Ilocos remains to be one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, despite the fact that it is located in the northernmost part of Luzon. The province is rich in history, littered with natural beauty, and booming with good food.

Take a journey and check out 10 spots you shouldn’t miss in Ilocos…

Lakbay Norte 7 Series:

1. La Paz Sand Dunes

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The La Paz Sand Dunes is just a small part of the Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes. The sand dunes actually span the town of Currimao to Pasuquin.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

Go on a 4×4 adventure across the rolling hills and take in the impressive site of the dunes.

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There’s also a breathtaking view of the West Philippine Sea when you reach the top.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

Retreat to the site for a round (or multiple) of sand boarding.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of standing, you still have the option to just sit on the board.

La Paz Sand Dunes
Brgy. 33 La Paz, Laoag, Luzon 2900, Philippines


2. Bangui Windmills

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Iconic but no longer unique to Ilocos, these windmills provide an alternative source of energy for the residents.

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From only 20+ windmills seven years ago, they have now grown to over a hundred windmills scattered around the province.

Bangui Windmills
Bangui, Ilocos Norte


3. Calle Crisologo

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Four blocks of cobblestone streets lined with heritage houses, Calle Crisologo remains to be one of the more touristy areas in Ilocos Sur.

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The streets are lined with shops selling souvenir items and dining areas.

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Closed to automobiles, the street is instead packed with kalesas.

Calle Crisologo
Mena Crisologo Street, Vigan, Luzon, Philippines

Related Post: VIGAN Calle Crisologo: 24-Hour Guide to Best Experience Vigan’s Most Beautiful Street! @HotelLuna_Vigan


4. Sitio Remedios

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Sitio Remedios is a small complex of old houses quite similar to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan.

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In an effort to preserve Ilocona houses up for demoltion, Dr. Joven Cuanang and Architect Rex Hofileña came up with the idea of a heritage village by the sea.

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The heritage houses are all open for accommodation.

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They look just as beautiful in the morning as they do at night.

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The sound of the waves and the sound of wind chimes suspended from the tree will definitely send you to sleep.

Sitio Remedios
Brgy. Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte
Telephone: +63 0917 332 0217
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Sitio Remedios


5. Saud White Beach

Saud White Beach is often compared to Boracay for its long stretch of white sand.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

While still not as powdery as the sand in Boracay, Saud tops Boracay if you’re looking for peacefulness. There are less people and establishments, allowing you to just be one with nature.

Saud White Beach
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte


6. SEA’s Kichen

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

SEA’s Kitchen is the brainchild of 3 sisters–Sonia, Elizabeth, and Anna.

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The promise is to serve healthy and organic food with ingredients freshly picked from their garden. The restaurant operates only on a reservation basis, as the food is only prepared once reservation is confirmed.

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A selection of delicious and mouthwatering Mexican- and Spanish-inspired dishes welcomed our group.

SEA’s Kitchen
Barangay Burayoc, 2919 Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Operating Hours: 8AM-5PM, By Reservation (thru Facebook) Only, closed on Tuesdays
Facebook: SEA’s Kitchen


7. Pagburnayan

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A trip to Vigan would not be complete without paying a visit to Pagburnayan, the art of clay pottery.

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Fidel Antiporda Go is a National Folk Artist, and he has mastered the art of high-heat pottery.

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The dark color of the pots sugggest that they were baked in high heat. Lighter or terracotta colored ones are baked in lower temperatures for longer hours.

Pagburnayan
Liberation Blvd, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur


8. Vista del Lago

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Vista del Lago, owned by Sammy Blas, is a restaurant by the Paoay Lake that offers Western and International dishes.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

The interiors are homey and inviting.

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And the food is sure to fill a hungry stomach.

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If you happen to come here on a full moon, witness the moon rise above the Paoay Lake.

Vista del Lago
Paoay Lake, Nagbacalan, Ilocos Norte, Philippines
Operating Hours: 11:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Telephone: +63 917 729 3074
Facebook: Vista del Lago


9. Hidden Garden

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Hidden Garden started out just as a simple landscaping project for the owners, but has since grown to a restaurant serving the best of Ilocano dishes.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

Tucked away in a residential area is this massive compound of exquisite landscapes.

Hidden Garden
Brgy. Bulala, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Operating Hours: 8AM-8PM
Telephone: +63 906 332-8309
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Hidden Garden Vigan
Website: https://hiddengardenvigan.com


10. Tan-ok Festival

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

We chanced upon the Tan-ok festival during our visit to Ilocos. It is the annual celebration of the joint founding anniversaries of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

As with most festival of festivals, expect all participating municipalities to showcase the best representation of their stories through dance.


FINAL THOUGHTS

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Ilocos is a thriving hub for tourism but with high regard for their history.

Embracing the past and being able to move together with modernization and the influx of tourists is difficult but not impossible to achieve, as evidenced by the success of Ilocos’ tourism industry.

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This wraps up my series of posts for the Lakbay Norte 7. The greatest part about trips like these is not just the new pool of travel knowledge I acquire, but also the friendships built and strengthened through travel.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

It is with great hope that this series has opened your eyes to the North and all the beautiful stories it has to offer.

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Photo by Martin San Diego via NPVB

Congratulations to NPVB for another successful leg of Lakbay Norte!

Lakbay Norte 7 Series:

Live an Awesome Life,

Monique of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclaimer: The Lakbay Norte trip was organized by North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) in partnership with NLEX Corporation, Tarlac Convention and Visitors Bureau (TCVB), and Victory Liner Inc. Lakbay Norte is an annual media familiarization trip aiming to promote Philippine provinces in the north. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.