Our labor day trip to Ilocos took us first to the heritage town of Vigan. This time around we got the chance to visit the Crisologo Museum, which delightfully was filled with a lot of interesting memorabilia collected by the well known Crisologo clan (the main heritage street was named after one of the Crisologo patriarchs). But what really got my attention was what was posted near the door. At the entrance to the ancestral house cum museum, a sign was hanged pointing out that the town of Vigan was named after this particular plant, the biga. There is an actual biga specimen standing near the doorway.
I have known biga ever since I started collecting plants. I used to collect plants from the genus Alocasia. The plant known as biga is a member of this genus, which includes some 10 species native to the Philippines. These include biga or what probably is Alocasia macrorrhiza.
The biga is actually common in the Philippines located near wet areas. Even in Metro Manila we could easily find the biga. They grow in ditches and water logged vacant lots. The common Philippine plant however ranks as one of the biggest in the genus and even in the family Araceae. The wide big leaves are heartshaped, used by many as a distinct shape to adorn their houses with in fiesta season. Its grandeur form makes it a a deserving plant for which a city like Vigan was named after.