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Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Ilocos Norte, Philippines and Why

San Agustin Church

In the northern region of Luzon in the Philippines is the diversified canton of Ilocos Norte, a vintage province that attracts several rovers and itinerants. Ilocos Norte offers exquisite local cuisines and a cluster of beautiful tourist destinations that may just complete your holiday itinerary. Ilocos Norte is a province of Ilocos; its capital is the Laoag City.

Ilocos Norte is one of the places you should visit in the Philippines. As you wander the beautiful province, you will get insights of the Philippine history and culture and appreciate the majestic natural wonders. In this post, we will give you the list of the top 10 best places in Ilocos Norte.

Malacañang of the North in Laoag City

Malacañang of the North in Laoag City

If Uncle Ben has White House, Juan Dela Cruz has Malacañang Palace – the residence and workplace of the Philippine President that is located in Manila. However, the palace is not only in the heart of Manila but is also present in Ilocos Norte. It is famed as the Malacañang of the North. It was initially built as a rest house of the Former President Ferdinand Marcos and his family. Now, the mansion has become a welcoming museum that is open to the public. Inside the luxurious house are cavernous and antique furniture, hardwood flooring, and capiz-shell windows creating a musty smell that will awaken your nostalgia of the past.

La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag City

La Paz Sand Dunes 2

La Paz Sand Dunes

An ocean of fine brown sand, La Paz Sand Dunes is a place that should be included in your itinerary. Despite growing urbanization of Laoag, the city still brags natural wonders and travel destinations. A land coated with brown sand and strong windy air, La Paz Sand Dunes offer not only a picturesque backdrop but also fun activities such as Sand Boarding and ATVs. Surf without getting wet and namby-pamby, and drive crazy with 4×4. La Paz Sand Dunes will tickle the bliss out of you.

Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud

Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud

Pagudpud is blessed with beautiful coastlines and azure blue beaches. In fact, the place is one of the best beach destination in Luzon. And there’s no questioning why. The Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud is the place where you can get the best out of your summer escapade. The site is perfectly astonishing for those who want the ambiance of the windy beach without the noise of beachgoers. The fine white sand will massage your sole. For couples who want to have a romantic walk on the shore, Blue Lagoon will offer you not just romance but also splendor moments.

Bangui’s Windmill in Pagudpud

Bangui’s Windmill in Pagudpud

The huge and towering windmills will indeed make an excellent background for selfies and photographs. The Bangui’s Windmill in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte will blow your hair and caress your face with relaxing breeze. The lofty windmills are meant to be a new source of energy. In fact, it is the first “Wind Farm” in the country, and the massive turbines that face the South China Sea are considered to be the biggest in the Southeast Asia. A few meter away from the giant fans is the rough cobalt blue sea that enrages wind and gale. (I’m calling for my co-asthmatic networks, the Bangui’s Windmill is one of the best places to actually breath good and fresh air).

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation 2

A paradise of spectacular rock formation, the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte is one of the frequented sites by travelers and vacationers. The magnificent rock formations designed by age and nature will surely jam-pack your phone and camera with snaps and edgy shots. To reach this geological wonder, you have to follow the trail of sand and pebbles (that will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes). If you’d ever wander here, please wear comfortable footwear. You’re welcome.

Pagudpud Beach

Pagudpud Beach

Pagudpud is a littoral resort town of Ilocos Norte, and the beaches clearly explain why. Pagudpud is patronized by beach buffs and summer-tan yuppies. Some of the best resorts to visit in Pagudpud are Punta Azul Beach Resort, Saud Beach Resort, and Kingfisher Beach Resort. Each resort offers unique structure and accommodation, but one thing I know they share best: scenic view of the horizon and the charmingly breathtaking sight of the blue sea.

The Kingfisher Resort offers fun (and extreme) sports activities such as Kite and Windsurfing. For budget travelers who want a cheaply luxurious vacation, check this site.

Kabigan Falls in Pagudpud

Kabigan Falls in Pagudpud

Kabigan Falls is derived from the Filipino word Kaibigan, which means “friend.” And it was believed that the waterfall and the river are “[close] friends.” Kabigan Falls is a kilometer away from the city proper. To reach the waterfall, you have to trek the trail for 30 minutes. Sounds scary? Not necessarily. While trekking, you will have a panoramic view of the green and gold rice fields, grassy hills, and steep terrains. And sure that is very tiring, but there is a reward that’s waiting – the cold splash of the waterfall.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Popularly known as the Burgos Lighthouse, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is a famed cultural heritage that withstood natural chaos since its foundation in the Spanish Colonial period. The lighthouse was projected by the Spaniards so as to give luminance to the archipelago. And up to this day, the lighthouse still lights and is still a useful beacon for seafarers. The old-bricked edifice is now a tourist spot since 2004 as declared by the National Historical Landmark. So, have your obligatory jump shot in the scenic and nostalgic lighthouse.

