during your visit here to Bantay Church Bell Tower because it will indeed become one of the highlights of your Vigan adventure.


3. Vigan Cathedral

Another historically and religiously significant attraction in Vigan City is the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle or simply, the Vigan Cathedral. The reason why this cathedral became famous is that it’s a major part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vigan City. Also, it serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, which covers the whole province of Ilocos Sur.

Vigan Cathedral

Tourists, especially pilgrims, make sure that they are able to visit and offer prayers during their Vigan City adventure. The Vigan Cathedral in itself is already a must-see attraction because of the architectural brilliance applied to the structure. It has an Earthquake Baroque style which also beautifully highlights the large buttresses on its side. Don’t forget to take some nice pictures as your remembrance!


4. National Museum of the Philippines | Ilocos Museum Regional Complex

If you’re interested in knowing more about Ilocos province’s rich culture and history, then dropping by the Ilocos Museum Regional Complex in Burgos, Vigan City should be the perfect choice for you. The museum complex is managed by the National Museum of the Philippines so everything is for free, better make the most out of it! There are two (2) major attractions here in the museum complex which are both prominent figures in our country’s national history. And they are both proud Ilokanos! First, is the Burgos Museum which holds the collection of Padre Jose Burgos’ life memorabilia, one of the 3 martyrs GomBurZa priests. Burgos Museum is actually the ancestral house of Padre Burgos so everything you’ll see around the museum were personal belongings and artifacts by the martyr priest himself.

The other one pays tribute to the 6th President of the Philippines, Elpidio Quirino. What was once the Ilocos Sur Provincial Jail turned into a special exhibit featuring some of President Quirino’s important memorabilia and historical items. Probably one of the highlights of this museum is the spectacular replica of President Quirino’s room featuring some of the actual clothes he wore during his time as president. I’m sure you’ll find it interesting wandering around the Ilocos Museum Regional Complex especially if you’re a certified history buff!


5. Chapel by The Ruins

Ah, there’s really something special about old and vintage buildings that makes us fall in love, right? Well, prepare to fall in love once you reach our next destination, Chapel by The Ruins! This serene and solemn place is actually located beside the Saint Augustine Parish Church, the same church where the famous Bantay Church Bell Tower is stationed.

Chapel by The Ruins

Photo of TripAdvisor

It’s a really small outdoor chapel featuring stone benches and altars where you can quietly meditate and offer your prayers. Tourists visiting the church are usually invited to spend some time at the Chapel by The Ruins, especially after holy masses.


6. Pagburnayan Jar Factory

Diving deeper into the rich culture and traditions of Ilocos, you’ll discover the beautiful practice of making Pagburnayan or Burnay Jars. Originating in the small village of Pagburnayan in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, local potters utilized a hundred-year-old process of making durable clay jars.

Pagburnayan Jar Factory

Photo from Tourist Portal PH

These villagers mastered the art and craft of baking, kneading, and molding clay into perfection. It’s also a good thing that these beautiful Burnay Jars are still being promoted thanks to the thriving tourism industry of Vigan. So make sure to visit a Pagburnayan Jar Factory during your Vigan adventure to learn more about making Burnay Jars and even buy lots of pasalubong for your loved ones.


7. Plaza Burgos

Up next, if you just want to sit back, relax, and watch the beautiful culture of Vigan City unfold right before your eyes, then the best place you should visit is Plaza Burgos. This important landmark pays tribute yet again to Padre Jose Burgos, one of the three Filipino priest martyrs, the GomBurZa. Visitors are also encouraged to wander around, learn more about Ilocos Sur’s grand history, meet wonderful people, and take awesome pictures!

The park is open for everyone and one of its wonderful highlights is the street vendors selling delicious Ilocos Empanada! Well, nothing tastes better than how the locals do it, right? So might as well give it a try!


8. Arce Mansion

If you want to dive even deeper into the rich and colorful history of Ilocos Sur, then visiting the famous Arce Mansion in Vigan City would be the best choice! Arce Mansion will give you an all-in experience of living during the vintage times of the Spanish and American Colonial periods. The mansion features authentic items and memorabilia from the periods and they also have excellent staff offering to give you a full-course service of traditional Filipino and Ilokano cuisine.

The catch? You have to choose a costume to wear during the whole experience! You can choose to dress like an Ilustrado, Prayle, Gobernadorcillo, or even a simple Indio. Classy, right? Make sure to take awesome pictures as a remembrance of your visit!


9. Syquia Mansion

Another spectacular chance to dive deeper into Vigan City’s history and culture is by visiting the Syquia Mansion. The entire mansion in itself is already a precious gem of Philippine History as it presents the perfectly preserved Bahay-na-Bato architecture which was dominant during the Spanish Colonial Era. Inside the Syquia Mansion, you’ll find breathtaking collections and exhibits of significant family heirlooms and artifacts of powerful Ilokano families, specifically the Ang Co family.

