The biggest secular festival is the Vigan Town Fiesta, a week-long celebration consisting of carnivals, parades, musical extravaganzas, beauty contests and nightly cultural shows. It culminates on January 25 with the celebration of the conversion of St Paul the Apostle, the town’s patron saint. Almost straight after that comes the Kannawidan Ilocos, a recent addition to the festival calendar at the end of January celebrating the culture of the whole of Ilocos Sur, not just Vigan. It includes a “battle of the bands” and a beauty contest.

The Viva Vigan Festival of Arts, held during the first week of May, includes dancing and music, and the highlight is the religious celebration on May 3 (Tres de Mayo), which starts with a Mass at Vigan’s cemetery chapel and continues with dancing in Crisologo Street and a kalesa parade. Holy Week is also a special time in Vigan, with candlelit processions through the old streets and a visita iglesia that sees devotees doing the rounds of churches and cathedrals.

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