Exploring Ilocandia: The Cultural and Historical Mecca of Luzon

Located in the northernmost part of mainland Luzon, Ilocos Norte is known for its culturally-rich background and unique culinary specialties. The charm of Laoag and Vigan, for example, springs from the laid-back atmosphere of the towns as well as colonial Spanish influences, which are evident in their architecture and can be viewed in various museums around the province.

Vigan calesa, Ilocos Sur by Franklin Reyes Jr.Vigan Kalesa by Franklin Reyes Jr.

A mere two-hour drive South from Laoag is Vigan, a popular destination among tourists because of its picturesque setting: antiquated houses from the colonial Spanish Era still line its cobble streets, old-style wooden horse carriages (or calesas) are still available to take visitors on a tour around the city and several monuments and religious artifacts can be found all over town. It has been proclaimed to be a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Vigan cobble stone street at night by j.rexie.mCobblestone streets of Vigan by j.rexie.m

An hour and a half drive north from Laoag is the very first wind power plant in the Philippines, known as the Bangui Wind Farm, a group of 15 huge onshore wind turbines that supply 40% of Ilocos Norte’s electricity requirement. The future of the Philippines’ move towards being green is hopeful because of this initiative, which will lessen the country’s need for imported fuel.

Bangui Wind Farm windmills in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte by j.rexie.mBangui Wind Farm windmills by j.rexie.m

Around 45 miles north of Laoag City is the coastal town of Pagudpud that is home to several beach resorts. Still unspoiled and considered as the Boracay of the North, beachgoers can enjoy a relaxing stay in this tranquil piece of paradise.

Pagudpud beach sunset by Franklin Reyes Jr.Pagudpud sunset by Franklin Reyes Jr.

Pagudpud is one of the few spots in Northern Luzon where one can learn how to surf. Its beach break makes it ideal for beginners, so that they don’t have to worry about the danger of hitting corals as they get wiped out by the waves. Boardsailing (also known as windsurfing or sailboarding) is also a popular activity in Pagudpud because of its strong and steady winds.

Paoay Church by sergiopigoPaoay Church by sergiopigo

Paoay Church is considered one of the Philippines' most beautiful earthquake baroque churches. Also considered a UNESCO World Heritage site, Paoay Church was built by Augustinian missionaries way back in 1793. Through the years, its belfry was used by Katipuneros and guerillas in World War II to scope out enemies.

Call us now at our 24/7 US toll free number 1-866-2-MANILA and book a travel package to Ilocos with us at Mango Tours! Starting at only $389, our package is inclusive of:
  • a 3-night stay at Fort Ilocandia with breakfast
  • roundtrip airfare from Manila to Laoag
  • airport transfers
  • tours around Laoag, Vigan and Pagudpud