It has been a month since my Ilocos trip and I still feel nostalgic whenever I thought about it. This trip will always be memorable for me. I will be blogging about the things that we should have done during our Ilocos trip. Gosh I really wanna go back to Ilocos and hopefully if that happens my stay would be much longer than before. Like I wanna go back there to just chill and experience the Ilocano life. How I wish I have lots of moolah to bring me back to Ilocos ASAP. Lol! So let me start the "what should have dones" during our trip.

After our trip, I realized that we shouldn't have stayed at Laoag City during the whole duration of our trip. So I suggest that if you plan your Ilocos trip have a one night stay in each of the tourist destinations, Vigan, Laoag and Pagudpud.

Why an overnight stay in Vigan? So you would experience the beautiful night view of the Heritage Village as what the locals say. There are also old Spanish themed inns within the vicinity of the Heritage Village. So imagine having to sleep in a centuries old part of Vigan. It's like you are transported back in time.

Picture not mine

Why an overnight stay in Pagudpud? For a beach lover like me, having to wake up with all the sea breeze and picturesqe view of the blue lagoon is like heaven on earth.

picture not mine

As for the hotels in Laoag, there are cheap inns for budget travelers. I booked a PHP 1,200.00 per night room because of my paranoia. Around two weeks before our trip, we still didn't have a hotel to stay in so I found Balay da Blas and they were quick in answering my queries so that's the reason I chose to just stay in this hotel. The rate is also inclusive of breakfast so it's fine. But then if you are patient enough you could still find a much cheaper budget friendly hotel. So be patient and prepare for your hotel bookings ahead of time. 

I always wanted to try some Ilocos dishes. We dined in La Preciosa (scroll down for my blog about this restau) but I wasn't really satisfied with the food. I suggest to try at the Hidden Garden restaurant. Though we weren't able to dine there, there were a lot of good reviews about Hidden Garden in the internet. I guess it will be a little pricey than in La Preciousa.

Hidden Garden. *picture not mine

For your transportation, just haggle haggle haggle. 

Thank you Ilocandia for yhe precious memories and beautiful scenery. This trip will have a stamp in my heart forever.

This will be it for now. I'll just edit it for more. Stay tuned!

For more of my Ilocandia related post you can check these out:
Part 1: Touchdown Ilocandia!
Part 2: Let the tour VIGAN!
Part 3: Let's go up NORTH! (Bangui Windmills, Pagudpud)


I felt anxious when our 2nd day tour in Ilocos had ended because that would  mean happy and stress free times are almost over. On our 3rd day in Ilocandia we went up north to Burgos, Bangui and Pagudpud. For our transportation, we  looked for an affordable van to take us up north but the rate was just way beyond our budget so in the end we rented a trike for PHP 1,500.00 for our tour. You guys may wonder why it costs PHP 1,500.00. The distance is much farther than our south tour on our first day (See PART 1: Adventures in Ilocandia). We departed at Balay da Blas at 9:00 AM. This time I really can't say what time exactly we arrived in each place because I accidentally deleted my detailed itinerary in my cellphone. As we drove along towns up north, there was this serenity that made me want to live in Ilocos Norte. Maybe life back home was really stressful that made me want to live in this unfamiliar place.

First stop: Burgos Lighthouse

The West Philippine Sea see meets you at the bottom of the lighthouse with its beautiful scenery.There were a lot of tourists when we got here. There were students who were on a field trip so the place was really packed and we didn't have a history reflection in the place. Instead I just took this picture that would tell us about the Burgos Lighthouse. You can also buy souvenirs here. There is no entrance fee.

A little bit of info about the lighthouse
West Philippine Sea

Second stop: Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

You guys can see the distance from the rock?
Before when I was still daydreaming about a trip going to Ilocos, this was already one of my fave tourist spots. When we got to the entrance, there was a fee at PHP15.00/each. You have to endure a 10 - 15 min walk or you can opt to horseback ride going to the rock formation that costs PHP100.00. We chose to walk. The formation was like an icing in a cake. It is amazing how nature can form natural wonders like this. I wanted to really go on to the rock formation itself but it was not allowed. It would be great to have a Grecian themed photo shoot here.

