City Guide To Laoag, Ilocos Norte

Laoag, dubbed as the Sunshine City, is the main gateway to Ilocandia through the Laoag International Airport. Laoag, a third-class city, is a perfect destination featuring century-old churches; sports venues and facilities; eco-adventure trails; fine, cream sand beaches and is considered as Ilocos Norte's political, commercial and industrial hub.



Laoag City, located at the west central part of Ilocos Norte, is being bounded on the east by Sarrat; in the southeast by San Nicolas; in the southwest by Paoay; in the northeast by Vintar; in the northwest by Bacarra; and in the west by the South China Sea. Laoag is one of the largest cities in Ilocos Region.

Politically, Laoag is subdivided into 80 barangays with a total population of at least 112,000 people based on the 2015 census.



HOW TO GET TO LAOAG CITY

To get to Ilocos Norte from Manila, ride bus heading to Laoag City. Bus terminals are located in Pasay, Quezon City and Espana, Manila. Bus companies operating to Laoag City includes Partas, Farinas, RCJ Lines, Florida, GMW and Maria de Leon. Travel time is around 8 to 9 hours. Bus fare is around Php 700 to Php 800 per person.

  • FARIÑAS -- (077) 772 0126 (Laoag); (02) 743 8582 (Manila)
  • FLORIDA -- (077) 770 3645 (Laoag); (02) 749 4862 (Manila)
  • PARTAS -- (077) 771 1514 (Laoag); (02) 725 1740 (Manila)
  • RCJ LINES -- (077) 771 3308 (Laoag); (02) 749 2994 (Manila)
  • GMW -- (077) 771 6466 (Laoag)
  • MARIA DE LEON -- (077) 770 3532; (02) 731 4907 (Manila)

You may also book a flight to Laoag City through Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific Air. Travel time is approximately an hour. Standard airfare is around Php 3,000 to Php 4,000. However, please be reminded that airfare varies from time to time.

  • PHILIPPINE AIRLINES -- (077) 670 8533 (Laoag); (02) 855 8888 (Manila)
  • CEBU PACIFIC AIR -- (077) 670 8464 (Laoag); (02) 702 0888 (Manila)




TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN LAOAG CITY

Ilocos Norte has a ton of exciting places to explore: from beautiful, white beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, mountains, windmills, a mausoleum to a UNESCO World Heritage church. Yes, Ilocos Norte has it all. However, this travel blog highlights Laoag City, the Ilocos Norte's capital.

Here are the top destinations to visit in Laoag City.

  • ILOCOS NORTE PROVINCIAL CAPITOL -- Yes, our provincial capitol is one of the most beautiful capitols in the Philippines. You will surely love it here as you will learn more about our province and to meet awesome Ilocanos. Every photo here is Instagram-worthy. Swear!
  • LAOAG CITY HALL --The Laoag City Hall is just a few minute walk from the provincial capitol. The city hall is one of the Spanish colonial buildings in the province.
  • THE SINKING BELL TOWER -- The Sinking Bell Tower is one of the things that will capture your attention upon entering Laoag City. This 45-meter bell tower was built by the Augustinians way back 1612. It is believed to be the tallest bell tower in the Philippines during this period. Surprisingly, this is the bell tower of St. William Cathedral which is 86 meters away from it. The sinking bell tower is considered as one of the landmarks of Spanish colony here in the Philippines. Due to heavy and sandy foundations, the bell tower started to sink years ago. According to the local people, when the bell tower was nearly built, a person on horseback could enter the tower. However, today, a person with a normal height need to bend when entering the tower. For safety reasons, the local government of Ilocos Norte prohibits anyone to enter the tower.
  • ST WILLIAM CATHEDRAL -- In 1612, the Augustinian friars built the Laoag Cathedral, now the St. William Cathedral to replace a wooden chapel. The church has an unusual two-storey facade, supported by two pairs of columns on each side of the arched entrance architectural design. The top of the facade holds a recessed niche that showcases the image of the city's patron of saint, William of Maleval. The St. William Cathedral serves as the seat or central church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag.
  • THE TOBACCO MONOPOLY MONUMENT -- Just in front of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol, the Tobacco Monopoly Monument is a landmark constructed at the foot of the Marcos Bridge. The Marcos bridge is now popularly known as the Gilbert Bridge, over the Laoag river. The monument was constructed to commemorate the lifting of tobacco monopoly in the Philippines in accordance to the royal decree of June 05, 1881. Yes, you read it right. The monument is still standing over decades now. The tobacco monopoly was established in 1782 aiming to bring in large profits for the government and make the Philippines the leading tobacco producer of the world. Although it was abolished in 1881, tobacco remains to be a major cash crop in Ilocos Norte.


