In this newest series from #WeLovePV, we take a look at some of the names emblazoned upon Mexico’s street signs, currency, and public consciousness to answer the question that has lingered on the lips of Vallarta visitors since time immemorial: “Hey, Who’s That Guy?”*
The “Basilo Badillo” strip that connects the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood with Zona Romantica and the Pacific coast beyond lays claim to some of Puerto Vallarta’s most celebrated restaurants and exhibition spaces.
As a result it is one of the most frequently visited streets in the city, and the thoroughfare is named in homage to former Jalisco governor Basilio Vadillo (the alternate spelling reflecting the fact that words in any language are only rendered visually as literacy becomes widespread and may also be influenced by local color/colour.).
Coming of age during one of Mexico’s more turbulent periods had a dominant influence on the course of Vadillo’s life. The 1913 coup that saw the established government of Francisco Madero overthrown brought this former teacher–a participant in the high-profile National Pedagogic Congress of just two years ago–from the classroom to the battlefield, as he joined a group of students in Colima in the hopes of restoring some sense of order to the troubled nation.
When the dust settled on what history remembers as the Mexican Revolution, Vadillo went on to found a teachers’ school in Colima with the aim of offering similarly studious young minds a path into a peaceful profession. During this time he served as editor for a number of periodicals, including those produced by famed fellow Revolutionary Álvaro Obregón. His rise in professional profile eventually led him to his final public post as governor of Jalisco in 1921.
During his brief tenure as chief executive of what is today our home state, Vadillo made a number of decisions that put the small fishing town that once rested on this site on the path to becoming the worldwide travel destination it is today.
It is Vadillo himself who signed the land grant that stripped these holdings from elite foreign investors and transferred it into the hands of smaller, local entrepreneurs who shepherded the settlement through its period as a small municipality known as La to the governorship of Francisco Medina Ascensio in the 1960s, who officially incorporated the city as Puerto Vallarta.
After his death in 1935, Basilio Vadillo’s contributions to the country were recognized with the globally recognized honor of being laid in state, and his body is publicly interred in Guadalajara at the Rotunda de los Hombres Ilustres (Rotunda of Illustrious Men).
He has also been honored locally with the street that bears his name…and so, when you’re taking in the sounds and sights on a Friday night during the Southside Shuffle (free welcome drinks in hand!), perhaps pause to consider how one man can change the course of history.