Laoag is the capital of Ilocos Norte. It is also known as the Sunshine City. It is the gateway to Pagudpod and Bangui Windmills.
One of the famous landmarks in Laoag is the Laoag Cathedral located after the bridge on the right side. It is also known as Saint William Cathedral that was built by Augustinian friars in 1612 which features Italian Renaissance design.
Sinking Bell Tower
Located near the church is the sinking bell tower. The tower sinks into the ground at a rate of an inch per year and used to have a big clock on the tower’s western face. Near the tower is a park named Aurora Park.
Museo Ilocos Norte
The museum was an old Tabacalera warehouse that showcased the cultural heritage of the Ilocos Region. It is located in V. Llanes Street, one block away from Aurora Park.
La Paz Sand Dunes
Another place to see in Laoag is the La Paz Sand Dunes, the original sandboarding in Ilocos Norte with an 85 sq. km. protected sandy coastal desert and beach.
The capital of Ilocos Sur is Vigan. Here are the other notable places of Ilocos Sur that I had been to. These are landmarks on the way to Vigan.
Sulvec Point is on the coastline of Narvacan, in which you can also see a grotto in a rock. The grotto can be viewed along the highways. it is also known as grotto by the sea and also called Paraiso ni Juan. The beach area is called Sulvec Beach with stunning rock formations and brown rock sands. A Spanish boat was shipwrecked in this coastline led by Captain Juan de Salcedo, hence the name of the place.
Narvacan Church of St. Lucy Parish Church
One of the famous places in Narvacan is the baroque church called St. Lucy Parish Church or Narvacan Church. It is established by the Augustinians and is also the seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. There’s a belfry near the church.
Quirino Bridge is an iconic symbol of Ilocos Sur. When you reached the bridge, it also means that you are near the historical Vigan City. The bridge is traversing the Abra river. It is sandwiched between two mountains. The old bridge is preserved as a tourist attraction and is built in honor of President Elpidio Quirino.
The new bridge was a replacement for the typhoon stricken old bridge and was inaugurated in 2009.
The National Museum Vigan Branch or Padre Burgos House is located along Padre Burgos Street. It is one of the branches of the National Museum displaying archaeological artifacts from the Spanish era.
Padre Burgos House is included in the Vigan Heritage Tour. The entrance is also free and the museum is open from Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM. For weekends and holidays, the visit to the museum is by appointment.
The museum is the ancestral house and birthplace of Padre Jose Burgos. There are memorabilia of Padre Burgos and his family. There are artifacts from Iloco-Kankanay-Itneg material culture. Dioramas, old books and liturgical collections are displayed in the museum.
I’d been to Vigan for so many times and I was only looking at the famous heritage street and dining at their famous restaurant and enjoying street food like empanada and okoy in Plaza Burgos. We tried the one-day heritage tour in Vigan. We explored the Vigan heritage village while riding the calesa.
National Museum or Padre Burgos House
Our next stop was the National Museum or Padre Burgos House along the Padre Burgos Street.
Bantay Church Bell Tower and Saint Augustin Parish Church
Next destination is the Bantay Church Bell Tower in the nearby town of Bantay. The Belfry was a watchtower in the Spanish era. It is located in Rizal Street.
We also went up to the bell tower and found the view of the Quirino bridge and the cemetery. Then we went to the Saint Augustine Parish Church.
Our next stop is the Punta Baluarte, owned by Gov. Chavit Singson. It is a mini-zoo with a butterfly garden, a track for horse riding, and a skeet shooting range and open to the public.
It is located along Quirino Boulevard which houses different animals. The private area where the resort complex is located and the multi-story house of the former governor lies in hectares of lands that stretches in the plain towards the hills.
After which we went to the Hidden Garden. Located in Katipunan Street, Hidden Garden is a hidden gem with a restaurant called Lilong and Liliang, a beautifully landscaped garden and superb potteries. The restaurant offers the Ilocano specialty dishes like empanada, pinakbet, bagnet, warek-warek and many others.
One of the famous tourist destination in North Luzon is Vigan. It is owned by a prominent Versoza family of Vigan. The entrance of the heritage house is located along Quirino Boulevard but has a backdoor along De Los Reyes Street. It is a few blocks away from the Vigan Heritage Village.
The house was built in 1870 and was named for their matriarch Angela Versoza Villanueva. The house was a gallery of the mementos of the family which they displayed in the house and admired by the visitors and guests.
The house was restored by descendants in the eighties. It is also one of the locations of the famous movie Jose Rizal. Tom Cruise also stayed in the heritage house during his film shoot in 1989. A picture of him hangs in the walls along with the photos of the Versoza clan.
There are private rooms for the guests. I was able to stay in one of the rooms with a bathroom inside and another room without a bathroom. There is a common bathroom in the second floor outside the kitchen area. In the first floor is a dormitory for groups.
