Information about Calle Crisologo
Though only 500 meters long, Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, is one of the most beautiful streets in the Philippines. It boasts centuries-old stone houses, lovely tungsten lamps, and antique cobblestone, where horse-drawn carriages or kalesas are still used for transport. In fact, the street is a pedestrian-only zone, save for kalesas favored for touring the historical sites around town.
A few of the ancestral houses have also become restaurants that serve the famous Ilocos bagnet (deep fried pork belly) or empanadas. Meanwhile, others have been converted into inns and souvenir shops for traditional Inabel linen.
History and Bid for UNESCO Heritage List
Calle Crisologo owes its name to the illustrious Ilocano poet, writer, and playwright Governor Marcelino “Mena” Crisologo. Previously, the street was called Calle de Escolta de Vigan, whose residents were mostly families who profited from the galleon trade that included Ilocos as a key port. When Governor Crisologo died in 1927, the street was renamed Calle Crisologo in his honor.
The street is part of Vigan’s picturesque Heritage Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This consists of about 200 beautifully restored houses dating back to the 16th century. The buildings on Crisologo particularly display a blend of indigenous Filipino and colonial European construction.
It took 10 years for Vigan to be named a World Heritage Site since it was submitted for consideration in 1989. The town was initially rejected for inclusion reportedly because it could not compare with Spanish-Colonial cities such as Cartagena in Colombia and Trinidad in Cuba.
Local advocates campaigned that Vigan’s architectures more similarly reflect those of old Asian trading cities like Hoi An, Malacca, or Macau. In fact, many houses in Calle Crisologo were owned not only by scions of Spanish settlers but also by wealthy Chinese who migrated to Ilocos Sur to set up businesses.
How to Get There
To visit the historic and picturesque Calle Crisologo, one must reach Vigan City first. The best jumpoff point would be the capital of the Philippines, Manila, as many transportation options are available from here to Vigan, both by air and by land.
Traveling by bus from Manila to Vigan will be the cheapest option, although expect to spend around 8 to 10 hours on the road. Many bus lines offer the direct Vigan route, with premium ones such as Partas Bus in Cubao and Farinas Transit in Pasay that feature WiFi, TV, and toilets; and regular bus companies such as Dominion Bus, Aniceto Bus, and Viron Transit at relatively lower fares. Some buses like Philippine Rabbit Bus Line, Florida, Maria de Leon, Baliwag, and RCJ Transit pass by Vigan as well, on their way to Laoag City. It is recommended to take overnight trips so you can just sleep through the long ride and don’t save on accommodation expenses for one night.
Those coming from the Clark International Airport in Pampanga may ride a shuttle service or jeepney to Dau Integrated Bus Terminal where buses going to Vigan and Laoag await. If you are coming from Baguio, there are buses bound for Laoag that stop at Vigan. From Abra or Tuguegarao, buses from these places also stop in Vigan.
If you want to save time, take a flight from Manila to Laoag, which takes only an hour, and go on a 2-hour bus trip to Vigan.
Once you are in Vigan City, Calle Crisologo is just 500m away from the bus terminal, so you can take a quick tricycle ride or get there comfortably on foot.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Calle Crisologo and other attractions in Vigan City is during the dry season from December to May, as many of these sights are best explored by walking around. If you wish to avoid the chances of rain and the intense summer heat, you can also visit the dry yet colder months of December until February.
January sees Vigan celebrating different festivals, so this is also a great time to immerse yourself in the town’s culture other than its wonderful sights and landmarks. Vigan is known for its longganisa, a local sausage known for its garlicky flavor, and the town celebrates the Longganisa Festival every January 22.
Just a few days after, on January 25, the town celebrates its Vigan Town Fiesta in honor of St. Paul the Apostle, with festive exhibits and cultural performances that last for an entire week. Calle Crisologo, already vibrant on normal days, becomes more alive during May as the Viva Vigan Festival of Arts happens in the first week of this month, celebrating the rich history and culture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What activities can I do in Calle Crisologo?
Souvenir shops and stalls also dot almost every part of the street, selling local handicrafts such as the town’s iconic traditional weaves and fabrics, pottery, wines, wooden crafts, and antique items. These stalls provide a burst of colors and patterns that make for perfect photo backdrops.
Calle Crisologo is also off-limits to vehicles, except for horse-drawn carriages called calesas which were the only means of transportation during the colonial period. Hop on one to immerse yourself in the town’s culture while marveling at the street’s wonderful sights.
At night, the street transforms into a romantic place with charming lights and a more still, relaxed vibe than that of its daytime dynamism. Dine and drink in one of the street’s many al fresco restaurants.
What other attractions can I visit near Calle Crisologo?
If you wish to get into action and immerse in the town’s traditional activities, make your way to Pagburnayan Jar Factory where you can try pottery-making for free and learn more about the art of producing jars, which has been around Vigan since Chinese traders set foot in the town.
At night, take a lovely stroll to Plaza Burgos and witness the dancing water fountain to the tune of both old classics and contemporary songs, with bright and colorful lights.
Can I speak English to the locals in Calle Crisologo and the rest of Vigan?
Hello - Kablaaw
Good morning - Naimbag nga bigat
Thank you - Agyamanak