Patapat Bridge

Patapat Viaduct - Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Patapat Bridge is a snaky viaduct popular because of the scenic and overwhelming sight of the coast. The huge concrete rocks and the dancing ocean promenading the robust foundation of the bridge are the things travelers love photographing. Not to mention, the relaxing and refreshing flavor of the cold summer wind that prudently touches the face. A viaduct that contours the green mountain, the Patapat Bridge is considered as the 4 th longest bridge in the country. The bridge faces the Pasaleng Bay.

Juan Luna Shrine

Juan Luna Shrine

Juan Luna is one of the treasured heroes of the Philippines, who died fighting for the independence of his fellow natives. He is also a popular artist known for his iconic and famous Spoliarium. As a tribute to his brave heart, his home was maintained and renovated so as to mimic its original structure. The clay brick house with the touch of Molave attracts adventurers and nomads. The shrine is open to the public. Students are most welcomed in the facility. The two-story museum is for everyone – it’s free!

Ilocos Norte offers a pack of natural wonders, regal beaches, fun activities, popular landmarks, and historic sites that will satisfy every traveler. The best time to visit Ilocos Norte would be summer. Say, February to May. The Rainy season usually starts from June onwards. And visiting the place in an unfriendly weather may just ruin everything. So, better check the weather updates before bragging your #offtoilocosnorte post.

Explore Beautiful and Mesmerizing Philippines

St. Augustine Church and Bell Tower – Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

rice patties near claveria, ilocos norte, philippines

rice patties near Claveria, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Relaxing sunset at the coast of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Relaxing sunset at the coast of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Thanks for reading this article, we hope you’ll have a wonderful time at Ilocos Norte.

21 Best Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots (Ilocos Norte Travel Guide 2022)

We will be listing the best Ilocos Norte tourist spots in our Ilocos Norte travel guide. From it’s legendary sites to visit, to the food as well as the colorful festivals, we’d give you reasons as to why you should also visit Ilocos Norte.

Ilocos Norte is a province in the northern part of the Philippines. The province faces the South China Sea in the west and The Luzon Strait in the North The sights and view that you can see and visit there are quite rich in natural beauty.

With its rugged mountains, old, historical churches and other establishments and its colorful history and culture, you’ll be sure that you are in for a ride.

We enjoyed our visit especially in Pagudpud wherein we got to relax since it’s a quiet place and not very touristic.

Table of Contents

ILOCOS NORTE TRAVEL GUIDE

HOW TO GET TO ILOCOS NORTE

HOW TO GET FROM MANILA TO ILOCOS NORTE BY PLANE

If you want to get from Manila to Ilocos Norte by plane. Laoag International Airport is the main airport serving the general area of Laoag, the capital city of the province of Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. It is the only airport in Ilocos Norte and is the northernmost international airport in the Philippines by geographical location.

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Flight from Manila to Laoag will only take an hour. There are 9 flights weekly that are available.

HOW TO GET FROM MANILA TO ILOCOS BY BUS

Travelling by bus from Manila to Ilocos will take you 10 hours or so on the road. Buses like Fariñas Trans and Partas Bus has direct routes to Laoag. Fare can costs 900 PHP for one way.

HOW TO GET FROM PAMPANGA TO ILOCOS BY BUS

If you are coming from Pampanga to Ilocos. You can ride the shuttle or jeepney going to Dau Integrated Bus Terminal. Once in Dau Terminal, transfer or look for a bus going to Laoag as there are bus with direct route there. Travel time can take up to 7-8 hours.

We chose this option for traveling from Angeles City to Laoag. It took us 7 hours and the fare was 740 PHP each. The bus from Fariñas Trans was so comfortable and we enjoyed wifi the whole trip.

BAGUIO TO LAOAG

Coming from Baguio, there are numerous departures buses and vans that operates daily daily from Baguio City Bus Terminal to Laoag. Travel time is not more than four hours and the fare ranges from 500 PHP.

VIGAN TO LAOAG

Coming from Vigan, Laoag is only an hour and a half away. There are buses going to and from the two places for no more than 100 PHP for one trip.

ATMS AND CURRENCY IN ILOCOS NORTE

Aside from most establishments like restaurants and hotels specially those which are at least 3-stars in Laoag accepting cards, there’s also quite a few more ATM Machines around. Still, carrying cash will always be better for emergencies.

If you are heading to Pagudpud we recommend you to withdraw cash in Laoag since can get complicated in that area to find ATM’s available. Click here to know the exchange rate!

