Ilocos: The Historical Wonder 3D/2N
Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte are provinces in the Philippines that are rich in cultural, historical and breathtaking sites. Sand dunes, rock formations, windmills, beaches and more can be explored in just a couple of days. Ilocos Sur takes pride as the city of Vigan is incuded in the 7 New Wonders of the World.
We contacted a local travel agency that had a package tour, which made our trip easier and hassle-free. We paid Php2800/pax for the roundtrip transfers from Manila to Ilocos and back. Entrance fee to the sites we visited are also included in this package. The only thing is that we were together with another group of friends who also took the same tour. But if you guys are planning to travel on your own, you can still follow the same itinerary as ours
SITES VISITED: Batac, Marcos Mausoleum, Paoay Church, Sand Dunes (ATV,4×4 ride and sand boarding), Malacanang of the North, Laoag City, Sinking Bell Tower, Ilocos Norte Capitol, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Kapurpurawan Rock Formations, Bangui Windmills, Saud Beach, Blue Lagoon, Bantay Abot Cave, Patapat Viaduct, Kabigan Falls, Vigan City, Baluarte ni Singson, Burnayan Pottery Making, Calle Crisologo
I shared this trip with my boyfriend and one of my closest friend. We’re from Cebu, which means we still had to book a flight from Cebu to Manila and endure an 8-hour van ride to Ilocos.
Our flight to Manila was on the morning of August 6, 2015 (Thursday). We informed our travel agency that we have arrived and on 10pm that day, we left for Ilocos.
DAY 1, Friday – PAOAY, LAOAG, BURGOS, BANGUI
We arrived at Paoay approximately 6am and ate our breakfast at a local restaurant. After eating and having freshen up ourselves, we left for Paoay Church, also known as St. Augustine Church. We stayed here for around 30minutes and headed to Paoay Sand Dunes. This is a known site for the extreme 4×4 ride and sand boarding. We can’t get enough of the thrill the 4×4 ride gave us.
After the fun adventure at Sand dunes, we went to Malacanang of the North. This is a 5-hectare property which is also considered an important paart of the Philippine history. This used to be the residence/resthouse of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the 10th president of the country. The whole mansion is decorated by antique furniture and interesting art pieces. We got to see the long table where he held meetings during his time, their old bags and belongings which were displayed at the 2nd floor, and everything else which were real part of our history.
We then ate our lunch at Laoag City, just across Laoag Cathedral and the Sinking Bell Tower. There are a lot of budget friendly restaurants around. So budget for food won’t really be a problem. 😉
By the way, the bell tower is called such since it is so heavy and is built over sand foundations and has been continuously sinking to the ground.
Sinking Bell Tower
For me, the highlight of this day’s tour was Kapurpurawan Rock Formations and Bangui Windmills. Nature indeed has million ways to amaze us. The pictures doesn’t even give justice.
After we toured around the rock formation and windmills, it was already 5pm and it was time for us to check in at Saud Beach, Pagudpud. We had dinner and spent the night with the beachfront cold breeze.
DAY 2 – PAGUDPOD
We woke up at around 6:30am, ate our breakfast and prepared for today’s tour. We left at around 8am and headed directly to Patapat Viaduct and then to the Blue Lagoon (Boracay of the North).
We ate lunch then had our very first trekking experience in Luzon. Kabigan Falls. It wasn’t a very long trek though, but the view as we were heading to the falls was amazing. Our view for the first half were the farm, carabaos and bahay kubo (a nipa hut). It was indeed a very relaxing view. The second half was more of nature and tall trees and big rocks. After around 45minutes, we reached the waterfalls. Many were already swimming at that time and we didn’t bother to swim anymore since it was a bit crowded so we just decided to take pictures and just sit at the side of the falls. The sound of the water hitting the bottom was enough for us to get a refreshing feeling. We stayed there for an hour or 2 and decided to head back to the beach resort. There we spent our afternoon swimming and enjoying the oh-so-big waves which made us feel as if we were inside a washing machine. We enjoyed till sunset and after a very tiring day, decided to rest in our room and gather more energy for the next day’s tour.
Got a shot of the falls without the crowd! :))
DAY 3 – BANTAY, VIGAN CITY
This day, we woke up earlier since we still have to travel an hour or so to reach Vigan. Our first stop was at Marcos Mausoleum in Batac, where the late President Ferdinand Marcos’ body is put on display. It was amazing to have spoken to one of President Marcos’ bodyguard who’s still alive and continues to guard his body at the Mausoleum.
Along our way to Vigan, we stopped by at Bantay Church and Bell Tower for a few minutes, and then went on with our trip. We arrived at Calle Crisologo an hour before lunch. This has been Vigan’s pride even before it was included in the 7 Wonders of the World. A very historical street, indeed. Here you’ll get a glimpse of the houses during the Spanish Era and you really would feel as if you’ve travelled back in time! Mejor calle jamás!
The historical Calle Crisologo <3
After strolling through the streets, tasting their specialty and different kind of foods, and buying our pasalubongs, we left for Baluarte ni Singson. This is owned by Chavit Singson. It is a wildlife sanctuary, and he has a building at the back where he displayed pictures and coats of the animals he hunted. You are allowed to take a picture with the tiger too for a reasonable amount.
Our last stop before heading home was Burnayan, the place for Pottery Making. A local taught us how they make pots and I was given the opportunity to make my first pot. Hand control and amount of pressure given is very important. And I’m glad I was able to try making one! 😀
And here is where our Ilocos tour ends.
We headed back to Manila at around 3pm and arrived 11pm. We checked in at an inn near our dropoff point which was Trinoma at Quezon City. We spent the night and headed to the airport the following day for our flight back to Cebu.
Click the link below to know more about Ilocos!