Five Fun Things to Do at Calle Crisologo
You haven’t officially been to Vigan if you did not walk along Calle Crisologo, the centerpiece of the Vigan Heritage Site in Ilocos Sur. Well-preserved ancestral homes line up the four blocks of a cobblestoned street. This particular avenue is a stark comparison against the now-commercialized Vigan town proper. It can transport you back in time even without the need of a time machine.
1. Learn about the place’s history.
This famous street brings a new definition to the word “history,” which for many of us means an extremely dull and boring subject. The Spanish colonial past of the place is very colorful and it will surely interest you into knowing more about its history.
Hispanic houses in the Philippines are called “bahay na bato,” which literally means stone houses. These old residences constructed in the mestizo district of Vigan, where Calle Crisologo is situated, are mostly two-storey high – the first floor is made of stone while the second floor is made of wood. This architectural style was done to house a calesa or horse-drawn carriage in the first floor while the main residence area was in the upper floor. Aside from a garage, the ground level was also used as a bodega or storeroom, or as a commercial shop.
Whether you’re riding a calesa or just walking the street, you should not forget to take tons of pictures. The old-fashioned houses and the street paved in cobblestone should be captured with your camera to remind you of this beautiful place. The street is especially romantic at night, with numerous ancient-looking lampposts illuminating your way, adding to the magical ambience in the air. It really looks like a scene straight from an old black-and-white Spanish movie or a coffee-stained yellowing photograph. Your camera lens can allow you to have a glimpse of the past while staying at the present.
The original Ilocano dishes are a true gastronomic delight. There are few houses which are converted into restaurants and you can taste local and international food there. Café Leona even puts several tables outside at night to give the tourists an al fresco dining experience. I recommend the bagnet and Vigan longganisa, among others. Bagnet is a deep fried crunchy pork while Vigan longganisa is a small garlicky sausage. They are more delicious when dipped into Ilocos vinegar with lots of garlic, onion, and chilli.
5. Buy souvenirs.
Almost all of the houses’ ground floors are transformed into souvenirs shops, as if silently screaming, “You cannot go home without buying souvenirs!” You can almost imagine how the Chinese stores looked like in the past. Vigan’s best products can be bought there – antiques, abel woven products, bags, basi wine, burnay and dimili products, chicharon, jewelry, sweets, Vigan vinegar, and woodcrafts. You don’t have to worry about spending too much because you can exercise your haggling prowess with the vendors.
When going to Vigan, Calle Crisologo should be on top of your list. You’ll surely find yourself preparing for a trip back here even before you finish your tour.