In my Kaparkan Falls visit last year, I had a chance to stop by Vigan for a day and having different feelings towards it from my last visit back in 2013 especially Calle Crisologo. It’s a historic street paved with cobblestones and old Spanish buildings that’s supposed to conjure a vision of a trip back in time but was my Indonesian friend right to say, “If I wanna see cobbled street, better go to Intramuros.”?
Commodification. In terms of tourism, commodification refers to using a place’s culture and the cultural artifacts to make a large enough profit to support part of the area’s economy. Sad but true, but this is what’s happening now in Calle Crisologo.
Heritage is lost to shops selling different kinds of non-authentic/ indigenous merchandise; buildings are being renovated to have a faux antique look (most of the old ones are gone per observation) and I went back at night to catch the place utterly crowded and stinking with horse waste. Come to think of it, a Mang Inasal food chain greeting you the moment you enter is not what exactly prepares you for imagining what its like in the Spanish era, right? I wonder what happened after it was announced New7Wonder Cities in 2015?
There are some antique shops which I found rather a delight to see in Calle Crisologo but sad to say, since the government has already started rehabilitation of tourist attractions, I seriously think Calle Crisologo should be next in line after Baguio. Probably a total rehab isn’t necessary but some capacity planning for starters. I was also informed about the mandate of the design of the new structures conforming to Spanish colonial styles but can the shops in the first floor not at the very least sell junks or have modern food chains I don’t know? Also, its year 2020, are we still doing the horse-drawn carriages since vehicles are not allowed in the area? It’s just a short stretch of cobbled pavement anyway. There’s no need to travel in horses just saying.
I can’t say much for all the other attractions that makes the city of Vigan a UNESCO World Heritage Site but I still consider my latest visit at Pagburnayan Pottery an authentic experience as seen below.