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Ilocos Tour: all you need to know for your getaway

Ilocos will, no doubt, surprise you. From historic streets to Ilocos Norte’s photogenic windmills, this laid-back region has no shortage of breathtaking sights. As you embark on an Ilocos tour, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, thanks to its UNESCO World Heritage sites, Spanish-era mansions and cobblestone streets. Of course, taking an Ilocos tour means you’ll see jaw-dropping rock formations, fabulous beaches and even slice some steep sand dunes. Plus, the Ilocos Region offers a smorgasbord of mouthwatering and hearty dishes, such as Longganisa, Batac Empanadas and Bagnet.

Dreaming of going on an Ilocos tour, but don’t know where to start? Got no clue on how to get to Ilocos? Guess what? We’ve got loads of tips, to help you build an Ilocos tour or weekend break that you’ll remember for years to come.

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How to get to Ilocos

Want an easygoing and hassle-free Ilocos tour? Then, book a flight from Manila to Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte.  Thanks to Philippine Airlines, you can now travel with ease to Ilocos without having to take a long bus ride.

There are literally daily flights to Laoag, Ilocos Norte from Manila. Download Skyscanner’s award-winning mobile apps, to find flights to Laoag that fit perfectly to your budget and planned Ilocos travel itinerary.

For desktop and laptop users, just head to Skyscanner’s homepage, to use its sophisticated features and travel search tools.

With Skyscanner, you get to compare flights from thousands of airline websites and online travel agents. In other words, it can help you find the most affordable flights to Laoag.

What’s more, Skyscanner has a unique feature – cheapest month – that lets you discover the cheapest time to fly to Laoag or any other destination across the world. Instead of a departure date, put in ‘Whole Month’ > ‘Cheapest Month’ and we will let you know the cheapest date to fly. Try it out below!

Alternatively, there are buses that can take you to Vigan, Ilocos Sur and Laoag, Ilocos Norte from Metro Manila. Bus fare to Laoag from Cubao, Manila is PHP 805 to PHP 970. From Cubao, the bus fare to Vigan is around PHP 670 to PHP 810.

Bus schedule:

  • Cubao to Vigan (First Class): 07:00 PM
  • Cubao to Laoag (First Class): 07:00 PM
  • Cubao to Laoag (First Class): 10:00 PM
  • Cubao to Laoag (Deluxe): 10:00 PM
  • Cubao to Vigan (First Class): 10:00 PM
  • Cubao to Vigan (Deluxe): 10:00 PM

What to do in Ilocos

See Agustin Church

A visit to Agustin Church is an absolute must when taking an Ilocos Tour. Not only is it a National Cultural Treasure in the Philippines, but it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site as well. Furthermore, it is, hand down, the oldest and most gorgeous churches in the Philippines. With its remarkable Baroque architecture and imposing beauty, this stunning historic icon will give you the urge to snap a jillion of photographs.

  • Address: Marcos Avenue, Paoay, Ilocos Norte
  • Entrance fee: free

Visit Bangui Windmills

They don’t call these windmills as one of the best and most beautiful attractions in Ilocos for nothing. With its towering height, unique design and striking natural backdrop, it’s easy to see why it’s a quintessential stop in every Ilocos tour. For a memorable experience in Bangui Windmills, try to see it when the sun starts to set. Trust us, the sunset views here are lit and spectacular. And, did we mention that it’s a brilliant technological innovation for the region’s power and electricity?

  • Address: Bangui, Ilocos Norte
  • Opening hours: 24 hours a day and 7 days a week
  • Entrance fee: free

Experience the Paoay Sand Dunes via 4×4 jeep

In the mood for some heart-pumping things to do in Ilocos? Ready to infuse a heavy dose of adventure to your Ilocos tour? Why not include a visit to the Paoay Sand Dunes to your Ilocos tour? From sharp turns and high elevations to sudden drops, you’ll love every minute of this heart-pumping ride. Additionally, you may experience the Paoay Sand Dunes in a different way by sand boarding on its sloped areas.

  • Cost: PHP 2,500 per group (good for 4 to 5 people)

Visit Malacañang of the North

Fond of history? You might want to add Malacañang of the North to your Ilocos tour. An intriguing presidential museum, this two-story mansion has 7 rooms, with each having a specific theme of historical events from the era of former President Ferdinand Marcos. As an added bonus, it offers a sweet overlooking view of the Paoay Lake.

  • Paoay, Ilocos Norte
  • Opening hours: 08:00 AM to 05:00 PM daily
  • Entrance fee: PHP 20

Explore Vigan

No Ilocos tour is complete without a visit to Vigan. Listed as a UNECO World Heritage site, this iconic city will sweep you away with its old world charm and historic wonders. Famous for its preserved Asian and Spanish colonial architecture, the city wows visitors with its rustic mansions, horse-drawn carriages, malecon and cobblestone streets. Not to mention, it brims with street-food stalls selling a wide variety of tasty Ilocano dishes.

Take a North Tricycle tour in Pagudpud

Hit a few birds in one stone by taking a North tricycle tour in Pagudpud. With this Ilocos tour, you’ll get catch sight of Patapat Viaduct, Kabigan Falls and Saud beach. Not to mention, it includes stops to the Blue Lagoon, