Vigan, Philippines

Vigan: the Most Hispanic of Asias


Tolentino
Horse tows Kalesa in front of an antique shop.
Kalesa of the night
Kalesa (charrette) descends one of the historic streets in the center of Vigan at dusk.
kalesa vigan
Detail of a renovated carriage used in a Catholic wedding held in the cathedral of São Paulo
Kalesas Station
Grandmother and granddaughter pass by a long string of Kalesas (Hispanic-influenced carriages) who serve Vigan.
Villa Angela
Interior of Villa Angela, one of Vigan's many stately mansions.
photographic hysteria
Guests at a wedding at the Cathedral of São Paulo photograph the bride and groom going abroad.
Cathedral to double
St. Paul's Cathedral mirrored in an artificial lake in front.
Angel
Kalesa's driver patiently waits for new customers on yet another scorching Vigan afternoon.
dizzying speed
Rickshaw driver speeds around Vigan.
candles of faith
Believers place candles in St. Paul's Cathedral in Vigan.
Old Vigan
Aged facades of the historic center of Vigan.
at the feet of faith
Faithful Catholic touches the base of a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Curiosity
Resident watches life from the window of an old house in Vigan
Lechon
Little girl contemplates a roast suckling pig during a birthday party.
VGN 0581
License plate for a taxi-rickshaw in the city.
Quirinus Elpidium
Historical poster by Elpidio Quirino, the 6th; President of the Philippines.
shadow concert
Resident repairs his motorcycle in a street in the historic center of Vigan.
The Spanish settlers left but their mansions are intact and the Kalesas circulate. When Oliver Stone was looking for Mexican sets for "Born on the 4th of July" he found them in this ciudad fernandina

It's Sunday.

We are in Luzon, a Catholic stronghold in the Philippines.

As ten in the morning approaches, the heat of the dry season takes over the city. It leaves her in a kind of tropical lethargy.

The coaches slumber in their kalese, a kind of carriages inherited from the Spaniards, parked in a row along the side façade of the Cathedral of São Paulo.

Kalesas Station, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Grandmother and granddaughter pass by a long string of Kalesas (Hispanic-influenced carriages) who serve Vigan.

After all, together, the weights of the trip and the tip, reveal financial relief that justifies the wait.

The Cathedral of the Conversion of St. Paul: the Sacred Catholic Temple Vigan

Some marriages are integrated in the homily. We enter the nave of the church in the middle of one of the ceremonies. Hundreds of believers, moved by her christian faith and a few curious outsiders.

St. Paul's Cathedral, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

St. Paul's Cathedral mirrored in an artificial lake in front.

A sign written in red asks temple attendees to dress appropriately for the celebrations. Unaware of the insult, a foreigner right next to her confronts her, dressed in sports shorts and a bright blue shirt with colorful fish drawn in a childish line.

Candles of Faith, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Believers place candles in St. Paul's Cathedral in Vigan.

The faithful burn candles and more candles and whisper the corresponding prayers

Until the last marriage is consummated. In classic good manner, the couple is attacked by rice, petals and by the flashes of a battalion of semi-professional and casual photographers.

Photographic hysteria, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Guests at a wedding at the Cathedral of São Paulo photograph the bride and groom going abroad.

We are told that some of the wealthiest families in Vigan are represented there, something which, given the sumptuousness of the suits and dresses, which are certainly in order for you, we are inclined to believe.

The couple takes refuge in a white limousine. In its wake, the people abandon the protection of the temple on foot or by kalesa and put an end to the anxiety of the more fortunate coachmen.

We join this general stampede and head towards Syquia Mansion, one of the historic homes flags of the city and the Philippines.

Tomas Quirino and the Syquia Mansion. Legacies of the History of Vigan and the Philippines

The servant opens the gate and announces us. Tomas Quirino gets us something sweaty despite his fresh clothes to bring home.

Elpidium Quirino, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Historical poster by Elpidio Quirino, the 6th; President of the Philippines.

We are facing one of the sons of the sixth Philippine president. Quirinus Elpidium he led the Philippines in two terms, from 1948 to the end of 1953. He was credited with a remarkable post-war logistical and economic reconstruction, achieved with substantial support from the United States.

