The Ilocos region particularly Ilocos Sur & Ilocos Norte is a famous destination to city dwellers in Manila. It comprises various activities like (1) strolling or riding a kalesa to the historical Spanish-era houses in Vigan, (2) enjoying a 4×4 ride in Paoay‘s Sand Dunes, (3) checking out the humongous windmills in Bangui, or (4) beach vibin’ at Pagudpud‘s Blue Lagoon!
Doing a North Loop trip? Read my North Loop travel guide here: North Loop Itinerary & Budget
About Ilocos Sur & Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Sur & Ilocos Norte is more than just historical sites and exhilarating activities. It is also famous for its signature delicacies that tourists are fond of. For example, Vigan empanada and okoy, chichacorn, longganisa, bagnet, and sinanglaw. Truly we cannot deny that fact that Ilocos is famous because of its local delicacies alone.
Moreover, the 2 provinces are located in the Northern most part of Luzon. This is why the weather is unpredictable, the tides can go up and down anytime of the year. However, the best chance of good weather is during summer season in the Philippines.
I visited Ilocos last December 2021 and the weather wasn’t in our favor. And then my family and I visited Ilocos again last May 2022 where the weather is finally on our side! Finally!
Where to Stay?
Assuming that you are following this 3 Days 2 Nights itinerary and that you are a budget traveler. Below are the places I recommend for your stay.
1st Night: Vigan, Ilocos Sur
I highly recommend Kak N Tot Transient or Jun & Tel Transient House. They have budget airconditioned rooms for couples, groups and/or families. We got our room with private bathroom for Php1,500.00 good for 5 people.
2nd Night: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
We stayed at Classique Homestay & Cottages which is a front beach of the famous Blue Lagoon beach. The price of the homestays here are quite expensive considering their facilities. However, this is the most budget place we saw with decent front beach. Air-condition room starts at Php2,500.00 good for 4-6 people. You can find other accommodations around the area but the beach is not that good from my preference.
Day 1: Ilocos Sur
Since we did a road trip and we came from Pangasinan, we left our house at 4am in the morning and arrived to our first destination in Old Quirino Bridge at 8am. We took some photos and headed to our next destination which is the Bantay Bell Tower and Church. There is no entrance fee to the Bantay Bell Tower, but they accept donations.
We checked in to our homestay in Jun And Tell Transient House which is just 2-3 minutes away from Vigan’s Calle Crisologo. After that we decided to rest for a few hours and headed straight to Baluarte Zoo at 3-5pm. We paid Php200.00 each for a shuttle ride going to 5 sites/stops.
At night we went strolling at Vigan’s Calle Crisologo. This is the place where you can buy souvenirs and food delicacies like chichacorn, longganisa iloco, bagnet, etc. You can also ride a kalesa here to appreciate more beauty of the Spanish-era houses. Kalesa ride is Php250.00 for a group of 4 and it will last for 1 hour. Calle Crisologo is the most famous tourist destination when in Ilocos Sur.
Sidetrip: Crisologo Museum
Day 2: Ilocos Norte
The next day, we woke up at 3am and left Vigan at 4am. We headed straight to Paoay Church which is my Dad’s most favorite Church in the country. We went to take a few photos outside the Church then my Mom paid her respects and lighted a candle inside. The travel time from Vigan to Paoay is about 1 hour and a half.
Subsequently, we went to the Malacanang of the North and Sand Dunes which is still within the premises of Paoay. The Malacanang of the North opens at 9am to 4pm everyday and the entrance fee is Php20.00. It is just beside the main highway in between Paoay Sand Dunes and Malacanang of the North.
The price of Sand Dunes varies on your negotiating skills. They gave us a price of Php2,000.00 for a group of 5. But you can still lower it down to Php1,500.00 if you are good with your negotiating skills. Unfortunately for us, we were not able to try it because we have 2 kids with us.
We went straight to Bangui Windmills which is another 1.5 hours from Paoay Sand Dunes. You can actually see the windmills even just along the road of Bangui. However I highly recommend going straight to the beach where you can see the windmills up close. It is so incredible up close!
After Bangui Windmills, we now entered Ilocos Norte and went to our accommodation in Blue Lagoon to check in. We took a rest for a few hours and walked by the shore in the afternoon.
Day 3: Ilocos Norte
We woke up at 5:30am and bathe in the beach for about 2 hours. After that we packed our things and did a sidetrip to Patapat Bridge before going home. We left Blue Lagoon at 9am and arrived in Vigan at 12:30pm just in time for our lunch. My family did one last stroll and rode a kalesa before going home. At 2:30pm we went back to Pangasinan and arrived at 7pm. End of tour.
Take note that the Kalesa Parking Area is just beside Vigan Park, a short walking distance from Calle Crisologo.
|Help me improve my travel guide! By commenting suggestions in the comment section below, I am very open to new ideas. Drone shots credits to Milo Quinantoto.|
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