Elsewhere in Vigan, a pleasing uniformity of design remains, notably ancestral houses with thick walls, weighty doors and red-tiled or corrugated-aluminium roofs. Look out for vernacular flourishes such as delightful capiz-shell sliding windows, a cheaper substitute for glass. Most pleasant of all is Crisologo Street. Free of traffic, it’s a lively cobblestone thoroughfare with classical townhouses and abundant cafes and bars, that can be ducked into during the fierce heat of the day. This is Vigan’s tourist hotspot and commerce here remains alive and well, with numerous souvenir shops, mostly selling tat. However, there are some lovely keepsakes to be found, not least Vigan’s renowned woven fabric, abel ilocano, as well as a speciality ceramicware called burnay, handsome narrow-necked storage jars that will certainly require a larger suitcase to transport home.
Many of the heritage hotels and guesthouses are located centrally, and provide easy access to the fairly sedate nightlife offered in this conservative town. Sunset brings a measure of cool – albeit a minimal reduction to the clinging humidity – so head out at dusk onto the atmospherically lamp-lit streets to seek a cold drink and typical Ilocano delicacies including longganisa sausage, sinanglaw (soupy beef brisket) and orange-coloured empanadas. Cafe Leona, on Crisologo Street, is a highly popular place for food.
Before the evening ends, drift back to Plaza Burgos to enjoy a dazzlingly kitsch display of illuminated fountains.