But they were also pointed out to the gaps in the basic social problems that had never been resolved and the widespread corruption of the administration, which also insisted on angering the population with its princely spending abroad.

Tomas was the only male descendant of Elpidio to survive the hardships of World War II. His mother Alicia Syquia and three of the brothers were killed in 2 as they fled their home during the terrible battle for Manila.

The host hides neither his resentment nor his sexual orientation. During a tour of the mansion, he shows us photographs and belongings of his father and, between expressions and effeminate gestures, tells us about the Sino-Hispanic origins of the family.

Facades, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Aged facades of the historic center of Vigan.

Recognition of the Spanish colony and resentment towards the Japanese

He praises both peoples and reproaches the Japanese: “the Quirinos were torn apart by them. My grandmother succumbed to a real massacre, but at a time when we took thousands of Japanese prisoners, my father and other leaders were able to forgive and sent them back to Japan.

Compassion is a very characteristic of Christians, but not all peoples know it. The Spaniards taught it to the Filipinos”.

Santa Fe, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Faithful Catholic touches the base of a statue of the Virgin Mary.

We left the Syquia mansion. We continued to explore the mestizo district that the Filipinos called Kasanglayan (where the Chinese live).

World War II bombs saved an impressive concentration of ancestral and colonial houses there. Japanese troops had just fled the city. This stampede caused the American bombers to abort their mission at the last minute. Vigan's historic sumptuousness was thus spared.

Historic center, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Resident repairs his motorcycle in a street in the historic center of Vigan.

Kasanglayan Neighborhood, Featured From The Incredible Colonial Vigan

Some houses were built by merchants from Fujian Province who settled in Vigan, married natives, and by the XNUMXth century became the city's elite.

Despite being, in a generic way, considered Spanish, the architecture de Kasanglayan actually consists of a combination of Mexican and Chinese styles to which Filipino developments such as sliding shell windows have been added.

At the window, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Resident watches life from the window of an old house in Vigan

In the late afternoon, we walk through what is considered the main street of Kasanglayan, Mena Crisólogo Street. This is what dozens of kalesas do in search of new passengers.

There are plenty of antique shops, bookshops and other home businesses run by small local clans with oriental features but Castilian and even Basque names and surnames, like those of the recently inscribed in chalk on the board of services we discovered at the funeral home Enrique Baquiran: Guzman, Pascual, Zamora, Urbano, Jimenez.

Kalesa-Vigan-Asia-Hispanica-Philippines

Horse tows Kalesa in front of an antique shop.

They are all a legacy of the long Hispanic colonization of the Philippines. That of Luzon, the largest island in this island nation, and that of Vigan, in particular.

Vigan and the Philippines' Colonial Past: the Hispanic and the Shortest American Good

That of Vigan was inaugurated when, in 1572, the conqueror Juan de Salcedo seized the city, then a convenient trading post on the Silk Road that linked Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

It ended on July 12, 1898, the date of the proclamation of the Philippines' independence but also the time when the United States began to replace the Spanish as its colonial power.

The Americans stayed until 1935. They returned ten years later to drive out the Japanese invaders. During this period, there were numerous cultural influences that passed to the Filipinos. We recognize them in the ease with which they speak English and in their passion for basketball.

Tricycle conduit, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Rickshaw driver speeds around Vigan.

The connection between the two nations and the low cost of living are the main reasons why so many Hollywood filmmakers chose and choose the Philippines to film their works, from “Apocalypse Now" to "born on the 4th of July".

Vigan's Unlikely Link to Mexico, in “Born on the 4th of July”

Unexpectedly, this latest success was linked to Vigan forever. At the time of shooting, relations between the US and the Vietnam they remained problematic. For that reason, Oliver Stone filmed the Vietnam War scenes in the jungle areas of the Philippines.

The film also includes excerpts from the Mexico. The travel of the entire team involved in the shooting to that country or to Europe would be too costly.

Instead, Stone moved to Vigan where the architectural heritage shared the traits the Spaniards adapted to their Mexican villages.

