If you’re headed to the north and are looking for fun and adventure – then look no further than Ilocos Norte. Brimming with history, culture and more, Ilocos Norte has definitely put itself on the map for a variety of reasons. If and when you head over, here are the top things to do in Ilocos Norte:
Sta. Monica Church, formerly known as San Miguel Church, is the biggest church in the region. The church was built in 1779 in honor of the first Augustinian missionaries who made their way to Sarrat, Ilocos Norte. The church is connected to a former convent known as Casa del Palacio Real and stands beside a bell tower.
Dubbed a national treasure heritage by the National Museum, Cape Bojeador or Burgos Lighthouse was built in 1892 atop a hill called Vigia de Nagparitan. As one of the last remaining Philippine Spanish Lighthouses, Cape Bojeador has become a busy tourist attraction despite it still being operational.
Say Ilocos and one of the first things that pop into mind are empanadas, especially those from Batac City. Batac is Ilocos Norte’s oldest town and is so well-known for the empanadas that they even have a festival for it every June.
Batac empanadas are a bright orange, deep fried and stuffed with hard boiled egg, green papaya and longganisa. Make sure you bite into glutinous rice treats, as well. Especially, “Tupig” which is grilled in banana leaves and topped with melted butter, grated coconut and sesame seeds.
Bite into “Patupat”, which is made with coconut milk, sugar and a sprinkle of salt. And of course, try out “Sapin-sapin” which is made out of several layers of colored glutinous rice and coconut milk.
Overshadowed by neighboring Pagudpud and Laoag, Sarrat is home to the biggest church in Ilocos Norte and the birthplace of former president Ferdinand E. Marcos. While visitors often opt to visit the grand Malacanang of the North in Paoay (where he lived while president), it’s quite refreshing to visit his humble childhood home.
While many opt to go to the Paoay Sand Dunes, visitors should try heading over to La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag, as well. Just as thrilling and exhilarating, the one-hour adventure entails sandboarding lessons and a bumpy ride to the sand dunes that rewards guests with breathtaking views of the surrounding area and of the South China Sea.
If anything, Saud Beach in Pagudpod should definitely be considered an underrated gem. With its white sand and blue water, the palm tree dotted beach is definitely a paradise worth visiting.
Considered one of the most photographed tourist spots in Ilocos Norte, the Patapat Viaduct is a 1.3 km long bridge that connects the Maharlika Highway to the Cagayan Valley Region.
As one of Ilocos Norte’s must-see tourist spots, Ilocos Norte is the best place for the windmills due to its location between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. The wind produced is called North Westerly winds and is perfect for wind energy generation. The power production contributes to a little over 40% of the province’s power.
Also known as San Agustin Church, Paoay Church is considered one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in the Philippines. The church is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1993.
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