Vigan, Philippines

General Information

Regional secretariat


Administrative status

Capital of the province of Ilocos Sur

Historic Town of Vigan

Registration Year


Historical function

Colonial and cultural

Location and site

Vigan is located at the river delta of Abra River, along the northwestern coastline of the main island of Luzon, in the Province of Ilocos Sur, Philippine Archipelago. It is the most intact example in Asia of a planned Spanish colonial town, established in the 16th century. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines and from China with those of Europe and Mexico to create a unique culture and townscape without parallels anywhere in East and South-East Asia.

Urban morphology

The traditional Hispanic checkerboard street plan opens up into two adjacent plazas. The Plaza Salcedo is the longest arm of an L-shaped open space, with the Plaza Burgos as the shortest. The two plazas are dominated by the St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, the City Hall, and the Provincial Capitol Building. The urban plan of the town closely conforms with the Renaissance grid plan specified in the Ley de la Indias for all new towns in the Spanish Empire. There is, however, a noticeable difference between Vigan and contemporary Spanish colonial towns in Latin America in the Historic Core (known as the Mestizo district), where the Latin tradition is tempered by strong Chinese, Ilocano, and Filipino influences. As its name implies, this district was settled by affluent families of mixed Chinese-Ilocano origin. The area contains the historic footprint of the entire town and consists of a total of 233 historic buildings tightly strung along a grid of 25 streets.

Registration criteria

Criterion (ii): Vigan represents a unique fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning.

Criterion (iv): Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and South-East Asia.

Historical reference

  • Most of the existing buildings were probably built in the mid-18th to late 19th centuries. Due to the economic decline of Vigan as an economic center after World War II, only a few of the historic buildings had internal reorganization for alternative use.
  • he Chinese merchants and traders conducted their business from shops, offices, and storerooms on the ground floors of their houses, with the living quarters above.

Source :




Mr. Jose "Bonito" C. Singson, Jr.

Vigan City Hall

Burgos Street corner Quezon Avenue
Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines

(077) 722 2466
[email protected]

Mr. Edred Piamonte

City Events, Promotions and Protocol Officer
Vigan City

Burgos Street corner Quezon Avenue
Vigan, Ilicos Sur, Philippines

(63) 917 568 0080
[email protected]