VIGAN CITY–Dios ti agngina! Hurrah for another year to celebrate the cityhood of Vigan as a component city, ushering the unity of residents welcoming visitors on January 22 declared as non-working holiday through Republic Act No 9411 signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 24, 2007.
Walking through the cobbled streets in Vigan history, Republic Act No. 8988, An Act Validating and Recognizing the Creation of the City of Vigan by the Royal Decree of September 7, 1757 Issued by Fernando VI, King of Spain, was signed by then President Joseph Estrada on December 27, 2000.
A certified true copy of the Royal Decree issued by King Fernando VI can be found in the treasured archives of the city government. This Decree states also that as long as the cathedral stands, and the seat of the diocese is in Vigan, it will remain a city.
“This explains why the picture of the Conversion of Saint Paul Cathedral is part of the city seal, and the symbol of the city during the elimination period for the New 7 Wonders Cities of the World,” said City Mayor Juan Carlo S. Medina.
Documents from “Instituto de Historia Programa de Modernization del Archivo Nacional de Filipinas” justified the category of Vigan as a city. They show Vigan with its own carcel, casa de gobierno, Mercado publico, Provincial High Court, and one of the four Public Works District in the Island of Luzon. More importantly, it has an Audencia Territorial, indicating that it was a city.
As Medina invites visitors to the city during the Vigan City Fiesta and Longanisa Festival 2019 on January 16 to 27 this year, he wants residents to go back to where the city came from.
He hopes in commemorating the anniversary of Vigan as a city, the youth be brought back regularly to its history.
Recalling the following part of Vigan’s history, he hopes that the young leaders in the city may include activities that reflect it.
On Feruary 13, 1999, House Bill 7122, “An Act Converting the Municipality of Vigan into a Component City of the Province of Ilocos Sur to be known as the City of Vigan by the sponsors, Baterina and Mar Roxas, then House Majority Floor Leader.
How “Villa Fernandina de Bigan” becomes “Ciudad Fernandina de Vigan”
In 1755 when Don Juan dela Fuente de Yepes became Bishop of Nueva Segovia, he requested the King of Spain and the Pope for the transfer of the Diocese from Lallo, Cagayan to Vigan due to the deteriorating condition of Lallo.
The transfer was approved during the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XIV during the reign of Fernando VI, King of Spain by virtue of the Royal Decree of September 7, 1758. This Royal Decree elevated the status of Vigan to Ciudad Fernandina de Vigan in honor of King Fernando VI.
After a plebiscite to know the opinion of the residents whether they approve of its cityhood, Vigan became the first component city in Ilocos Sur in 2001.
Vigan City Mayor Juan Carlo S. Medina has always expressed his gratitude for the transformation of the city into what it is now.
“This is from the efforts of the residents, government and private groups not only in the city, but also in the province, the country and other countries that continue to pursue the preservation of the culture, traditions, ancestral houses and historical structures of the city,”he said.
In all the events that the city conducts through the months of every year, Medina has always acknowledged the help of all the sectors of the community.
“Because of all of you, we are one of the New 7 Wonders Cities of the World, aside from being the only World Heritage City in the Philippines listed by UNESCO. And today we can feel how the popularity of our city increased our revenue,” he added. – By Imelda C. Rivero, PIA-IS