Plaza Burgos is the smaller of the two major plazas in the city of Vigan. It can be found just right beside Saint Paul Cathedral’s Bell Tower. While Plaza Salcedo was constructed to honor a foreign conqueror, Juan de Salcedo, Plaza Burgos was built to remember the martyrdom of Father Jose P. Burgos, one of Vigan’s illustrious sons put to death by the Spaniards.
Vigan has produced a lot of the country’s heroes who came from various fields. Father Burgos is the only one from the clergy. He fought for ecclesiastical reforms to ease the inequality suffered by Filipino priests during his time. He was executed in Manila’s Bagumbayan together with two other clergy reformists. They are collectively known in Philippine history as the Gomburza, which stands for their surnames Gomez, Burgos and Zamora. Visitors can learn more about this scholar-priest when they visit his monument in Plaza Burgos.
They can read important information about him and view his likeness in the statue that was erected there. True to the spirit of Father Burgos, his plaza is a great place to be in if one is more inclined to discovering how the locals interact, unwind and spend their leisure time. It is the locals’ favorite hang-out.
Here one can just occupy a corner of the plaza to watch the people walking-by, kids playing in the mini children’s park, and skateboarders do their maneuvers in the plaza square. Better yet, visitors can strike a conversation with the friendly Biguenos and learn more about the city’s history, culture and everyday life.
Plaza Burgos is best-known for its empanadahan (place for eating a local meat and vegetable-filled pastry) and other street food. It is true that where local people converge the best of local food can be found. Food kiosks increase in number in the Plaza later in the day. Visitors are enjoined not to leave Vigan without trying the Vigan empanada in Plaza Burgos.
They can add to their Plaza Burgos food adventure the tasting of the Vigan okoy (shrimp patty), which like the empanada is to be dipped in Vigan vinegar to have the full gustatory experience. Follow this with a taste of barbequed marinated meat in wooden skewers with sweet-sauce glaze.
To end the food adventure in a sweeter note, the adventurer is advised to try the local ice-cream peddled in the plaza which is served in a cone or in the popular Filipino bread called pan de sal. One may also try the cheaper ice candy, which is a hardened mixture of water mixed with the flavor and bits of local fruits. Visitors may also venture to Tongson’s, at the corner of Plaza Burgos, where one can have a taste of Vigan’s royal bibingka, a rice-based sweet. Plaza Burgos is well-lighted at night, very conducive for a stroll. One may even chance upon a local event being held on its stage or an exhibition during one of Vigan’s many festivals throughout the year.