World Heritage Cities Solidarity Day
Another great time to visit Vigan is during their World Heritage Cities Solidarity Day celebration every September 8. Vigan celebrates this with other cities all over the world that have world heritage sites.
In Vigan this special day is actually commemorated with week-long festivities aimed at strengthening pride in the history and culture of Vigan. This aim is in keeping with the long-term goal of preserving the 630 heritage structures that date back from the 18th and 19th century. Vigan’s well-preserved Spanish trading town environ has survived the test of time, including bombings during World War II which leveled the major Philippine cities of Baguio, Cebu and Manila. Visitors can start their Vigan heritage solidarity festivities with the Repazzo de Vigan. This is a parade that is participated in by all 39 barangays, specially the students and members of non-governmental organizations. The participants dramatize the Biguenos’ way of life from Spanish time up to the period after World War II while they walk through the designated parade route, accompanied by music.
This unique parade experience is followed by the Historia Oral. The Historia Oral is a wonderful opportunity for listeners to learn about Vigan’s history, culture and day-to-day life straight from the mouths of the old, ordinary Vigan folks. Members of the senior citizens’ federation are tapped to share their experience, knowledge and love of their city through story-telling. Grade-school student listeners from Vigan join the historical-literary contest that is held in connection with the Historia Oral.
Another way to soak in the history of Vigan is to join the scheduled Visita Museo ken Balbalay, when narrators read accounts of the life of the owners of the mansions and museums that are toured. Participants are also guided through the cobbled stone-past of Vigan streets and back to the concrete present.
Putajes de Ayer or Comidas de Ayer gives a gustatory experience for visitors, who are enjoined to taste Vigan cuisine that has been enjoyed through the centuries. Food establishments offer the famous Vigan bagnet (deep-fried, sun-dried pork chunks), chicha-corn (crunchy corn), empanada (closed taco with filling), longanisa (native sausage), ukoy (fried shrimp patty) and other food associated with Vigan.
Notable among Vigan’s rice-based delicacies are the old-fashioned bibingka from Marsha’s and the salapusop, which only one family from a coastal barangay in Mindoro now knows how to make. For a more artistic experience, visitors can watch out for the Fotografias de Recuerdos, when photographs and paintings are exhibited at Vigan’s Culture and Trade Center. They can also watch the inter-barangay singing contest held at the Plaza Burgos at the end of the week.