Ilocos (Laoag, Vigan and Pagudpud)

Travel Blog by Jen
January 21, 2008

Finally flew up North to see the cities of Laoag, Vigan and Pagudpud from Jan 19-21, 2008. We decided to have Laoag as our home base for this trip. It was a good thing as Fort Ilocandia is beautiful. The property and grounds are well-maintained. The red-brick walls, arches, the courtyard and the fountain reminded me of pictures taken in Spain. Fort Ilocandia boasts of its own beach, an Olympic size swimming pool, tennis courts, fishing ponds, a mini-zoo, ATV riding and a casino.

Fort Ilocandia's well-kept grounds

Fort Ilocandia

We spent 3 days only for the trip but it is ideal to stay for four to better explore each city. The fastest way to reach Laoag City is by plane. Only an hour's flight from Manila, this is better than taking a road trip which can take approximately 12 hours. Note that from Laoag city, Vigan is 2 hours away by land; and Pagudpud, is 1.5 hours away. Roads are in good condition and traffic is light.

Our itinerary was as follows:

Day 01: We had late lunch in a famous restaurant serving Ilocos cuisine - LA PRECIOSA in Laoag. Try their bagnet (deep-fried pork meat) and "poqui-poqui" (eggplant sauteed in tomatoes and egg).


Poqui-Poqui ("Tortang Talong")

After lunch, we went to MUSEO ILOCOS NORTE which showcased the rich cultural heritage of the Ilocano folk.

Museo Ilocos Norte

We also visited MALACANANG OF THE NORTH - the official residence of then Philippine Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. The mansion is huge with 7 bedrooms and a balcony overlooking Paoay Lake.

Next, we headed to PAOAY CHURCH (St. Augustine Church) which is included in the UNESCO's World Heritage list. Its architecture is unique as it is a combination of Gothic, Baroque and Oriental. Having been completed in 1894, it is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.


DAY 02: Early morning start to get to Pagudpud. On the way there, we stopped first at CAPE BOJEADOR LIGHTHOUSE - the highest lighthouse in the Philippines. Built in 1892, the lighthouse stands on a promontory in Burgos, 45 kilometers north of Laoag City. It still sends out signals to ships passing by the Cape facing the northern portion of the South China Sea.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Right beside Pagudpud lies Bangui, a peaceful, scenic coastal town with a rich colorful history. In recent years, the construction of 15 wind turbines standing 70 meters tall became an added attraction to Bangui, attracting tourists and photographers alike. The NORTHWIND BANGUI BAY PROJECT is a 25-megawatt wind power generation plant, the first wind power plant in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. The facility provides 40% of the power requirement for Ilocos Norte. This is an amazing photo opportunity one shouldn't miss.

We then proceeded to the famous beaches of Pagudpud-- the "BLUE LAGOON" and SAUD BEACH. The white sand is fine and the waters are blue.

Blue Lagoon

Also stopped at BANTAY ABOT CAVE. It's essentially a rock formation with a hole in the middle! From inside the hole, one can have a nice view of the ocean.

Back again to Paoay for lunch at HERENCIA -- home of the famous Pinakbet Pizza. The word is the contracted form of the Ilocano word "pinakebbet", meaning shrunk or shrivelled. The original Ilocano pinakbet uses bagoong, of fermented monamon or other fish, while further south, bagoong alamang is used. The basic vegetables used in this dish include native bitter melon, eggplant, tomato, ginger, okra, string beans, lima beans, chili peppers, parda and winged beans. Must try this as well as other unique pizza flavors such as Dinuguan, Chicharon and Ilocandia Pizza.

Yummy Pinakbet Pizaa.  Must try!

Stopped at the MARCOS MUSEUM and MAUSOLEUM or BALAY TI ILI. The ancestral house of the Marcoses in Batac showcases the memorabilia of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The preserved remains of Pres. Marcos can still be viewed today.

Next stop was VIGAN to see the famous ancestral houses along CALLE CRISOLOGO. Vigan is a must-see for the pedestrian tourist. It's interesting to see these preserved houses with ancient tile roofs, balustrades and hardwood flooring. Cobblestone streets complete the walking experience!


For the animal lover, visit also Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson's BALUARTE. It features a mini zoo, a skeet shooting range and free palomino rides. Entrance is free to the public :-)

DAY 03: Free for leisure until departure to airport.

It is best to hire a van to get from place to place especially if you're traveling with a big party. What we got was a van with a seating capacity of eleven. We were lucky to have made contact with Eucliez Esteban (mobile +63905-) who was efficient and very accommodating :) Contact him directly if you wish to avail of his transport service.

* All photos are Skycab's own.

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