INTERNET AND WIFI CONNECTION IN ILOCOS NORTE

Laoag has internet even in the most remote part. The speed is quite decent but expect a few times a day wherein it can go really slow. You will find wifi in almost all the hotels and guest houses in Laoag. If you have Globe and Smart Laoag is LTE area in most of the places.

BEST TIME TO VISIT ILOCOS NORTE

March to July is the peak season in Laoag. If you want to avoid many tourists visiting Laoag, it is advisable to visit on months of August to September. Although the weather is humid, it is not hot enough to make you not like it outdoors! All in all, a good time to be here! The best time to visit Laoag is October to December since is the chilliest time to visit Laoag.

TRANSPORTATION AROUND ILOCOS NORTE

There is a wide range of Laoag transportation options available once in the city itself and it includes jeepneys, tricycles and mini vans. The most commonly used is the jeepney though and this has a fixed route. For shorter distances, a tricycle can be ridden or a mini-van for a more comfortable.

There are buses and vans going to places around like Bangui or Pagudpud.

DAILY BUDGET IN ILOCOS NORTE

Since most spots are either free of entrance fee or the fee is cheap, Laoag day trips can be cheap and budgeted. Aside from experiencing the sand dunes which is one of the most famous yet also one of the most expensive activity to do in Laoag.

With 1500 PHP can be a good budget with food, transportation and accommodation plus entrance fees to some spots. Bigger budget will of course bring you more memorable experience but Laoag can already be a beautiful experience just being there.

You can go for local food for 50-70 PHP in local carinderias and around 150 PHP in local restaurants in Laoag where you will find Filipino and Western food.

For accommodation a budget room would cost minimum 1000 PHP ($20 USD) and you can go up to 5000 PHP. There are Airbnb options starting from $15-25.

ILOCOS NORTE TOURIST SPOTS

1. PAOAY CHURCH

Ilocos Norte tourist spots, paoay vhurch

Image courtesy of YOJIM GA

The Saint Augustine Church, commonly known as the Paoay Church, is the Roman Catholic church of the municipality of Paoay, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. Completed in 1710, the church is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the building.

2. MARCOS MUSEUM AND MAUSOLEUM

Ilocos Norte tourist spots, Marcos Museum and mausoleum

Image courtesy of Ritz dacky

The Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center is a museum situated in Batac, Ilocos Norte dedicated to former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos which also hosts the cenotaph of the former President. The museum shows memorabilia of the late president, from his stint in the armed forces down to his presidency.

3. BACARRA DOMELESS TOWER

Ilocos Norte tourist spots, Bacarra domeless tower

Image from Flickr.

Bacarra Church is a Roman Catholic church located in the municipality of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, Philippines under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag. The church was founded by the Augustinians, who dedicated it to St. Andrew.

The Bacarra church is famous for its centuries-old, domeless or “beheaded” belfry known as Torre ti Bacarra. The structure stands three stories and 50 metres (160 ft) high.

4. MALACAÑANG OF THE NORTH

Ilocos Norte tourist spots, Malacanang Ti Amianan, things to do in Laoag, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Image from Flickr

Malacanang Ti Amianan, or also commonly called as Malacañang of the North, is a presidential museum in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It was the residence of the family of Ferdinand Marcos when he was the President of the Philippines.

It is a two-story mansion overlooking the Paoay Lake, and consists of seven (supposedly a lucky number for Marcos) rooms, with each room having a theme of historical events from the Marcos era: Study, Agriculture, Diplomacy, OFW (overseas Filipino workers), Culture, Nation Building and Family. The entrance is 20 PHP and it is open from 9am to 5pm daily.

5. JUAN LUNA SHRINE

Ilocos Norte tourist spots, Juan Luna Shrine Ilocos Norte, things to do in Laoag, bangui windmills, things to do in pagudpud, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Image courtesy of Chelsey Agcopra

Located in Badoc Ilocos Norte, Juan Luna Shrine is the reconstruction of Juan Luna’s home. It is a 2-storey house that was said to be burned down around 1861 but fortunately enough, the ruins that remained made it possible to be reconstructed and made it into the Shrine that it is now.

There are collections and displays all over the house where you’ll get to know not just Juan Luna, but also his brother, Antonio Luna as well.

6. DAY TRIP TO VIGAN

things to do in Ilocos Norte, day trip to vigan, Ilocos Norte tourist spots

A great option while staying in Ilocos Norte is a day trip from Laoag to Vigan that will take less than two hours by bus. Vigan is so beautiful and you can breathe the old Spanish culture around the streets with the calesas.

7. BANGUI WINDMILLS

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Bangui Wind Farm is a wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The wind farm uses 20 units of 70-meter (230 ft) high VestasV82 1.65 MW wind turbines, arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the West Philippine Sea.

