” Ilocos Norte: Your Ultimate Travel” aimed to help any traveler who’s planning to visit the place
ILOCOS NORTE: YOUR ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE
Because many are asking about my trip in Ilocos, here’s the ” Ilocos Norte: Your Ultimate Travel”.
Ilocos Norte, a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region is attracting various tourist both local and abroad. Its capital is Laoag City and is located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, and Abra and Ilocos Sur to the south. The place offers various tourist destinations highlighting nature and historical places.
The main source of livelihood in the province of Ilocos is agriculture. Two of their major agricultural products are tobacco , onions and garlic.
” Ilocos Norte: Your Ultimate Travel” aimed to provide information which a first-time traveler may need when visiting the province. I have linked my personal experiences in various places I visited in this province to give you first-hand information.
The Burgos Lighthouse popularly known as Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, is a cultural heritage structure in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, that was established during the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines. The lighthouse operated first on March 30, 1892, and is set high on Vigia de Nagpartian Hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador where early galleons used to sail by. After more than 100 years,the lighthouse became a popular tourist destination in Ilocos Norte, yet, it still functions as a welcoming beacon to the international ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago.
Free Shuttle from the Laoag International Airport to your hotel. I was impressed the first time I visited Ilocos when I knew that the shuttle was free for the tourists. All you have to do is theregister your name upon your arrival at the airport , and this bus will drop you straight to your hotel.
HOW TO GET TO ILOCOS NORTE:
Ilocos Norte has an International Airport accepting tourists from various ports of origin: 45 minutes from Manila (daily) , Philippines ; 55 minutes from Kaoshiung, Taiwan ( Chartered flights) ; 80 Minutes from Guangzhou, Hongkong & Taipei; 2.15 hours from Shanghai.
By land, various bus lines serve the Manila-Laoag route for an 8-hour drive. Ilocos Norte is just 477 kilometers north of Manila. It can also be reached 4 hours from Baguio City.
- Partas Bus Lines (best-in-class): Cubao-Laoag; Pasay-Laoag; Sampaloc-Laoag; Baguio-Laoag
- Rabbit Bus Lines: Sampaloc-Laoag; Cubao-Laoag
- Maria de Leon Transit: Sampaloc-Laoag
- Farinas Transit: Sampaloc-Laoag
- Autobus: Sampaloc-Laoag
- Dominion Bus Lines: Cubao-Laoag
One of the fetaure of Pagudpud apart from the Blue Lagoon is the Hanna’s Zipline. During summer they increase thier rates for the zipline and I found it a bit pricy.
Please click here to read my review of the Blue Lagoon and Hanna’s Zipline
GETTING AROUND ILOCOS NORTE:
Getting around Ilocos Norte can be made in various ways. Of course,the most comfortable and the one that I also used on my last visit in the province was the rent a car. However, for those who would want various mode of transportation or for backpackers who are traveling alone or with just one companion, the following might be of great help:
- PRIVATE CARS & VANS . You can book a van or a private car through your own hotel. The average price is P3,500.00 for the whole day, inclusive of a private chauffeur.
- BUS . Prices vary, although bus owners usually collect a fee between P25.00-P60.00 per passenger for an ordinary bus depending on the destination and a minimum of P50.00 for air-conditioned buses.
- Colorful utility vehicles that ply the common routes. The average fee is P11.00 per kilometer.
- TRICYCLE . The most common and the easiest way to get around town, especially if short distances are involved. In other Asian countries, tricycles are called “tuk-tuk”. PHP 11.00 is charged for the first kilometer, after which it is negotiable. Higher rates are charged for outer limits. To avoid any misunderstanding, we recommend that you and the driver agree on the fare before embarking on the journey.
- CALESA . The best way to experience Ilocos Norte is to take the Calesa. Minimum charge is P15.00 for the first kilometer.
Rates may change without prior notice.
La Preciosa was the first restaurant I tried when I visited Ilocos Norte
WHAT TO EAT WHEN IN ILOCOS NORTE
Food forms a major factor in one’s experience especially if you are visiting the place for the first time. As a traveler, I am not really particular about the place or the ambiance, but what I am looking usually is the authenticity of the taste. Each time I travel I would want to try something that tells also about the culture of the place.
