21 Best Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots (Ilocos Norte Travel Guide 2019)

Last updated on June 23rd, 2019 at 10:39 am

Ilocos Norte is a province in the northern part of the Philippines. The province faces the South China Sea in the west and The Luzon Strait in the North The sights and view that you can see and visit there are quite rich in natural beauty. With its rugged mountains, old, historical churches and other establishments and its colorful history and culture, you’ll be sure that you are in for a ride.

We enjoyed our visit especially in Pagudpud wherein we got to relax since it’s a quiet place and not very touristic. In this post, we will be listing the best Ilocos Norte tourist spots in our Ilocos Norte travel guide. From it’s legendary sites to visit, to the food as well as the colorful festivals, we’d give you reasons as to why you should also visit Ilocos Norte.

Read here our favorite things to do in Laoag and things to do in Vigan!

Read here for a full information for a Day Tour around Pagudpud!

Read here our favorite La Union tourist spots!

Ilocos Norte Travel Guide

How to get to Ilocos Norte

How to get to Ilocos Norte by Plane

Laoag International Airport is the main airport serving the general area of Laoag, the capital city of the province of Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. It is the only airport in Ilocos Norte and is the northernmost international airport in the Philippines by geographical location. Flight from Manila to Laoag will only take an hour. There are 9 flights weekly that are available.

How to get to Laoag by bus from Manila

Travelling by bus from Manila to Laoag will take you 10 hours or so on the road. Buses like Fariñas Trans and Partas Bus has direct routes to Laoag. Fare can costs 900 PHP for one way.

How to get to Laoag by bus from

If you are coming from Clark Pampanga, you can ride the shuttle or jeepney going to Dau Integrated Bus Terminal.  Once in Dau Terminal, transfer or look for a bus going to Laoag as there are bus with direct route there. Travel time can take up to 7-8 hours.

We chose this option for traveling from Angeles City to Laoag. It took us 7 hours and the fare was 740 PHP each. The bus from Fariñas Trans was so comfortable and we enjoyed wifi the whole trip.

Baguio to Laoag

Coming from Baguio, there are numerous departures buses and vans that operates daily daily from Baguio City Bus Terminal to Laoag. Travel time is not more than four hours and the fare ranges from 500 PHP.

Vigan to Laoag

Coming from Vigan, Laoag is only an hour and a half away. There are buses going to and from the two places for no more than 100 PHP for one trip.

ATMs and Currency in Ilocos Norte

Aside from most establishments like restaurants and hotels specially those which are at least 3-stars in Laoag accepting cards, there’s also quite a few more ATM Machines around. Still, carrying cash will always be better for emergencies. If you are heading to Pagudpud we recommend you to withdraw cash in Laoag since can get complicated in that area to find ATM’s available.

Internet and Wifi connection in Ilocos Norte

Laoag has internet even in the most remote part. The speed is quite decent but expect a few times a day wherein it can go really slow. You will find wifi in almost all the hotels and guest houses in Laoag. If you have Globe and Smart Laoag is LTE area in most of the places.

Read here for more information about the best Filipino sim for tourists.

Best time to visit Ilocos Norte

March to July is the peak season in Laoag. If you want to avoid many tourists visiting Laoag, it is advisable to visit on months of August to September. Although the weather is humid, it is not hot enough to make you not like it outdoors! All in all, a good time to be here! The best time to visit Laoag is October to December since is the chilliest time to visit Laoag.

Click here to know more about the weather in Laoag!

Transportation around Ilocos Norte

There is a wide range of Laoag transportation options available once in the city itself and it includes jeepneys, tricycles and mini vans. The most commonly used is the jeepney though and this has a fixed route. For shorter distances, a tricycle can be ridden or a mini-van for a more comfortable.

There are buses and vans going to places around like Bangui or Pagudpud.

Daily Budget in Ilocos Norte

Since most spots are either free of entrance fee or the fee is cheap, Laoag day trips can be cheap and budgeted. Aside from experiencing the sand dunes which is one of the most famous yet also one of the most expensive activity to do in Laoag. With 1500 PHP can be a good budget with food, transportation and accommodation plus entrance fees to some spots. Bigger budget will of course bring you more memorable experience but Laoag can already be a beautiful experience just being there. You can go for local food for 50-70 PHP in local carenderias and around 150 PHP in local restaurants in Laoag where you will find Filipino and Western food.

For accommodation a budget room would cost minimum 1000 PHP ($20 USD) and you can go up to 5000 PHP. There are Airbnb options starting from $15-25.

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Ilocos Norte tourist spots

1. Paoay Church

Ilocos Norte tourist spots, paoay vhurch
Image courtesy of YOJIM GA

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. Completed in 1710, the church is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the building.

2. Marcos Museum and Mausoleum

Ilocos Norte tourist spots, Marcos Museum and mausoleum
Image courtesy of Ritz dacky

The Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center is a museum situated in Batac, Ilocos Norte dedicated to former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos which also hosts the cenotaph of the former President. The museum shows memorabilia of the late president, from his stint in the armed forces down to his presidency.

3. Bacarra Domeless Tower

Ilocos Norte tourist spots, Bacarra domeless tower
Image from Flickr.

Bacarra Church is a Roman Catholic church located in the municipality of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, Philippines under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag. The church was founded by the Augustinians, who dedicated it to St. Andrew.   The Bacarra church is famous for its centuries-old, domeless or “beheaded” belfry known as Torre ti Bacarra. The structure stands three stories and 50 metres (160 ft) high.

4. Malacañang of the North

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Image from Flickr

Malacanang Ti Amianan, or also commonly called as Malacañang of the North, is a presidential museum in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It was the residence of the family of Ferdinand Marcos when he was the President of the Philippines. It is a two-story mansion overlooking the Paoay Lake, and consists of seven (supposedly a lucky number for Marcos) rooms, with each room having a theme of historical events from the Marcos era: Study, Agriculture, Diplomacy, OFW (overseas Filipino workers), Culture, Nation Building and Family. The entrance is 20 PHP and it is open from 9am to 5pm daily.

5. Juan Luna Shrine

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Image courtesy of Chelsey Agcopra

Located in Badoc Ilocos Norte, Juan Luna Shrine is the reconstruction of Juan Luna’s home. It is a 2-storey house that was said to be burned down around 1861 but fortunately enough, the ruins that remained made it possible to be reconstructed and made it into the Shrine that it is now. There are collections and displays all over the house where you’ll get to know not just Juan Luna, but also his brother, Antonio Luna as well.

6. Day Trip to Vigan

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A great option while staying in Ilocos Norte is a day trip from Laoag to Vigan that will take less than two hours by bus. Vigan is so beautiful and you can breathe the old Spanish culture around the streets with the calesas. Read here our best things to do in Vigan.

7. Bangui Windmills

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Bangui Wind Farm is a wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The wind farm uses 20 units of 70-meter (230 ft) high VestasV82 1.65 MW wind turbines, arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the West Philippine Sea. The wind farm is created to supply electricity to the province. Thus, the windmills are not only beautiful to look at; they are also useful and environmental tools used to supply electricity.

The beach is so windy an ideal for taking pictures. To get Bangui windmills from Pagudpud is 25 kilometers ride. Once you are there you can buy souvenirs and enjoy the views. There is no entrance fee! Bangui windmills is clear our favorite Ilocos Norte tourist spots.

8. Saud Beach

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The jewel in the crown of Pagudpud is Saud Beach, with its renowned wonderful fine white sand. Saud Beach has cream-colored sand and cool waters, perfect for swimming and beach bumming in. Have a relaxing day or afternoon just on the beach. The resorts in the area makes sure that the shores are clean, so it is a plus point. There is plenty of room for activities such as volleyball or throwing a Frisbee.

9. Blue Lagoon

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Maira-ira beach is a stretch of white sand and crystal clear waters stretching out to the West Philippine Sea. Dubbed as the Blue Lagoon, this is one of the most well known destination in Pagudpud. A number of resorts, luxury and budget, are along the way so tourists can surely enjoy the view and the activities such as swimming and other water sports longer.

The water is so clear and you can even get there with the zipline!

10. Timangtang Rock

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Timangtang rock is a rock formation that can be seen along the seacoast of Sitio Gaoa, Balaoi, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. It is shaped like a sloped hill and is said to be a part of Bantay Abot Cave. They are often called the lovers as Timangtang rock is the male counterpart.

