What You, as a Tourist, Can See and Visit in Ilocos Norte?
Located at the northernmost tip of Luzon, Ilocos Norte is famous for its natural and cultural tourist attractions and scenery. It’s a favorite destination of many foreign and local tourists for its wealth of attractions. The capital Laoag City features the Sinking Belltower, which has sunk to the ground because of its weight. Its half-buried entrance once allowed a man on horseback to enter. Beside Cathedral of St. William is the plaza complex with its historical Abolition of the Tobacco Monopoly Movement, Ilocos Norte Capitol, and the Ilocandia Museum. The La paz and Suba sand dunes are favorite movie settings ranging from classic films such as Nora Aunor’s Himala to Hollywood gems like Tom Cruise’s Born on the Fourth of July.
Garlic is sold and tobacco fields can be seen along the highway. Batac contains the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum where the preserved remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos are displayed. Paoay is home to the grand Malacañang of the North overlooking Lake Paoay, once Marcos’s summer residence. The town’s most famous attraction is its church. With its blend of Spanish and oriental architecture, Paoay Church is now included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The centuries-old edifice is supported by massive buttresses found nowhere else in the Philippines.
Other churches can be found in Sarrat, Dingras, San Nicolas, Bacarra and Badoc also has the Juan Luna Shrine, once the home of the famous painter and now a museum. Farther up north is Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, a charming structure set on hilly train.
At the end of the road is Pagudpud, considered as the Boracay of the North. Beautiful white sand beaches are set against deep-blue seas and mountains and this beach attraction is a tourist magnet. This is undoubtedly the best beach area of the entire Ilocos region. On the road to Cagayan is the Patapat Viaduct hugging a seaside cliff. Lastly, Ilocos Norte tour is the Bangui Windmills, probably one of the most photographed scenes in Ilocos because of its gigantic wind turbines. After you have visited Ilocos Norte, its neighbor, Ilocos Sur, possessed the same treasure, you may want to visit its tourist attractions as well.
Ilocos Norte Attractions: A Tourist Destination You Won't Never Forget
The Sinking Belltower - it is one of the first architecture you may see upon entering the city proper. It’s a massive 45-meter bell tower said to be one of the tallest bell towers in the Philippines and was built by the Augustinians in 1612. The tower has earned its “sinking” reputation because it is so heavy and it was build on sandy foundations that it is sinking into the ground. Stories mention that a person on horseback could enter the tower with ease back when it was built. Now, a person of normal height has to bend down just to enter the vaulted entrance.
St. William Cathedral serves as the seat or central church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag. Since Most Rev. Sergio Utleg's transfer to the Archdiocese of Tuguerarao, the diocese at present is vacant. The diocesan administrator is Very Rev. Fr. Noel Ian Rabago and the cathedral rector is Very Rev. Fr. Policarpio M. Albano.
The church has an unusual two-storey façade, supported by two pairs of columns on each side of the arched entrance. The top of the façade holds a recessed niche that showcases the image of the city's patron saint, San Guillermo (Saint William). It has windows made from capiz with wrought iron screens.
La Paz Sand Dunes - The height of the dunes ranges from 10 to 30 meters. The dunes themselves are scenic but a panoramic view of the South China Sea can also be seen from them.
With its dramatic landscape, the La Paz Sand Dunes is a popular site for shooting local and foreign films. It was used as a location for the Philippine movies Himala and Panday and for segments of the Hollywood films Mad Max and Born on the Fourth of July. A few people inhabit the area, as can be seen from the nipa huts that dot the dunes.
Marcos Museum - Ferdinand Marcos, one of the country's brilliant presidents. His reign over the country has given us both fame and pain. Every event that happened has been embedded in each Filipinos hearts and mind.
The Marcos museum that housed all the memories of his reign is the president's former house in Batac, Ilocos Norte where he was born and raised. It has been renovated and still preserves its Spanish look. The house contains the huge memorabilia and collections of the late president.
