1st stop of our Ilocos Norte adventure is Laoag City!
Laoag City, also known as “The Sparkling Gem” Of Ilocandia or the country’s Sunshine City, has remained the capital city of Ilocos Norte up till present time.
As I would always say… a roadtrip is a means to discover more of one’s place. Contrary to the old notion that I had, Ilocos Norte will never be a boring place for me anymore. Every bit of this place is a scene fit for a canvass. Ilocos Norte is not just all sun and dry land. All the time I spent in Laoag was all worth remembering.
Sharing with you all the places and food that my husband and I had seen and tasted during this amazing trip.
SEE and DO:
Ilocos Norte Capitol
The seat of the government. These pillars remind me of the Department of Tourism building.
This landmark commemorates the lifting of the tobacco monopoly in the Philippines. This monument located at the foot of the Marcos Bridge has become a tourist spot as well.
Museo Ilocos Norte entrance
To know more of Ilocos Norte’s history, traditions and culture, this museum is a must visit! Located at Gen. Luna cor. Llanes Sts.
Playing with the Loom at Museo Ilocos Norte
This tool is used to weave cloth. I was able to try and feel how it was to weave inside the “Ancestral House”.
Built in 1612, St. William Cathedral serves as the central church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag. In 1620 the church was damaged by a hurricane, in 1706 by an earthquake, in 1843 by fire and was restored in 1880.
Sinking Bell Tower
Built in 1612 by the Augustinian Friars, this is the only bell tower in Ilocos Norte that is separated farthest from the church (St. William Cathedral) – approximately 85 meters! This bell tower sinks roughly a fraction of a centimeter per year.
Sinking Bell Tower’s door
According to old tales, a person riding on a horse could enter its entrance without stooping. But since this bell tower has sunk a significant amount, a person with an average height needs to stoop upon entering the door to be able to get through.
Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center has spacious rooms, clean hotel and accommodating staff.
Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center
Don’t leave Laoag without buying these sinfully good tummy treats! (Had to pay extra Php600.00 for excess baggage because of this! It was worth it, though!)
Dinakdakan of Saramsam
Dinakdakan is a famous dish in Ilocos made of grilled pork, pig’s face, pig’s brain, sukang Iloko, red onions, ginger and mayonnaise. It is just bursting with flavors!
Poque-Poque of Saramsam
Another popular Ilocano fare that I love eating here in Manila is Poque-Poque (pronounced “pokeh-pokeh”). It is made of mashed eggplants, eggs, tomatoes and onions. A salad that can also be a viand. The name doesn’t sound enticing but believe me – this is one helluva dish! I can eat this alone with steamed rice.
Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant: N. Corpuz Bldg., Rizal St. cor. Hizon St., Brgy. 7-A, Laoag City
Christine’s Miki Hauz serves heartwarming Miki using homemade noodles, hard boiled egg, thick chicken soup topped with chicken flakes. We also met the owner, Ms. Cora. According to her, she painstakingly prepares, makes and cooks the noodles. We were also amusingly taught by our guide, Sai, to use the suka iloko to season the miki. This was quite new to my palette so I was hesitant at first. But being the adventurous type and never wanting to say no to a taste experiment, I tried it and surprisingly liked it a whole lot! Too bad we don’t have this kind of miki here in Manila. Been craving for it since we got back home…
Christine’s Miki Haus: #33 Paco Roman St., Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
These handmade cotton loom textiles are woven in pedal frame looms and has been known for its quality. As a matter of fact, I have a table runner that I bought 10 years ago and is still beautiful! On your Ilocos visit, make sure to take home an abel iloco product with you – either a blanket, mosquito net, table runner or bag. It’ll also greatly help our local industry.
Bugnay (Wildberry) Wine is just like grape wine with a more pleasant taste. It has the same reddish color with 12% alcohol content. A bottle of Bugnay Wine can be bought at Php100.00.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount from the market vendors. If you are unable to get one, you will surely get an extra item. The local vendors are very indulgent.
Did you know that Laoageños obediently use pedestrian lanes? Quite a sight considering how normal jaywalking is for most pedestrians in Metro Manila.
2nd stop: PAOAY