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ILOCOS: Vigan, Laoag, Pagudpud Travel Guide Part-1

In the northern portion of Ilocos Region (Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur) is the original Ilocano homeland. Originally composed of a single province known as Ilocos Province, it used to cover the western part of Northern Luzon and today, the Ilocos Region includes four provinces.

Okay, I just got that from this Wikipedia article since I don't know how to start lol. Anyways, I want to share our awesome experience in Ilocos. We went there in the midst of summer, May 2014 for 4 days and 3 nights.

How to get there?

When going to Ilocos, you can take two options: by land or by air. You can take a bus that will get you to Vigan, Laoag or Pagudpud, drive for long hours, or book a flight to Laoag. We already had a plane ticket (LAO-MLA) going home that we got on a seat sale a couple of months ago so we took the bus going to Vigan.
Destination: Vigan
We left Manila in a Thursday night at around 10pm, and arrived in Vigan around 6am Friday. We just slept through the whole ride. We decided to take the bus so we won't have to rent a place if we got to Laoag, since all flights going to Laoag is at night (we needed to rent a place to stay if we arrived at night).

There are several bus lines that serve the Ilocos route. Originally we planned for a sleeper bus but unfortunately there was a terrible accident that involves the bus company with the sleeper buses. We took Partas instead and only got a standard seat since we arrived at the bus terminal a little late.

For the bus tickets, I cant remember the exact amounts but here's a little range (per person):
Partas Bus Line (Pasay - Vigan)
  • PhP 600 - Standard (AC)
  • PhP 700-850 - Deluxe with CR
*Standard doesn't have a CR but dont worry, there would be bus stops along the way

For the Air Fare (per person):
  • PhP 685.00 - Cebu Pacific LAO-MLA
*Look for a seat sale but don't book a flight on their call center, they are charging PhP 1,600.00 for the call center fee!

Where to Stay?

We actually don't have any reservation in any inn or transient house when we got to Ilocos. We just googled some possible places and looked for it along the way. We we're just looking for a basic accomodation so we just stayed at backpacker hotel in Laoag which is sitting in the city proper. While we stayed at a home stay in Saud Beach.

Saud Beach or Blue Lagoon?

If beach bumming is all you want with peace and quiet, I suggest Saud Beach where you can just enjoy the sand and blue waters with the view of the Bangui Wind Farm. But if you want some activities go to Blue Lagoon which you can wave and kite surf, ride the banana boat and zip line across the blue water. Blue Lagoon have more resorts around the area.


My friend got Kuya Arnel's number in pinoyexchange. He then contacted Arnel for our tours in pagudpud. Arnel has many recommendations in a lot of blogs, I recommend him as well. Here's his number: 0906-938-8308 / 0918-689-07-23 *Remember its more cheap, if you have bigger group


We arrived at Partas Bus Terminal in Vigan, around 6am (a little tired since I didn't sleep well on the bus. Go to the bus terminal early so you can get a deluxe bus and have more comfort during the ride. It's around 8-9 hour bus ride). Upon arriving, I called our contact for our tours for the first day. I got our contact from my aunt which she refered. We got the tour for PhP 3,850.00, which is PhP 550.00 per person (7pax).

Vigan Heritage Village
Heritage Village is about 10 minute walk from the bus station so we went ahead there. See map here.
Calle Crisologo

Heritage Village in the early morning

Many of the houses within the Heritage Village are souvenir shops
I prefer going to the Heritage Village early morning, since there are less people, and you have the place all by your self to take pictures and roam around. At night, the streets got crowded but it seems to be more beautiful.

Crowded street of Calle Crisologo yet, the street looks more appealing at night (taken from a different trip)
After roaming and taking pictures around, we looked for a place to eat. There's a lot of choices around however it's too early so many of them are still closed. Even the souvenir shops are still closed so we didn't got any souvenirs. At the end (or start) of Calle Crisologo are Plaza Burgos, Vigan Cathedral and just a walk away is Vigan City Hall. At night, there's a dancing lights and fountain show in front of the cathedral. In front of Plaza Burgos, are some food stalls which serves some of the common food in Ilocos.

We wanted to order Ilocos Empanada but unfortunately, they are still making it.(maaga nga kasi kami haha) So we instead ordered Vigan longanisa and "sinanglao" which is beef innards .

Sinanglao (kinda like papaitan but not mapait)
The meal costs under PhP 100 (not sure again on the exact amount so here's a range):
  • PhP 10 - Longanisa Vigan (per piece)
  • PhP 10 - Rice
  • PhP 30-50 Sinanglao (free "sabaw" refill)
  • PhP 35-40 Ilocos Empanada

Bantay Church and Bell Tower
After having breakfast, we waited for the shuttle for our tour. When it arrived, we headed to Bantay Bell Tower besides Bantay Church.
Bantay Church
Bantay Bell Tower "Since 1591"

Entrance is free in the bell tower, however you can donate any amount you wish, you can also go inside and climb up.

