Fort Ilocandia was home for our 2 days stay in Laoag. At syempre naman, when with Kap, promo all the way. :P He was able to avail of the 8,999 discounted rate for 3 days/2 nights on a regular room. Galante na si Kap yang lagay na yan ha kasi 2 rooms.
At dahil promo nga, parang taxi, maymetro bawat galaw..
Me: Hello concierge? May I request for an extra towel pls? Concierge: That’s extra 50 pesos ma’am. Me: And for an extra pillow? Concierge: That’s also another extra 50 pesos. Kap:Wag na. May baon akong bimpo saka throw pillow sa kotse. Pwede na yun.
Hay Kap my Kap, GI ka talaga.
As always, Kap overbooks our vacations with activities left & right, and it’s no different with our stint in Laoag. On to part 2 of our Ilocos Norte trip, ang haba ng umaga namin, lol!
Kap is happy that the promo came with breakfast. :P There’s some sort of a Chinese food going on every meal time since most of Fort Ilocandia’s guests are from mainland China. They are accommodated well.
After a quick breakfast, we followed our packed itinerary to the dot & went to see Malacañang of the North which is a presidential museum in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It was one of the many residences of the family of Ferdinand Marcos when he was the President of the Philippines.
The Malacanang of the North is a chance to take a glimpse in the life of the most influential family in the country, Marcos era. The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays. Entrance Fee is 20 php per person.
Malacañang ti Amianan, as the locals call it, is a birthday gift from the then first lady Imelda Marcos to her husband on his 60th birthday. It served as an official residence for the president’s family when they were staying in Ilocos Norte. It is a two-story mansion overlooking the Paoay Lake, and consists of SEVEN (supposedly a lucky number for Marcos) rooms, with each room having a theme of historical events from the Marcos era: Study, Agriculture, Diplomacy, OFW (overseas Filipino workers), Culture, Nation Building and Family.
It is among the properties of the family that was sequestered by the Philippine Government when Marcos was removed from power. After 20 years under the care of the government, it was finally given back to the care of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte. In January 1, 2011, after restorations and renovations by the Governor, it was opened to the public as a museum. As expected, the museum is strewn with various memorabilia from the Marcos regime. The Millenials are anti-Marcos. To be fair though, the couple contributed a lot to the progress of the Philippines & built edifices we Filipinos can be extremely proud of. But of course I’m against the dictatorship rule & the suffering of many helpless individuals under his administration.
With its sprawling expanse, the mansion is intricately designed and resembles a 19th century Bahay na Bato with a mix of Spanish and Ilocano architecture.
Next on our tour of Laoag, the Paoay Church. The Saint Augustine Church, commonly known as the Paoay Church, is the Roman Catholic church of the municipality of Paoay, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. Completed in 1710, the church is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the buttresses on the sides and back of the building.
It was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993. A must-visit when in Ilocos for its beauty as well as its history.
It took almost two decades to complete the construction of this church which was started by the Augustinian friars led by Father Antonio Estavillo in 1694 and completed in 1710. It is made up of coral stone and bricks with 24 enormous buttresses on the both sides and at the back, a prime example of “Earthquake Baroque” design which is the Philippine interpretation of the European Baroque adapted to the seismic condition of the country.
Also made of coral stone is the three-storey bell tower on the side of the church. This bell tower is said to have been used as an observation post of the Katipuneros during the Philippine revolution of 1896, and again by the Filipino guerillas in World War II.
Paoay Church stood the test of time. It has survived wars and countless tremors and typhoons. Although it was partially damaged during the huge earthquakes of 1865 and 1885, reconstructions and repairs made the church look generally intact.
Directly right across the church is Herencia Restaurant, home of peculiarly-flavored pizzas. It is, of course, where we had our lunch. Dinuguan Pizza? I’m not gonna let that pass! ;P
McArthur St., Paoay, and Rizal Park, Gov R Ablan Ave., Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
Open from 9:30 am – 9:00 pm in both of their branches.
* Paoay branch: 077-614-0214 or 0917-501-9074
* Laoag branch: 077-600-0040 or 0917-896-5306
No Facebook or Website available.
Opened in 2005, Herencia Restaurant is the first restaurant that opened within the small town of Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It is located just across Paoay Church, giving guests a great view of the scenic UNESCO World Heritage Site from the comfort of their table.
Herencia Restaurant specializes in Ilocano Pizzas, all priced at 395 php. Their signature dish is the Pinakbet Pizza which has all the ingredients you’d normally see in pinakbet, the common ulam in every Filipino hapag-kainan. They also have other versions, such as the Ilocandia (topped with Ilocano longganisa instead of pepperoni), Dinuguan (pork blood stew), Chicharon (crispy pork rind), and Gamet (organic nori). The best way to get a taste of all of their pizzas is to order their Sampler priced at 450 php (which is what we ordered), and gives you 2 kinds of pizza in one serving.
