Pagudpud Maira-ira Beach

Pagudpud is a town in the upper left tip of the Philippines. Pagudpud is a huge municipality in Ilocos Norte. Pagudpud has a coastal area and the shores are between Bangui Bay and Paselang Bay.
My first time in Pagudpud was a decade ago. I was traveling with three colleagues and it was the last stop of our destination. It was already late at night when we reached the town and we were advised to stay with the locals since we found resorts were all fully booked.

We stayed in an old house and it was near the town and the main road. In the morning, we went to Maira-ira Beach. The Maira-ira beach is seen from the Patapat Viaduct. The beach was crowded but we went to a place where we rented a nipa hut. The beach is overlooking the Dos Hermanos Island.

The Dos Hermanos Islands are two rock formations on the northern coast of Maira-ira Beach which are visited by tourists. It is also a highlighted landmark in Pagudpud. There are so many resorts along Maira-ira Beach and going up near Dos Hermanos Island. The famous resorts in this area are Hannah’s Beach, Punta Azul Beach Resort, Kapuluan Vista Resort, etc.

Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Paoay Church

Paoay Church or Iglesia de San Agustin de Paoay is located at Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines which was completed in 1710. The baroque architecture church is declared a National Cultural Treasure in 1973 by the Philippine Government and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 along with the other baroque churches in the Philippines.

The church is made up of coral stone and bricks. There are 24 massive buttresses on the side of the church and at the back making the structure an earthquake baroque design.

The bell tower on the right side of the church is a three-story coral stone tower. It was said the bell tower played a major part during the Katipuneros revolution serving as an observation post.

Paoay Lake National Park

Paoay Lake is the largest lake in the province of Ilocos Norte. It is a freshwater lake with different resorts around the area.

The lake was called Lago de Nanguyudan was supposed to be a barangay. The barangay was called San Juan de Sahagun that sank after an earthquake.

Another place to see in Paoay is the Malacanang of the North, a presidential museum and the residence of the family of President Ferdinand Marcos during his term. The museum is around Paoay Lake.

Currimao, Ilocos Norte

It is a town in Ilocos Norte after Badoc and before reaching Paoay. It also has different famous resorts like an interesting coastal town in front of the West Philippine Sea.

The Currimao beach is a long stretch of the sandbar. It is near the College of Fisheries of Mariano Marcos State University. From the beach, you can also see the Currimao port.
Different beaches surround the coastal town. The famous resorts are Playa Tropical Resort, Nipa Beach Resort, D Coral Beach Resort.

Fort Ilocandia, Laoag, Ilocos Norte

Fort Ilocandia is located on the coastline of Laoag City in Ilocos Norte. The only 5-star hotel in the northern Philippines in an over of 77 hectares of land in the sand dunes and pine forests. The 2-kilometer sandy beach bar is overlooking the West Philippines Sea.

There are 5 function rooms for gatherings, events, conventions and conferences. There are 5 restaurants inside: Café Ilocandia, Red and Asian Restaurant, Palms Bar, Sunset Lounge and Piano Lounge.

What are the things to do in Fort Ilocandia? Since it’s a little far from Laoag City, you could enjoy your stay here doing different things like paintball, basketball, beach volleyball driving range, horseback riding, horse-drawn carriage, archery, tennis, and others.

There are water activities like swimming, snorkeling, boating and beach bumming in the sand. A few kilometers near Fort Ilocandia is the Paoay Sand Dunes.

Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

Laoag is the capital of Ilocos Norte. It is also known as the Sunshine City. It is the gateway to Pagudpod and Bangui Windmills.

Laoag Cathedral

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.

Touring Ilocos Sur

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

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

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.

National Museum Vigan Branch or Padre Burgos House

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.

Villa Angela Heritage House in Vigan

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.