A DIY Travel in the Province of Ilocos Norte: 13 Must-see Tourist Spots in Ilocos Norte - the Northern Coastal Province in the Philippines

Aspirant traveler? 
Why not visiting Ilocos Norte? I know most of us want to be a traveler for being a traveler is amazing but having the required budget can be pretty tough. Nowadays, there were heaps of air flight promos that may tempt you to go and travel to other places. 

Are you planning to visit Ilocos Norte?  Or, if you don't have a vacation destination in mind yet, why not considering visiting Ilocos Norte the beautiful northern coastal province in the Philippines? If you would check the internet, there were heaps of splendid places that you may want to see.

This was taken in Ilocos Norte

The province of Ilocos Norte is about 500 km (8 hrs and 43 mins) via MacArthur Hwy/Manila N Rd.  There are a lot of popular tourist destinations that you may enjoy during your visit to the province of Ilocos Norte. Some are man-made and some are created by nature. Some tourist spots that are man-made are: The Sinking Bell Tower, Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino,  Malacañang of the North, Paoay Church, Marcos Museum and Mausoleum, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Bangui Windmill, Patapat Bridge

Some tourist spots that are made by nature are Lapaz Sand Dunes, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, Kabigan Falls.

This article will go over 13 of the most popular tourist destinations. They're all definitely worth the trip.


How to get to Ilocos Norte from Metro Manila? 

There are actually numbers of ways to get to Ilocos Norte. There is no proper ways of going there, it really up to you on which way of transportation you are most preferred. 

By Bus: Public buses are available day and night. Several bus companies, like Florida, Partas, Fariñas, and Maria De Leon, have regular trips directly to Laoag City. Normally, the travel time takes around 10-12 hours by day and 8-10 hours at night. The day trips take longer due to more traffic. In my experience, I would suggest to travel during night time to avoid heavy traffic. 

By car: If you enjoy long drives, you can drive to Laoag City from Manila. In a private car, it will take around 8-10 hours, depending on you and your companion's preferences (bathroom, scenery, and rest breaks, etc.). The negative part of going there is that Ilocos is very far from Manila and you need to have enough rest to enjoy your trip in the province. I know how tiring driving in a very long way but if you are preferred to do it then you may take your time.  If you are not familiar with this route, you can check it out on Google Maps.

By air: Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Airphil Express all have daily scheduled flights to Laoag City. Check their websites from time to time to watch out for discount and promo fares offered by these airlines. 

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte? 

There were heaps of hotels and travel inns where you can stay during your visit in the province. If you are not tight in budget then you can go to a deluxe hotel but if you are a poor traveler like us then you can stay in a cheap travelers inn but of course, you need to consider its safeness and cleanliness. 

During our visit, we stayed at Viewport inn, there is no specific check-in time, your check out will depends on what your check-in time is. 1 room will just cost you P450.00  good for 2 pax and P50.00  per additional person. The room is clean enough, air-conditioned and with hot shower.

13 Must see  Tourist Spots in Ilocos Norte

1. The Sinking Bell Tower

Laoag City very own version of Sinking Belltower is located in the heart of City.  The tower is known to have a massive in terms of weight and it was built on the sandy ground. Because of its base or because of its ground the tower sinking every now and then and it recorded to sink an inch every year. 

The Sinking Bell Tower

2. Lapaz Sand Dunes

Have you ever wondering to visit the desert in Africa? Africa no more because in Lapaz Sand dunes, you can have a great experience in their unique geological dessert environment found only in Ilocos Norte. 

Right in front of Pacific Ocean

Lapaz Sand dunes can be accessible for both tricycle or by private car. It is just 15 minutes away from the City proper. Due to its desert environment, it is a popular location for shooting films.  It was used as a location for the Philippine movies Himala and Panday and for segments of the Hollywood films Mad Max and Born on the Fourth of July. The height of the dunes ranges from 10 to 30 meters. The dunes themselves are scenic but a panoramic view of the South China Sea can also be seen from them. 

Lapaz Sand Dunes

You can have a great experience and enjoy their 4x4 adventure car just for 2500.00 for 4 persons. 

3. Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino

Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino

The Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino is a first class hotel in Ilocos Norte, located in Brgy. Calayab, Laoag City — just 9km away from the city proper. A 77 hectare of pleasure and adventure providing top-notch suites for local and international travelers. We are located in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte in the midst of sand dunes along a 2-kilometer shoreline facing the South China Sea. 

4. Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North was built as the official residence of the late President Marcos in Ilocos Norte. It is a two-story building located near the legendary Paoay Lake. The residence is complete with bedrooms, a dining area, a kitchen, an office, a spacious ballroom on the second floor, and even had an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Also, it has an expansive terrace and a beautiful garden with magnificent panoramic views of the lake.

