15 Awesome Things to do in Laoag (Travel Guide)

Last updated on August 18th, 2019 at 08:40 pm

If you are looking for things to do in Laoag, then this is the perfect post for you! Read on as we tell you the places to go to while exploring the city in our Laoag travel guide. History has it that the name Laoag came from the Ilocano word meaning light, clarity or brightness thus, City if Light.

Laoag is a 3rd class component city and capital of the province of Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It is the province’s political, commercial, and industrial hub and the location of the Ilocos Region’s busiest commercial airport. The name Laoag comes from the word “light” since the region of Ilcos Norte is one of the sunniest regions in the country.

Read here things to do in Pagudpud and things to do in Vigan!

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

Laoag Travel Guide

How to get to Laoag

Getting to Laoag 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.

Getting 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.

Getting to Laoag by bus from Clark

If you are coming from Clark Pampanga, you can ride the 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.

Getting to Laoag from Baguio

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

Getting to Laoag from Vigan

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.

Read here how to get to Laoag full blog post!

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Transportation around Laoag

things to do in Laoag, transportation around Laoag

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.

ATM’s in Laoag

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 Laoag

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 Laoag

things to do in Laoag, Laoag plaza

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!

Daily budget to visit Laoag

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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Things to do in Laoag

1. Sinking Bell Tower

Sinking Bell Tower, things to do in Laoag
Image courtesy of Melissa Enderle

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.

2. Visit La Paz Sand Dunes

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.

3. Visit Ilocos Norte Museum

Housed in the historic Tabacalera warehouse, the snazzy Museo Ilocos Norteis one of the better ethnographic museums in the Philippines. It houses a large collection of Ilocano, Igorot and Itneg traditional clothing, household utensils, ceremonial objects and more.

4. Malacanang Ti Amianan

Malacanang Ti Amianan, things to do in Laoag
Image courtesy of tony hidalgo

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. Paoay Lake National Park

Paoay Lake National Park, things to do in Laoag
Image courtesy of Ilocos Norte

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.

6. Santa Monica Church

Santa Monica Church, things to do in Laoag
Image courtesy of Melissa Enderle

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.

7. San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church, things to do in Laoag
Image courtesy of anyoflores

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.

8. Rizal Amusement Park

Rizal Amusement Park is where the Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal’s status was erected in 1957 by the Ilocos Norte Teachers Club and the citizens of Ilocos Norte. The park was also later restored and renovated and a playground, swimming pool, picnic area and a mini zoo were added. Because of it, it has become one of the most well known tourist spot in Laoag.

9. Visit 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.

More Things to do in Laoag

10. Try Empanadas

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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

It’s a perfect place to take pictures and enjoy. If you go first things in the morning you will avoid the crowd.

13. Taoid Museum

Taois Museum is an intimate museum showcasing exhibits on the life of the Cordillera tribes, with relics & artwork. If you want to have a deeper understanding of the Cordilleran culture and their way of life, you can visit the “Taoid” Museum in La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center in Laoag City.

14. Aurora Park

Aurora Park, things to do in Laoag
Image courtesy of Lota Hilton

Aurora Park, located in National Highway, Brgy. 14, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, is where the statue of the maiden Pamulinawen can be seen at the top of a fountain. This is also the same place where the Tobacco Monopoly monument is standing since 1882.

15. Day Trip to Pagudpud

things to do in Laoag, day trip to Pagudpud, Pagudpud

Since Pagudpud is just less than two hours away from Laoag, you can opt for a day trip in Pagudpud while in Laoag. You can rent a motorbike for 400-500 PHP per day for a day tour in Pagudpud. You can also rent tricycles for a day tour 2-3 people maximum. Prices for a day tour in Pagudpud on the North are 600 PHP and 900 PHP for South. If you do both day tours in the same day it costs 1300 PHP.

Where to sleep Laoag

Casa Felipa

Casa Felipa provides rooms with air conditioning and a private bathroom in Laoag. The property has a garden, as well as a terrace. The property has a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi is available. Guest rooms at the hotel are equipped with a seating area. All rooms feature a desk. Room rate starts at 1090 PHP a night.

Click here to check their rates and availability!

Pamulinawen Hotel

Pamulinawen Hotel is located in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. Providing free Wi-Fi in public areas, it also has an outdoor pool and free parking. The front desk operates 24 hours. Air-conditioned rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV and fridge. Suites come with a separate living room. Private bathrooms have either a bathtub or shower facilities. Room rate starts at 3600 PHP a night.

Click here to check their rate and availability!

Universal Suite

Located in Laoag, Universal Suite provides accommodations within 14.5 km of Paoay Sand Dunes. Complimentary WiFi is featured. All units feature air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. There’s a fully equipped private bathroom with bidet and free toiletries. A continental breakfast is served at the property. The in-house restaurant specializes in International cuisine. A car rental service is available at the bed and breakfast. Room rate starts at 1100 PHP a night.

Click here to check their rates and availability!

Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center

This hotel 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. Laoag International Airport is a 15-minute drive away. Room can costs up to 3200 PHP a night.

Click here to check their rates and availability!

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Food to try in Laoag

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!

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.

Pinakbet

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!

Festivals in Laoag

Pamulinawen Festival

Image courtesy of Constantine Agustin

The festival is in honor of the Feast day of St. William the Hermit, the patron Saint of Laoag City which is being celebrated every February 10. Celebrated for a whole week, the Pamulinawen Festival is something that the locals prepare for with plays, dances, parades and other merry making activities. There is even a food festival during the Pamulinawen Festival which draws people from all over the region to participate. All government and non-government organizations prepare for this Laoag festival and even corporations actively participate in it.

Dulang Food Festival

The Dulang Food Festival is a Laoag festival where one can taste test the local favorites of Ilocos and those who join this event come from all areas of the region. The dishes that one can taste during the Dulang Food Festival are prepared with one-of-a-kind utensils that one will not find in any store and they also have unique names. During the first few times that the Dulang Food Festival was celebrated, every single household in Laoag would prepare their favorite dish and invite guests over for merry making.

There are more places to visit in the Philippines and around Laoag. You can go to Pagudpud and Vigan in Ilocos Province. Hope you liked it our Laoag travel guide. And let us know in the comments below your favorite things to do in Laoag.

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Happy Travels!

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.

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