I personally suggest that one Filipino should at least experience an Ilocos Norte tour at least once in their lifetime. Imagining one province giving you so must to see and experience within a day. From old heritage churches to white beaches to windmills up to a coastal desert, there are so many things to do here making one day jam-packed.
Ilocos Norte is a special place for me as this was the first place I traveled miles away from home out of my hard-earned money. I remembered myself packing stuffs for our Ilocos tour years back, I was too excited that I even bought a new backpack just for this trip. The 11 hour travel didn’t bother nor scared me but it made me too excited that I can finally start my journey of seeing the beauty of my country. So for now, I listed some of the most visited tourist spots of Ilocos Norte. I am planning to write a more detailed blog about other less known spots of the province once I get back.
Knowing Ilocos Norte:
Ilocos Norte is a Region I (Ilocos Region) province located on the northwest corner of Luzon Island. It has Laoag City as its capital city. Ilocos Norte became known as the hometown of the former president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, who used to be the longest serving president of the country that lasted 20 years.
Places to visit in Ilocos Norte:
La Paz Sand Dunes
This is one of my personal favorite in Ilocos Norte. It was actually my first time seeing a desert-like area that actually lies beside a sea! Lapaz Sand dunes, probably the most visited place on the province, is an 85-square km protected sand coastal desert and beach. It’s a desert-like landscape is such a scene that it became popular to be a shooting location for movies and TV shows locally and internationally. Fill your adventurer heart with a thrill of experiencing the landscapes by having a rollercoaster ride on their 4×4 vehicle or by trying the sandboarding.
Paoay Church, completed in 1710, was declared as a collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993. This Baroque architecture has walls made of coral stones and bricks that said to be Javanese in architectural styles. A three-storey coral bell tower stands separately at some distance from the church that served as observational post for the Filipino revolutionaries against the Spaniards in 1898 and Filipino guerillas against Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Malacañang of the North
Malacañang of the North served as an official residence of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and family in Ilocos Norte. This two-storey mansion was opened to the public last 2011 as a museum. It resembles a 19th century bahay na bato with an overlooking view of the alluring Paoay Lake.
Marcos Museum and Mausoleum
It is a museum in Batac, Ilocos Norte exclusively devoted to our former President Marcos. The museum, that used to be the ancestral home of the Marcoses, showcases large cluster of collectibles of the late president all throughout his years up to his presidency. It used to house as well the preserved body of Ferdinand Marcos encased on a glass coffin until he was transferred at the “Libingan ng mga Bayani” last 2016. Today, they still display a wax replica of Marcos body inside the glass coffin.
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
An intricate natural art that was formed thousands of years by the natural forces and phenomena. It is a breathtaking sculpture by the shore with creamy white limestone formations. It came from the word “puraw” which means “white” as its color suggests. The place is windy and a little walking is needed to reach the formation.
Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
This lighthouse was structured by the Spanish government as part of their plan of lighting up the Philippine archipelago during their colonial period. Also known as Burgos lighthouse, it stands 65 feet tall and was first lit up on March 30, 1892 and still functions up until today.
Your Ilocos Norte tour wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t visit the iconic Bangui Windmills. This will usually come into our minds every time we heard of Ilocos Norte to the point that the province became synonymous with windmills. This famous spot highlights a series of windmills standing in a row on the shoreline of Bangui Bay.
Patapat Bridge and Viaduct
Patapat Viaduct is a coastal bridge that connects Maharlika Highway in Laoag to the Cagayan Valley. It is more than just a typical bridge, it wreathes around the mountainside while having a beautiful view of the Luzon coastline on the other side. Tourists and tour coordinators will usually park their cars on the side of the road to take photos along the scenic bridge for few minutes.
Blue Lagoon is one of the beautiful beaches found North of Luzon. It’s a stretch of shoreline with white to off-white sand and azure waters. So if you’re thinking of spending time to relax under the sun and swim your heart out of the waters, this is the spot for you!