The wind farm is created to supply electricity to the province. Thus, the windmills are not only beautiful to look at; they are also useful and environmental tools used to supply electricity.

The beach is so windy an ideal for taking pictures. To get Bangui windmills from Pagudpud is 25 kilometers ride. Once you are there you can buy souvenirs and enjoy the views. There is no entrance fee! Bangui windmills is clear our favorite Ilocos Norte tourist spots.

8. SAUD BEACH

Ilocos Norte tourist spots, things to do in Laoag, day trip to Pagudpud, Pagudpud, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

The jewel in the crown of Pagudpud is Saud Beach, with its renowned wonderful fine white sand. Saud Beach has cream-colored sand and cool waters, perfect for swimming and beach bumming in. Have a relaxing day or afternoon just on the beach.

The resorts in the area makes sure that the shores are clean, so it is a plus point. There is plenty of room for activities such as volleyball or throwing a Frisbee.

9. BLUE LAGOON

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, Things to do in Pagudpud, Blue Lagooon in Pagudpud, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Maira-ira beach is a stretch of white sand and crystal clear waters stretching out to the West Philippine Sea. Dubbed as the Blue Lagoon, this is one of the most well known destination in Pagudpud.

A number of resorts, luxury and budget, are along the way so tourists can surely enjoy the view and the activities such as swimming and other water sports longer.

The water is so clear and you can even get there with the zipline!

10. TIMANGTANG ROCK

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, Things to do in Pagudpud, Timangtang Rock, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Timangtang rock is a rock formation that can be seen along the seacoast of Sitio Gaoa, Balaoi, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. It is shaped like a sloped hill and is said to be a part of Bantay Abot Cave. They are often called the lovers as Timangtang rock is the male counterpart.

MORE ILOCOS NORTE TOURIST SPOTS

11. BURGOS LIGHTHOUSE

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, things to do in Pagudpud, Burgos lighthouse, things to do in Laoag, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse also known as Burgos Lighthouse, is a cultural heritage structure in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, that was established during the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines.

The lighthouse of Cape Bojeador serves shipping heading towards the Pacific Coast heading towards the Babuyan Channel, also serves ships heading towards the ports of Salomangue and Curmimao. The entrance fee is 20 PHP.

12. KABIGAN FALLS

Timangtang Rock, Kabigan Falls, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Norte Tourist spots

Kabigan Falls is a rustic trail through tropical forest leads visitors to this dramatic natural waterfall. Reaching the place from the main highway is approximately 30-45 minute walk depending on your speed and power. The trek going to Kabigan Falls is mostly in a flat area so you’ll have time to enjoy the beautiful panorama.

It’s mandatory to hire a guide for 120 PHP to reach the waterfalls. Once in Kabigan waterfalls is a nice place for relaxing and it’s not so crowded.

13. KAPURPURAWAN ROCK FORMATIONS

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, Kapurpurawan Rock Formations, things to do in Pagudpud, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is a natural rock formation created through the years by the natural forces of the ocean on the rocky coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte, just a few minutes from the Cape Bojeador.

Kapurpurawan comes from an Ilocano word “puraw” which means white. Since most of the rock formations in that area are white, local folks called it “Kapurpurawan”.

14. DOS HERMANOS ISLAND

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, Things to do in Pagudpud, Dos Hermanos Island, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

The Dos Hermanos Islands are two rock formations located off the northern coast of Maira-ira Point in Pagupud, Ilocos Norte, the Philippines. The twin islands are often visited by tourists, and are a natural landmark of Pagudpud.

15. BANTAY ABOT CAVE

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, Things to do in Pagudpud, Bantay abot cave, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Bantay Abot cave might look like a cave, but it is not really a cave. It is actually a hill that was wrecked by an earthquake in the 80’s leaving a hole in the middle. The top of the cave is covered with lush green vegetation thus adding the beauty of the cave.

To get to the interior of the cave, you have to go down a few concrete staircase and a rocky part going up to the hole.

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16. PATAPAT VIADUCT

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The Patapat Viaduct is a viaduct at the municipality of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, a coastal resort town on the northernmost tip of Luzon Island in the Philippines. The bridge is elevated 31 meters over sea level. The views are so impressive and it was one of our favorite Ilocos Norte tourist spots.

17. SINKING BELL TOWER

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, Sinking Bell Tower, things to do in Laoag, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Image from Flickr

St. William’s Cathedral in Laoag City is famous for its Sinking Bell Tower. It is one of the things that will capture the attention of the tourists upon entering the city. The bell tower is one of the landmarks of Spanish colony in the Philippines.

The tower has earned its “sinking” reputation because it is so heavy and it was built on sandy foundations that it has been consistently sinking into the ground.

