From Vigan, I headed further up north to Laoag and lazily roamed around the city and nearby towns for 2 days. Laoag is 2 hours away from Vigan, and around 9 to 10 hours away from Metro Manila , both by public bus. There are comfortable buses that travel by night from Manila to Laoag , as well as the other way around , which I think is fairly ideal to do for budget conscious travelers, because it saves you a night stay at the hotel. Farinas Bus and Partas Bus leaves pasay on a scheduled trip.
I will be uploading a separate detailed post on recommended Ilocos backpacking budget , but for now , here are some of the highlights and the must do’s, inspired by my recent visit to Ilocos Norte:
Visit Bangui Windmills in the Morning . The Windmill complex is an iconic landmark of Ilocos province’s progressive state . Bangui is around an hour bus from Laoag City .
Head further up north and spend lazy afternoon at Pagudpud Beach . This is another hour away from Bangui by bus + tricycle.
Cape Bojeador Lighthouse . Along the way back to Laoag from Pagudpud by bus, drop by this charming lighthouse up the hills of Burgos , overlooking the mighty South China Sea. A lot of Filipino movies have been shot in this enchanting location.
Lazy around the grounds and gardens of the Majestic Paoay Church , Preferably late afternoon, or ’til sun down, if you wish; Paoay is just 30-45 minutes away from Laoag by public jeepney. A Unesco World Heritage Site, this is probably the most photogenic church I have ever visited. It is also where the Filipino/ Thai movie “Suddenly Its Magic” was shot .
From Paoay, it is also just one tricycle ride away to the Malacanang of the North, a Pride of the Marcos Regime .
Sample Ilocano and international inspired Dishes at Rufino’s Restaurant just beside Paoay Church
Roam Around Laoag City on Foot , and sample grilled Batac Longanisa at Dap ayan food stalls along Rizal Street.
Visit Ilocos Museum and Check out Food stalls and cafes at the compound of the Museum.
Where I Stayed : Texicano Hotel along Rizal Street, just stone throws away from Farinas bus Terminal. Rooms start at 350 pesos , Ideal for backpackers. Will upload a separate article for suggested cost, stay tuned =)