Top 5 Activities in Laoag - Philippines

Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte is conveniently located right in the middle of the province, and is the perfect home base for the traveler who finds himself up north. Even just staying in Laoag itself, you will find a lot of different activities to do because of its we-preserved culture and rich history. For those who would like to make the most out of their visit, here are the top five activities in Laoag City.

Visit the centuries-old churches

Ilocos Norte is home to may churches that were built during the Spanish rule, many of which are architectural hybrids: oriental, baroque and gothic. The most famous of which are Paoay church, St Williams Cathedral in Laoag, Sta Monica Church in Sarrat and Badoc church.

Go nature-tripping

Ilocos is also blessed by a number of natural wonders including La Paz Sand Dunes south of Laoag near Fort Ilocandia. With an area of 85 square kilometers, the sand dunes is a favorite playing ground by the adventurous who would like to try their hand on driving 4x4s, as well as those who would just like to experiencing a vast expanse of sand. Imelda Garden caves in Pauquin on the other hand, is for those who would like to go spelunking, or explore caves. For those who love the tranquility of lakes, Paoay Lake is the place to be, with the nearby Paoay lake National Park.

Frolic in the beaches

Just a few minutes from Laoag city you can reach the town of Currimao, where there are a number of quaint resorts as well as miles of clean white sand beaches where local fishermen can still be observed casting their nets. A few hours further up north of Laoag, one will find Pagudpud, dubbed the Boracay of the North because of its white beaches, clear waters and resorts. However unlike Boracay, Pagudpud is blessedly more peaceful with a number of attractions a few minutes away like kaibigan Falls, Cape Bojeador lighthouse and Bangui Windmills.

Visit museums

Ilocos Norte has a number of museums because of its history which stretches long before its discovery by the Spanish in 1572. Likewise, many Philippine leaders and pioneers hail from the Ilocos region which explains its extensive memorabilia. In Laoag, one can get a dose of history by visiting the Gameng Museo, or museum of treasures. Another significant historical shrine, the Aglipay Shrine, is dedicated to Gregorio Aglipay, a former priest who supported the Philippine Revolution who was excommunicated, promting him to establish the Aglipayan Church. Also, make sure not to miss the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac, which features hundreds of memorabilia from Ferdinand Marcoss tumultuous rule. His body also lies in the estate, free for everyone to see.

Try local delicacies

No trip is complete if you do not experience the local dishes, after all, the soul of any place is in their food. In Laoag, there are rows upon rows of street foods stalls which sells the quintessentially Ilocano empanada, sort of a mutant Taco: orange shell, with bean sprouts or sometimes grated green papayas, eggs and a local sausage called longganisa Iloko. There is also the stroke inducing Bagnet, which should be eaten in moderation (but by God is it good!) a deep fried pork meat with crunchy, popped skin which can sometimes be served as an accompaniment to another dish, pinakbet which is a medley of local vegetables with local fish or shrimp based sauce.