21 Sep2007

Calle Crisologo, Vigan

by Marketman


Calle Crisologo is one of the main tourist attractions in the city of Vigan. A fairly well-preserved cobblestone street, a few hundred meters in length, and lined with many old buildings (that are intact, restored or in disrepair), it certainly takes one back a century or more to Vigan at its peak. It was interesting to see the names on several of the old buildings, as they obviously referred to the families that owned them or lived in them at some point. I didn’t realize the Syquia’s had a base in Vigan, for example. Or there were several other prominent names in mortar. Calle Crisologo is now lined with handicraft and curio shops and some furniture and antiques dealers. We purchased a few touristy items here and there and even browsed through several of the antiques shops. Much of the furniture on offer is new, and some that are passed off as real antiques are sometimes a bit questionable, at best. However, there WERE finds. And while early in the trip, Mrs. MM and I managed to acquire several pieces at unbelievably reasonable prices. What clinched the deal was promised delivery to our home in Manila for free within two weeks from the time of purchase!


We got several t-shirts as pasalubongs from one of many of these stores…


The Kid and Mrs. MM took a ride in a calesa around town (Marketman declined, trying to spare the horse the incredible weight)…


We found several old narra bauls or chests with new bone inlay and with charming touches like the iron burn mark from an old-fashioned iron, at very very good prices…


…and we even spied this stunning table that was done in molave with kamagong and bone inlay. It is NEW, crafted from old pieces of molave and patterned after a classic style of furniture, an altar table, if I am not mistaken… and it was simply beautiful. And at say roughly PHP40,000 or $800, it was about 1/3rd the price that stores in Manila might ask for it. And had it been an original antique, you would be lucky to acquire it for less than 8x that amount… Up next, Marketman’s absolute favorite surprise find in Vigan stores…



  1. palengkera says:

    I went backpacking with a friend around Ilocos region way back 2002 and it was the best vacation I ever had in my entire life. I had a choice between Hong Kong and Ilocos but I chose the latter simply because I can go backpacking without fear that I’ll be stuck in an a place with people I can’t communicate. My friend and I made it a point to stay away from the usual fastfoods and restaurants.Instead we eatr breakfast and lunch inside the palengkes and snacked on empanadas and okoy at the plazas. Good thing we have iron guts..hehehe.

    I’m a dabawenya by the way.

    And I miss Vigan longganisa sooooooo much..=(

    Sep 21, 2007 | 4:16 pm


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  3. Blaise says:

    “The Kid and Mrs. MM took a ride in a calesa around town (Marketman declined, trying to spare the horse the incredible weight)…”

    Kawawa naman yung horse, no? They endure the pain but they don’t get the gain, their owners do..

    I’m going to Vigan one of these days..

    Sep 21, 2007 | 4:34 pm

  4. palengkera says:

    By the way, I carried a miniature brother’s chest all the way from Vigan to Davao. My little piece of Vigan right here in my bedroom! But I really miss Vigan Longannisa so much. The Bacolod Chicken here in Davao used to serve longannisa on a stick and it tasted quite similar with the ones bought from Vigan. I really like the sour and garlicky taste of it.

    Sep 21, 2007 | 4:41 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    palengkera, they must marinate the meat with atouch of local vinegar… that is one recipe I have not found… a good longganisa recipe.

    Sep 21, 2007 | 4:44 pm

  6. Zena says:

    We dropped by Vigan on our way back to Manila from Pagudpud and I think it has a special charm at night. It was drizzling and the reflection of the street lamps on the wet cobblestones was a pretty effect. Unfortunately, it was late and we found only one touristy store open. A good find were the woven blankets which are warm but not heavy. And yes, empanada at the plaza is something one should do there. =)

    Sep 21, 2007 | 7:44 pm

  7. ivan man dy says:

    Calle Crisologo is pretty uhhmm…Disneyfied. I read somewhere that in reality, the streets of Vigan were never cobbled, it was somebody else’s ‘great’ idea to have create a ‘heritage village’ (what a name!) in what was originally the Kasanglayan (where the Chinese lived) are of Vigan.

    Sep 21, 2007 | 7:45 pm

  8. elaine says:

    oooh, did you get that particular baul? it’s very nice! i’m particularly fond of chests/trunks/bauls..apparently we missed the furniture shops and concentrated on food..just like palengkera, my husband and i feasted on ‘market food’ in our trip to ilocos couple of years back. We especially liked the batac empanada as these were ‘more plump’, stuffed with lots of green papaya,egg, and wonderful, garlicky ilocos longganisa…it feels good to indulge in good,’calorfic’, regional cuisines once in a while…and it’s cheap!

