Founded by Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo in 1572 as Villa Fernandina de Vigan, Vigan's current master plan of streets in a grid pattern dates back to the 1700's and the city itself is said to have the finest surviving example of Hispanic colonial structures in Asia. Only a few other Salcedo-established towns in the Philippines have retained their original spirit, but Vigan stands alone for a few notable reasons. For one, the city government implements a strict code in the erection of new structures, which must not clash with the existing ones, and secondly, the old buildings slated for adaptive reuse do not have in their façades the huge electronic signages that blatantly promotes commercialism.
Exactly one year ago this day, my girlfriend and I visited the famed city, not only to see its centuries-old houses and churches, but to immerse, at least momentarily, in its distinct culture. Shown here is a section of Calle Crisologo in the early morning hours, before the entire street is flocked with visitors and the bustle begins.