Barangay I (Centro Istorico)
Center for Tourism and Commerce
Barangay I is located at the heart of Vigan. It is where the financial and commercial Institutions are located. Heritage Village is one of the main attractions where tourists from other countries as well as other provinces are destined. The Barangay has the population of 1,136 inhabitants belonging to more than 200 households. A good number of inhabitants are most professionals and businessmen. The biggest natural resources of the barangay is the labor force which is highly educated and industrious. Eighty percent of the inhabitants are Ilocanos, the rest are Chinese, and some are Tagalogs, Visayans and a few Indian Nationals (Bombays). Ilocano is the primary dialect spoken. Barangay I has been the center of Tourism and Commerce of Vigan.
The History of Barangay I is linked with the History of Vigan. It became known as Barangay I during the incumbency of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos through the Presidential decree 559 which divided the Poblacion into Barangay.
It is the main attraction in Barangay I, and it is what Vigan City is known for – a street lined with Spanish Era houses and cobble-stoned streets, which led to Vigan’s inscription in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tourists can buy souvenirs or even ride a calesa (horse-drawn buggy).
Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and from Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-East Asia.
It is also known as St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, it is the seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. Burial place of the great Ilocano poet Leona Florentino. Vigan Cathedral faces Plaza Salcedo, and is an imposing creamy-white building built in the “earthquake baroque” style with thick buttresses to support it through earthquakes and typhoons. A separate bell tower (or belfry) was built 15 meters away from the main building — so that if one structure was destroyed in an earthquake, then the other might still remain standing. The bell tower is about 25 meters high and it is surmounted by a large bronze weathercock that is said to symbolize St Peter.
The influence of Vigan’s Chinese residents on the design of the cathedral may be seen in the two Fu Dogs (Chinese guardian lions) on the outer doors and in the octagonal shape of the bell tower.
The first church was built on this site in 1574 (by Juan de Salcedo) and was damaged in the earthquakes of 1619 and 1627. A second was built here in 1641; and the present baroque-style church was built in the 1800s.
Gov. Mena Crisologo – (December 11, 1844-July 5, 1927) was the first governor of Ilocos Sur and popularizer of Ilocano art and literature. He was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur and was notario ecclesiastico of the Nueva Segovia Diocese. In 1898, he represented Ilocos Sur in the Malolos Congress and was a signatory to the Malolos Constitution. Crisologo was also part of the delegation of governors to the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. After retiring from politics, he devoted his time to writing komedya and sarswela in Ilocano.
Leona Florentino – (April 19, 1849-October 4, 1884) was a Filipino poet in the Spanish and Ilocano languages. She is considered as the “mother of Philippine women’s literature” and the “bridge from oral to literary tradition”.
Born to a wealthy and prominent family in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Florentino began to write her first verses in Ilocano at a young age. Despite her potential, she was not allowed to receive a university education because of her gender. Florentino was instead tutored by her mother, and then a series of private teachers. An educated Ilocano priest taught her advanced Spanish and encouraged her to develop her voice in poetry.
Due to the feminist nature of her writings, Florentino was shunned by her husband and son, and so was forced to live alone in exile and separately from her family.
Florentino married a politician named Elias de los Reyes at the age of 14, and they had five children, including Isabelo de los Reyes, who would later become a Filipino writer, activist and senator. She died at the age of 35.
Don Vicente Singson Encarnacion – One of the 7 wise men who adopted the 1939 Constitution, founder of Philippine Water work System.
Bishop Alfredo Verzosa – Took over as an administrator of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia as Bishop Pedro Hurts had to resign for health reason.