18. LA PAZ SAND DUNES

Image courtesy of flickr.

The La Paz Sand Dunes is an 85-square-kilometer protected sandy coastal desert and beach located in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, in the Philippines. The area is known locally by the name Bantay Bimmaboy, a name which refers to the common perception that the dunes resemble pigs (“baboy” in Filipino) in shape.

The area is also known as the Desert of the North and is a popular location for shooting films.

19. PAOAY LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, Paoay Lake National Park, things to do in Laoag, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Image from Flickr

Paoay Lake, locally known as Dacquel a Danum, is a lake in the municipality of Paoay in northwestern Luzon in the Philippines. It is the largest lake in the province of Ilocos Norte and one of the largest natural lakes in the area.

20. SANTA MONICA CHURCH

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, Santa Monica Church, things to do in Laoag, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte

Image from Flickr

The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, commonly known as the Santa Maria Church is the parish church of Santa Maria in Ilocos Sur province, Philippines.

21. SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH

San Agustin Church, things to do in Laoag, tourist spots in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Norte Tourist spots

Image from Flickr

The Saint Augustine Church, commonly known as the Paoay Church, is the Roman Catholic church of the municipality of Paoay, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. Completed in 1710, the church is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the building.

WHERE TO STAY IN ILOCOS NORTE

PEOPLE’S INN

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte, People

People’s Inn is located in Laoag, 14.5 km from Paoay Sand Dunes and 22.5 km from Paoay Church. This 1-star inn offers free WiFi. An Asian breakfast is available each morning at the property. The nearest airport is Laoag International Airport, 9.7 km from the property. Room rate starts at 1,839 PHP a night.

ISABEL SUITES

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte, Isabel Suites

Isabel Suites is located in Laoag. It houses a restaurant and offers complimentary WiFi access and parking. Each room and suite features air conditioning, cable TV and a wardrobe. The private bathroom offers hot/cold shower facilities, toiletries and slippers. Cailian Grill and Resto features a selection of local delights.

Room service is also provided. Room rate starts at 1,450 PHP a night.

PALACIO DE LAOAG

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte, Palacio de Laoag

The Palacio de Laoag has free WiFi. Guests at the 3-star property can enjoy garden views in the rooms and access to an indoor pool. The property provides entertainment staff and free shuttle service. At the hotel, the rooms have a closet, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom.

A continental breakfast is available daily at The Palacio de Laoag. The accommodation has an outdoor pool. You can play pool at The Palacio de Laoag. Staff at the reception can assist guests at any time of the day. Room rate starts at 2,259 PHP a night.

PLAZA DEL NORTE HOTEL AND CONVENTION CENTER

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte, Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center

Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and an outdoor swimming pool. Local and international dishes are served at Ayuyang Restaurant. Rooms with tiled flooring and a balcony are equipped with cable TV, mini refrigerator and private bathroom with shower. Select rooms offer a bath.

Relaxation options at Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center include massage and spa therapies. Other facilities include a 24-hour front desk and chapel. An airport transfer service is available at a charge. Room rate starts at 3,000 PHP a night.

VIVEN HOTEL CORPORATION

Viven Hotel Ilocos Norte, where to stay in Ilocos Norte

Modern and air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi are provided at Viven Hotel. Part of 365 Plaza, where shopping and dining options and a casino are available, the hotel has 3 dining options.All rooms have a flat-screen cable TV and desk.

Private bathroom comes with a hot and cold shower and free toiletries.A 24-hour front desk, garden and mini-market can be found at the hotel. Other facilities include a tour desk and free parking. Tribeca offers local cuisine, coffee, pastries and cake. International dishes can be sampled at Tio Padre. Desserts and tea are served at Bon Appetea.

Room rate starts at 2,800 PHP for a night.

Click here to book your accommodation in Ilocos Norte with Agoda.

WHAT TO EAT IN ILOCOS NORTE

BAGNET

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Bagnet is the double-fried crispy pork specialty of Ilocos. It’s a cross between chicharon and lechon kawali where the lean meat is crispy but not dry and the pork skin is fried to a crisp. You’ll taste the natural taste oh so yummy taste of the pork!

PINAKBET

Pinakgbet Ilocos Norte

Image courtesy of flickr.

Pinakbet is a popular Ilocano vegetable dish. t is a vegetable stew made with tomatoes, eggplant, string beans, okra, and bitter gourd. The dish might have different version all over the country but the Ilocano pinakbet uses a much loved fermented fish sauce called bagoong isda to season the dish, so it is really a must try!

EMPANADA

what to eat in ilocos norte

Ilocos Norte has the best tasting empanadas. If you are in Laoag, you can go to Batac which was about 30 minutes away to buy empanadas. Batac is like the empanada capital in Ilocos Norte. They even have Empanada Festival on the City Charter Day each 23rd of June.

