After enduring a solid eight hour drive from Manila, we’ve finally reached Vigan and parked our vehicle along Plaza Salcedo. Bound by the provincial capitol, the city hall, the Arzopizpado, and the cathedral, the plaza was the center of secular and ecclesiastical power during the colonial period. It is the same plaza where Ilocano heroine Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang y Cariño was hanged in 1763. The execution site is marked by a white obelisk. Plaza Salcedo is named after the Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo who arrived in Vigan and established Villa Fernandina de Bigan in 1572. Salcedo also built the first chapel that would later evolve into a cathedral which elevated Vigan from a villa to a ciudad. The year was 1758 when the seat of the ancient diocese of Nueva Segovia was transferred from Lallo, Cagayan Valley to Vigan by virtue of a Spanish Royal Decree elevating Vigan’s status into a city named Ciudad Fernandina de Bigan. This ushered Vigan as the center of ecclesiastical influence in the north.