DIY Travel Guide Series: 2 Days Budget Trip to Ilocos Norte

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor May 24th, 2015 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, Destination, DIY Travel, Philippines Travel Blog, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 17 Comments

This short trip to Ilocandia was made on a weekend when I was still working in the corporate jungle.

DIY Travel Guide Series: Ilocos Norte
Blue Lagoon, Pagudpod

**Note that this trip to Ilocos Norte does not include Vigan, which is part of Ilocos Sur.

Itinerary Details:

Day 0: Manila – Laoag

To maximize your time, take an overnight bus trip. I took the 10 PM bus bound for Laoag at Partas Cubao and arrived around 8 AM. Deluxe ticket is Php 965, and First Class is Php 797.

Tip: You can also opt to take a 45-minute flight or private vehicle to Laoag.

12go Asia

Monkey DividersDay 1: Laoag – Paoay – Batac – Pagudpud

Take a tricycle at the bus terminal going to the Provincial Capitol to start your Laoag walking city tour or get your breakfast.

Tip: If you plan on bringing a backpack for this trip, do come back at Savemore when it opens and leave your bag at the baggage counter. Just take your daypack with you along with your valuables so that you will not be lugging it around. Come back for it before you take the bus to Pagudpud.

Check out the park in front of the Provincial Capitol and the Abolition of Tobacco Monopoly marker. Walk to Laoag’s Sinking Bell Tower then to Museo Vivo de Ilocos which is adjacent to the Abolition of Tobacco monopoly marker. Walk through it, and you’ll reach La Tabacalera where there are restaurants, bookstore, and boutiques. Besides, it is Museo Ilocos Norte which opens at 9 am.

From there we commissioned a tricycle to take us to Paoay and Batac for Php 250 roundtrip.

We started with Paoay Church (Saint Augustine Church) then head on to Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac. It is open starting 9 AM with a Php 50 entrance fee for adults. Next stop is Malacanang of the North which is also overlooking Paoay Lake. Visitors have to pay a Php 20 entrance fee.

DIY Travel Guide Series: Ilocos Norte
Paoay Church

Tip: You can also opt to visit Fort Ilocandia and the dunes in La Paz and Paoay.

We had our lunch at the famous La Preciosa in Laoag and had our fill of Ilocos specialties like bagnet, thinly-poqui, and Vigan Longganisa.

We took a local bus bound for Pagudpud after lunch. The ride takes 2 hours.

Tip: Florida bus lines has buses going straight to Pagudpud from Manila. You can also take a van, jeep or bus bound for Cagayan and alight in Pagudpud.

A few steps from the bus stop, you will find a tricycle terminal that offers a Northbound and Southbound Tricycle tour for Php 600 per route. The prices are fixed, and you will not be using the same tricycle for the Southbound tour as they belong to a different tricycle association. Maximum of 2-3 pax per tricycle.

Tip: Before taking the tour, it is best first to find or go straight to your accommodation as it usually gets full especially during the weekend.

We opted to start with the Northbound (Pagudpud) tour first. See below for the places included in this tour:

Kabigan Waterfalls, Patapat Viaduct, Agua Grande, Paraiso ni Anton, Timmangtang Rock, Bantay Abot Cave, Blue Lagoon, Dos Hermanos Islands

DIY Travel Guide Series: Ilocos Norte
Patapat Viaduct

ACCOMMODATION: Looking for budget accommodation in the Ilocos Norte? Here are the 9 Hotels in Pagudpud, 26 Hotels in Laoag, 1 Hotel in Batac and 3 Hotels in Currimao to choose from!

Tip: Other activities to try to include the zipline over open water and seaside ATV ride in Hannah’s, kitesurfing in Kingfisher, and surfing in Pagudpud (best between November to April).

We ended up not staying in the accommodations we researched on as they were already full when we got there after the tour. We ended up staying at this resort near Evangeline Beach resort (where we also ate dinner) for Php 1000 per night along Saud Beach. Aside from beach resorts, you can also opt for homestays.

