Woodcraft in the Philipines #5: vigan style

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Blog entry by kiwi1969 posted 04-15-2009 04:07 PM 2192 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: the designers and makers Part 5 of Woodcraft in the Philipines series Part 6: Trees, bamboo,palms and their uses »

Just thought I would post some pics from a trip to the historic old town of Vigan that myself and my girlfriend did a couple of years ago. If you,re a lover of old buildings and their furnishings then Vigan needs to be on your to do list. Vigan is a heritage listed town with an long history being part of the Manila/aculpolco galleon trade, Founded around 1572 and was one of the first towns in the new Spanish colony to have its own Cathedral, St pauls built in 1574 and the town was almost destroyed in WW2, but if you believe the legends it was saved by the two Japanese officers who had fallen in love with two local girls and decided to disobey orders and prevent Vigans destruction.
Photobucket Most antique furniture in this country usually gets tagged with the “vigan furniture” label even if it,s not. The best of it is in the Syquia mansion, former residence of President Quirino and the Padre Burgos museum where these photo,s were taken. Mostly made from Narra from the nearby Cordillera mountains, the traditional furniture industry here is still active.
Photobucket Antique stores are located here on Crisologo street for those with deeper pockets than me.
You can get there by flying to Loag north of vigan and take a bus south for an hour and a half or bus it directly from manila if you don,t mind 14hours on your butt. Accomodation is not bad at Grandpas inn or the R.F Aniceto mansion which has a fine collection of antique furnishings on display, sadly not in the rooms. Food in the area is excelent, try the local Longanisa ( sausage) but check if they give you the local menu or the foreigner one, I didn,t sit 14 hours on a bus to be offered spagetti and hamburgers! And also try the Basi and Duhat wines made from local fruits, very tasty.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

6 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3523 days

#1 posted 04-15-2009 06:03 PM

This is another great thing about LJ, the opportunity to see architecture and furniture from around the world.
This is something that helps me expand my vision and understanding.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3137 days

#2 posted 04-15-2009 11:23 PM

I’m with Todd, except I want to go there especially when you mention local food.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View johnpoolesc's profile


246 posts in 2784 days

#3 posted 04-15-2009 11:40 PM

can anyone imagine doing that mirrowed piece without power tools or titebond.. thanks for sharing

-- It's not a sickness, i can stop buying tools anytime.

View Gary's profile


8965 posts in 2857 days

#4 posted 04-16-2009 12:38 AM

So, like, if we join together and arrange a tour, you’ll be the guide right? Then we can all spend a day or two in your shop

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View manilaboy's profile


177 posts in 3359 days

#5 posted 04-16-2009 01:51 AM

I envy you Kiwi. You have only been to the Philippines for two years and you’ve seen Vigan. In my 49 years, I have only gone North only as far as San Juan, La Union. And to think that my grandfather is from the nearby town of Magsingal.

Even in Manila, you will still be able to see old ancestral houses. Malacanang is one. Although it has gone through several iterations. And if you look around it, you will see centuries old wooden houses in various states of disrepair and neglect. I think everyone will agree that maintaining and repairing an old house is no easy task – money-wise or skill-wise. I grew up in a little fishing town north of Manila. There used to be several american colonial style houses. Most of them were torn down. Some in various stages of neglect. Luckily, one was taken apart piece by piece and rebuilt in another location.

All over the Philippines, you will still be able to see these houses. Specially those of the priveleged and the influential.

-- "Real jocks do it on a bench"

View kiwi1969's profile


609 posts in 2866 days

#6 posted 04-17-2009 03:42 AM

Gary i,ve seriously thought of starting a tourist business involving architecture,furniture and food, not to mention beaches beer and the odd night out on the town. maybe one day.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

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