LONGGANISA

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Ilocano Longganisa might be famous, but it is said that the ones from Laoag, specifically in San Nicolas Public Market are jucier because it contains more fat, making it also more lethal. Unlike the Vigan longganisa, Laoag has minimal vinegar or contains none at all.

TINUBONG

Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, tinubong

Tinubong is a local delicacy that means cooking the mixture of young coconut meat, sugar, margarine, cheese, and ground glutinous rice inside a young bamboo or tubong. It is a native favorite and is usually made and serve for occasions such as Christmas, New Year and even Birthdays.

FESTIVALS IN ILOCOS NORTE

DINAKLISAN FESTIVAL

Dinaklisan festival Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Norte Tourist spots

Image from Flickr.

Celebrated from April 29 to May 1, Dinaklisan Festival is celebrated to pay tribute to the fishermen and to give homage to the Almighty for the rich marine life in the sea. People come together for the float parade, street dancing and the coronation of the town’s beauty contest winner.

BAC-BACARRA FESTIVAL

Bac-Bacara Festival is a festival celebrated to honor the town’s patron saint, St. Andrew de Apostle. It happens every November and it started in 2005. The legendary word “bac-bacarra” is a specie of freshwater fish abundant in the river during the 15th century which gave birth to the town’s name.

PAMULINAWEN FESTIVAL

Pamulinawen Festival Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Norte Tourist spots, festival in ilocos norte

Image from Flickr.

It is celebrated in Laoag every February 10, which is the feast day of Saint William the Hermit, its patron saint. It is an affair which is primarily done to give honor, pay our homage and extend our thanks for the benevolence and generosity of Saint William. Through his intercession to the Lord, Laoag City has been blessed and spared from calamities and disasters.

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Ilocos Norte Tourist Spot Guide – 14 Practical Attractions to Visit in the Northern Ilocos Region

Learn about the best Ilocos Norte tourist spots when exploring the northern luzon

Other than the political thought when Ilocos Norte comes to mind, many captivating places await every enthusiastic traveler.

From World Heritage sites and museums to beautiful beaches and dunes, there are plenty of things to do in Ilocos Norte.

Other than its noteworthy landmarks and attractions, Ilocos Norte is also an ideal place for gastronomic adventures. Some exciting foods to try are veggie pizza, Ilocos empanada and longganisa, and of course bagnet.

Traveling to Ilocos Norte

Fly from Manila to Ilocos Norte

Tourists coming from Manila can book flights from Manila to Laoag City in Ilocos Norte. You will depart at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4 in Pasay City and arrive at Laoag International Airport. Travel time takes around an hour and 10 minutes. Other than Manila, other major hubs in the country don’t offer direct flights to Laoag.

Travel by Private Car

Laoag City is 477km away from Balintawak in North Luzon Expressway. Travel time takes around 8-9 hours, depending on the season, which could take up to 10 hours during the holiday break.

Travel by Bus

Provincial buses operate daily at predetermined trips. Most of their terminals are in Sampaloc in Manila and Cubao in Quezon City. Bus companies like GV Florida and Farinas Bus. You can opt for a regular aircon or the more comfortable de luxe or sleeper bus at a higher rate. Traveling by bus takes around 9-10 hours.

Find out the best places to visit with this Ilocos Norte tourist spot list now

Table of Contents

1. Paoay Church

This UNESCO-listed World Heritage site, also called San Augustine Church, is a famous Ilocos Norte tourist spot worth visiting.

The timeless architecture of Paoay Church emphasizes the Baroque style, characterized by its massive 24 buttresses displaying on its sides.

Likewise, its facade’s solid coral rocks and bricks are a testament to the olden construction methodology’s resourcefulness.

On the other hand, the detached bell tower has played an essential part in Ilocos Norte’s history. This three-story structure was used as a watchtower for Katipuneros during the Spanish era and by the Filipino guerrillas during the Japanese occupation of World War II.

Completion of the original building dates back to 1710. After almost three centuries of its existence, NHCP completed the conservation of its exterior in June 2020.

It takes around a 30-minute ride from Laoag City before you reach Paoay.
Visiting Paoay Church not only takes you back in time, but it is also a great place to reflect and appreciate history.

2. Paoay Sand Dunes

A trip to Ilocos Norte wouldn’t be complete without taking an adventure at Paoay sand dunes.

Prepare yourself to scream and get dirty by taking some fun yet exhilarating activities like the 4×4 ride, ATV ride, and sandboarding.

Thanks to its rolling hills and steep slopes, Paoay dunes favor an all-out outdoor adventure you can have to your Ilocos Norte tourist spot visit.