Villa Angela, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Interior of Villa Angela, one of Vigan's many stately mansions.

Villa Angela is another such heritage. He built it in 1870, Agapito B. Florendo um governor that concentrated total administrative and judicial powers. It would later be purchased by the prominent Verzosa family who named it in honor of matriarch Angela.

When we visit it, we come across features similar to those of the Syquia Mansion: grandiose rooms built on massive wooden planks, decorated with XNUMXth century furniture and ornaments that give it a strong sense of living.

Kalesa nocturna, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

Kalesa (charrette) descends one of the historic streets in the center of Vigan at dusk.

The housekeeper proudly shows us her place of work. When we arrive at the room del señor, he calls our attention to a particular photograph. “As you can see, Tom Cruise stayed with us…”.

The photo shows the protagonist of “born on the 4th of July” in his early career, with the current owner of the mansion. As we are told, Willem Dafoe was also privileged to inhabit it.

And there was filmed part of “Jose Rizal”, the cinematographic tribute to the main Filipino patriot and independenceist, executed by the Spaniards 26 years after Villa Angela was completed.

Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines

License plate for a taxi-rickshaw in the city.

Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
Camiguin, Philippines

An Island of Fire Surrended to Water

With more than twenty cones above 100 meters, the abrupt and lush, Camiguin has the highest concentration of volcanoes of any other of the 7641 islands in the Philippines or on the planet. But, in recent times, not even the fact that one of these volcanoes is active has disturbed the peace of its rural, fishing and, to the delight of outsiders, heavily bathed life.
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Boracay, Philippines

The Philippine Beach of All Dreams

It was revealed by Western backpackers and the film crew of “Thus Heroes are Born”. Hundreds of resorts and thousands of eastern vacationers followed, whiter than the chalky sand.
El Nido, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan: The Last Philippine Frontier

One of the most fascinating seascapes in the world, the vastness of the rugged islets of Bacuit hides gaudy coral reefs, small beaches and idyllic lagoons. To discover it, just one fart.
Hungduan, Philippines

Country Style Philippines

The GI's left with the end of World War II, but the music from the interior of the USA that they heard still enlivens the Cordillera de Luzon. It's by tricycle and at your own pace that we visit the Hungduan rice terraces.
Coron, Busuanga, Philippines

The Secret but Sunken Japanese Armada

In World War II, a Japanese fleet failed to hide off Busuanga and was sunk by US planes. Today, its underwater wreckage attract thousands of divers.
Bohol, Philippines

Other-wordly Philippines

The Philippine archipelago spans 300.000 km² of the Pacific Ocean. Part of the Visayas sub-archipelago, Bohol is home to small alien-looking primates and the extraterrestrial hills of the Chocolate Hills.
Batad, Philippines

The Terraces that Sustain the Philippines

Over 2000 years ago, inspired by their rice god, the Ifugao people tore apart the slopes of Luzon. The cereal that the indigenous people grow there still nourishes a significant part of the country.
Mactan, Cebu, Philippines

Magellan's Quagmire

Almost 19 months of pioneering and troubled navigation around the world had elapsed when the Portuguese explorer made the mistake of his life. In the Philippines, the executioner Datu Lapu Lapu preserves the honors of a hero. In Mactan, his tanned statue with a tribal superhero look overlaps the mangrove swamp of tragedy.
Philippines

The Philippine Road Lords

With the end of World War II, the Filipinos transformed thousands of abandoned American jeeps and created the national transportation system. Today, the exuberant jeepneys are for the curves.
Marinduque, Philippines

When the Romans Invade the Philippines

Even the Eastern Empire didn't get that far. In Holy Week, thousands of centurions seize Marinduque. There, the last days of Longinus, a legionary converted to Christianity, are re-enacted.
Marinduque, Philippines

The Philippine Passion of Christ

No nation around is Catholic but many Filipinos are not intimidated. In Holy Week, they surrender to the belief inherited from the Spanish colonists. Self-flagellation becomes a bloody test of faith
Philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Bacolod, Philippines

