Last week, me and my friends from work went North to explore the beauty that is Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. I have been wanting to do this for the long time, and up to now, I cannot believe that I was actually able to fulfill one of my dream getaways.
First stop, Vigan! Vigan is famous for Calle Crisologo, a street known for its Spanish-style houses. The street is busy with its souvenir shops and calesas that pass by from time to time. It is best to visit Calle Crisologo while the sun is rising from dawn to morning, or while the sun is setting from afternoon to evening. Calle Crisologo is pretty both at daylight and at night! While at Calle Crisologo, try Irene’s Empanada. Best. Empanada. Ever. At the end of Calle Crisologo, you will see tricycles who offer a tour of Vigan for a reasonable price. We hired one and went next to Baluarte Zoo.
Baluarte Zoo is owned by Chavit Singson, a famous politician here in the Philippines. It takes care of different animals such as ostriches, deers, miniature horses, and birds. Entrance fee is free.
From Baluarte, we headed to Hidden Garden. There is not much to see, except that you can dine here.
Our last stop is Bantay Bell Tower. It stands over a hill, primarily built to watch over the town of Bantay during the Spanish era.
Since we were tired and sleepless from last night’s bus ride all the way to Vigan, we decided to head to Pangil Beach Resort, where we will be staying for the duration of our trip in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. To get to Pangil Beach Resort from Vigan, ride a bus headed to Laoag and alight at Currimao Junction. From there, a tricycle, or in our case, a van from the resort will pick you up.
A brief review of Pangil Beach Resort: 4 out of 5 stars. The staff are friendly and always accommodating while the facilities and the amenities are well-taken care of. Although, they have to improve on the dishes served in their restaurant. We were surprised to be served Chicken Sisig with mushroom!
For the second day of our Ilocos Trip, we went to Pagudpud.
First in our itinerary was Cape Bojeador Lighthouse located in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
This place is perfect for photo shoots with a vintage theme. Also, this place gives you a majestic view overlooking Ilocos Norte.
From Cape Bojeador, we drove to Patapat Viaduct. It is a bridge built along the coasts of Pagudpud. It is said to connect Ilocos Norte and Cagayan Valley.
You can see a very little part of our van from the picture above.
From Patapat Viaduct, we drove all the way back to head to Saud Beach and had our lunch. Pagudpud beaches are coined to be the “Boracay of the North”. I haven’t been to Boracay, so I can’t really compare.
But it is worth noting, though, that this beach didn’t disappoint! It has beautiful shoreline. <3
From Saud Beach we headed to see the famous Bangui Windmills. To describe this place as breathtaking is an understatement.
Out of all the places we visited, Bangui Windmills is by far our favorite.
Last in our itinerary for the day was Kapurpuruwan Rock Formation.
Overheard from other tourists: Back then, people were allowed to walk and take pictures on the rock formation itself. However, that is not the case today, because according to rumors, someone died there and vandals were written on the rock formation. Tsk.
For our last day in Ilocos, we toured Laoag and Paoay. We first went to Marcos Museum to pay respects to the late President Ferdinand Marcos. Taking pictures of President Marcos’ body is not allowed. From there, we went to Paoay Church.
Paoay Church is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
I suggest you visit Paoay church not just in the morning but also during the night. The church is beautifully lit in the evening.
From Paoay Church, we drove to Malacanan of the North. It is where President Marcos and Imelda Marcos used to say while in Ilocos. Behind the palace is Paoay Lake.
To wrap up our Ilocos trip, we went to La Paz Sand Dunes. We didn’t try any of the activities, though, because we went there at noon and it was scorching hot. I suggest you go there when the sun is about to set.
That’s it! The drive back home is a gruesome 12-hour bus ride. But looking back at all the places we visited, it was all worth it.
Total damage: Approximately P5,500 inclusive of bus fare and accommodation.
All pictures are taken with Canon FX and Solid Gold 200