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More Ilocos Norte Tourist spots

11. Burgos Lighthouse

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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.  The lighthouse of Cape Bojeador serves shipping heading towards the Pacific Coast heading towards the Babuyan Channel, also serves ships heading towards the ports of Salomangue and Curmimao. The entrance fee is 20 PHP.

12. Kabigan Falls

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A rustic trail through tropical forest leads visitors to this dramatic natural waterfall. Reaching the place from the main highway is approximately 30-45 minute walk depending on your speed and power. The trek going to Kabigan Falls is mostly in a flat area so you’ll have time to enjoy the beautiful panorama.

It’s mandatory to hire a guide for 120 PHP to reach the waterfalls. Once in Kabigan waterfalls is a nice place for relaxing and it’s not so crowded.

13. Kapurpurawan Rock Formations

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Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is a natural rock formation created through the years by the natural forces of the ocean on the rocky coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte, just a few minutes from the Cape Bojeador. Kapurpurawan comes from an Ilocano word “puraw” which means white. Since most of the rock formations in that area are white, local folks called it “Kapurpurawan”.

14. Dos Hermanos Island

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The Dos Hermanos Islands are two rock formations located off the northern coast of Maira-ira Point in Pagupud, Ilocos Norte, the Philippines. The twin islands are often visited by tourists, and are a natural landmark of Pagudpud.

15. Bantay Abot Cave

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Bantay Abot cave might look like a cave, but it is not really a cave. It is actually a hill that was wrecked by an earthquake in the 80’s leaving a hole in the middle. The top of the cave is covered with lush green vegetation thus adding the beauty of the cave. To get to the interior of the cave, you have to go down a few concrete staircase and a rocky part going up to the hole.

16. Patapat Viaduct

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The Patapat Viaduct is a viaduct at the municipality of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, a coastal resort town on the northernmost tip of Luzon Island in the Philippines. The bridge is elevated 31 meters over sea level. The views are so impressive and it was one of our favorite Ilocos Norte tourist spots.

17. Sinking Bell Tower

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Image from Flickr

St. William’s Cathedral in Laoag City is famous for its Sinking Bell Tower. It is one of the things that will capture the attention of the tourists upon entering the city. The bell tower is one of the landmarks of Spanish colony in the Philippines. The tower has earned its “sinking” reputation because it is so heavy and it was built on sandy foundations that it has been consistently sinking into the ground.

18. La Paz Sand Dunes

Image courtesy of flickr.

The La Paz Sand Dunes is an 85-square-kilometer protected sandy coastal desert and beach located in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, in the Philippines. The area is known locally by the name Bantay Bimmaboy, a name which refers to the common perception that the dunes resemble pigs (“baboy” in Filipino) in shape. The area is also known as the Desert of the North and is a popular location for shooting films.

19. Paoay Lake National Park

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Paoay Lake, locally known as Dacquel a Danum, is a lake in the municipality of Paoay in northwestern Luzon in the Philippines. It is the largest lake in the province of Ilocos Norte and one of the largest natural lakes in the area.

20. Santa Monica Church

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The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, commonly known as the Santa Maria Church is the parish church of Santa Maria in Ilocos Sur province, Philippines.

21. San Agustin Church

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Image from Flickr

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. Completed in 1710, the church is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the building.

What to eat in Ilocos Norte

Bagnet

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Bagnet is the double-fried crispy pork specialty of Ilocos. It’s a cross between chicharon and lechon kawali where the lean meat is crispy but not dry and the pork skin is fried to a crisp. You’ll taste the natural taste oh so yummy taste of the pork!

Pinakbet

Pinakgbet Ilocos Norte
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Pinakbet is a popular Ilocano vegetable dish. t is a vegetable stew made with tomatoes, eggplant, string beans, okra, and bitter gourd. The dish might have different version all over the country but the Ilocano pinakbet uses a much loved fermented fish sauce called bagoong isda to season the dish, so it is really a must try!

Empanada

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Ilocos Norte has the best tasting empanadas. If you are in Laoag, you can go to Batac which was about 30 minutes away to buy empanadas. Batac is like the empanada capital in Ilocos Norte. They even have Empanada Festival on the City Charter Day each 23rd of June.

