Here we’re not going to talk about Bohol, Boracay or Palawan, even though those places are definitely some of the must-see spots in the Philippines. My last trip to the Philippines was actually in the province of Ilocos Norte and it was amazing!
The province of Ilocos Norte
First, I have to tell you the travel time can be a little bit long (just 10 hours from Manila by night bus!). However, the region remains interesting to visit because of its heritage of the Spanish colonialism and also for some stunning landscapes.
This destination is really popular among locals. However, there are more and more people coming from the rest of Southeast Asia. The main spots are normally less crowded than those stated above, unless you’re going during a public holiday week end (this is at your own risks!). We stayed in the region for three full days: two days to visit all the main spots of the region and the third day to chill on an empty white sand beach, under a tree. 🙂
Day 1: around Laoag
The city of Laoag is the capital of the province. Here we admired some interesting Spanish colonial buildings (like the Sinking Bell Tower or Paoay Church, that you can see on the first picture below!).
We finished our tour with the outstanding Burgos Lighthouse that offers a breathtaking view on Cape Bojeador. We could at least enjoy the sunset on the South China sea as we were unable to climb inside the building due to bad timing!
Between two monuments, we also tried the 4-wheel drive ride on the famous La Paz sand dunes. The place also offers some exciting ATV rides or “sand boarding” activities. It is also possible to simply enjoy the beautiful view on the South China sea and the mountains!
Day 2: around Pagudpub
We reached Pagudpub at the end of our first day since our hotel was located near the Blue Lagoon. We started our tour on the following day and explored the coast until the famous Patapat Viaduct.
Then we headed to the mountains and enjoy a few kilometres hiking through the paddy fields to the Kabigan Falls. During all the walk I was literally amazed by the beauty of the site!
The region is also famous for the Burgos wind farm that is the biggest wind farm in the Philippines. Commissioned in 2014, it is expected to power up to two million households in the country! So we can see a lot of turbines along the coast.
Our last stop was Timmantang Rock, an incredible geologic formation part of all the travel itineraries of the region. Then, our last day was all about chilling on the beach!