This short trip to Ilocandia was made on a weekend when I was still working in the corporate jungle.
**Note that this trip to Ilocos Norte does not include Vigan, which is part of Ilocos Sur.
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.
Day 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.
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
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.
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
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.
Budget – Terra Rika Beach & Dive Resort
Mid Range – Viven Hotel
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
A 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.
Facebook page: Point and Shoot + Wanderlust
Date/s of travel: July 5 – 7, 2014