Longganisa

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Ilocano Longganisa might be famous, but it is said that the ones from Laoag, specifically in San Nicolas Public Market are jucier because it contains more fat, making it also more lethal. Unlike the Vigan longganisa, Laoag has minimal vinegar or contains none at all.

Tinubong

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Tinubong is a local delicacy that means cooking the mixture of young coconut meat, sugar, margarine, cheese, and ground glutinous rice inside a young bamboo or tubong. It is a native favorite and is usually made and serve for occasions such as Christmas, New Year and even Birthdays.

Festivals in Ilocos Norte

Dinaklisan Festival

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Celebrated from April 29 to May 1, Dinaklisan Festival is celebrated to pay tribute to the fishermen and to give homage to the Almighty for the rich marine life in the sea. People come together for the float parade, street dancing and the coronation of the town’s beauty contest winner.

Bac-Bacarra Festival

Bac-Bacara Festival is a festival celebrated to honor the town’s patron saint, St. Andrew de Apostle. It happens every November and it started in 2005. The legendary word “bac-bacarra” is a specie of freshwater fish abundant in the river during the 15th century which gave birth to the town’s name.

Pamulinawen Festival

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Image from Flickr.

It is celebrated in Laoag every February 10, which is the feast day of Saint William the Hermit, its patron saint. It is an affair which is primarily done to give honor, pay our homage and extend our thanks for the benevolence and generosity of Saint William. Through his intercession to the Lord, Laoag City has been blessed and spared from calamities and disasters.

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte

People’s Inn

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte, People's Inn
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People’s Inn is located in Laoag, 14.5 km from Paoay Sand Dunes and 22.5 km from Paoay Church. This 1-star inn offers free WiFi. An Asian breakfast is available each morning at the property. The nearest airport is Laoag International Airport, 9.7 km from the property. Room rate starts at 1,839 PHP a night.

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Isabel Suites

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte, Isabel Suites
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Isabel Suites is located in Laoag. It houses a restaurant and offers complimentary WiFi access and parking. Each room and suite features air conditioning, cable TV and a wardrobe. The private bathroom offers hot/cold shower facilities, toiletries and slippers. Cailian Grill and Resto features a selection of local delights. Room service is also provided. Room rate starts at 1,450 PHP a night.

Click here to check their rates and availability!

Palacio de Laoag

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte, Palacio de Laoag

The Palacio de Laoag has free WiFi. Guests at the 3-star property can enjoy garden views in the rooms and access to an indoor pool. The property provides entertainment staff and free shuttle service. At the hotel, the rooms have a closet, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. A continental breakfast is available daily at The Palacio de Laoag. The accommodation has an outdoor pool. You can play pool at The Palacio de Laoag. Staff at the reception can assist guests at any time of the day. Room rate starts at 2,259 PHP a night.

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Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center

Where to stay in Ilocos Norte, Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center

Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and an outdoor swimming pool. Local and international dishes are served at Ayuyang Restaurant. Rooms with tiled flooring and a balcony are equipped with cable TV, mini refrigerator and private bathroom with shower. Select rooms offer a bath. Relaxation options at Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center include massage and spa therapies. Other facilities include a 24-hour front desk and chapel. An airport transfer service is available at a charge. Room rate starts at 3,000 PHP a night.

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Viven Hotel Corporation

Viven Hotel Ilocos Norte, where to stay in Ilocos Norte
Image courtesy of Viven Hotel Corporation

Modern and air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi are provided at Viven Hotel. Part of 365 Plaza, where shopping and dining options and a casino are available, the hotel has 3 dining options.All rooms have a flat-screen cable TV and desk. Private bathroom comes with a hot and cold shower and free toiletries.A 24-hour front desk, garden and mini-market can be found at the hotel. Other facilities include a tour desk and free parking. Tribeca offers local cuisine, coffee, pastries and cake. International dishes can be sampled at Tio Padre. Desserts and tea are served at Bon Appetea. Room rate starts at 2,800 PHP for a night.

Click here to check their rate and availability!

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Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. He believes in travel without money. Recently, he finished a bicycle trip, 9500 km, from Madrid to North Cape.