Vigan is neither imperial nor grand. And to be honnest, the houses (its main WHS draw) are rather stark compared with the more flamboyant ones found in other historic towns across the Philippines. This is a reflection of local Ilokano culture- a group of people known not exactly for being fanciful but more for being frugal. But what makes Vigan unique is the concentration of Hispanic influenced (with Asian details) period houses perhaps unmatched anywhere else in the country. I particularly liked the pastel-colored Spanish-colonial cathedral ith Chinese lions and a pagoda-inspired bell tower(above) facing the main plaza fronting an American-colonial government house. The town is small enough to be explored in a day and the nearby Santa Maria church (another WHS) provides for an excellent day trip.  Of course, a trip that lasts more 10 hours (thats the distance it takes to drive from Manila) should be worth more than that and it is! The excellent views of the South China Sea meeting the town's Abra river is stunning. As are the beaches further north (Pagudpud), the time-worn churches (including another WHS- the Paoay Church) and Marcos memorabilia are what makes the Ilokos province a gem of a place.