Vigan City is one of the top attractions in the Ilocos Region. This heritage city is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features well-preserved Spanish-era ancestral houses, a church, and charming cobbled streets. Early this month, I was invited to Vigan City to attend the launch of the Ciudad de Vigan Pasaporte de Turista (or simply Vigan Tourist Passport) coinciding with the start of the Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts.
Vigan Tourist Passport
The Vigan Tourist Passport is a tourism initiative by the local government of Vigan City, spearheaded by its current mayor Jose “Bonito” Singson, Jr., to promote the rich cultural history of the city and boost the local businesses.
As a tourist, you can purchase the passport and get stamps by visiting tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, and shops in the city. By doing so, you can earn reward points which you can then use to redeem freebies, discounts, and even free accommodation. Aside from the reward system, the tourist passport is also an activity in itself that families in particular can enjoy.
The passport also includes a QR code, which you can use to check tourist spots and destinations in the city, schedules of hotels, and current activities that you can check out.
Where to buy the Vigan tourist passport
You can purchase the Vigan tourist passport at tourism assistance booths in Calle Crisologo, in the Vigan Convention Center, and in front of the city hall. You can also buy it online at www.vigancity.gov.ph.
The passport is available in 3 colors and costs P300 per person. For an additional P200, you can also avail of add-ons such as 500g bagnet or vigan longganisa, one set of abel iloko placemats, or one set of mini burnay condiment jars.
How the reward system works
By patronizing accommodations, restaurants, souvenir shops, and other partner establishments, you get stamps on your passport which will then be converted to points.
- Hotels: 1 point for every P500
- Restaurants and souvenir shops: 1 for every P100
Where to go in Vigan City
Here are a few of the best tourist attractions in Vigan City:
The tourist hub in Vigan City, Calle Crisologo is a beautiful cobblestone street lined with 2-story ancestral houses. There are many participating restaurants and souvenir shops here, so you can buy your favorite vigan longganisa, bagnet, or inabel woven products and easily earn points in return.
Plaza Burgos is an open plaza where you can see a statue of the historical Padre Burgos, sit down in one of the alfresco eateries selling ilocos empanada and other local delicacies, and visit the Vigan Cathedral.
Dancing Fountain at Plaza Salcedo
Just a short walk from Plaza Burgos is the famous Dancing Fountain, where you can see a fascinating display of lights and water with contemporary music. Breathe in fresh air and let your family watch the fascinating performance — it’s something that kids will surely love.
RG Jar Factory
“Pagburnayan” or pottery making is a centuries-old tradition in Vigan City. Durable clay pots are made by molding clays and firing them in a kiln for about 3 days. You can visit RG Jar Factory to see how the clay pots are made, buy one for your house or garden at home, and even try hands-on pottery making yourself.
Hidden Garden is one of the most popular restaurants in Vigan City. It’s a spacious garden/restaurant that serves Ilocano dishes and various drinks. You can also purchase plants, including the rare varieties, for the plantito/plantita in you.
Art Museum in Hotel Luna
Hotel Luna is one of the participating hotels in the Vigan Tourist Passport program. Aside from its accommodations, this hotel also hosts a museum that features original artwork, including paintings by Hotel Luna as well as 16th century paintings, old jars, ivory pieces, and more.
Has this article about the Vigan Tourist Passport been helpful to you? If you have questions or comments, let us know in the comment section below!
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).