VIGAN: All is set for the official inauguration of this historic capital of Ilocos Sur as one of the world’s New 7 Wonders Cities, scheduled today.
Vigan, the only heritage city in the Philippines, is the first to be inaugurated among other wonder cities. The event will be attended by government officials, local residents, and hundreds of tourists from and outside the country.
Bernard Weber, president and founder of New7Wonders (N7W) Foundation, arrived in this city with his delegation early this week to lead the inauguration on Thursday evening. A specially-commissioned bronze commemorative plaque, casted in the Kunstgießerei München, a famous foundry in Munich, Germany, will be unveiled at the city.
In the morning, there will be a concelebrated mass at the Conversion of St. Paul Cathedral, which will be followed by the opening of Vigan Conservation Complex at San Julian Sur.
Vigan joined other known cities worldwide namely Beirut in Lebanon, Doha in Qatar, Durban in South Africa, Havana in Cuba, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and La Paz in Bolivia that “best represent the achievements and aspirations of our global urban civilization,” according to New7Wonders.
The seven wonder cities bested the initial 1, 200 nominees-cities from 220 countries, which were later reduced to 77 nominees and down to 28 nominees.
Vigan, inscribed in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) list of World Heritage Sites and Monuments in 1999, is described by the New7Wonders foundation as “the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia.” The Philippines was a colony of Spain for more than 300 years.
“Established in the 16th century, its architecture echoes the fusion of cultural elements from the Philippines, China and Europe, creating a city that is without equal in Asia,” it added.
Business establishments had been setup since last Friday to cater the needs of the tourists flocking to the historic city as it concurrently celebrates the Binatbatan Festival of the Arts that will last until May 8.
Policemen have also been deployed in the area to secure the safety of the locals and tourists, which is expected to double in the coming days.
After the formal event, the citizens of Vigan and visitors who are expected to join the festivities will be treated by GMA Network to a free concert at the cathedral grounds. The Kapuso Network has been one of Vigan’s staunchest supporters in its bid for recognition as a top tourist site around the world.
The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the top musical ensembles in the Asia-Pacific region, will also perform at the concert.