Ilocos…the birthplace of the late President Ferdinand Marcos…and…the birthplace of my grandfather (oh yes, Ilocano blood also run through my veins). Located near the tip of Luzon, the capital of Ilocos Sur is Vigan while Laoag is the capital of Ilocos Norte.
Going to Ilocos from Manila takes 1.5 hour by air thru Laoag airport. For private vehicle, an 8 hour drive to Ilocos Sur and additional 2 hour drive to reach Ilocos Norte traversing NLEX and the provinces of Tarlac, Pangasinan and La Union. Buses also ply Manila-Laoag route like Philippine Rabbit (3643477), Partas (7251256) and Dominion (7414146) among others.
I have been to Ilocos twice. First, when we attended a burial of one of our cousin wherein we were able to have a side trip to Fort Ilocandia, Juan Luna Museum, Paoay Church and Marcos Museum. Second, was when my colleagues and I planned to have a road trip to Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. And this is where my story begins…
For this trip, we opted to rent a van. First, no one from our group is obliged to drive and so everyone will enjoy the trip. Second, hiring a van is economical if you’re traveling with a group instead of paying for public transportation. Third, there are a lot of tourist spots in Ilocos which are far from each other and some are not easily accessible.
For our accommodation, we stayed at Villa Del Mar Resort, located in Saud Pagudpud. It is a class A resort in Ilocos Norte with spacious accommodations, a huge restaurant and swimming pool.
Our itinerary was for 2 days and 1 night. To save time, we traveled at night and arrived in Pagudpud before sunrise. We went directly to Ilocos Norte on our first day and toured around Ilocos Sur the next day on our way back to Manila.
Ilocos Province is overwhelming in history and a lot of interesting tourist spots can be seen here. Each municipality has something to boast of, distinct to other municipalities. Ilocos also showcases different architectural structures of churches from European baroque style to Italian renaissance and Neo-gothic design.
Aside from its antiquity, Ilocos also takes pride with its delicacies and specialties like pinakbet, dinengdeng and poqui. Don’t leave the province not having tasted their bagnet, longanisang vigan and empanada.
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