Sweet Philippines

Bacolod is the capital of Negros, the island at the center of Philippine sugar cane production. Traveling through the Far East and between history and contemporaneity, we savor the fascinating heart of the most Latin of Asia.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
safari
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Young people walk the main street in Chame, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a ChameNepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Itamaraty Palace Staircase, Brasilia, Utopia, Brazil
Architecture & Design
Brasilia, Brazil

Brasília: from Utopia to the Capital and Political Arena of Brazil

Since the days of the Marquis of Pombal, there has been talk of transferring the capital to the interior. Today, the chimera city continues to look surreal but dictates the rules of Brazilian development.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Adventure
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
good buddhist advice
Ceremonies and Festivities
Chiang Mai, Thailand

300 Wats of Spiritual and Cultural Energy

Thais call every Buddhist temple wat and their northern capital has them in obvious abundance. Delivered to successive events held between shrines, Chiang Mai is never quite disconnected.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Zapatismo, Mexico, San Nicolau Cathedral
Cities
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
Meal
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
Tombola, street bingo-Campeche, Mexico
Culture
Campeche, Mexico

A Bingo so playful that you play with puppets

On Friday nights, a group of ladies occupy tables at Independencia Park and bet on trifles. The tiniest prizes come out to them in combinations of cats, hearts, comets, maracas and other icons.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Sport
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Traveling
Inle Lake, Myanmar

A Pleasant Forced Stop

In the second of the holes that we have during a tour around Lake Inlé, we hope that they will bring us the bicycle with the patched tyre. At the roadside shop that welcomes and helps us, everyday life doesn't stop.
Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
Ethnic
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
History
napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s – Old-Fashioned Car Tour

In a city rebuilt in Art Deco and with an atmosphere of the "crazy years" and beyond, the adequate means of transportation are the elegant classic automobiles of that era. In Napier, they are everywhere.
Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa the Empire of the Sun, Japan
Islands
Okinawa, Japan

The Little Empire of the Sun

Risen from the devastation caused by World War II, Okinawa has regained the heritage of its secular Ryukyu civilization. Today, this archipelago south of Kyushu is home to a Japan on the shore, anchored by a turquoise Pacific ocean and bathed in a peculiar Japanese tropicalism.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
José Saramago in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, Glorieta de Saramago
Literature
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.
São João Farm, Pantanal, Miranda, Mato Grosso do Sul, sunset
Nature
Fazenda São João, Miranda, Brazil

Pantanal with Paraguay in Sight

When the Fazenda Passo do Lontra decided to expand its ecotourism, it recruited the other family farm, the São João. Further away from the Miranda River, this second property reveals a remote Pantanal, on the verge of Paraguay. The country and the homonymous river.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Manatee Creek, Florida, United States of America
Natural Parks
Florida Keys, USA

The Caribbean Stepping Stone of the USA

Os United States continental islands seem to close to the south in its capricious peninsula of Florida. Don't stop there. More than a hundred islands of coral, sand and mangroves form an eccentric tropical expanse that has long seduced American vacationers.
Engravings, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
UNESCO World Heritage
luxor, Egypt

From Luxor to Thebes: Journey to Ancient Egypt

Thebes was raised as the new supreme capital of the Egyptian Empire, the seat of Amon, the God of Gods. Modern Luxor inherited the Temple of Karnak and its sumptuousness. Between one and the other flow the sacred Nile and millennia of dazzling history.
Correspondence verification
Characters
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Santa Marta, Tayrona, Simón Bolivar, Ecohabs of Tayrona National Park
Beaches
Santa Marta and PN Tayrona, Colombia

The Paradise from which Simon Bolivar departed

At the gates of PN Tayrona, Santa Marta is the oldest continuously inhabited Hispanic city in Colombia. In it, Simón Bolívar began to become the only figure on the continent almost as revered as Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Religion
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
full cabin
Society
Saariselka, Finland

The Delightful Arctic Heat

It is said that the Finns created SMS so they don't have to talk. The imagination of cold Nordics is lost in the mist of their beloved saunas, real physical and social therapy sessions.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Daily life
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Wildlife
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.