Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ilocos Region Trip 2017 (With Sample Itinerary) | LakBayan Diaries

People have been eyeing to see the astonishing attractions in the Ilocos region. It is the home of one of the 7 Wonders of the World (2015), Vigan. I'm truly thankful to be one of the lucky travelers to visit it this year. No there's nothing special in Ilocos this year, it's just that I'm happy to be blessed with all my travels this year.

Enough with the drama, let me virtually tour you in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. Let's start with the attractions in Ilocos Sur.

Bell Tower of Santuario de Nuestra Senora de Caridad and Church

This Bell Tower, which is also known as Bantay Ball Tower is located in Bantay, Ilocos Sur. Its name relates to what it was built for in 1591 - a watchtower for defense against enemies.

The view of the Bell Tower's facade is extremely fascinating. It's situated on top of a hill and within a large hectare of land. It's good that they have been continuously taking care of the tower. You have to register and pay or give donations at the gate before entering the vicinity, I guess for maintenance purposes. When we paid a visit inside the church, we saw that the altar was being constructed - again, for maintenance. 

If you go at the back of the church, you'll see an outdoor chapel. It's clean and well-maintained as well. 

Baluarte ni Chavit

Chavit Singson, a former Governor of Ilocos Sur, owns this Zoo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur called Baluarte ni Chavit. It is a wildlife sanctuary where animals could freely interact with visitors. The eighty-hectare park is the home of different kinds of animals. Some of which are not usually seen in other Zoos like camels, kangaroos, etc.

I read that admission is free before, but unfortunately the park has an entrance fee of 50Php per head now. You also have to pay if you want to take a picture with an animal, I'm talking about a souvenir picture with a print-out (you can take pictures with your phone for FREE of course).

Aside from having sight of the animals, you could also view Chavit's very own museum where he showcases his hunting prowess. Also, he has his own rest house (a Golden Building in particular) inside the park.

Hidden Garden

As opposed to its name, Hidden Garden is not hidden at all because it's already known to a number of tourists. Well, you have to drive all the way to a non-city center area (Brgy. Bulala, Vigan City), hence the term hidden.

They offer different services - landscaping, spa/massage, and restaurant. The place has a Filipino ambiance, especially the restaurant. If you would tour around, you'll see such beautiful potteries and plant arrangements.

Menu: They serve popular Ilocos dishes like Bagnet, Warek-warek, Poqui-poqui, Vigan Longganisa, and more.

You may visit their website to know more, just click the link. --; Hidden Garden's Website

Calle Crisologo

Your Vigan trip won't be complete without a visit to Calle Crisologo. When people say "Vigan" the first thing that comes to my mind is this street.

Upon visiting, we noticed that this street, along with the nearby ones, still has the Spanish era vibes. People of Ilocos maintained this street that way in order to preserve their culture during those times. It is indeed, nostalgic to visit places like this as we tend to discover what the old Philippines looks like.The old houses are turned into souvenir shops, inns, and restaurants. You may also ride a Kalesa if you don't feel like walking along the street.

Vigan Cathedral

One of the known churches in Vigan is the Vigan Cathedral. It's situated in front of the town plaza (with a huge fountain that dances during the night).

We stayed in a small house-like inn and rented a room for 10 persons. The place is called Balai Mestizo and its just a few blocks away from Calle Crisologo. If you just need a place to stay in for the night, then you could try Balai Mestizo, but if you opt for more luxury while taking a rest, you may check-in to any of the hotels in Ilocos Sur by clicking below. 

Now, let's go to the must-see attractions in Ilocos Norte. 

Marcos Museum

If you want to know more about the late President Ferdinand Marcos, then this is the perfect place to visit. The museum showcases every bit of details about Marcos. It is located in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

Paoay Church

I'm blessed to witness this picturesque view of the church. This was the biggest church I've seen so far. The St. Augustine Church, commonly known as Paoay Church, has a unique earthquake baroque architecture and a strong foundation. That is why it has been around for many years, of course it's being maintained simultaneously. Beside the church is a bell tower - just like the Bantay Bell Tower, this belfry served as a watchtower for the people of Ilocos Norte,

It is now considered a UNESCO Heritage Site, the organization aims to preserve such cultural treasures.

La Paz Sand Dunes

I consider this the highlight of our Ilocos trip. I'm into extreme adventures that's why I was deeply excited when we were on the way to La Paz Sand Dunes. Aside from being it my first time, I also felt happy chills because I knew I was about to cross off one item on my bucket list. 

