Vigan, the old colonial city located in Ilocos Sur, has been included in top 14 contenders for the New 7 Wonders Cities global recognition. 

As one of the few remaining 16th-century towns in the Philippines, Vigan, with its original cobble-stone roads, time-honoured family houses, and well-preserved 18th-century buildings, has been included in the final round of the New 7 Wonders Cities global ranking. The government calls upon its citizens to uplift the city of Ilocos Sur to claim the worldwide recognition on December 7 by casting a vote through an international phone message or online selection.   

“By voting for Vigan City, we express not only our national pride but also our support to integrating the preservation of our culture and heritage in development plans and policies,” said senator Loren Legarda.  

The New 7 Wonders Cities, which started in 2012, follows the New 7 Wonders of the World and New 7 Wonders of Nature global voting campaigns. Cities must undergo five phases to earn the recognition. More than 1,200 cities from more than 220 countries contended for the top 77 of the first phase. They were screened by seven panel experts including professor Federico Mayors, head of UNESCO in 1987 to 1999; Zaha Hadid, first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004; professor Winy Mass, director of Why Factory, a research institute for the future city; Simon Anholt, a notable author of books on country, city and region; Kennedy Odebe, president and CEO of Shining Hope for Communities; and, professor Amitabh Kundu, a published editor and author frequently read on The Economic and Political Weekly. The qualified cities were shortlisted into a selection of 28 candidates in 2013. By October last year, Vigan had gone through three phases of voting – from 28, to 21, and finally to the most recent set of 14 which includes Barcelona in Spain, Beirut in Lebanon, Chicago in the United States, Doha in Qatar, Durban in South Africa, Havana in Cuba, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, La Paz in Bolivia, London in the United Kingdom, Mexico City in Mexico, Perth in Australia, Quito in Ecuador, and Reykjavik in Iceland.

The New 7 Wonders Foundation was established in 2001 by the Swiss-born Canadian filmmaker, author, and adventurer Bernard Weber, who saw the massive potential of the internet to contribute in the protection of the world’s human-built and natural heritage sites and to encourage respect for the planet’s diversity. The number 7 was chosen to signify the top wonderful destinations for its familiar association and special culture and religious position.

Vigan which was listed in 1999 as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999, has its distinctive allure that continues to gain tourism and bring honour to the country, thus it is deemed fitting to be part of the New 7 Wonders Cities.

For more information on casting a vote, visit | Photo courtesy of Mario Jose