Ideally, it is best to visit early in the morning to avoid the heat. Likewise, staying here just before the sunset awaits a scenic landscape to the nearby sea.

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The seemingly vast barren landscape also became a setting of some local TV shows and movies.

The Paoay Sand Dunes is just a few 15-minute rides shy away from the city proper.

3. Bangui Windmills

In the northern part of Ilocos Norte, the Bangui Windmills offer a different sight to behold for every tourist.

The 20 towering 70-m high wind turbines generate a considerable amount of renewable energy to power at least 40% of the province’s demand.

Lining along the Bangui Bay shore, these massive structures create a unique contrast to the sea and mountains nearby.

You can take many photographs as you want or walk along the beach from one windmill to another.

Entrance to this Ilocos Norte tourist spot is free. And when you’re feeling tired but wants to have extra fun, you can also try horseback riding by the shore.

There are also food stalls for a quick bite and stalls for your mandatory souvenirs like the wooden replica of windmills and seashell crafts.

4. Patapat Viaduct

Another popular Ilocos Norte tourist spot when it comes to scenic structures is the Patapat Viaduct in Pagudpud.

As the fourth longest bridge in the Philippines, the Patapat viaduct has a span of 1.2 kilometers. Moreover, this bridge connects two barangays in Pagudpud, near the border of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan province.

Embracing the mountains’ curves just above the shores of Pasaleng Bay, traversing here offers a picturesque view along the way. Besides, you can also pull over to a broader viaduct section to capture some instagrammble photos.

With the lush greens of the mountains and the navy blue waters of the sea, you’ll surely mesmerize the beauty, even just for a while.

Vehicular traffic may be light here but always practice caution since you will still be on the road.

5. Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

The coastal views of Ilocos Norte are genuinely unique in most cases. Like in the town of Burgos, you can spot the Kapurpurawan rock formation.

This geological rock formation protruding along the beach keeps tourists in awe because of its white surface.

Its name comes from the Ilocano word puraw, meaning white. Meanwhile, its unique shape and color are the result of weathering and oceanic waves.

Getting close to the rock itself requires some trekking from the drop-off point near the highway. Then you have to walk for a while or ride a horse for a small fee.

The beach here, however, is not suitable for swimming and any other water activities.

Make the most of taking postcard-like photos or marvel at the rough waves coming ashore.

6. Saud Beach in Pagudpud

For beach lovers, Saud Beach in Pagudpud is the place to be when visiting Ilocos Norte.

Saud beach makes a perfect weekend getaway for locals and nearby provinces, mainly because the crowd is manageable.

Fine creamy-white sands, towering palm trees, and calm sea waters sync perfectly for an unforgettable seascape.

Tourists will also enjoy the affordable beach resorts and hotels that line just a few steps from the beach.

Besides swimming, tourists will also love playing outdoor games on the beach like volleyball, badminton, or frisbee throwing.

For early risers, the sunrise view makes a refreshing scenery. The sunset otherwise draws some romantic vibes for those traveling with their loved ones.

When choosing to camp instead, ask your local guide first about the designated camping areas.

If you are looking for an affordable white sand beach experience in the Northern Luzon, Saud Beach in Pagudpud shouldn’t miss your Ilocos Norte tourist spot itinerary.

7. Malacañang of the North

When in Paoay, the Malacañang of the North is another Ilocos Norte tourist spot not to miss.

Built as a holiday residence of the Marcos Family, this bi-level house-turned museum has distinguished Spanish architecture.

The noticeable living spaces here are the sizeable living room, the grand staircase, spacious ballroom, and even an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

The back is an open veranda overlooking Paoay Lake and manicured lawn to the rest of the property.

Here, you can gaze at the memorabilia of the Marcos family. You can also have a slice of the history of the former first family life who lived here.

The museum is open to the public at a minimal entrance fee.

Tourist who loves seeing olden Philippine houses will surely appreciate this well-preserved historical abode.

There is also a small shop for you to buy some souvenirs on the ground floor, too.

8. Paoay Lake

You can visibly appreciate the Paoay Lake after touring the Malacañang of the North.

Here you can calmly observe this freshwater’s natural beauty or watch migratory birds flock at its banks.

Local legend says the location of Paoay Lake is once a prosperous village that sank after an earthquake. Now, Paoay Lake is one of the natural parks in the region.

Some cafes and restaurants are within the lake’s outskirts, offering a vantage point to watch the sunset.

When feeling adventurous, you can rent a paddleboat or kayak.

9. Sinking Bell Tower

In the heart of Laoag, Ilocos Norte, there is a bell tower that naturally sinks.

The Augustinian friars built it in the 1600s, and it was too late to realize that it sits on a sandy foundation, causing it to sink an inch year by year.

