Ilocos, the land of beautiful bell towers, is one of the few places in the country who have successfully preserved its heritage. In its northern province, the heart is its capital city Laoag, known to be Sunshine City or City of Lights, a perfect blend of traditional and modern lifestyle, a fusion of Spanish and Ilocano heritage.
Laoag City’s and its neighboring towns of Bacarra, San Nicolas, Batac and Paoay reveal the rich influence of the Spaniards in the province with the century old churches, detached bell towers and beautiful ancestral houses, each has their own stories and histories. These are aside from their natural attractions that guarantee everyone a pleasant and well spent stay in this part of Ilocos.
The distinct charm of Laoag and its neighboring towns will surely make everyone fall in love with the north again, again and again.
How to Get There
Manila to Laoag by Land
Laoag is a 10 to 11-hour ride from Manila. Several bus lines serve the route including Florida Bus Line (Contact No: 731-4473, 781-5894), Partas (Contact No: 725-1740, 725-1256, 725-7303, 724-9820), Baliwag (Contact No: 524-7111, 525-1067, 525-3064, 525-6769, 525-2338, 525-2294), Fariñas (Contact No: 743-8582). The trip is via North Luzon Expressway and Manila North Road passing through the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos Sur.
If you’re coming from Tuguegarao, GMW Liner and Florida Liner operate buses to Laoag, fare is not more than P300.00.
Manila to Laoag by Air
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Laoag daily from Manila, travel time is an hour. Meanwhile Sea Air flies Manila to Vigan, Ilocos Sur, only two hours away from Laoag. From Laoag International Airport, there are tricycles and public jeepneys that can take you to the city proper.
Clark to Laoag
For those coming from Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark Field, Pampanga, ride the shuttle or jeepney going to Dau Integrated Bus Terminal, fare is around P50. In Dau Terminal, look for buses going to Laoag.
The sand dunes of Barangay La Paz, Laoag
Where to Stay
There are wide array of accommodation in Laoag City, ranging from home stays, budget inns to the luxurious hotel and resorts. The popular choice among budget travelers and backpackers are Hotel Tiffany, Texicano Hotel, Java Hotel and Balay ni Blas. Rate ranges from as low as P300 per night for a single fan room with very basic amenities, to a thousand.
Location: MH del Pilar St., Laoag City
Contact Nos: +63-77-7703550/+63926-6945221/+63928-2067257/+63923-8832441
Single bed A/C room = P630.00
Twin single bed A/C room = P950.00
Queen size bed A/C room = P950.00
Queen bed and single bed family A/C room = P1150.00
Texicano Hotel, Laoag City
Location : Corner Giron and J. P. Rizal Streets, Laoag City
Contact No: +63-77-7705776
Rates: As low as P300.00 for a single fan room
Location: G. Segundo Avenue (Bacarra Road), Laoag City
Contact Nos: +63910-8776849/+63921-6109910/+63906-3838838
Rates: From P1500-P3000
Balay de Blas
Location: #10 Giron St., Brgy. 7-B, Laoag City
Contact Nos: +63-77-7704389/+63-917-5702110
Rates: From As low as P1200 for Double Bed AC Room
Other accommodations in Laoag City include the five star Fort Ilocandio Resort Hotel and Casino, Aurelius Mansion, Palazzo de Laoag Hotel and Restaurant, Northview Hotel, Isabel Suites, Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center, Grand Octagon Resort, Ilocos Rosewell Hotel, Casa Llanes, Rio Grande de Laoag Resort and Hotel, Hotel Del Norte, Hotel Renzo, Supertram Lodge, La Elliana Hotel, Paradise Lodge and Drive Inn, Parklane Hotel and Thalia Inn.
There are also home stays that offer as low as P300 per night on a basic fan room that can accommodate up to two persons like the one I rented in Barangay 10, Lagasca Street, near Florida Terminal. Contact No: +639192183455/+639192570621.
St. Augustine Church of Paoay, A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Things to Do in Laoag and Nearby Areas
- Walk around the streets of Laoag and see the Sinking Belltower, St. William’s Cathedral, Provincial Capitol, Tobacco Monopoly Monument, Museo Ilocos Norte
- Try sand boarding in La Paz Sand Dunes
- Drop by at Fort Ilocandia and Malacañan Ti Amianan (Malacañang of the North)
- Visit the San Nicolas de Tolentino Church of San Nicolas
- Visit the brick St. Andrew Church and its old bell tower in Bacarra
- Go to Paoay and see the UNESCO World Heritage Site Church of Saint Augustine, popularly known as Paoay Church; the Paoay Lake National Park; and Suba Sand Dunes in the same town
- Try the Ilocano Empanada, Longanisa, Poque-Poque (Poki-Poki) and Bagnet
- Dine in La Preciosa, Dap-Ayan, Macy’s and Saramsam in Laoag; Dawang’s in San Nicolas; and Herencia Cafe of Paoay
- Go to northern towns of the province and see Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos, the windmills in Bangui and various attractions in Pagudpud
- Explore the beaches of Curimao
- Drive south towards Vigan
The old bell tower of Bacarra
- When in Laoag, the towns of San Nicolas, Batac, Curimao, Paoay, Bacarra, Pasuquin and nearby towns are just short jeepney ride away
- You can also go to Vigan by riding a bus going to Manila that passes in Vigan
- Bangui and Pagudpud can be reached in not more than two hours, there are buses and jeepneys going to these northern coastal towns, fare is P50 to P60
- Laoag is best explored at night when the old structures of the city glow with lights
- Commuting from city proper to La Paz Sand Dunes, hire a trike for P100 round trip
- Sand boarding lesson is P2500 for a group of four, transportation via 4×4 from the city to La Paz Sand Dunes and vice versa included, Contact Glenn Guererro: +639088853669