By: Teresa Gomez
Two of the most popular places to visit in the Northern part of the Philippines are the cities of Laoag and Vigan. The Ilocos Region, where the two cities are located, was founded in the early Spanish colonization era. Today, Ilocos is one of the biggest heritage and cultural sites in the Philippines. Its natural charm and prosperous treats has continuously captivated the eyes of those who visit that consists both the local and foreign.
Known as the sparkling gem of Ilocandia, Laoag is located at the west central part of Ilocos Norte. This ravishing city is considered to be one of the most treasured places in the Philippines because of its incomparable attractions that can be found nowhere in the world. Its evocative atmosphere offers a variety of attractions that highlight the life and what it was like during the Spanish era in the Philippines. Laoag is known to have numerous significant sites that feature various antique Spanish colonial buildings, old and historical Philippine churches, and the magnificent mansions of the Marcos family (the former first family of the Philippines during 1970’s). The intense growth of tourists has become the core reason of Laoag becoming one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Philippines. Travel time from Manila to Laoag by land is about 10 hours and 1 and 10mins hours by air.
On the western coast of Northern Luzon lies another magnificent city in Ilocos; the world famous city of Vigan. Being part of UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, Vigan has marked the map with its majestic wonders. It is the capital city of Ilocos Sur that is famous for its more than 180 ancestral and colonial houses made out of red brick walls and streets of cobblestone. You will definitely experience wandering back in time with its wonderful Spanish architectural designs. Travel time from Manila to Vigan by land is about 8-9 hours and an hour by air.
Food in Ilocos is simply addictive and one of the primary reasons why visitors love coming back to the region. Some of Ilocos’ signature cuisines include Vigan longganisa,pinakbet, bagnet, empanada and sinanglaw. The mouth-watering taste of llokano cuisines are made possible by its exceptional blend of fresh and abundant ingredients.
Ilocos’ local version of sausages, flavored with various spices.
A crispy, deep-fried treat filled with egg, grated papaya, spices, and longganisa.
A delicious medley of vegetables, meat, shrimp, and bagoong.
The Ilocanos’ twist on chicharon or deep-fried pork meat.
A steaming soup of beef innards and bile.
Note: Prices depend on travel dates and are subject to change without prior notice. Rates are applicable for twin occupancy per person. Surcharge applies during peak season. Credit card payments are subject to 5% surcharge. Group rates are available upon request. Valid until March 31, 2011 only.