Hidden Garden
Next to our tour is Hidden Garden. Yes its a garden filled with different plants and bonsai trees that you can also buy. I also saw some bird cages with I think some parrots on it.
Statue displays at the entrance

Entrance is free but their restrooms have a fee. One of their restroom's wall is glass (dont worry no one can see you) which on the other side is a closed room with plants and only the roof is open ( a nice view when doing your thing). They also have souvenir items that you can buy btw.
They also have a restaurant, Lilong and Lilang (Lilong means grandfather or a very old man while Lilang is the counterpart). The restaurant serves different Ilocos food like Vigan Longanisa, Bagnet and the one we're looking for, Ilocos Empanada. They also serve fruit shakes
Vigan Empanada + Watermelon Shake
We only ordered Ilocos Empanada since we already had breakfast back in city proper (again, estimates only of the exact amounts).
  • PhP 40 - Ilocos Empanada
  • PhP 80 - Fruit Shakes (Avocado, Watermelon, Orange, Apple, etc)

We skipped Baluarte since we already had been there, so here are some photos of animals you can see there:

Barangay Pagburnayan
After Hidden Garden, we did a quick drop by to Barangay Pagburnayan for jar making (pottery). You'll see the jars or vases made from clay along the road. We approach one house and went inside to saw the actual jar. They'll show you first how to make it, then you can try it later if you want your hands to get dirty. They don't charge anything in the place, but it should be nice to give them any amount you can.
A local jar maker showing us how to make jars
It's the same jar from the photo above, (nope, not ruined, just adding details)


Paoay Church
After washing my hands, we headed to Paoay (less than 2 hour ride from Vigan), wherein the majestic Paoay Church, Sand Dunes, Malacañang of the North and Paoay Lake is. Its also where Herencia Cafe(famous for pinakbet pizza) is located.
Kaway-kaway sa Paoay

We first went to Paoay Church and It was just wow, truly magnificent structure. At the bell tower side of the church is a small garden and souvenir shop. We bought a rosary from it.
UNESCO World Heritage Site: San Agustin Church of Paoay

Marcos Museum
It was lunchtime when we got to Paoay so after checking out the church, we decided to eat in Herencia Cafe. Unfortunately, the restaurant was full at the moment so we just went first to Marcos Museum in Batac. There, you will see a lot of Marcos memorabilia. There's a PhP 50 entrance fee btw

A lot of photographs, and stuffs that Marcos used during his time from being a representative till he became the president. What I actually want to see there is the Mausoleum. No camera allowed so I don't have any photos. When I went inside, I don't know what to feel. I'm just curious if the body is real or not, but I cant tell hehe. It's too far to observe anyway.

Herencia Cafe
After that, we went back to Paoay and ate at Herencia Cafe. We wanted to try the "pinakbet pizza" but unfortunately it was sold out. So a disappointment for me, second time in Ilocos still haven't tried it. Their food btw is not so pricey, around PhP 200-300 for dish which is good for 2-3 person. Didn't have any photos since I'm so hungry and forgot to take it. We are 7 in a group and we shared not less than PhP 200 each.

Sand Dunes
Next on our tour is Sand Dunes! I always wanted to try sand boarding and this is my chance. But it was not, our tour guide got some problem and needed to end the tour short.
Only photo I shot in Sand Dunes

That pose are convincing them to ride the 4x4 Truck with a GoPro (grabbed from my friend's FB)

So we just took some pictures. Anyways, I got the rates here:
  • PhP 2500-3000 - 4x4 truck (max of 5pax for 1 hour, sand boarding included)
  • PhP 1000 - ATV
Since our tour got cut short, we missed Malacañang of the North and Paoay Lake. We just saw it both along the way to Laoag City. We stayed at Hotel Del Norte, if you read above, we just looked for accomodations on the spot haha (its quite an inconvenience). We ended the first day of our Ilocos Trip in La Preciosa. A restaurant that offers traditional Ilocano dishes like crispy dinuguan, puqui-puqui(yep that's a weird name haha), bagnet w/ KBL (kamatis bagoong, laa??), longgnisa and even cakes. Okay, no pictures again since I'm hungry so I grabbed this again from my friends FB account.

I highly suggest to try this place. It's affordable (see menu here) and the food is great. A must try when you go to Laoag (btw, they also offer pinakbet pizza but we haven't tried since its sold out again)

This ends our first day in our Ilocos adventure, NEXT STOP: BURGOS, BANGUI and PAGUDPUD .


Hey there, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading my article and helped you out with some travel tips and ideas. Please do leave a comment if you have some comments or suggestions and I'll gladly answer it. Cheers!

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