Syquia Mansion

Photo of Tripadvisor

Visitors can also pose for pictures while wandering around the museum and inspect the grand traditional rooms inside the mansion. The best part? Entrance tickets only cost as low as P75 for regular adult customers!


10. Mindoro Beach

After exploring all the historical attractions of Vigan, it’s finally time to relax for a bit and focus our attention on the province’s natural wonders, right? On that note, our next destination is no other than Vigan City’s famous Mindoro Beach! Also known as the “Black Sand Beach of Vigan”, this laidback and relaxing beach destination faces the calm and dark blue waters of the West Philippine Sea. And as its iconic nickname suggests, Mindoro Beach is known for its beautiful, fine, black sands.

Mindoro Beach of Vigan

Photo by TripAdvisor

What many tourists and locals chase in Mindoro Beach is the mesmerizing sunset as dawn arrives. You’ll notice more and more people get to the beach, unpack their things on the rented cottages, and simply enjoy their time as the sun graciously comes down. Surely, visiting Mindoro Beach will be one of the highlights of your trip especially if you want to have a breath of fresh ocean air!


11. Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone

Ah, right after a quick and relaxing aide trip to Mindoro Beach, it’s time yet again to take on another adrenaline-pumping adventure! Are you ready? Let’s go to the Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone! This famous attraction is not exactly located within Vigan City but it’s relatively near so adding it to one of your side trips to Ilocos Sur isn’t a bad idea at all. Nestled along the borders of Bantay and Santa, ISAZ features lots of extremely fun and exciting activities for everyone!

If you’re an outdoor lover, I’m sure that you’ll have the best time engaging with rappelling activities, kayaking, zipline, and even Zorb Balls. There are also other watersports activities held on Abra River for extreme junkies out there! Oh, and aside from enjoying these extreme activities, visitors can also admire the architectural beauty of the Old Quirino Bridge and take awesome pictures while they’re at it.


12. Baluarte Resort and Mini Zoo

Up next, who wouldn’t want to meet exotic wild animals up close and even have the chance of safely interacting with them? Ah, that’s exactly what we’ll do when we visit the Baluarte Resort and Mini Zoo of Vigan City! This huge zoological park covering an enormous area of 100 hectares is owned by Chavit Singson, one of the biggest names in Philippine politics and the business industry. Baluarte is often dubbed as the “Home of the Big Cats in Vigan” because one of the highlights of the zoo is the majestic Bengal Tigers and many more animals such as sea lions, iguanas, pythons, and other species of birds and reptiles.

Baluarte Zoo Vigan Ilocos Sur

As years go by, Baluarte Zoo keeps on expanding and developing more attractions while taking care of these wild animals. The best part of visiting Baluarte Resort and Mini Zoo is that it has no entrance fee! Anyone and everyone can spend their day around the 100-hectare park and even enjoy a picnic with their loved ones while safely admiring the beautiful wild animals.

READ THE BLOG POST: Baluarte Zoo in Ilocos Sur


13. Crisologo Museum

After visiting the Home of the Big Cats of Vigan, we’re now off to explore yet another important piece of Ilocos Sur’s exceptional history, the Crisologo Museum. Inside the museum, you’ll find excellent artifacts, memorabilia, and pieces owned by the Crisologo Family, one of the province’s most prominent families in history.

Wandering around the two-story museum will make you feel like you’re traveling back in time as you admire several antique items and furniture. It would really be a fun and fulfilling experience for everyone, especially history buffs out there!


14. RG Jar Factory

As we’re nearing the end of our ultimate Vigan adventure, let me bring you to one of the best places to buy a souvenir from the province. Any guesses? Ah, that’s right! We’re heading to RG Jar Factory, one of the few authentic places left where tourists can witness how Burnay Jars are made and even try making their own. This is actually one of the fun and educational experiences you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Vigan. Here at RG Jar Factory, you’ll be amazed at how expert potters are able to turn simple clay into amazing pieces of artwork. There really are lessons on how to make these so better make the most out of it! Aside from that, there are also souvenir shops and vendors inside where you can buy delicious Ilokano snacks like the one and only Ilocos Empanada!


15. Have a Gastronomical Feast Featuring Ilocano Cuisine!

Ah, finally! You can say that we absolutely saved the best for last. After exploring and discovering Vigan’s most precious gems, our trip surely wouldn’t be complete without having a well-deserved gastronomical feast of Ilocos’ finest treats and delicacies, right? Now, there’s a countless list of must-try restaurants and cafès in Vigan City. And they all serve mouthwatering Ilocano dishes featuring some of the all-time favorites like Bagnet, Vigan Longganisa, Pinakbet, Sinanglao, and many more!

Vigan Empanada

Photo from Pinterest

So if you’re planning to have a feast and taste some of these amazing dishes, here’s a list of our recommended restaurants that you should visit. Make sure to drop by Irene’s Vigan Empanada, Calle Brewery, 1995 Studio Cafè, and of course, the iconic Casa Lourdes located at Calle Crisologo itself!