Third stop: Bangui Windmills

If I remember it well, it took us almost an hour going to the windmills. The distance going to the windmills was far from the main road. When we got near the windmills, I was in awe maybe because those were the only windmills in the Philippines and that was my first time seeing a windmill and one of Southeast Asia's first. The windmills were so huge like humongous electric fans. There were a total of 20 wind turbines that generates 1.65 MW each. We spotted one that was not moving and we thought it was broken. Our tour guide said once it stops turning it means it already has generated enough electricity. Swimming is prohibited in the area since the waves were so big.

Our next destination was supposed to be Kabigan Falls but we decided not to push through since falls can also be found here in Cebu. Time constraint was also a factor. We took our lunch instead at the very entrance of Kabigan Falls. Liempo is cooked once ordered so we had to wait for a couple of minutes before we could eat our lunch. We were almost at the northern tip of Ilocos that explains the cold temperature in the area. I'm not really complaining. Teehee! It is good to experience something like this in Ilocos too. A little more drive and we'll set foot to Cagayan province but that is not in the plan. =D After eating our lunch we proceeded to the Patapat Viaduct.

Fourth stop: Patapat Viaduct

The Patapat Viaduct was one of Fmr. Pres. Marcos' legacy. It is a bridge winding at the foot of the cliff of the Cordillera Mountain ranges. Ok so I didn't know at that moment that was already the Cordillera Mountain ranges. Deym. The construction of this bridge was due to a lot of road accidents of the old single lane road stretched at the cliff.

We proceeded to a small creek beside the road which the name I forgot. There was nothing much there so I went to the nearby souvenir shop and looked for souvenirs that I could bring home.

Fifth Stop: Timmangtang Rock and Bantay Abot Cave

Timmangtang Rock
Bantay Abot Cave. Can you spot the Timmangtang rock from this view? =)

Don't forget to bring your scarf!

Feels like I'm in another country.
These two are just near from each other. Uhmmm we just took pictures and the scenery is beautiful still. To reach the Bantay Abot Cave, you still have to go down the stairs and walk thru a rocky beach side. You have to be careful though coz it's slippery. 

Sixth Stop: Blue Lagoon

Our camera couldn't justify the view. You guys should go there to witness it personally!

Before we arrived at the Blue Lagoon, I already set my mind not to go bathe in the beach since I was already tired and decided to just take pictures once we got there but then when I saw the view it just took my breath away. It was beautiful! With its powdery white sand and emerald water. Or maybe I just love beaches hence my reaction? Anyway so in a snap I changed in to my swimming wear and went bathing. You can also have surfing lessons in the area. For someone who doesn't know how to swim like moi it was difficult since the waves were big. We stayed in the beach around 15 min and stopped bathing because my boyfriend found a piece of glass in the sea. That scared me and halted me to stop bathing. So please you guys don't throw your shards of glass into the sea or shore coz you can cause misery to someone who would accidentally step on it. 

Blue Lagoon is our last stop of our tour and it is saddening because adventures in Ilocandia is about to ennndddddddddddd! =( Travel time from Pagudpud to Laoag City is almost 2 hours and that's traveling in a tricycle. =D So we arrived in Laoag City around 5:30 PM and went back to our hotel and savored our last moments in Ilocos. Sighhhh!

Stay tuned for Part 4. It will be our last day in Ilocos. No more tours. I will also be blogging about what we should have done travelling in Ilocos to provide you guys better itineraries once you visit here.

Cheers for the love of travel! ♥

For more of my Ilocandia related posts check these out:
Part 1: Touchdown Ilocandia
Part 2: Let the tour VIGAN!


At this moment, I still am in a euphoric state over our Ilocos trip. The mere thought of our adventures in Ilocos lightens my mood. So on our second day, we went to Vigan the capital city of Ilocos Sur.

We departed from our hotel at 8:15 AM and departed to Vigan at 8:30 AM. To get to Vigan, we had to ride a 1.5 hour bus trip. We hopped in a Partas bus liner which takes you to Vigan in 60 km/hr speed. That is a good thing after all those bus accidents all over Luzon. Just inform the tricycle driver that you're bound for Vigan then they'll take you to the bus terminal.We were kind of scared that we might be travelling in a Victory bus liner. Bus fare: PHP 137.00/each.

