How to reach Ilocos Norte?

Reach Ilocos Norte in many ways – by plane, by bus or by your own car. So it’s your decision which one you think is more comfortable and enjoyable for your travel.

Via Bus: Typically, travel time takes approximately 10 – 12 hours. Day trip may  take longer due to traffic along the municipalities and cities that buses pass by. Buses are available day and night.

bus with CR going to Ilocos

If you are a first time visitor to Ilocos, we suggest you take the day trip as you will see a wide range of stunning sceneries on the way. Pick Deluxe Buses as it has CR inside and also the seats can be inclined and offers foot rest which helps you to relax on your long trip.

 

Fariñas Manila Passing by Vigan City
Regular Aircon 600php
First class with CR 700php
First class with CR and Wifi 750php
Super Deluxe Spacious Seats CR and Wifi 850php
(02) 731-4507 – Manila  
http://farinastrans.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ftrans
Maria de Leon Passing by Vigan City
(0916) 717-2545 / (0909) 344-9661 – Manila
https://www.facebook.com/MariaDeLeonTransFanatics
GV Florida Passing by Vigan City
(02) 781-5849 – Manila
https://www.facebook.com/pages/GV-Florida-Transport-INC
Partas Direct To Vigan City
First Class (2×2 seats) No CR equipped 665php
Deluxe (1×2 seats) No CR equipped, Wifi ready 805php
(02) 743-3242  – Manila
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Partas-Trans-Co

 

Via Private Vehicle:  If you wish to go through a long drive and want an extra challenge to yourself, try getting behind the wheel on your way up to Laoag. Private car takes about 8 to 10 hours depending on you. Incase you want to take a pee in a gas station, take a photo, buy some pasalubong, then its good to bring your car. If you are not familiar with the route, checkGoogle maps.

Via Air:  Philippine Airlines and  Cebu Pacific offer scheduled flights daily to Laoag . You can check their websites every now and then for promo fares. Travel time is 45mins approximately.

Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots

Let’s start with Malacañang of the North. This magnificent two-storey structure was constructed as the official residence of the former President Ferdinand Marcos in the north.

 

Malacañang of the North entrance

 

Malacañang of the North front

At present it houses Marcos Memorabilia. It is more of a Museum now than a residence. Open to the public with an entrance fee of P20.00.

The stairs are just fabulous!

 

Past presidents,  such as Fidel Ramos,  also used this as his  official residence in Ilocos and so did President Gloria Arroyo whenever she travels to Laoag. It has several bedrooms, dining area, kitchen, an office. It also has a  ballroom on the second floor, and even had an olympic size pool area.

malacanang of the north sala

malacanang of the north master bedroom

 

It looks over the legendary Paoay Lake and was made to look like a 19th Century “bahay na bato.

paoay lake

 

Paoay Lake, historically referred to as Lago de Nanguyudan and locally called as dakkel danum, is a horseshoe-shaped lake found in the municipality of Paoay in the northwest part of Luzon.

What are the things that makes Paoay Lake legendary? A tranquil  lake engulfed with tales of mystery. The Paoay Lake was associated with    intriguing and enchanting history narrated by ilokano forefathers and passed upon today’s generation, including other stories or observations that happened in the lake narrated by the nearby  residents themselves.

As the story goes, Paoay lake was once a region labeled as San Juan de Sagun, the Philippines’ counterpart of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Because of the sins of its people, the furious God send an earthquake that sank the town and gave birth of a lake – known today as Paoay lake. Even today Ilokanos still believe that the creatures in the deepest part of the lake are embellished with jewels once own by the people who vanished.

Nowadays, the tale add to the charm and mystery of the lake.

On the other part of the municipality, also famous because of its baroque designs is the magnificent Paoay Church.

paoay church

Paoay Church (also called as the St. Augustine Church) is also called the “Earthquake Baroque” church. It is designed to endure frequent ground shaking  by the Augustinian friars in 1694.

Paoay Church Interior

 

Paoay Church Garden

Paoay Church Garden

 

Paoay Church Bell Tower

Paoay Church Bell Tower

The other reason why I (I said I because my husband didn’t really care – lol) wanted to visit Paoay Church is because of the movie “Suddenly It’s Magic.” It’s where I first saw this jaw-dropping structure and I was easily captivated. Right then, I added Paoay Church on my bucket list.

Herencia Cafe

Herencia Cafe made famous by the movie Suddenly, It’s Magic and Bagnet and Pinakbet Pizza

You can also check Herencia Cafe infront of the church, known for their “Pinakbet Pizza.” This restaurant was where International actor Mario Maurer of Thailand and Filipina actress Erich Gonzales filmed “Suddenly It’s Magic.”   The movie “Si Agimat, Si Enteng at Si Ako,” the Metro Manila Film Festival entry of actors Vic Sotto and Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., was also shot here.