There are certain activities that you can do:

  • 4x4 Ride - 2,500 Php for 4 to 5 persons (that's the maximum number the vehicle could accommodate).
  • Unlimited Sandborading - This comes with the 4 x 4 Ride. I'm not quite sure if you could avail of this separately.
  • ATV Ride - 2,000 Php per hour.
You have to inquire and register at the booth first, then sign a waiver. While riding the 4x4, there are photographers who'll capture every disgusting face you'll make (haha). You may check the pictures at the registration booth. Printing of the pictures costs 150 Php each picture. But if you want to get the soft copy of all the pictures, they offer a promo to have 3 pictures printed (150 each) then they'll give you the soft copy. Be sure to bring a flash drive with you!

We literally had the best time of our lives. 

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Kapurpurawan in Ilocano means "white" - this brought justice to the tourist spots name, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. Most rocks in the area are white. However, we were not able to explore the area because some parts have been restricted. Also, I was not able to focus because I lost my money. I was busy looking for it. Anyways, there are also windmills around which adds to the string wind coming from the Kapurpurawan beach,

Bangui Windmills

This is yet another iconic destination in Ilocos, the Bangui Windmills. It's the largest wind farm in Asia composing of 20 units of the windmills. The 70-meter wind turbines were built along the shores facing the South China Sea. 

When visiting the wind farm, be sure to cover all parts of you body as the sand being dragged by the breeze hurts.  

Pagudpud Beach

We dipped into the cold salt water of Pagudpud. With its white sand and blue water, you'll definitely get the relaxation you are longing for. 

Patapat Viaduct

This is an elevated coastal bridge that connects Ilocos Norte with the province of Cagayan. With the measurement of 1.3 kilometers long, this is said to be one of the longest bridge in the Philippines. 

It's perfect for picture taking, but be cautious about the vehicles approaching. It also has a prefect view of the West Philippine Sea and it follows the curvature of the mountain alongside it.

Since we traveled to Ilocos Norte, we must book another hotel that is near to our next destinations. So, we checked in to Palm Grove. It's an "okay" accommodation. I mean, the people are welcoming but there are certain polocies that we don't like. We respect their rules but these kinds of hotels are just not for us. What I'm talking about is that they have strict curfew. If you are the type that parties or stays up late, then Palm Grove isn't for you too. On the other hand, if you just want to get a good night sleep and no noisy neighbors, then this is the perfect place for you. It's just a matter of perspective. If you are the former, you may try and check-in to any other hotels in Ilocos Norte by clicking below.


Sample Itinerary

Just to give you a quick guide if you're planning to DIY your Ilocos trip, here is a sample 3-day itinerary prepared by my sister Jaycee Melencio (Thank you, Ate!). Remember that you could always re-arrange or remove items from the list. I hope this helps.

Ilocos Trip Itinerary
Thursday - 10PMETD from ManilaDay 3- Sunday
Day 1 - Friday6:00AMFree time/Swimming
6:00AMDrop-off and ETA in Bantay, Ilocos Sur6:30AM Breakfast
6:30AMBreakfast7:30AMKabigan Falls
7:00AMBantay Church and Bell Tower9:00AMPatapat Viaduct
8:00AMProceed to Baluarte ni Chavit9:30AMAgua Grande Park
10:00AMProceed to Hidden Garden11:00AMPrepare for check-out in Palm Grove
12:00AMLunch at Hidden Garden12:00PMCheck-out at Palm Grove
1:30PMProceed to Balai Mestizo (Hotel)12:30PMTimangtang Rock
2:00PMCheck-in at Balai Mestizo (Rest/Free Time)1:00PMBantay Abot Cave
6:00PMProceed to Calle Crisologo (Buy souvenirs/Dinner)2:00PMOff to Manila
Day 2 - SaturdayNote: We were not able to go to some of the destinations in the itinerary because time got out of our hands. So, I advise that you thoroughly take note of the time. 
6:00AMPrepare for check-out in Balai Mestizo
10:00AMArrival in Marcos Museum 
11:00AMPaoay Church (then lunch at Café Herencia)
12:30PMMalacanang of the North
1:30PMLa Paz Sand Dunes
3:00PMArrival and Check-in at Palm Grove (Hotel)
3:30PMBurgos Lighthouse
4:00PMKapurpurawan Rock Formation
5:00PMBangui Windmill
7:00PM Go back to Palm Grove

The Ilocos Region is definitely a must-see. It's full of amusing attractions and also a place of history. No wonder more and more tourists visit this province. Have you gone to Ilocos? Tell me your experience down in the comments section!

Share this PostPin ThisEmail This

No comments:

Post a Comment