We arrived in Vigan around 10:00 AM plus. We already had a contact tricycle driver but I really don't recommend him because he is a lousy and boring tour guide. Tricycle rate is PHP 600.00 for all the places that we went which I will be summarizing next.

Vigan City tricycle plate number.

So our first stop was the museum of Floro Crisologo. I really am not familiar of this person but his museum implies that he is a political figure in the province who was shot in a church while attending a mass. The museum showcases his memorabilia and achievements during his political years. Donation is asked in the museum. PHP 20.00 is enough for two persons. I gave PHP50.00 you know na newbie pa.

By 11:00 AM, we left Crisologo museum and proceeded to SyQuia Mansion where former Pres. Elpidio Quirino lived. He was married to Alicia Jimenez SyQuia who is a daughter of a wealthy Chinese-Filipino family in Vigan City. The museum showcases the lifestyle of the rich and famous of his time. I had a history information overload in this tourist stop. I wasn't able to take down notes but the place is really traditionall beautiful. It is basically an old mansion.

SyQuia Mansion
Dining area in the mansion

Painting of Fmr. Pres. Elpidio Quirino.

Here is one history fact I recalled. Do you know why Filipinos were called Aliping Saguiguilid in the old times? It's because poor Filipinos working as maids before were not allowed to pass by the main sala or any major part of the mansion. They had their own hallway. That is one of the reasons why they a were called Aliping "Saguiguilid". Excuses to those who already know. Teehee! The one collecting the entrance fee is a 4th generation "katulong" (maid) as said by the tour guide. Entrance fee: PHP 20.00

Maid's hallway.

We finished looking around, taking pictures and listening to the tour guide in SyQuia Mansion around 12:00 PM. Next destination is the Baluarte of Chavit Singson. There's nothing much there. There were a few animals around the place. I was expecting a lot. Attractions in the place were the caged tigers, the roaming ostrich and the pony rides. There is no entrance fee.

The roaming ostrich.
After around 20 minutes, we proceeded to the Hidden Garden. Hidden Garden is a.....hidden garden. Haha! Actually it is a garden restaurant that features Ilocano dishes. We took pictures then left. The place has nice reviews according to other blogs but if you are in a beer budget touring in Vigan better find a carenderia and have your lunch there. So we proceeded to a carenderia in the city proper. So sorry I forgot the name of the place. Each viand costs around PHP 30.00 to PHP 50.00.

Hidden Garden

We had our lunch around 1:00 PM already. Our next destination is the St. Augustine Parish Church, or as commonly known Bantay Church. We also went at the top of its old bell tower and the view of the city meets you there. It was saddening because there were a lot of vandals inside the bell tower. What's worst is that the TV show Panday (the new one) intentionally holed part of the bell just for the TV show and that 's like a decades old bell. Tsk2.

Bantay church

Bantay church bell tower

At 1:30 PM, we proceeded to Padre Jose Burgos Museum. He is one of the GOMBURZA priests. I wasn't really fascinated and interested with the place. Entrance fee: PHP 20.00

We went back to the city proper around 2:00 PM. We strolled at a mall. I forgot the name. At 2:30 PM, we proceeded to one of my most awaited tourist spots in Ilocandia, the UNESCO heritage, Heritage Village. Also known as the Kamestizoan District. The traditional Spanish houses were really beautiful. Going there felt like you were back in the 18th and 19th century or if pictures were taken in a DSLR cam the view would be like in those traditional places in Europe. There were "calesa" rides that costs PHP 50.00 for a round around the village. Heritage Village is located in Calle Crisologo. We brought souvenirs within the village. Locals said the view would be much nicer during the night but it was still 2:30 in the afternoon. So you guys better stay in the Heritage Village till the sun sets to witness the beautiful night view. =D  On December 2, 1992, the historic city of Vigan was declared a World Heritage site by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations).

