Calle Crisologo – Mena Crisologo Street
The major attraction of Vigan is its mestizo district which is filled with Spanish-style houses that evoke a bygone era when its people lived prosperously because of the Manila-Acapulco maritime trade. For visitors who want to experience being transported back to this period in Philippine Spanish colonial time, a walk or a calesa ride through Vigan’s Calle Crisologo or Mena Crisologo Street is a must. The tour will take visitors more than a couple of hours and will cost around half a thousand pesos. You will be guided through four blocks of cobblestone streets lined with heritage houses of the families of the Filipino-Chinese traders who rose to prominence during that time of vigorous trading in abel cloth, indigo, gold, tobacco and other goods that were transported to Vigan from all over the North.
The houses are simple but lovely subjects ready for picture-perfect shots with their roofs of red tiles, thick walls, huge doors and stair cases leading to rooms of high ceilings and sliding capiz shell windows. Having survived the many natural and man-made calamities throughout the centuries, the families who own these treasures have endeavored to maintain them. Visitors can admire more closely the architecture and intricate craftsmanship employed in the grill and wood works when they step inside some of the houses that have been turned into stores and museums. They can even experience staying in a heritage house during their visit as some have been converted into inns.
Though a trip to Calle Crisologo is enjoyable during the day especially because of the opportunity to shop for Vigan’s best products (antiques, abel woven products, bags, basi wine, burnay and dimili products, chicharon, jewelry, sweets, Vigan vinegar and woodcrafts) in the inobtrusive shops located in the ground floor of some of the grand houses, a walk through it is magical at night. Since it is closed to vehicular traffic at any time of the day, the stillness and shadows that come with the night adds more to the 18th century ambience of the lamp-lit street that local and foreign visitors love. Couples can take advantage of this romantic atmosphere by having dinner in one of the old houses that has been converted to a restaurant, like Café Leona, before or after their walk.
For those who want to know something about the person the street is named after, Mena Pecson Crisologo is among the most-respected sons of the Ilokos region. He wrote Mining wenno Ayat ti Kararwa, which many compare to Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere; an Ilocano translation of Don Quixote entitled Don Calixtofaro de la Kota Caballero de la Luna; and a zarzuela entitled Codigo Municipal.