By: Ania Colongon
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur is UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. It is the capital city of Ilocos Sur located on the west coast of northern Luzon. A place where we can see precious remnants of old Spanish architecture throughout the center of the city. Being known as the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia with a unique European atmosphere, Vigan is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial city in the Philippines.
Fortunately, the University of Eastern Philippines (UNP) hosted this year’s National PASUC (Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges) 2016. Anchored on the theme, PASUC at 49th: Paving the Path towards Internationalization through culture and arts, at least 3,000 delegates from 18 competing regions in the Philippines joined the said event. The general delegation comprises students, administrators and coaches conveying cultural artistic competitions.
The luck for Eastern Samar State University was made into a blessing for the university. Seven ESSU students made it to National PASUC and qualified for the competition representing the Region 8. Gimarie Orgen, a 4th year BA Communication Student who champ on the Pagsulat ng Sanaysay competition represented the Region. Meanwhile, Andy Porteza, Zaldy Porteza, Mariel Tabinas, Darwin Magtulis, David and Michael Aboy, the members of Karasikas Live Band represented the Region as they got the 1st place in Live Band Competition during Regional PASUC. On the other hand, Mrs. Ginalyn Avila, the coach for Live Band and Mrs. Angelina Abenis, the coach for pagsulat ng sanaysay led the students. With so much pride, the University President, Dr. Edmundo Campoto, Dr. Jovito B. Madeja, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and other university Administrators supported the ESSU team and also visited Vigan City.
Various event were been participated by the students. Divided into five major categories: Choral Competitions (Choral Singing and Live Band); Singing and Instrumental Competitions (Instrumental Solo- Violin, Pop Solo, Vocal Solo, Kundiman and Vocal Duet); Dance Competitions (Indigenous Dance, Folk Dance, Contemporary and Hip-hop); Literary Competitions (Pagsusulat ng Sanaysay, Essay Writing, Dagliang Talumpati, Pagkukwento, Extemporaneous Speech and Story Telling) and Painting Competitions (On the Spot Painting and Charcoal Rendering). Other events are Quiz Bowl and the Search for Mr. and Ms. PASUC 2016.
The festival which is participated by different state universities and colleges aims to provide opportunities to the students to showcase and participate cultural and art perspectives.
Moreover, what made the National PASUC journey rewarding is the experiences and the fascinating scenery that displayed in our very eyes. Being known as one of the tourist spot in the Philippines, the real beauty of the city paved its way to be one of the 7 Wonders. And searching more on its history and other beautifully made places will truly meet everyone’s satisfaction.
The name Vigan was derived from “Biga”, a giant taro plant that grows abundantly along the banks of the Mestizo River. Vigan is unique for having preserved much of its Hispanic colonial character, particularly its grid street pattern and historic urban lay out. Its significance also lies on how the different architectural influences are blended to create a homogenous townscape. It represents a unique fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning.
The City has maintained its authenticity in its grid street pattern, historic urban lay out and use of open spaces. The historic buildings have maintained their traditional uses for commerce at the lower floors and as residence for the owners on the upper floors where tourists buy their pasalubong. However, very few houses remain untouched.
There are magnificent old Vigan Colonial Houses. These ancestral houses were built mostly by rich Chinese traders. These great big houses are made of thick brick walls and plastering with red clay. Tile roofs are made to survive earthquakes. The Mestizo district where more than a hundred houses line side by side along Calle Crisologo.
Another precious landmark that we visited is the St. Paul’s Cathedral built in 1790-1800 by the Augustinians, this impressive Baroque Vigan cathedral has most of its interior walls that are well preserved. The St. Paul’s Cathedral is also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral. It is considered a major religious landmark not only of northern Luzon but the country as well. Visitors include a visit to the cathedral when in Vigan as it has been a center of Roman Catholic devotion for centuries. The 12 altars only enhances the church beauty and grandeur. The bell tower is octagonal and is located 10 meters south of the cathedral. It is a place not to be missed when visiting Vigan.
There are many places to stay in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Many ancestral houses have been turned into quaint hotels and inns. There are also many bars and restaurants offering a variety of local and international dishes. Above all, this is Vigan City where the National PASUC 2016 was held that aims to preserve talents and cultural perspectives.