Having lured the Spanish and Chinese in with promises of gold, Ilocos Norte currently attracts local and foreign tourists alike with promises of man-made and natural wonders.
From the Bangui windmills, beautiful churches, beaches and other natural formations, Ilocos Norte is so rich in history and culture that visitors will need more than a day or two to really be able to take it all in.
Check out this guide to one of the north’s greatest destination.
- Fast Facts
- Visiting Ilocos Norte
- Best Time to Visit
- How to Go to Ilocos Norte
- Getting Around Ilocos Norte
- Things to do in Ilocos Norte
- Tourist Spots in Ilocos Norte
- Where to Eat in Ilocos Norte
- Where to Stay in Ilocos Norte
- Public Transportation: Jeepneys, Tricycles, or Vans
- Languages/Dialect: Ilocano, Tagalog, and English
- Payment Options: Cash and credit/debit cards are accepted.
- Known For: Bangui Windmills, Paoay Church, and Empanadas
- If you’re going sightseeing, it’d be best to withdraw the cash necessary for entrance fees. There are several ATM’s in Laoag city, though they do tend to get sparse the farther you go out of the city.
- Be prepared for long car drives – getting from one site to another may take as short as 15 minutes or as long as 2 hours. Bring a pillow, a book, or anything that’ll keep you busy and relaxed while on the road.
If you really want to get in touch with the local culture, then head over during the month of June for the Empanada Festival in Batac and then go to Laoag City for the Pamunlinawan Festival in February.
You may also opt to go when it isn’t the rainy season (typically the -ber months), as the rains may dampen your tours around the city and cause bigger and rougher waves at Pagudpud. Though, if you want to go surfing – this may be ideal for professionals catching a ride off the Badoc Coast.
To get to Ilocos Norte by air, you can take a 45 minute flight from Manila via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. You will land at Laoag City International Airport, which also receives chartered flights from China and Taiwan.
The best way to get to Ilocos Norte’s capital, Laoag City, by land is via bus. There are several lines that can take you (Florida Bus Line, Partas Liner, Baliwag Transit and Fariñas Transit) with the trip taking you up to eight to nine hours.
While there is no ride that specifically ends in Ilocos Norte, Star Cruises’ Superstar Virgo has made Laoag one of their home ports before continuing on to Hong Kong and Kaohshiung.
Try out local transportation options like tricycles and jeepneys for an affordable way to get around. If you ever feel like you’re lost, friendly locals can help you with directions. You can also rent out vans for a whole day and they can take you to all the top tourist destinations in your itinerary without hassle.
- Climb to the top of Cape Boreador Lighthouse and catch awesome panoramic views of Ilocos Norte.
- Drive along the famous Patapat Viaduct and take photos of the country’s fourth longest bridge.
- Go sand boarding and ride a 4×4 at the Sand Dunes.
- Swim and soak up some sun at Saud Beach in Pagudpud.
- Pay a visit to Sta. Monica Church, the largest Church in the region.
- Bangui Windmills: These windmills are truly a unique must-see in the region. As you drive along Bangui Bay, you’ll notice that there are more than 20 turbines set up along the coast.
- Kapurpurawan Rock Formation: Through thousands of years, the strong waves along Bangui Bay have helped form this stunning natural wonder.
- Malacanang of the North: The former official residence of the Marcos family during his presidency, their old home has been transformed into a museum.
- Paoay Church: Don’t forget to drop by one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in the country. Paoay Church also known as San Agustin Church, was inspired by a mix of oriental, gothic, and baroque architecture.
- Sinking Bell Tower: This Spanish era bell tower was built on soft and sandy foundation, which is the reason why it sinks and how it got its name.
Read: Top 10 Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots
- Herencia Restaurant (Ilocano Cuisine): If you’re looking for a great place to get great Ilocano food, go to Herencia’s and try out their classic Pinakbet and their famous pizza!
- BergBlick Restaurant (German and Filipino Cuisine): Get a taste of unique German and international food and head to this restaurant, which name means “mountain view”.
- Batac Riverside Empanadahan (Ilocano Steet Food): Your visit won’t be complete without trying Ilocos Norte’s famous Empanadas! These delicious orange treats are fried with bean sprouts, eggs, and longganisa. Depending on the variation, they usually cost no more than P50.
Read: 10 Best Restaurants in Ilocos Norte
- Rivermount Hotel and Resort: This 4-star hotel and resort is located in the town of Sarrat with a beautiful view of the Padsan River. Families and friends can enjoy the hotel’s very own pool and restaurant.
- Alta Vista Ilocandia: Enjoy the perks of both white sand beach with clear blue waters and the backdrop of a scenic mountain range at this seaside hotel.
- Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel: The only five star hotel in Ilocos Norte, Fort Ilocandia exudes luxury with its stunning brick walled structures and classic interiors.
Read: Where to Stay in Ilocos Norte: Top 5 Choices
Explore the beauty of Ilocos Norte and discover all the best tourist spots and activities. Check out all the best hotels and cheap flights to Ilocos Norte.