Vigan and Other Stories

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Cecilia Manguerra Brainard thrills UST audience at CCWLS lecture

Additional information Weight 0. Anvil Fiction and Literature View. Babayeng Sugid. For years, the street has been open only to pedestrians and calesas. City tourism officer Edgar dela Cruz said the pedestrianization helps in conserving and preserving Vigan's heritage.

Based on a True Story

The houses will be destroyed because of these vibrations from motorized vehicles ," Dela Cruz said in a mix of English and Filipino. Save for residents of Calle Crisologo who can park their vehicles at night, no other motorized vehicle can enter the famous cobblestone street. Keeping it this way ensures the street is also safe for tourists , according to Mayor Eva Marie Singson Medina. It's because it's where people converge, and we don't [want] to have accidents, so to lessen the accidents, we close it to vehicular traffic," she explained. Tourism boomed in after Vigan was named one of the New7Wonders cities in late Source: Vigan City Tourism Office.

Motorized vehicles are also prohibited from entering the streets surrounding Plaza Burgos during weekends and local festivals, such as Viva Vigan and Semana Santa. Medina noted, however, that closing too many streets to motorized vehicles can worsen traffic in the city. What is sure, for now, is that the city already has a pending resolution with the Department of Public Works and Highways to also introduce cobblestone along V Delos Reyes, where many hotels are located.

Since its inauguration as a New7Wonders city , Vigan has hardly had any down time as a tourist destination. Dela Cruz jokingly said that they used to have a peak season and an off-season, but now they have a peak season and a "super" peak season.

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But one sector is not complaining at all with the influx of tourists: the calesa drivers. Fernando Amano is one of the registered calesa drivers in Vigan. He heads the Kalesa Association, which serves both locals and tourists in the city every day.


These drivers know the ins and outs of the historic city, and can bring you and 2 to 3 other friends around in a calesa ride for just P per hour. Amano said a calesa ride is still the best way to tour Vigan, despite the city's walking tour, or other transport options, such as tricycles and bicycles.

Vigan And Other Stories by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard – Gathering Books

Combination [ang] kalesa at lumang bahay, so maganda talaga…. Pagsakay mo pa lang, historical na eh. Dito pa lang enjoy ka na ," Amano explained. You can see old houses in Vigan. Calesas and old houses, that's a combination, so it looks great. Just riding a calesa is historical in itself, and something you'd enjoy. Before the New7Wonders title, some calesa drivers would even fight with each other over who gets the passengers first. Now, there's not enough calesas to cater to the tourists flocking to the city.

Amano said during really busy days, passengers — not calesas — do the waiting. To help the calesa drivers, one project of the city government is to provide them extra horses.

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Eh ang kutsero naman wala namang hirap, nakaupo lang naman siya, so hindi lang siya makapagpasada din ng matagal beyond 8 hours siguro kasi naaawa din sila sa [kabayo]. Pero [mas maganda] kung may ka-alternate 'yung kabayo nila ," Medina said. Our problem really is that horses get tired It's not as hard for the calesa driver, who is seated, but he can't drive beyond 8 hours because they pity the horses.

But it's better if there are alternate horses.

Another project is giving poor calesa drivers their own horse-drawn carriages so they can bring home their daily earnings instead of giving part of it as boundary to a calesa owner. Dela Cruz said preserving the country's old mode of transportation is not only good for the city's heritage, but also for the environment. A tricycle and calesa are parked along one of the streets of Vigan. May mga aral tayong mapupulot diyan. And aside from that, healthy nga, kasi 'pag kalesa sinasakyan mo, wala kang maaamoy na usok, " he added. We have to keep the calesa because it shows us our history. We can learn a lot from it.

And aside from that, it's health, because if you ride a calesa, you won't inhale smoke.

City environment officer Teddy Boy Corpuz said that, as of the last sampling by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Vigan's air quality is still safe and of fair standard. One effort of the city government to keep it this way is the conversion of thousands of tricycles from 2-stroke to 4-stroke engines.

The city has also stopped granting new tricycle franchise, since there are more than enough tricycles already in the city, in addition to many more from other municipalities that enter Vigan on a daily basis. Despite its many efforts toward sustainable transportation, Vigan still faces the same problem as other developing cities: traffic. While it's nothing compared to the horrors of EDSA traffic, the volume of cars in Vigan can cause heavy traffic, especially during rush hours and along the city's main thoroughfares, like Quezon Avenue.

But unlike other cities, Vigan cannot just expand its narrow roads to ease traffic. What it did is to manage its traffic well by implementing one-way traffic in at least 10 streets, from 7 am to 7 pm. In certain roads like Quezon Avenue, tricycle drivers cannot just pick up passengers anywhere they like, because it can cause traffic congestion. Medina said they can unload passengers, but they can only pick up in their terminals. Milgaros Alquiza, who heads the city's public safety and disaster risk reduction and management office, said you cannot preserve the beauty of Vigan as a historic city if you don't manage the traffic well and keep it safe for pedestrians.