We continue our venture to the North and we are here at the capital of Ilocos Norte, Laoag City. Located at the northwest corner of Luzon island, it is one of the top destinations here in the Philippines for all sorts of adventure you wish to experience.
They have a bit of everything, from white sand beaches, chilling waterfalls, rock formations, historically rich places, to the exciting sand adventures in the dunes.
It is a 10 hour drive or 1 hour 30 minutes flight from Manila but the length of travel is really rewarding when you get to the place. This summer is on the roll taking its toll on our bodies with the extreme heat. Make sure to buy yourself a drink and a face towel as you will be sweating non stop on most locations. The sun even went through our sunscreen so be sure to pack them in your bags including your sunnies and/or hat.
If you are planning to take the bus, please take note that the scheduled trips are mostly at night to avoid traffic for the long ride. Plan accordingly.
If the 10 hour drive is an excrutiating ride for you and you opt to fly instead, they only have 1 flight a day going to Laoag City at the price of 2,500/pax. The flight usually goes at around late in the afternoon. We took the 5:20PM flight to Laoag and arrived at around 6:30PM. I will list down the detailed itinerary down below. Should you want the contact info for these places, please just leave a comment.
Upon arrival from the airport, you will have to take a 15 minute ride to the city. They have 3 options: jeepney, van, and tric. We chose the latter as it will bring us straight to our hotel and would not cost much at 150. The van/jeep is good but you will have to wait for other tourist before they depart. If you really prefer a van going to your hotel, it costs 400 pesos to rent it for yourself.
We have made our reservations beforehand and we are off to Balay Da Blas for our accommodation.
It is convenient as it is a 5 minute ride away from the City Proper and the rooms are pretty good too for its price and also there is a free breakfast meal inclusive of the package. You should definitely try out their Bagnet served at Saramsam restaurant. The meat is so tender yet so crispy at the same time.
The room is spacey and comes with your own living room and a mini kitchen.
For the tour, we actually rented a car good for 4 persons covering all the tourist places in Ilocos Norte. I would recommend this as it is much comfortable than going on trics and vans. The price is at 3,500 but we did bargain to 3,000. This option will give you the freedom of time and a break from the burning heat of summer.
Our driver/tour guide is Jimmy. He is very well knowledgeable of the must see places in Ilocos and may give you an enjoyable history class during the ride.
So let’s jump in to our first destination, the Paoay Sand Dunes. Glenn is our main man for the 4×4 ride and sand boarding and he is actually one of the 4×4 drivers. He is a really nice and accommodating guy and we got the car rental recommendation from him.
Also, going in at 6AM is the best time to go as the morning sun is way much better than the afternoon sun. Remember to hold tight and just enjoy the ride. There are at least three stops for you to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful sands.
Next stop, the Leaning Belfry of St. Andrew Church or the Bacarra Headless Tower.
There are optional stops you can make on your way to the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. You may stop by Pasuquin for their well known bischocio or have a sneak peek at the salt making process.
The Cape Bojeador is the largest and oldest lighthouse in the Philippines also powered by solar panels.
Well these windmills are just awesome and mother earth is delighted. This is one of the landmarks that contributed most to the ever booming popularity of Ilocos. Clean and efficient energy source is not too common.
Paraiso ni Anton wherein the water is considered herbal as it comes from the mountain upstream. Nothing much to see here but you will get to pass by the Patapat Viaduct which is the second longest bridge in the Philippines.
The biggest beach resort in Ilocos packs a punch on activities for different types of people. By land, air, or water, they have it all. ATV and 4×4 rides, zipline over the sea, banana boat ride, shooting range and more. The place is surrounded with gigantic statues of famous characters in movies and games. The place is so big but still manages to be crowded and that is saying something. The fine white sand also helps promote the beauty of the place. There is an entrance fee from the locals on your way to Hannah’s Beach Resort. 20 pesos for adults and 10 for children, student, and senior citizens.
We chose not to go to other places like the Kabigan Falls, Pasuquin, and Salt Making as the hot weather is so intense our car’s AC gave up on us.
Overall, Ilocos Norte is a perfect place for you to come and enjoy since they offer a wide range of activities for all walks of life.
A short story. So we decided that 1AM is the best time to go out for snacks and we came across this tric driver and asked for the nearest 7-11. He said it is just a few blocks away and we can just walk instead of paying fare. So we started walking. Then the tric driver maneuvered back to us and gave us a free ride. He refused our efforts to pay him back for the ride. Now that is the kind of kindness we need in our lives. The locals are one of the nicest and sincerest people we have ever met. Beautiful locations aside, they make up most of what we love about the place.
17:20 NAIA Flight to Laoag
18:35 Laoag International Airport
18:55 Laoag City Proper
19:00 Balay Da Blas
6:25 Paoay Sand Dunes
7:30 4×4 ride by the sand dunes
8:30 Bacarra Headless Tower
9:20 Salt Farm
9:45 Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
10:10 Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
11:10 Bangui Windmills
12:40 Paraiso ni Anton
12:55 Pagudpud and Hannah’s Beach Resort
15:00 Balay Da Blas