5 Things to Do When You’re in Ilocos, Philippines – Written by Aya Ranoco
There are many things to see and experience in the Philippines, a country with 7,641 islands. If you’re a history buff or want to take in more of the country’s rustic charm, start your trip from the Ilocos Region.
Here are 5 things to do when you ‘re in Ilocos:
1. Explore Laoag City, the capital of Ilocos Norte, and a starting point for several attractions. Take a walk around the town, and eat at the food market beside the Bell Tower. We suggest to try the local delicacies, the orange empanadas and okoy (crispy shrimp fritters). The Sinking Bell Tower was built in the 1700s and is one of the famous local attractions.
Tip: There are affordable houses in Laoag, like the Casa de Viajero, where you can stay for Php350 (around $7) pp/per night including breakfast. They also offer transportation services for tours.
2. Visit the quaint town of Sarrat, the birthplace of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos. Pay a visit to the president’s home, which is now a museum.
Chill out at the Sarrat Park (right across the museum) and discover the biggest church in Ilocos Norte named Santa Monica Parish, built-in 1779. In front of the church, you can find another park, the Santa Monica Park, overlooking the Padsan River.
Tip: Sarrat is just 30 minutes away from Laoag with a tricycle
3. Go to Pagudpud, which is known for its beaches (around 2 hours away from Laoag). Get a tricycle tour for Php600 (around $12) to the following attractions: Kabibe, Pagudpud Arch, Kabigan Falls, Patapat Viaduct, Timmangtang Rock, Bantay Abot, and Blue Lagoon.
Tip: You can also add Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, the Bangui Windmills, and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse with additional fees.
4. Try the pinakbet pizza at the Herencia Restaurant in Paoay, one of the Ilocano signature dishes. The restaurant is in front of the Saint Augustine Church, or else known as Paoay Church. It is one of the baroque churches in the Philippines that’s included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Take a stroll in the cobblestones of Calle Crisologo in Vigan, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it has preserved the fusion of Asian and European influences in the city’s architecture.
Hire a guided tricycle tour that will take you to pottery and souvenir shops, to the museum, and to the garden. You can also explore another Saint Augustine Church (locally known as Bantay) where the bell tower was used as a watchtower during the Spanish colonial period. The church was established in 1590, and it’s one of the region’s oldest churches.
Tip: Vigan is 2-3 hours away from Laoag city with bus
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