The sinking bell tower is quick to spot near the busy streets of Laoag. Just a few steps from the Laoag Church, this bell tower still rings the bell every Sunday.

Now, stalls have sprung near the tower, obstructing its view. However, you can wait for this Ilocos Norte tourist spot to light up during the night for a dramatic perspective view.

10. Laoag Cathedral

Also known as Saint William’s Cathedral, this church is the Catholic Diocese seat in the region.

Originally built from wood and thatch, today, the Laoag Cathedral displays Italian Renaissance architecture.

Two massive columns are supporting the unusual bi-level facade. The center top is a niche-like recessed portion that displays an image of their patron saint – San Guillermo el Ermitaño.

Masses are offered here in three different languages, which are English, Tagalog, and Ilocano.

Visiting Laoag Cathedral is an excellent addition to your day tour or pilgrimage tour in Ilocos Region.

11. Cape Bojeador

Another historical landmark to include in your Ilocos Norte tourist spot itinerary is the Cape Bojeador in Burgos.

The Cape Bojeador dates back to 1892 with its evident brick wall construction. This unassuming lighthouse is still a functional edifice that guides sailors approaching the territories of Ilocos Norte.

The drop-off point is near the national highway, where parking spaces are also available. Then, you may opt to ride a tricycle to take you to the property or walk for around 15 minutes for a quick exercise. Lastly, before reaching the viewing deck, you must take a few steps on a concrete staircase.

The deck’s view offers a unique viewing platform overlooking the ocean from one side and the mountains on the other side.

At a very minimal entrance fee, you can learn more about its construction in the 1890s and how it was challenging during the Luzon earthquake in 1990. You’ll hear some unique stories from the guides for every room too.

Don’t forget to take some lovely photos or ask your local guide for assistance.

12. Juan Luna Shrine

If you are a fan of laid-back and untapped tourist attractions like museums, you may want to add Juan Luna Shrine in Badoc to your Ilocos Norte tourist spot list.

This two-story restored ancestral home is a lifesize work of art itself that showcases contemporary elegance.

Locally available materials like molave woods and clay bricks made up the Juan Luna Shrine. Its ground floor houses the artists’ artworks and memorabilia, while the upper floor shows the living, bedroom, Azotea, and chapel.

Note that the artworks are only reproductions of his original masterpieces, though.

Some artifacts you can also spot represents his brother, General Antonio Luna. These include his sword and uniforms.

Juan Luna is a renowned national artist in the Philippines, and his work of art displays his patriotism and nationalism.

13. Batac Museum

Also called Marcos Museum and Mausoleum, this museum in Batac dedicates to former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Tourists can have a glimpse of some interesting artifacts and memorabilia of his family. The house also served as the old resting place of the late leader.

Batac Museum has no entrance fee, but donations are welcome.

Come and stop by at the Batac Museum if galleries like this interest you.

14. Kabigan Falls

Another Ilocos Norte tourist spot to visit in Pagudpud is the Kabigan Falls.
This 87-foot cascade lies in the middle of a tropical forest where tourists can get a chance to commune with nature.

Note that a guide will accompany you for a minimal fee.

Tourists can expect some 30 minutes of an easy trek through the forest and passing across some streams from the drop-off. After that, you will arrive at the magnificent water body in the middle of the woods.

You can take a dip at the naturally-formed basin. The water could be freezing, though, especially during the wet season.

Visiting Kabigan Falls is a fun addition to your tour in Pagudpud.

Nearby Tourist Destinations | Vigan | Cagayan |

Start planning your Ilocos Norte tourist spot itinerary now

Laoag City in Ilocos Norte is one of the busy cities in northern Luzon. With sprawling commercial businesses, the city maintains its charm to tourists who want to relive it in the olden days.

Century-old heritage sites and underrated museums are some of the gems the local and national government preserves, for these are timeless testaments of the province’s rich history and culture.

The best time to travel to Ilocos Norte is during the dry season, from January to June. Its peak reaches during March to April during the school break and Holy Week season.

If you want to visit during the cooler months of November to December, you can expect a more laid-back vacation during these times.

Plan your next weekend or extended vacation now. Find deals on your accommodation now so you can curate your Ilocos Norte tourist spot itinerary carefully while maximizing your stay.

If you find this list helpful, you may want to share this with your circle.

Remember that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. For your guidance about the changes in health protocols, you may visit the guidelines from the Department of Tourism or visit their Facebook Tourism page. Stay safe.

Source https://appreciategoods.com/places-to-visit-in-ilocos-norte/

Source https://www.gamintraveler.com/2022/04/30/best-ilocos-norte-tourist-spots/

Source https://hungrytravelpal.com/ilocos-norte-tourist-spot/

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