I have listed below, Ilocano food which I truly like.
Long before I visited Ilocos, I have read a lot of articles about Ilocos’ bagnet. I tried this bagnet on my first meal at Ilocos, and I didn’t regret. The secret of making the Ilocos Bagnet is the slowly deep-frying of pork meat usually in slabs in low-medium fire.The meat is usually marinated overnight with some native spices available in the area.
Dinardaran (Crispy Dinuguan)
Another personal favorite which I would want to share with you is the Dinardaraan. Dinardaran is the Ilocano term for dinuguan or blood stew. I don’t if this is true to all Dinardaran, but what I tried was the version which has crisp in it, which for me is nice twist considering that it has a different texture. For this dish, they usually use large intestines and a bit of pork loin and pork fat, deep fried until they are crunchy.
Poqui poqui is a native vegetable Ilocano dish using the eggplant as the main ingredient. Poqui-poqui is a grilled eggplant ,peeled , then sauteed with lots of onions, tomatoes and eggs.
A perfect pair maybe for bagnet is the pinakbet. This vegetable dish uses mainly the ampalaya or bitter melon, eggplant, okra, and string beans.For an added flavor they add some pork and fish sauce.
Perfect as a snack or even as a complete meal. The empanada in Ilocos is one thing which you must try when visiting the Province . The main ingredients for empanada include rice flour for the crust with achuete (for the color) ; whole egg and mongo sprout or parboiled mongo or grated green papaya for ordinary orders. Sometimes, Ilocos longanisa is added for the filling. Empanada is best when dipped in spicy vinegar.
I was intrigued the first time I saw the tinubong which leads me to try it. Tinubong is a delicacy which is very popular in the entire Ilocos Region. The name of this delicacy is derived from its container, an internode of buho (bulo in Ilocano) with the node at one end, which is called tubong in Ilocano. This native delicacy is made of grounded glutinous rice, sugar, coconut milk and some coconut meat. These ingredients are being placed in its container (tubong) then steamed. This delicacy can be served as a dessert or as a snack.
WHERE TO STAY WHEN IN ILOCOS NORTE
I have listed here , various accommodations in Ilocos Norte. The place offers various accommodations depending on your budget. – List of Hotels and Inns
I have stayed in two hotels when I visited Ilocos Norte. I can’t remember anymore the name of the other hotel because I don’t intend to recommend it. It was a 5 storey hotel without an elevator, so I’m sure you won’t be happy being there. The first hotel which I stayed overnight and the one I stayed on my last night in my entire Ilocos visit was the Isabel Suites . This hotel has 2 buildings (new and old) facing each other. Located at the heart of the city, Isabel suites offers a nice room at a reasonable price with free wifi.
WHAT TO DO WHEN IN ILOCOS NORTE
Ilocos Norte offers a wide array of activities that will surely delight its visitors. They offer a mix of history, outdoor activities and even some nature appreciation. From sandboarding, nature trekking, historical tour, and much more …Ilocos Norte has something to offer.
I have listed here things that you can do and places that you can visit when in Ilocos Norte. What to do in Ilocos Norte
A few kilometers north of the town of Pasuquin, there are roadside stalls selling bags of salt that is claimed to be one of the finest salt in the Philippines. Pasuquin is a farming and fishing area and during off season, people resort to salt making to alleviate their income.
Please click here about my story on Pasuquin Salt Making
POLICE STATIONS /CONTACT NUMBERS (Area Code: 077)
While Ilocos Norte is generally peaceful, I listed some contact numbers of police stations found in various places in Ilocos Norte.
- Laoag – 772 0564
- Batac – 792 0997
- Paoay – 793 2056
- Pagudpud – 0919 858 5555
- Bacarra – 670 4373
- Badoc – 794 3022
- Bangui – 0921 968 4367
- Banna – 786 6132
- Burgos – 0949 301 2796
- Carasi – 0917 565 7315
- Currimao – 670 1331
- Dingras -784 0245 loc. 166
- Dumalneg Marcos -0917 565 7286
- Nueva Era – 0917 584 2518
- Pasuquin – 775 0082
- Piddig – 0917 565 7308
- Pinili – 794 1022
- San Nicolas – 773 3204
- Sarrat – 782 2199
- Solsona – 784 6022
- Vintar – 670 5273 loc. 209
The Kapurpurawan Rock Formation located on the rocky coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte is one of the must-see places in Ilocos Norte.