Staying true to Ilocos, staple Ilocano dishes like pinakbet 180 php, crispy dinuguan 195 php, and poqui poqui 150 php are what we had. The poqui-poqui is a simple dish made with grilled eggplant, eggs, tomatoes, and onions, which Kap & my Neni have taken quite a liking to, and have asked our Ilocana sexy chef to make at home.
And because it’s SO effin’ hot in the Philippines, an order of halo-halo 110 php with ube & ube halaya, yuuum. All for me lang dapat -but of course they all shared pagkalapag, mga mahilig makisawsaw! :P
We went back to our hotel after lunch to freshen up a bit & also to let the huge amount of food we consumed settle in our tummies before heading on to our jostling afternoon activity, conquering the sand dunes of Laoag in a 4×4!
There are several establishments offering sand dune activities n Laoag (La Paz, Paoay, Culili Point), but most of the locals we asked pointed us to the direction of La Paz Sand Dunes for the best experience.
The Ilocos Sand Dunes encompasses the towns of Currimao through to Pasuquin in Ilocos Norte. The La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag City is one of the more popular sand dune destinations in Ilocos Norte. Hire a 4×4 Rough Riding vehicle at the base of the site & a professional driver will be your guide. Pay 2,500 php for a maximum of 5 people per car & the driver will tour your group at the Sand dunes for around an hour.
The sand ridges can go as high as 10-20 ft. at the most, while the most thrilling ride is the “rollercoaster” where a series of sand hills will make you hold on to the steel bar for dear life.
Your driver will make a brief stopover for photo ops which of course, my camwhore kids took great advantage of (wow, pang-bagong profile pic!) ;P Just look at Ate’sbuwis-buhay shot in the middle of the dessert hehe. Kaya nyo yan?
These gorgeous kids of mine should be the models of La Paz Sand Dunes. You may contact me for their rates & availability, lol. Lakas maka-project ng giblings!
KJ me of course opted to sit up front with the driver (with my seatbelt secured tightly) while the more adventurous family members stayed standing strong at the back. Do wear comfy shoes as you need steady footgear to anchor you to the vehicle as it’s one heck’a wild ride. Kapit mga mahal koooo!!
After the thrill, the guide will then drive the group down to the beach shore along the sand dunes. It is a perfect way to end a beautiful and exhilarating adventure. Kap found a heart-shaped stone & gave it to me, awwww! <3 Ipa-engaste ko, parangHeart of the Ocean, pero ito, Heart of the Sand -looool!
Plan your trip either in the early morning to welcome the sunrise (open as early as 5am) or late afternoon (5-6pm) to witness the beautiful sunset. Muni-muni moment kami ni Kap my Kap. ;)
After the ride, try sand-boarding on a plank of wood as you slide your way down the powdery sands. Super enjoy ang mga mokong..
All that juggling & jostling resulted in a mean appetite, so we made a beeline to Tacos del Norte for some tacos & burritos right after dusting off our feet (and butts) of sand, sand, and more sand. Tacos del Norte is sister to Olas Banditos in La Union (exact same menu save for the longganisa-filled Ilocos Burrito), and from the same management as Kapuluan Vista Resort in Pagudpod where we stayed for a night (see previous post).
Tacos del Norte
General Antonio Luna, Brgy. 8, Laoag City, 2900 Ilocos Norte (077) 676 0073
Tacos del Norte is the only place in Laoag for Mexican cuisine. So if you’re getting sick & tired of the the native staples but still want some authentic Ilocos meal, then I suggest you head on over to Tacos del Norte & get an Ilocos Burrito.
I like that the burritos are HUGE & that they don’t scrimp on fillings. Yay for siksik-laman & busog-lusog moments! <3
Satisfying meal at the end of the day makes for a perfect vacay! <3 My hangry giblings hehe.
Nearby is Johnny Moon Cafe, do try the Dinuguan Empanada so you can say, been there, done that too! ;)
And that’s it for our jam-packed VIP adventure! Whew, it really took me a while to document everything. I’m sorta dreading blogging about our 15-day Osaka trip, gaano naman kaya ako katagal aabutin dun huhu?
Hey, if you’re staying in the hotel, before heading off you might wanna explore the Fort Ilocandia grounds, they have a mini ZOO!
Reminder to busy parents: Take vacations together and go as many places with your children as you can -while you can. Money can always be made, memories, you can’t.
Ate has fallen in love with this ostrich & wants me to buy her one for a pet this Chirtsmas. Saan natin ilalagay aber? Sa kwarto mo? ;))
It’s been a fun 5-day holiday under the sun. Thank you fam for the unforgettable memories & shared new experiences! Alam nyo naman puro lang ako angal, pero pag nanjan na, go go GO! #cozimwithyoualltheway