Ilocos is the most desirable starting point to a remarkable Philippine journey. The province features a wide variety of well-known attractions for travellers, local people and people from other countries alike. It has a lot of enjoyable getaways to explore, rich in natural charm and history.
Ilocos or Ilocandia maybe a 6 – 7 hour drive from Manila yet the journey alone can be one of the most unforgettable experience to have.
Ilocos is well known for its old churches and ancestral homes. It is worth noting that the network of roads in this province is very good that is why many come from Manila to drive around town to appreciate the beauty of the province.
Due to the province’s diverse tourist spots, its tourism industry is booming. Thanks to the presence of an international airport in the City of Laoag, which is the provincial capital of Ilocos Norte, visiting Ilocos has never been more convenient.
Vigan City, main attraction and capital of Ilocos Sur, is the best maintained colonial Spanish neighborhood in the Philippines. With virtually 200 colonial structures, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999.
The former residence of Father Jose Burgos, Burgos property in Vigan stores the collectibles of Father Jose Burgos as well as bits of Ilocano artifacts, archaeological and ethnological finds, jewelry and the arts of the Tinggians. Located on the Plaza Singson Encarnacion, the museum is open from Monday to Friday and by prearranged appointments on weekends and holidays.
The museum holds the souvenirs of the Crisologos as well as authentic fixtures of a traditional Vigan house.Located along de los Reyes Street in Vigan, the museum is open Monday to Sunday.
Considered a Kamestizoan district in Vigan. This neighborhood is stuffed with ancestral houses, built with traditional tile roofs, huge wooden floorings, ballustrades and azoteas in diverse Spanish-Mexican-Chinese building styles.
Finished in 1783 after a span of seven years, the museum adjacent to the palace has a compilation of invaluable religous artifacts and relics. Visits can be organized from Monday to Friday.
First constructed in the 1574, the standing church is actually the fourth version which construction started in 1790 and completed in 1800.
This pottery making spectacle is a century old tradition which Vigan is known for. Manually formed by hands with the aid of a potter’s wheel, the “burnay” is like a clay-based jar although more sturdy than than other earthenware or terracotta. The local fish sauce (called “Bagoong” in Filipino), local sugar cane vinegar (called “Sukang Iloko” in Filipino), and sugar cane wine (called “Basi” in Filipino) would not taste right if not fermented in these “burnay” jars.
This property is being maintained to be a natural habitat for the animals from different parts of the world with some from the Philippines. Baluarte has become one of the must-see attraction in Ilocos that aside from the zoo, visitors can visit the butterfly farm, do horse riding and skeet shooting for the more adventurous.
Hidden Garden offers plants and clay pots they call as “burnay” jars same composition as the Pagburnayan above. The clay pots can be used as ornaments or as your planting pots. Eating in their restaurant is really really good because of the soothing ambiance. The landscape is very well fashioned and there are plants and flowers all over the place.
Laoag City and Pagudpud
Laoag City, the capital of Ilocos Norte, is located in the northernmost part of the Philippines. Situated 507.4 kilometers from Manila, it is 45 minutes by plane from Manila and Taiwan and approximately 80 minutes from Hongkong and Macau.
Also known as The Church of Saint Augustine and its adjacent bell tower were built by Augustinians back in 1894. Made of coral blocks and bricks, the design is a one-of-a-kind mix of Gothic, Baroque and Oriental origins. Building of the church began in 1704 and finished in 1894. This church is also included in the UNESCO’S World Heritage List.
The Augustinians started building this church of Italian era design in 1764. Its special 2-storey frontage is quite extravagant which is being held by four pairs of columns. The deeply concave area shows the representation of the Patron Saint of Laoag City.
Sta. Monica Parish Church, is located in the town of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, home province of former president Ferdinand Marcos. It is the largest church in Ilocos
and within short distance is the bell tower. There is an display on the history of the church which consists of collectibles, photos, and written documents. The ruins of a torture chamber to this day can still be seen. During the Spanish colonial period, Filipinos arrested and accused of subversion and other major crimes were said to have been hanged from these pillars of the torture chamber.
The local residences refer to it as the “Bowing Bell Tower of Bacarra”. It was constructed in 1830’s. The reason why it tilted on the right side was because of the earthquake back in 1931.
Located nearly a hundred meters away from the Saint William’s Cathedral, the tower has sunk to the land and inclines a little bit to the north. The sinking bell tower is one of Laoag City’s most popular landmarks. The structure is reported to be the most sturdy and highest bell tower in the Philippines. This huge 45-meter tower was built by the Augustinians in 1612.
Under the administration of Governor Florencio Castro in 1917, the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol was constructed. The Capitol was expanded and re-designed in 1957 during the tenure of Governor Antonio Arquiza. It was then launched on December 28, 1958, under Governor Toribio Peralta.
Built in 1892 by the Spaniards, the red brick lighthouse stands on Burgos or Cape Bojeador, 50 kilometers north of Laoag City. On top of the lighthouse you will find awesome views of the coastline and the South China Sea. Even now, it still do send out signals to ships going by.
A stone house in colonial Spanish design, it was restored and transformed into a museum which is a repository of the memorabilia of the famous Luna family foremost are the paintings of Juan Luna which include a replica of his work of art, the Spolarium.
Built as the official residence of President Marcos in Ilocos Norte, dominating the magical Paoay Lake, this distinguished Spanish style structure is a plush reproduction of the Malacanang Palace in Manila.
One of the newest museum in Ilocos, only launched in November 2012, Museo de Bacarra aims to show tourists a refreshing glimpse of Ilocano history and interesting remains of religious origins.
The pretty spectacular sand dunes, range from 10 – 30 meters high in a variety of places: in La Paz, north and south of the Laoag river, where the Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino is. 4×4 monster jeeps can be rented to drive around the place. You can even do sand surfing with the gang.
A quick rising tourist getaway in Northern Philippines. With its long stretches of remote coastline, gentle waves and breezes, the stunning secluded bay of Bangui, is considered to be Boracay of the North.
It is built on the mountainside and still in excellent shape. It practically provides dazzling views of the sea. It is considered to be the best place to witness the sunset.
The windmills are regarded as Southeast Asia’s first and largest wind turbines. There are around 20 windmills and each windmill has a height of 70 meters or 230 feet with 40-meter length blades.
A huge rock formation formed by nature. It is a natural work of art made by air and waves that may have took thousands if not, million of years.
The present resting place of Former President Ferdinand Marcos which is open for public viewing. It also houses the collections of the former president.