Please click here for my story of the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
Communication is always important for anyone traveling. We use the cellular phone to contact our home, even our guides or to have some follow up with our airlines at times. Not only that, any tourists from abroad need a sim card so that they can access the local wifi through their smartphones. For the tourists arriving straight to Ilocos, you can simply buy a sim card from any outlets all over the place.
One must see place when in Ilcocos Norte is the Malacanang of the North. “Malacanang ti Amianan” is the other term used by Ilocanos to describe Malacañang of the North. This is the official residence of the former President Ferdinand Marcos in Ilocos Norte, built on a high point of land projecting into the sea right above the coastline of the legendary Paoay Lake. This wooden Mansion is now a museum and is open to the public.
Please click here to read my review of the Malacanang of the North
COURIERS (Area Code: 077)
As you travel around Ilocos Norte , you might find something that you might want to bring home. Below is the list of couriers which can be of help in shipping your findings from this province.
- FedEx , JP Rizal St., Laoag , Telephone: 607 0239
- LBC ,Fonacier St., Laoag, Telephone: 772 1594
- JRS, JP Rizal St., Laoag , Telephone: 772 0807
One of the most beautiful spot in Ilocos Norte and the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines is the Patapat Viaduct.The 1.3 km concrete coastal bridge highway going from Pagudpud to Cagayan Valley is elevated 31 meters above sea level.
Please click here about my story on the Patapat Viaduct
HOSPITALS (Area Code: 077)
One of my concern being a traveler is to know first the location of the hospital in the place. I guess some travelers would also want to know if there are hospitals in the place where they are visiting. I have listed below the list of hospitals in Ilocos Norte.
- Roque Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital, Laoag , Telephone: 771 3127
- Laoag City General Hospital, Telephone: 772 1108
- Northern Doctors General Hospital, Laoag, Telephone: 773 1354
- Ranada General Hospital, Laoag , Telephone: 770 4911
- MMMH & MC, Batac , Telephone: 792 2363
- Gaoat General Hospital, Batac, Telephone: 617 1457
- Bacarra Medical Center , Telephone: 670 3142
- Bangui District Hospital , Telephone: 676 1158
- Doña Josefa Edralin Marcos District Hospital, Marcos,Telephone: 784 7957
- Piddig District Hospital , Telephone: 0928 413 0384
- Black Nazarene Specialty Clinic, San Nicolas , Telephone: 773 1757
- Gertes Clinic and Hospital, San Nicolas , Telephone: 773 2391
The Museo Ilocos Norte is a place to visit. It housed old things from the past and inside is an old house where you can see how it is to live in the past.
TRAVEL & TOUR OPERATORS (Area Code: 077)
If you want more convenience in your trip, you can contact any of these tour operators to arrange everything for you.
- Aboex Travel & Tours New Era Bldg. JP Rizal St. Laoag,Telephone: 770 4301
- Travel Ilocandia Cristina Bldg. Gen. Luna St., Laoag, Telephone: 770 5050
- Gordion Travel Alejandro Bldg. Tupaz St., Laoag, Telephone: 771 4801
- Diamond Holidays JP Rizal St., Laoag , Telephone: 770 3710
- Ilowcoast Travel Balintawak cor. P Lazaro Sts., Laoag, Telephone: 770 4268
- DSJ Travel & Tours Cruces Bldg. AG Topaz Ave., Laoag , Telephone: 607 0846
- Dream World Travel P Gomez St., Laoag , Telephone: 770 4974
- My Travelicious Segundo Ave., Laoag , Telephone: 773 1556
- Raval Travel Network Samonte cor. Rizal Sts., Laoag, Telephone: 771 5541
- A&A Express Llanes St., Laoag , Telephone: 771 5132
- Las Gracias FR Castro Ave., Laoag , Telephone: 773 1123
- New Legend FR Castro Ave., Laoag , Telephone: 772 2687
- R&G Travel & Tours CF Daguio Bldg., Batac, Telephone: 792 3350
- Commonwealth San Vicente, Sarrat , telephone: 782 2171
- Northern Sky , Telephone: 770 4217
- Vacationer’s Travel Bonifacio St. Ermita, Laoag, Telephone : 772 2304
- Panasiatic Travel LBP Bldg., Balintawak St., Laoag, Telephone: 773 1819
- Princeton Don E. Ruiz St., Laoag, Telephone: 771 5216
- E Travel & Tours 365 Plaza, San Nicolas, Telephone: 781 2891
- Javier Travel , Telephone: 784 0122
- RV Travel & Tours Nalupta Bldg. Marcos Ave., Batac, Telephone: 670 1931
- Caritas Travel ,Telephone: 722 1800
Laoag Cathedral, canonically known as Saint William Cathedral is a church in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The current church was built in 1612 by Augustinian friars to replace a wooden chapel.
