The province of Ilocos Norte boasts of historic churches, panoramic vistas of rugged mountains, deep aquamarine-colored waters, unspoiled waterfalls, and multi-hued history that has been painted by bloody revolts, gold mines, and an interesting glimpse into the world of Philippine national politics. Filipinos take note of the province as the homeland of former president Ferdinand Marcos, who was ousted after more than 20 years of dictatorship through the historic 1986 Edsa Revolution.
Travelling into Ilocos Norte provides a bang for vacationers’ buck. The province is literally crammed with numerous nooks for adventures, historical places, fine beaches, and of course excellent cuisine that could be considered indigenous to the region. Ilocos Norte is perfect for sportsmen who would love surfing in Badoc, rock-climbing in Adams, golfing in Fort Ilocandia, and trekking in Nueva Era and Solsona.
About Ilocos Norte
The province is one of the four provinces that comprise Region 1. It borders the provinces of Apayao and Cagayan in the east and Abra and Ilocos Sur in the south. The land faces South China Sea in the west and Luzon Strait in the north. Total land area is about 3,500 square kilometers, with a current population of about 547,300. Ilocos Norte is consisting of 21 towns and 2 cities. The provincial capital is Laoag City.
Compared to Ilocos Sur’s Vigan City, Laoag is a lot busier. It is more bustling with commerce and trade. The city has an international airport so it serves as a jump off point for travelers who intend to go to nearby provinces of Ilocos Sur, Benguet, Abra, and Cagayan. Laoag’s main tourism attractions include the Sinking Bell Tower, the Museo de Ilocos Norte, and nearby coastal sand dunes.
Several sites serve as tourism spots in Ilocos Norte. Bangui-Pagudpod Beach is the most popular among vacationers in the province. The beautiful stretch of coastline covers areas of two towns and has been actively developed as a tourism estate. The wind farm at Bangui is also a must-see. The facility is the first wind power plant not just in the country but also in the entire Southeast Asia. It accounts for 40% of total power supplied to the province.
Ilocos Norte would not be complete without its festivals. Among such events are as follows:
Pamulinawen Festival – held every February 10 at Laoag City is a celebration featuring a parade of flowers and dance. It coincides with the feast day of St. William.
Guling-Guling Festival – held every Ash Wednesday in Paoay is a parade of local costumes, jewelries, and other accessories. People gather to sing, dance, and be merry.
- December Festival – a parade of lanterns and Christmas dresses for the Yuletide.
How to get there
Laoag City is the gateway to Ilocos Norte. Plane rides take 45 minutes from Metro Manila. The International Airport in the city also facilitates chartered flights from nearby Taiwan and China. By land, transportation is facilitated by Partas, Philippine Rabbit, RCJ, Florida, Maria de Leon, and Fariñas Trans bus lines. It takes nine to 12 hours of bus ride from Manila to Laoag City. There are also connecting bus routes from Baguio and Tuguegarao via Pagudpud.