Also found in the museum is the remains of Marcos, laid and preserved in a refrigerated crypt.
Malacañang of the North or Malacanang ti Amianan in Ilocano is always present in everyone’s itinerary when planning or visiting the northern province of Ilocos Norte. Dubbed as “Marcos Country”, Ilocos Norte is home to many remnants of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos and of one these is Malacañang of the North.Malacañang of the North is within a 5-hectare property that overlooks Paoay Lake, and is the residence of late president Ferdinand Marcos and his family when they are in the north. This was one of the 29 houses that the Marcos regime was able to build during its two decades of power. As its’ name suggests, this house served as the official residence of the First Family during that time whenever they are in Ilocos. The Marcos extended their reception for their guests both local and foreign in this house.
Paoay Church (also known as the St. Augustine Church in Paoay) is a historical church located in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. During the Philippine Revolution in 1898, its coral stone bell tower was used by the Katipuneros as an observation post. Paoay Church is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. It currently is a property of the Diocese of Laoag, Ilocos Norte.
Construction of Paoay Church was started by the Augustinian friars in 1694. It was completed in 1894 led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo and was re-dedicated in 1894.
Cape Bojeador - this lighthouse stands majestically on a hill in Burgos, 35 meters north of Laoag City, overlooking the South China Sea. It is known for being the highest lighthouse in the Philippines that is still functioning since its completion on March 30, 1892. Originally, the design and construction of this lighthouse was following that of Engineer Magin Pers y Pers', but was later reconfigured and finished by Engineer Guillermo Brockman. This octagonally-shaped tower has the same mechanism found in other lighthouses of its time. It has a winding machine with a counter weight which enables the lenses of the lantern to rotate. Normally, it takes about an hour before the lenses complete their full rotation. To date, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse still gives signals to passing ships along the Cape.
Pagudpud is a coastal resort town on the northernmost tip of Luzon in the Philippines. It is bounded to the south by the town of Bangui and to the east by the Cordillera Mountain Range, the town of Adams and the province of Cagayan. The South China Sea lies to the west and north. The town rolls over mountains, hills, valleys and flat coastal land. It lies 45 miles north of Laoag City, the provincial capital, and about 350 miles north of Manila. Its white-sand beaches and crystal-blue water makes Pagudpud a haven for tourists.
By land, Pagudpud is approximately a 90 minute bus ride from Laoag City. Several bus lines serve the Manila-Laoag route, namely Partas, Florida, Farinas, and Maria de Leon among others.
The Bangui Windmills, officially referred to as the NorthWind Bangui Bay Project, were a project by the NorthWind Development Corporation as a practice renewable energy sources and to help reduce the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The project is the first “Wind Farm” in the Philippines consisting of wind turbines on-shore facing the South China Sea and considered to be the biggest in Southeast Asia. The project sells electricity to the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) and provides 40% of the power requirements of Ilocos Norte via Transco Laoag.
Patapat viaduct is an impressive, well-designed bridge located on the side of a mountain overlooking West Philippines Sea.
Along the viaduct we saw waterfalls pouring its way to the sea, and a few more walks we found stores selling local products. The bridge is elevated 31 meters over sea level, is 1.3 km concrete coastal bridge that connects the Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to the Cagayan Valley Region. It rises along the town's coastal mountains, which is the starting point of the Cordillera Mountain Range that snakes through Northern Luzon. It is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines.
Encouraging Words for All Would-Be Tourists in Ilocos Norte's Attractions
Well visiting famous attractions in the whole Philippines won't be complete if you don't drop-by here. There's a lot of hidden gems here waiting for you to see and be stunned with amazement. For you, travellers, whether you're religious or adventure-seeking pals, well, this place is very suited for you! For locals and tourist alike visiting and staying in Ilocos Norte will find nature spots and feel the paradise with awe! Hurry tourists, see you all!