50 peso Calesa ride

They said when you get to Ilocos one should try their empanadas. So we walked around the area just outside the Heritage Village and spotted an empanada stall beside the street. Their empanadas are different from the empanadas in Cebu. Cebuano empanadas have meat, raisins, egg, thick crust (you know the bread part) and no need for vinegar when you eat it. Ilocano empanada have cabbages (lots of it), meat, super thin crust and egg. You also have to eat it with vinegar. Each empanada costs PHP 30.00. After trying the Ilocano empanada, I still prefer the Cebuano one me being a full blooded Cebuana. :)  We all have different taste buds you might taste it otherwise.

Vigan empanada
Heritage Village was our last stop in Vigan. By 4:00 PM, we asked our tour guide to drop us where we could ride a bus going back to Laoag. We were still in a Partas bus. There were a lot of passengers so we just stood for around an hour. Bus fare: PHP 137.00/each.  We arrived in Laoag almost 6:00 PM and spotted the Ilocos Norte Capitol.

Ilocos Norte capitol
I really want to try some Ilocano dishes. My boyfriend knew La Preciosa restaurant because his friends have been there. It is an old house converted into a restaurant. Their dishes costs around PHP 100.00 to 400.00. We ordered their signature Ilocano pinakbet but sadly my taste buds were still in conflict. I still prefered the Cebuano pinakbet with hippon. Aside from pinakbet, we ordered two more viands and a dessert. Our total bill was PHP 810.00. It was too expensive for me and I wasn't really satisfied. The blueberry cheesecake made up for the pinakbet.

We left La Preciosa around 10:00 PM already since we happen to meet my friends who were also in Laoag. It was good to see familiar faces in an unfamiliar place. We excitedly talked about our trips that made us went home almost 10:00 PM. We took a tricycle ride back to our hotel and got our bodies charged for our last day tour the next day to Burgos, Bangui and Pagudpud. Sigh. I still want to spend more time in Ilocos. 

This will be it for today stay tuned for Part 3 of Adventures in Ilocandia.

Ilocandia related posts:



Maps of the Ilocos region distributed in the airport.

I have always wanted to go to the Ilocos region and I have to thank Cebu Pacific for that Piso fare sale July of last year. It was a long seven months wait before my bucket list trip. If I was brave enough to travel alone, I would have traveled in many places by now. Gladly, I have Myding to accompany me in this Ilocos trip.

I love the cozy atmosphere of Laoag City. No heavy traffic --well at least in my five-day stay I wasn't able to experience such. I love the simplicity of the place, accommodating locals, the simple tricycle rides and most of all how the locals love their culture and heritage which we could still witness until today.

March 12, 2013
Cebu Pacific has no direct flights from Cebu to Laoag so we have to book a connecting flight. Our flight from Cebu to Manila was 5:00 AM. It was a tiring 12-hour wait for our Manila to Laoag flight. We stayed and took a nap in the airport and went to MOA around 10:00 AM. It was my first in SM MOA and there was nothing much inside. It was just a HUGE mall. We got tired strolling so we decided to watch a movie to kill time and went back to the airport after the movie. We wait and wait until it was time to board the plane around 6:30 PM. By the time we arrived at Laoag, there was a tourist info center where you could ask for a map of Ilocos. We also registered for the FREE SHUTTLE RIDE which takes tourists directly to their hotels. I have to commend the Ilocos Norte Provincial Government for taking this initiative since Laoag airport is a little bit far from the city proper and for giving us tourists a welcoming experience the moment we set foot in Ilocos.

Touchdown Laoag!

We arrived at Balay Da Blas around 9:00 PM. Balay Da Blas, the hotel we stayed in, also offered a home away from home feel. Their lobby resembles like that of a house sala. The hotel itself was an old house converted into a hotel. The room that we booked was worth the price. It was clean and spacious enough since there were only two of us. So we got ready to hit the sack and got our batteries charged for tomorrow's adventure!

Let me take you back to that awesome 4 day stay in Ilocandia....

March 13, 2014
Let's go Sand Boarding in Paoay!
We departed from our hotel at 9:00 AM. Transpo around the city is by tricycle. Regular tricycle fare is PHP 11.00. Tricycle rate is PHP 800.00 for three municipalities, Paoay, Batac and Laoag city. If you are an experience haggler, you could still negotiate for a much lower rate.Our first destination was the Paoay Sand Dunes. We arrived at the area at 10:00 AM. According to Merriam dictionary, dune means a hill of sand near an ocean or in a desert that is formed by the wind. The stretch of sand covered a vast area near the ocean. We drove around by a 4x4 vehicle for 1 hour for PHP2,500.00 It is also inclusive of sand surfing which I loveee but sadly wasn't able to perfect it. Damn. Riding the 4x4 vehicle was a great and an adrenaline pumping experience.There were hills that resemble like a mini rollercoaster that makes your stomach jump and give you that ticklish feeling inside. Teehee! After 20 minutes driving around the dunes, we stopped to sand surf. The sand was excruciatingly hot! It felt like my feet was submerged into a hot boiling water! So if you happen to visit, wear something that will cover you feet and legs. Don't forget to put on sunblock.I shamelessly tumbled in my first try so I thought to myself ok that's it not doing it anymore but then I was challenged when a petite girl successfully completed sand boarding. I tried but still tumbled towards the end --well at least I had a great picture in action. Sand boarding was the highlight of out first day tour. After that epic adrenaline pumping experience, we proceeded to our next destination......
Sand Boarding more fun in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

With the 4x4 ride

The MalacaƱang of the North
At 11:00 AM, we arrived at the "Bahay Bakasyonan" (as said by the mansion tour guide) of the Marcos family in the early 80s. It is mansion facing the Paoay lake. It features old furnitures used by the family, old paintings by Bongbong Marcos, the presidential table used when Fmr. Pres. F. Marcos signed the Martial Law in 1972, achievements and projects of Fmr. Pres. F. Marcos like the San Juanico bridge (I just knew this during my Ilocos trip =D), the Patapat Viaduct and the Bataan landmark. Entrance fee: PHP 50.00

Malacanang of the North

Paoay Church
By 11:30 AM, we arrived at the UNESCO heritage St. Augustine Church or as commonly known Paoay Church. I'm not an architecture graduate so I really can't describe how beautiful it is technically. All I could say is that was the most beautiful church facade I have ever seen. After taking pictures, we ate our lunch at a nearby carenderia. One viand costs around PHP 50.00- PHP60.00.

Paoay Church

Marcos Museum and Mausoleum
By 1:30 PM, we arrived at the Marcos museum showcasing F.E. Marcos' life from his childhood years, his stint in the military during World War II, how him and Imelda met and the 11-day romance, his documents during his congressional and presidential days and old memorabilia's related to Ferdinand Marcos. Entrance fee: PHP 50.00

Next to the Marcos Museum is his mausoleum. There is no entrance fee just wait for the caretaker to take you inside the mausoleum.Taking pictures is prohibited. There is a viewing schedule but wasn't able to take note of it. It felt like I was in North Korea when I entered the mausoleum with all the glorifying music within the place. If you have watched some North Korea docus, you'll know what I mean. It is astounding to see a whole and intact dead body of a former president but still my mind is in a tug of war whether..................

St. William Cathedral and its Sinking Belltower
At the heart of Laoag city stands the sinking belltower. It was an unusual belltower because it is 85 meters away from the church itself. The reason as to why it is sinking was not explained by our tour guide or I guess he also doesn't know why. We stayed inside the church and had a short reflection. At that moment, I thanked God for giving me the opportunity to travel to Ilocos with someone I dearly love.

Sinking Belltower

Museo Ilocos Norte
Our last stop for today's tour is the Museo Ilocos Norte. It features the ethnicity and cultural heritage of Ilocandia. The museum displays old farming equipment used by the Ilocanos, Ilocano 'bahay kubos", traditional Ilocano rooms and a lot more Ilocano stuff. Entrance Fee: PHP 50.00

Around 4:30 PM plus, we were back in our hotel and took a nap since we still have to buy our dinner later when the sun sets.

So that's it for Adventures in Ilocandia Part 1. Stay tuned for more adventures in Vigan, Burgos, Bangui and Pagudpud! Very sooooooonnnnnn! Gotta rest now. Work resumes tomorrow (*I'm on leave for 5 days since last week*). Sigh. I'm still having an Ilocandia hangover. Sigh.


ILOCANDIA related posts:
Part 2: Let the tour VIGAN!
Part 3: Let's go up NORTH! (Bangui Windmills, Pagudpud)