How to get to Paoay from Laoag? The easiest way going to Paoay is by hiring a tricycle or private van.

Juan Luna Shrine Front

Juan Luna Shrine

Badoc is another peaceful municipality in Ilocos Norte, home to a famous artist and patriot, Juan Luna. Juan Luna’s  ancestral home has been converted into an archive of his masterpieces and some memorabilia, known today as Juan Luna Shrine.

 

 

 

Juan Luna Shrine stairway

 

Unfortunately, you can’t find the famous and true copy of Spoliarium inside the shrine. The Spoliarium is regarded as the most valuable oil-on-canvas painting done by Juan Luna. Today, it can be seen in the main gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines.  However, some copy of his paintings can be found inside the shrine, such as “The Parisian Life” and “Tampuhan.”

 

The Parisian Life

 

Tampuhan

How to get to Juan Luna Shrine? You may either take one of the air conditioned busses with Manila – Laoag route. Make sure you get inside  the bus that has Laoag on the front! The bus going to Laoag will pass through Badoc so you can just drop off there and get a tricycle. The trip will usually take about 8 hours – I suggest get a sleeper bus or a bus with a CR .

Next on our list is The Marcos Museum and Mausoleum. It is the current resting place of Ferdinand Edralin Marcos – President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986..

Marcos Museum

 

How to get to The Marcos Museum and Mausoleum? The Museum/Mausoleum is situated in the heart of Batac City, Ilocos Norte.  If you’re coming from Laoag , you can take a jeepney going to Paoay – this jeepney will pass through Batac. Get off the jeepney at the corner street immediately after the Ricarte National Shrine.

Marcos Museum presidential office

The jeepney station in Laoag is located 3 blocks away of Laoag CIty Hall along Hernando Street corner J.P. Rizal Street. Just inform the driver that you’re going to Marcos museum.

 

Marcos Museum Memorabilia

Marcos Museum Memorabilia II

 

Sorry! I can’t show you the remains of the late president as taking pictures are not allowed – to show respect as well.

In Ilocos, the number of tourists doubled due to different landmarks across the province. There are various Spanish-era churches, works of nature and even old structures dated from the old spanish era. However, there is one tourist spot that not only improves tourism, it also helps the entire province boost its power through renewable energy.If Rizal monument is for Manila, Ilococ Norte (particularly Bangui), has Bangui windmill to boast for.

Bangui windmill

Bangui windmill Upclose

Although Ilocos has a lot of tourist spots, Bangui windmill top my list. It is truly a surreal scene. The entire collection of windmills look magnificent from afar but they look more majestic when you’re near them.

 

How to get to Bangui Windmills from Laoag? The Bangui Windmills is an hour and a half travel from Laoag. If you are coming from Vigan, you can take a bus going to Pagudpud. Travel time is about  4-5 hours approximately. Once you arrive in Pagudpud, rent a tricycle going to the Bangui Windmills. On your way to the windmills, you can see the Windmills from afar.

When I think of Pagudpud, I think of it’s beautiful white sand beaches. It’s approximately 11 hours drive from Manila. It is located at the northern tip of the Philippines facing the West Philippine Sea, so expect strong winds. Despite its location, local tourists seek out this tranquil (if there’s no typhoon) coastal town because of its beaches.

pagudpud arc

Saud Beach is probably the most popular beach in Pagudpud as it is where the action is happening. It is sometimes referred to as as the “Boracay of the North”.  Its long stretch of pristine shorline continues to attract both local and foreign tourists.  When we were there,  waves were quite strong, but it did not prevent us from swimming.

saud beach

We stayed at  CASA TERESITA

CASA TERESITA

CASA TERESITA restaurant

Rate starts at Php 1,250 per night: (Note: Rates may change without prior notice. Please contact them to find out the latest rate)

Contact Number: +63917-505-1462 / +63908-869-6434

https://www.facebook.com/ilovecasavictoria

If you prefer a more secluded beach, Blue Lagoon is right for you!

 

blue lagoon

We stayed at Hannah’s Beach Resort.

Hannah’s Beach Resort

Hannah’s Beach Resort II

Rate starts at Php700/night /head: (Note: Rates may change without prior notice. Please contact them to find out the latest rate)

Contact Number: +63928 5206255 / +632-8061477

https://www.facebook.com/hannahsbeachresort

How to get to Pagudpud? If you are travelling from Manila to Pagudpud and you opt for a bus, go with  Florida bus. Don’t worry, this bus has its own restroom and if I am not mistaken…  a WIFI!

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