    Sep 21, 2007 | 7:55 pm

  9. Traci says:

    they marinate the meat in what’s called sukang Iloko (what else, hehe). it smells very distinctive. my Lola used to use it on us grandkids.. as part of a sponge bath when we had fever!

    Sep 21, 2007 | 8:32 pm

  10. Cookie says:

    These are the types of furniture I want to buy for my home. When I am back in the Philippines I will make sure we go to Vigan. Finding a reliable shipper to get the stuff back to the US is the tricky part.

    Sep 21, 2007 | 10:02 pm

  11. edee says:

    i’m really missing Vigan now, with all these posts MM…..and i would love to bring here all those wonderful furnitures they have, just don’t know how and if i can afford it :( .. i was able to bring some blankets and some tapestry(?)/weavings, which has several burnays on them, which up till now are in storage, i think it’s time to bring them out and hang them on the wall :)

    Sep 21, 2007 | 10:34 pm

  12. Maria Clara says:

    Very charming place – lots of character.

    Sep 22, 2007 | 12:13 am

  13. Apicio says:

    The mesa-altar would definitely catch my attention too. It looks like an exemption from the rueful whine they don’t make antiques like they use to anymore.

    Sep 22, 2007 | 1:01 am

  14. wil-b cariaga says:

    Calesa. .. .hahaha, MarketMan you were kind enough to the horsey, we usually ride the calesa with 5-6 more friends, strolling around vigan. . . yikes that must be cruel. . .

    Sep 22, 2007 | 1:20 am

  15. wil-b cariaga says:

    and before history and the people of Vigan forgets, the cobblestone street was just placed like. . . hmmm not even 20 years ago, before that it was a dirtroad all rubble and dust. . . lots of TV shows and some people claim that the cobblestone street is preserved, no it isn’t, when i was a kid i walk in that street everyday. . . and i saw the construction of that road, laying the cobblestone bricks etc.

    Sep 22, 2007 | 12:36 pm

  16. nang says:

    ganun?! no cobblestone street?! and to think we marveled at how well-preserved that street was when we visited ilocos a few years back! now i feel like i was fooled.

    Sep 22, 2007 | 1:20 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    wil B and ivan, thanks, I should have been a bit more skeptical about the street, but it did fool me…

    Sep 22, 2007 | 5:32 pm

  18. Apicio says:

    The original dirt road would have been authentic and quaint but the stone paving has the advantage of fitting right at home. A happy and smart decision that rendered the place both charming and romantic (judging by the picture) and offers no waiting for the dust to settle which must have been a major bane for pedestrians and the occupants of the old homes. Nobody is suggesting this but I would regard anyone who would want to scrape off the unhistorical paving to go back to the dirt road with pity and alarm.

    Sep 22, 2007 | 9:31 pm

  19. rizal says:

    Have you seen the place where FPJ made the filming of Panday?

    Sep 23, 2007 | 9:32 am

  20. palengkera says:

    Rizal I think the sand dunes is near fort ilocandia…I theeeenk..

    Nang, from Laoag we took teh bus to Vigan and got there around 7pm. We stayed at the Pastoral Center at the back of the Archibishop’s palace. At 8pm we walked up and down the cobbled stone streets of Calle Crisologo but it was dark and silent. It was creepy in other words. What surprised me was that a small jeep was parked on the “famous” street and I thought it was bawal talaga.

    Sep 24, 2007 | 9:25 am

  21. usisa says:

    Any recommended place to stay in Vigan? Are there bed and breakfast accommodations or hotels?

    Sep 26, 2007 | 5:59 pm

  22. Roni says:

    Usisa, I hope this info is not too late. I would recommend the Vigan Plaza Hotel. It is very near Calle Crisologo and their restaurant serves very good bagnet pakbet.

    Mar 21, 2008 | 12:30 pm

  23. GOOSE says:

    Hi, this is regarding a line in your article saying that you didnt realize that the Syquias had a base in Vigan. Just to share, the wife of our sixth president, Elpidio Quirino (who was born in Vigan) was named Alicia Syquia and they used to reside in the Syquia Mansion before the 2nd world war :)

    Jan 8, 2009 | 12:07 pm


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