Day 2: Southbound Tour (Bangui and Burgos)

Our tricycle fetched us at our resort and transferred us to another tricycle in the road going to Bangui Windmills to have a look at the most famous windmills of Ilocos Norte. When we went there, they have already started installing the windmills of other towns.

DIY Travel Guide Series-Budget Trip to Ilocos Norte
Bangui Windmills

Tip: The sun and sand could get pretty hot so bring the necessary skin protection and do not wear thin soled slippers or flip-flops or, you could get sand-burned!

Places included in this tour are:

Bangui Windmills, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse,  Bangui View deck, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

DIY Travel Guide: Ilocos Norte
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Got back to Laoag via local bus and took our lunch in Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant, famous for Saramsam pasta. After walking around the city again, we headed to the Partas Bus Terminal to buy our tickets bound for Manila.

Additional Food tips:

Other dishes to try include inabraw, pinakbet, dinardaraan, tupig, dragon fruit ice cream, and empanada. Other famous restaurants include Herencia Café in Paoay (pinakbet pizza), Kangkang restaurant in Bangui, and Johnny Moon in Laoag.

Monkey DividersBudget Details:
DIY Travel Guide: Ilocos Norte

Monkey Dividers

Recommended Hotels

Budget – Terra Rika Beach & Dive Resort

Mid Range – Viven Hotel

Luxury – Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center

Transportation Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest way to book the Trains, Buses, Ferries, Transfers on this route, we use 12Go.Asia to compare the prices!

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About the Writer

Dada Author ImageA self-confessed foodie with a gypsy soul, Darlene left the corporate jungle behind to become a freelancer and have more time to travel. She is fond of taking photos of places and things rather than herself. She also dreams of someday having her food truck while traveling the  world.

Blog:  Point and Shoot + Wanderlust
Facebook page: Point and Shoot + Wanderlust
Country: Philippines
Date/s of travel: July 5 – 7, 2014

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17 thoughts on “DIY Travel Guide Series: 2 Days Budget Trip to Ilocos Norte

  1. Hi admin! May I please ask permission to post?

    I just want to share our ilocos experience with the hopes of helping out the locals who helped us make our trip memorable.

    Our DAY1 started in Vigan, and there we met KUYA ALLAN, a tricycle driver, who helped us plan our 3-day Ilocos trip. He is very accomodating and very knowledgable of Ilocos. And he charges the minimum amount so please don’t haggle na po.

    Pls do call or text him at 09363925413 and tell him GAB says hi.

    I can really vouch for him so if you have questions, you can reach me on instagram @gaaaaaaaaabrielle (That’s 9 As) I’d be willing to answer.

  2. Hi Ms. Darlene!thank you for this blog,will surely use it as our guide for our incoming trip.By the way,ask lang po if possible in a 1 day na ma tour yung north and south in pagudpud? Have this plan not to stay for a night in pagudpud,can we go back in laoag after?

  3. Thanks for the review! 🙂 it is realistic and very inviting for us to try this trip! mukhang exciting! 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for this wonderful blog. I got a lot of ideas and info, me, my brother and cousins are planning to visit Ilocos ever since. My Mom and Dad already visited ilocos , 2 years ago. we’ll be going to Manila this coming July 2016, surely we will go to Ilocos 🙂 So happy of this info. keep it up !!!! I hope I can see more of your blogs. thank you again and God bless.


    Sorry for the wrong grammar or Spelling =)

  5. Never buy a Coffee from Airpot or bus stations, it costs PHP120 = $2.70, that is one of my budget mistake. And the same coffee cup, you can get from the street shop at only PHP5=$0.11.

  6. Very good. What about language differences ? How do you inquire, bargain, if you don’t speak the lingo, much more volunteer? Would you appreciate and enjoy it better if you have tour guide?
    Chances are if you don’t speak their language you’ll end up in a trial and error and spend more.

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