Jul 2, 2018

Since its inclusion in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites in 1999, Vigan with its Spanish colonial era brick-and-wood houses adorned with capiz windows has been a top tourist destination in the north.

Today, thousands of tourists flock its cobblestone covered streets to marvel at the old houses which have maintained their integrity throughout the decades since their construction which is estimated to be around the mid-18th to late 19th centuries.

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In the streets of Vigan, especially along the Calle Crisologo, people either walk or take kalesas to tour around the vicinity. Photo courtesy of Tito Encarnacion

The provincial capital of Ilocos Sur is considered the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia with its grid-patterned streets laid in cobblestone.

The local government of Vigan, recognized as a model of best practices in World Heritage site management in 2012 by the UNESCO, is now in the midst of a six-year project which aims to cover the entirety of Vigan with cobblestone.

“Baldosa” is shaped into rectangular brick forms which are then laid with cement to cover the streets. Photo courtesy of Tito Encarnacion

This includes reinforcing existing the cobblestone finish in streets like the famous Calle Crisologo to include functional drainage systems, apart from covering other adjacent residential streets such as Plaridel and Delos Reyes streets which were not originally set in cobblestone.

The project will also likely block motorized vehicles from passing main roads and prioritize horse-drawn carriages which are more adapted to the cobblestone surface.

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Streets previously laid in asphalt and cement gets redone in cobblestone part of Vigan LGU’s commitment to the conservation of the heritage site. Photo courtesy of Tito Encarnacion

Vigan houses a total of over 200 historic buildings neatly arranged in a grid of 25 streets.

“The awareness on the need to preserve authenticity has dramatically increased since the site was inscribed,” UNESCO said in a statement regarding the efforts to conserve Vigan. “Conservation practices that have developed organically over the last three centuries are now being re-introduced, making use of a considerable reserve of traditional building crafts that have survived.”


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Photos courtesy of Tito Encarnacion of Advocates for Heritage Preservation (AHP) Facebook Group

Read more:

UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit before you die

Will UNESCO add sisig to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list?

Local heritage sites are being restored by this unlikely group of youngsters


TAGS: cobblestone Ilocos Sur Spanish-style street UNESCO World Heritage site Vigan