Malacañang of the North

Currently, it operates as the Marcos Memorabilia Museum, which is open to the public with an entrance fee of P20.00.

5. Paoay Church

The Saint Augustine Church, commonly known as the Paoay Church, is the Roman Catholic church of the municipality of Paoay, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. The church was completed in the year 1710 and is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the building.  It is declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993.

Paoay Church

Right in front of the church is a spacious space in which perfect for family bonding or picnic. 

6. Kabigan Falls

Kabigan Falls

Located in Barangay Balaoi in the town of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Kabigan Falls is 1.8km far from the national road. Kabigan Falls can be reached by foot in about an hour and a half.  Unfortunately, due to heavy rain struck few days before we can to Pagudpod, tour guides and local advice no to go there because the trail is very risky and I think there was a review trekking the reason the official won't allow anyone to go that time. 

7. Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Just about an hour away from Laoag City is where you will find the jump-off point for Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. It is named so as “puraw” which translates to “white” in Ilocano, and it is the visually appealing rock formation that is the attraction that the tourists want to see.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

The Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is a product of nature’s own as it was sculpted by weather forces such as strong winds and sedimentation.

Before going to Kapurpurawan, you need to pay a P15 environmental fee to help maintain the cleanliness of the tourist attraction. Then, the rocky coast can be accessed by going down a flight of stairs near the souvenir shops. It is not that steep so elders can still visit. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and appropriate footwear as it can be muddy because the path to the rock formations is made of soil, shrubs, and pools of water. If in case you don’t want to walk, you can ride a horse that costs P100 for a two-way ride. 

8. Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Another national historic site in Ilocos Norte is the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.  Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, also known as Burgos Lighthouse, is a cultural heritage structure in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, that was established during the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

The lighthouse was first lit on March 30, 1892, and is set high on Vigia de Nagpartian Hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador where early galleons used to sail by. After over 100 years, it still functions and serves ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago from the north and guide them safely away from the rocky coast of the town. 
Cape Bojeador Lighthouse Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Before going up, there is a P12.00 entrance fee for the maintenance of the place. It is longer allowed to go upstairs in the towers itself for everyone's safety and due to the age of the materials, it is too risky to go upstairs. 

9. Bangui Windmill

Bangui Windmill

The Bangui Windmill is not only the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, but it's also right here in Ilocos Norte. Bangui Wind Farm is a wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The wind farm composed of 20 units of 70 meter (230 ft) high, it was arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the West Philippine Sea.

10. Patapat Bridge/Viaduct

Patapat Bridge/Viaduct

The Patapat Viaduct is a viaduct located at the municipality of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, a coastal resort town on the northernmost tip of Luzon Island in the Philippines.  It is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines.

Patapat Viaduct

It is a concrete coastal bridge 1.3 km long and connects the Maharlika Highway from Ilocos Region to Cagayan Valley. The bridge is elevated 31 meters above sea level and it rises along the town's coastal mountains, which is the starting point of the Cordillera Mountain Range that snakes through Northern Luzon.

11. Timangtang Rock 

Timangtang Rock

This huge, an islet be like. It lies a few miles from Patapat Viaduct and few meters from Bantay-Abot Cave. It is a bell-shaped rock located on the seacoast of Sitio Gaoa, Balaoi, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. You can hike from the shoreline to Timmangtang Rock During low tide. There, you can relax and enjoy the cool ambiance of the sea breeze while looking at the calm blue water of the sea.

12. Bantay Abot Cave

Bantay Abot Cave

Bantay Abot Cave is not really a cave but a hill that has a hole in it. The hole is said to be formed many years ago during an earthquake. The top of the hill or cave is covered with lush green grass thus adding the beauty of the cave. I'm not actually pretty sure if it's allowed to go up but I think not. During our visit, Kuya Noel told us not to go closer to the whole because there were lots of rocks falls from the upper part that may harm us. 

13. Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon is one of the most beautiful beaches in the North. It is located few meters from Timangtang rock and Bantay Abot Cave. You may enjoy the worlds longest water zip line here. 

Blue Lagoon

The beach has an extensive stretch of arching shoreline, roughly a mile long of white sand. Just a few meters from the shore is a gradually sloping but shallow sea floor. This is perfect for wading, searching shells, and for snorkeling as well.

The beach is quite overpopulated during weekends, holidays and especially during the summer season with locals, visitors and some foreign guests. So, it is highly suggested to come not during those seasons. However, if you love the crowd, then join the party!

Surely, there are no laws that would prevent you from doing something or fun activity as long as you do not disturb others or hurt nature and environment, Yes? If you don't know the place, the only key I can highly suggest is: "wag mahihiyang mag tanong". For the detailed expenses and itinerary please click here

Enjoy your trip and let your worries go away even for just a day! Cheers!

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Northern Philippines