Breakfast is served in their antique dining area were we could see the antique kitchen objects like pots, porcelain and china wares. Guests enjoys the living room area with huge windows made of capiz. Old personal furniture of the Versoza clan are found in the house.
Vigan is said to be a living museum. The historic city of Vigan was announced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 2, 1999. It is a vivid memory of the rich Spanish era in our country.
The Vigan Heritage Village is proof that we have a rich Spanish culture.
Century-old houses were built in the 1600s. Calle Crisologo is the major attraction in Vigan. It is four blocks of cobblestone streets lined up with heritage houses of prominent families. Different hotels, restaurants and stores lined up the heritage village.
The famous Plaza Burgos is where we eat street foods and the Vigan specialty empanada and okoy. The Church Bell Tower is also located here.
St. Paul’s Church
Across the Plaza is the old century church known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle or St. Paul’s Church. It is a baroque architectural style.
In front of the church is Plaza Salcedo, a monument dedicated to our national hero Jose Rizal, President Elpidio Quirino, Padre Burgos. Gabriela Silang was executed by public hanging in 1763.
At night there’s a fountain dance and colorful lights for the Philippine archipelago.
Urbiztondo Beach, San Juan is one of the surfing sites in La Union. La Union is 6 to 7 hours away from Manila by bus. Or 5 to 6 hours by car.
To enjoy the waves make sure to visit from July to October for the South Swell and from November to March for the North Swell. Enjoy the Urbiztondo beach during summer.
This is my getaway in the Northern Part of Luzon. I had seen the changes in the town since early 2000. Every time I visit Urbiztondo, there’s always something new.
I had been here for the nth time. Urbiztondo is also a site for a beautiful sunset. The waters of La Union are facing the West Philippine Sea.
My favorite place to stay in San Juan Surf Resort and Sebay Surf Central which is located along the National Highway. The resorts are overlooking a beautiful beachfront.
San Juan Surf Resort
San Juan Surf Resort is a resort and surfing school of the renowned Filipino-Australian surfer Luke Landrigan. I was able to see him on my second stay in the resort when the resort was still small. To date, there are new restaurants and buildings for accommodation.
The surfing camp offers lessons for locals and tourists. One of the perks of staying here is seeing the famous surfer Luke Landrigan. I saw him only once though. The restaurant serves yummy food which is called the Coast Call Kitchen and Bar.
Sebay Surf Central
Another good spot to stay in Urbiztondo is Sebay surf Central. I love this resort because of its restaurant which is on the beachfront. I love staying in the restaurant to enjoy food and to hear the waves and the tourists and locals enjoying the water.
La Trinidad, Benguet is home for the strawberry farm. It is often confused that the strawberry came from Baguio City since it’s just a nearby town.
The La Trinidad Strawberry Farm was made for the cultivation of the strawberry. Tourists can also tour the harvest from the farm and buy it fresh. The farmers will help locate where to pick the strawberries ready for harvesting.
It is located in front of the Benguet State University and near Benguet Hospital
Sugba Lagoon is an amazing and scenic lagoon surrounded by virgin forest and mountains It is located in Del Carmen, Surigao del Note.
This was our last stop from the Siargao Island tour that we availed. From Magpupungko Rock Pool we headed to Del Carmen for our next trip.
We arrived at Del Carmen Tourism Center and went to the port. From there we were transferred to a boat which is good for 8 people.
It is half an hour ride from the port to Sugba Lagoon. What are the things to do in Sugba Lagoon?
You can rent for a paddle-board or a kayak. You can also try cliff diving from the diving board. You can also enjoy the “balsa” or the bamboo platform that will take you to the lagoon.
If you have lots to time you can also check the following places in Kawhagan Island, Pamomoan Beach. You can also enjoy the other island called Poneas Island.
Magpupungko Rock Pools is located at Pilar, Surigao Del Norte in Siargao Island.
Our next itinerary was the Magpupungko Rock Pools and Sugba Lagoon. These places were the scheduled places to visit on our 3rd day in Siargao. We availed it from the same tour operator for our Sohoton Cove and 3 Islands Hopping.
It is a one-hour ride from Sandy Feet Siargao. You will enjoy the scenic view going to Magpupungko.
The best time to visit the Magpupungko Rock pools is during low tide as they are tidal pool. The tides dramatically changed throughout the day but you can also check the tides change.
The rock formations add beauty to the rockpool. The rocks looked like a large rock is squatting on another rock. “Pungko” is a Visayan word for squat hence it is called Magpupungko.
There are lots of small restaurants and nipa huts to stay while in Magpupungko. If the tides are high in the rock pool, you can also enjoy the stretch of the long sandbar of Magpupungko beach.