Please click here about my visit to Ilocos Museum, St William Cathedral and the Sinking Bell Tower
OTHER USEFUL INFO (Area Code: 077)
- Laoag Tourism Office 772 0001 loc. 204
- Paoay Tourism Office 793 2222 , Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pagudpud Tourism Office 676 1350
- Department of Tourism 771 1473
- Ilocos Norte Tourism Office 772 1211 loc. 119 ;+63 – 77- 670-0004 ; +63 – 9175500946 ; Email: email@example.com
FACES OF ILOCOS NORTE
On the second level of the Malacanang of the North where big parties are being held during the Marcos regime.
Juan Luna Shrine. Located in Rizal Street, Badoc, Ilocos Norte. The Juan Luna Shrine is a recreation of Juan Luna’s 2-story home. Some reproduction of his works is being displayed in this shrine.
Please click here for my review of Juan Luna Shrine
Inside the shrine of Juan Luna
Paoay Church. This famous Unesco World Heritage site, is the Roman Catholic church of the municipality of Paoay, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines.
For more stories about this Paoay Church, please click the links below:
Kabigan Falls. For the nature lover, the Kabigan Falls is one place that must be visited. A short trekking is required to reach the place. For my review of the place, please click here – The Kabigan Falls, Ilocos Norte
Bangui Wind Farm. Located in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The Bangui wind farm uses 20 units of 70-metre (230 ft) high VestasV82 1.65 MW wind turbines, arranged in a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the West Philippine Sea. Today, this wind farm is one fo the tourist attraction of the place.
Ilocos Museum. Gameng Museo is the term use to call the Ilocos Museum. The museum is well maintained for the people to see the rich heritage of the province. It showcases the history of Ilocos Norte. Gameng means “treasure” and the museum is a tribute to the wealth and history of the province.
Paoay Sand Dunes. One of my favorite outdoor experience when I visited Ilocos Norte was riding the 4X4 vehicle and experiencing a thrill ride on a series of ridges.
Please click here to read my Sand Dunes Experience
Suba Beach. After the hilarious 4×4 ride experience at the sand dunes, I think the best part is to have a break at Suba Beach and enjoy the view of West Philippine sea.
Sinking Bell Tower. The bell tower of Laoag Cathedral is claimed to be sinking into the ground at a rate of an inch a year.The tower, built presumably after the 1707 earthquake, has a foundation of 90 meters (300 ft). The bell tower is made of locally manufactured bricks joined by molasses and juice of sablot leaves mixed with lime and sand and reinforced with four massive columns on each corner and a winding stairway leading to the belfry.
Marcos Mausoleum .The current resting place of Ferdinand Edralin Marcos. Located at the heart of Batac City, Ilocos Norte, the mausoleum contains the glass-encased coffin in which Marcos’ embalmed body has been on public display since shortly after his remains were brought home in 1993.Unfortunately, picture taking is not allowed inside the mausoleum.
Please click here for the story about Marcos Mausoleum
The Paoay Lake at the background of the author
Paoay Lake. One bonus when visiting the Malacanang of the North is to see this Paoay Lake. Historically known as Lago de Nanguyudan and commonly referred to locally as Dacquel a Danum which means in Ilocano “big water”.Paoay Lake is the largest lake in the province of Ilocos Norte and one of the largest natural lakes in the northern Luzon region. This lake was declared a national park in 1969.
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