Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's More Fun in Vigan

    Vigan is one of Philippines’ most beautiful cities, as it showcases the Spanish heritage of the country.

    Vigan is an island, which used to be detached from the mainland by three rivers - the great Abra River, the Mestizo River and the Govantes River. It is unique among the Philippine towns because it is the country’s most extensive and only surviving historic city that dates back to the 15th century Spanish colonial period.

    Vigan was an important coastal trading post in pre-colonial times. Immigrants, mostly Chinese, settled in Vigan, intermarried with the natives and started the multi-cultural bloodline of the Bigueños.

    In January 1574, Salcedo returned to the capital of his Encomienda, Vigan, bringing with him some Augustian Missionaries to pioneer the evangelization of Ylocos and established a Spanish city, for the purpose of controlling the neighboring country.

    How Vigan got its name is told from an anecdote carried by the tongue of generations, which tells of a Spaniard walking along the banks of the Mestizo River. There, he met a native of the place and stopped to inquire: “Como se Ilama usted de esta lugar?” Not understanding a word of Spanish, the native scratched his head and upon seeing that the Spaniard was pointing to a plant, exclaimed in Ilocano: “Bigaa Apo”. Bigaa being Alcasia Macroniza, a giant Taro plant belonging to the Gabi family which used to thrive at the bank of the Mestizo River. From the name of the plant – Bigaa, whence Vigan derived its name.

    Being the nucleus of religious, economic, political, social, commercial and cultural activities in the north for more than three centuries, Vigan became a hotbed of social unrest.

    A miracle actually saved the town of Vigan during the last days of the Japanese occupation. As part of their military strategy at the end of the war, the Japanese were ordered to burn and completely destroy occupied zones before withdrawal. On the eve of their departure from Vigan, the Japanese Military Commander, Captain Fujiro Takahashi pleaded with the SVD procurator of the Vigan Seminary, Fr. Joseph Kleikamp, to take custody of the Japanese officer’s Filipino wife and their love child. The priest agreed on the condition that Takahashi and his men would leave Vigan without burning the town to prevent the town folks from seeking revenge on his family. The following morning, the people of Vigan discovered that the Japanese had left peacefully. They immediately spread an oversized American flag at the plaza forestalling the planned bombing by the Americans to flush out the Japanese forces. Thus, Vigan miraculously escaped total destruction, a misfortune that befell other colonial cities like Cebu and Intramuros in Manila.

    At present, Vigan was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List of Sites and Monuments last December 2, 1999 which now includes 630 cultural and natural properties of exceptional universal value in entire the world and one of the only five heritage sites found in the Philippines. With its inclusion in said prestigious list of world heritage sites, Vigan has become a source of pride,
and a national symbol of the Filipinos.

New7Wonders Cities
    New7Wonders announced the launch of New7Wonders Cities, its third global voting campaign, following the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World and the New7Wonders of Nature.

    The campaign has five phases. The Nomination phase where the global vote for New7Wonders Cities starts with more than 1200 nominees from the different countries. Next, Qualification phase, more than 300 cities qualify for this phase (one per country plus the top 77 voted).

    New7Wonders CITIES now divided into ten points. Under South East Asia and Oceania, Vigan City ranks first. Other cities in the Philippines which belong to the qualification phase are Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod and Paranaque City.

    Along with Vigan are New York City for North America, Havana in Cuba for Central America and Caribbean, Mendoza, Argentina for South America, Krakow, Poland for Eastern Europe, Naples, Italy for Western Europe, Cairo for Africa, Jerusalem for Middle East, Tokyo for North Asia and Pacific and Saint Petersburg  of Russian Federation for South & Central Asia.

    Let’s make Vigan City be one of the 28 Official Finalist Candidates for shortlist phase and one of the New7Wonders Cities on December 7, 2013. Vote for Vigan. Vote for our heritage!

See Rank here.
How to vote? Click this.

This is a 360 image, click the photo below then click and drag the image in any directions after loading. 360VRs produced by Firefly Digital Designs Services.

More Virtual Tours. Click this

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