  • THE AURORA PARK -- Sitting at the Aurora Park allows you to travel back time. Laoag City is the perfect place to witness the old and the new times. Imagine the century-old buildings being surrounded by newly-constructed buildings and restaurants. Beautiful, right?


  • THE MUSEO ILOCOS NORTE  -- Just besides the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol, the Museo Ilocos Norte is one of the most visited destinations in Ilocos Norte. It is considered the ethnographic museums in the Philippines. It houses a large collection of Ilocano, Igorot, and Itneg traditional clothing, farming objects, household utensils, ceremonial objects and a lot more. Itneg is classified under the Indigenous Peoples group. For Php 50 as the entrance fee, you'll learn the history and culture of the Ilocanos. Ilocano refers to the people of Ilocos Region who uses the dialect Iluko. Most artifacts displayed at the museum are fully marked and quoted with facts. Educational, right? At the end of the tour, there is a souvenir shop offering irresistible items.
  • THE LA PAZ SAND DUNES -- Ilocos Norte has a wide stretch of sand dunes: from Currimao to Laoag City to Paoay and then to Pasuquin. The La Paz Sand Dunes is one of the most visited destinations in Laoag City. However, the Suba Sand Dunes in Paoay attracted more tourists because the sand slopes are not as high as the other spots.
  • THE FORT ILOCANDIA HOTEL AND RESORT -- The Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Resort offers a fusion of history, modern convenience and majestic charm. Stay here for a taste of history, royalty and rejuvenation. This resort has its own driving range, shooting range, ATV course, a mini-zoo, swimming pools and the beach here is so beautiful. I love the sunset here!
  • TAOID: A MUSEUM OF THE CORDILLERAS IN ILOCOS NORTE -- Taoid Museum, located at La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center, is the newest destination in Laoag City. This is the third museum dedicated to Cordilleran culture. The other two museums are located in Baguio City. In case you missed it, taoid means 'a treasured heritage'.


WHERE TO STAY IN LAOAG CITY

FORT ILOCANDIA RESORT HOTEL
Brgy 37 Calayab, City Proper, Laoag City



JAVA HOTEL
General Segundo Ave., Brgy 55-B Salet, City Proper, Laoag City



HOTEL TIFFANY LAOAG
General Segundo Ave., cor M.H. del Pilar St., City Proper, Laoag City



ISABEL SUITES
Brgy 11, General Segundo Ave., City Proper, Laoag City



UKL EVER RESORT HOTEL
Airport Road, Brgy 46 Nalbo, Laoag City



AA TRAVELLER'S PAD HOTEL
Mc Kinley St., City Proper, Laoag City




WHERE TO EAT IN LAOAG CITY
  • SARAMSAM YLOCANO; Rizal St., cor Hizon St., N Corpuz Building, Laoag City; (077) 771 5825
  • HERENCIA GARDEN RESTAURANT; Rizal Park, Castro St., Brgy 04, Laoag City; (077) 600 0040
  • BALAY DA BLAS; 7B Brgy Road, Laoag City; 0917 550 7522
  • LA PRECIOSA; Rizal Street, Laoag City; (077) 773 1162
  • CUISINE DE ILOCO; Hernando Avenue, Laoag City; (077) 300 0573
  • KAHEL DE LUNA RESTAURANT; General A Luna St., cor McKinley St, Laoag City; (077) 600 1265
  • JOHNNY MOON CAFE; La Tabacalera Ilocano Lifestyle Center, Laoag City



TIPS & THINGS TO REMEMBER
  • Tricycle is the most common mode of transportation here
  • Regular tricycle fare is Php 11 per person
  • Riding a kalesa while roaming the city is highly recommended
  • The Sinking Bell Tower, St William Cathedral, Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol, Laoag City Hall, Tobacco Monopoly Monument, Aurora Park and Museo Ilocos Norte can be visited through walking. They're all within the same location. Yes, you can save a lot here!
  • Never leave Laoag without tasting empanada, bagnet and poque-poque
  • Partas Bus operates to Laoag City from Baguio City
  • GMW and Florida travels to Laoag City from Tuguegarao City
  • March to May are the best months to travel to Laoag City
  • You can visit the Fort Ilocandia Resort and explore the area even you're not one of their hotel guests
  • Sunset at Fort Ilocandia is amazingly beautiful
  • Staying a night or two in Laoag City is highly recommended
  • Laoag City is best explored at night when century-old buildings glow with lights
  • Laoag houses several bus terminals heading to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur; Pagudpud; Paoay; and Batac City
  • Laoag is the best example for the 'old meets new' slogan
  • Electricity: 220 volts, 60 cycles
LAOAG CITY DIRECTORY
  • PROVINCIAL TOURISM OFFICE: +63 (77) 1213 loc 156-157; +63 (77) 670 0004; +63 917 550 0946
  • POLICE HOTLINE: +63 915 310 2025; +63 917 580 9372 

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