[DIY/Backpacking] Ilocos Trip – Laoag (Day 1)

Read on my introductory blog about Ilocos Trip.

Day 2 – Pagudpud

Day 3 – Laoag/Vigan

Day 4 – Vigan

I arrived in Partas Cubao before 9PM in preparation for my 10PM-bus ride to Laoag. We were allowed to ride the bus as early as 9PM. The Super Deluxe bus was okay. It’s clean and spacious; it only has 28 seats—double-seater on the left, solo on the right. I reserved the 2nd solo seat. I was amazed that the bus left at around 10:10PM and did not delay the departure for like half an hour.

Tip: If you get easily cold like I do, I suggest you bring jacket for this kind of long overnight travel. My bad for wearing sando and cardigan. Lesson learned.

The trip had only one bus stop in Rosario, La Union. There are comfort rooms (asking for donation) and different sorts of food like cup noodles, arroz caldo, chips, hotdog, siopao, siomai, etc. I think we stayed there for about 30 minutes.

I arrived in Laoag around 6AM of December 8. I contracted a tricycle driver parking in Partas Laoag station. I showed him where I want to go, and he charged me P600. I think he charged me too much so I won’t recommend him.

Below were my destinations (note there won’t be histories involved):

1. Sand Dunes

This is an optional to-do for me since I find it very costly considering I’ll be doing a solo. My plan was be a joiner in case I have decided to give it a go. My tour guide encouraged me to try, explaining that my visit would be incomplete without trying this. Yeah, so I’ve heard. So I said Okay.

When we arrived in Onse Reef, I was told I need to pay P2500 whole because I was the only passenger. OMG, I almost tear them apart. It’s too much for something I do not really want to try in the first place. When I hardheadedly said no, they lowered it down to P2000 reasoning that they’d  just skip recording it so that they won’t get audited. I don’t know what to feel about that, but I said yes.


I still made it though! We roamed around for almost an hour. The place overlooks South China Sea. I asked if it’s allowed to swim there and my tour guides said no. The seafloor is uneven and not suitable for swimming.


They also have Sand boarding, but I didn’t try because I was already stressed out with the ride. The guides said to at least take a picture pretending like I was doing it.


Tip: If you are one heck of a head afraid of heights like I do, I don’t think this is for you. The driver intentionally takes the dangerous-looking roads and shakes the 4×4 on purpose. They even have what they called “90-degrees drop” and I think you already know what will happen there. Nonetheless

2. Paoay Church

I was astonished the moment I saw the church. It was surreal. When you look at it closely, you will see the years that passed by it because it evidently looks old but still intact. My tour guide said that most of its roof were already renovated.


Tip: Try Herencia Café in front of the church for their famous Pinakbet Pizza. I skipped this since it would still be 45 minutes before they open, and I was not yet hungry at that time. They said they open 9:30AM (not sure til what time and what days).

3. Paoay Lake


4. Malacanang of the North

The place was where the Marcoses lived during Marcos’ presidency regime. It is very spacious and well-maintained. The furniture are still whole but not sure if they were the original ones. The place is overlooking the Paoay Lake.

Operational hours: 9AM-4:30PM (closed on Mondays)
Entrance Fee: P3015326030_1223397841042929_4551030473044339614_o.jpg


Those were the places included on the tricy-tour. And I still think I was priced high since the only far destination was Paoay Sand Dunes.

After the tour, I asked my guide to drop me off to my hotel—UKL Ever Hotel. I booked it beforehand and paid 50% since I would be staying for 2 nights. When I got there at 10:30AM, my room was not yet ready because the check-in was really 12PM. So I just asked if I can drop my things to roam around the place, and they said it’s okay. I also asked where I can eat (not fast food because there were several fast food chains in the vicinity), and they suggested Rafael’s.


Address: J. P. Rizal Street, Laoag City
Store Hours: (not confirmed)
Facebook Page: (not confirmed)
Website: (not confirmed)
Comments: The place was really nice so I didn’t expect its food prices to be so affordable. The menu was of a typical karinderia. I ordered Munggo, Igado, 1 rice, mountain dew, and I only paid P87. Very nice deal.

Because I was hungry, I finished fast no matter how I tried to eat slowly. So I went back to the hotel and just napped on their couch while waiting. At 11:30AM, I was able to settle in my room.

UKL Hotel in Laoag City (1).jpg

Address: Abadilla, Barangay 17, Laoag City
Facebook Page: (not confirmed)
Website: http://www.ukleverhotel.com/
-Single standard room costs P600/night. Size is just right for single occupancy
-Has 1 cabinet, 1 table and 2 chairs, TV with cable, free wifi. Towel was provided.
-CR is neat. They have hot/cold shower. But the sink smelled kind of bad. Free 3 soaps (which I didn’t use)
-Bed is very comfortable
-Complementary breakfast included (but don’t expect fancy ones)
-Staff were nice and accommodating
-The only complain I told them was the line of ants near the aircon because they’ve bitten me while sleeping 😐 They took care of it immediately
-Affordable and very recommendable

I cleaned up and rested til past 2PM because there were few things left to do in Laoag based on my list. I toured that afternoon by just walking since each place is near from each other.

5. Sinking Bell Tower 

I already passed by it on my way to UKL. It can easily be seen given the the tower is high and prominent. I’m not sure if it can be climbed, but I didn’t bother asking people. The tower looked nice as well during night.




6. St. Williams Cathedral

The church is just on the other side of the tower. It looked very nice both day and night time.



7. Museo Vivo de Ilocos

I’m not so sure if this was really it for the place, but I didn’t enter any establishment. The place is beside the Provincial Capitol.


8. Museo Ilocos Norte

It has been my second time to visit the museum. My first time was on 2008 during college field trip. I think the place still looked the same. This is near the Provincial Capitol and Museo Vivo de Ilocos

Opening hours: 9AM-6PM
Entrace Fee:P50



9. La Preciosa


I decided to take an early dinner so I can rest early in prep for my Pagudpud trip the following day. It was a 10-min walk from Museo Ilocos Norte. When I got there, I instantly liked the place being a fan of good-looking establishments. I liked it more when I entered. It was 2 floors so I went upstairs and got settled. I was fortunate that the place was not crowded so it looked like I got the place all by myself. I ordered the following (based on the blogs’ recommendations):

Poqui-Poqui – P165. It’s a vegetable dish made up of mostly eggplant and tomato.


Pancit Lusay – P130. Made up of miki noodles, bagnet, and tomato. Very tasty because of bagnet.


Plain rice – P50. I regretted ordering this since I already have pancit. Plus they served large.


Because I have all the time, I ate slowly plus the fact that I wanted to consume all of it and not take it out. But I really can’t finish so I ended up taking them home. :\ Despite of it, I still have room for dessert.

Carrot cake – P100. It was the first time I bought a carrot cake with real carrot shreds on top. And this was a big slice, mind you. It was heavenly.


After eating, I took my time walking my way home. I was so full!


This ended my 1st day in Ilocos. Tomorrow’s Pagudpud.

Read on my introductory blog about Ilocos Trip.

Day 2 – Pagudpud

Day 3 – Laoag/Vigan

Day 4 – Vigan

Feel free to ask me things about the trip as there were details I might not have mentioned but you wanted to know.


5 thoughts on “[DIY/Backpacking] Ilocos Trip – Laoag (Day 1)

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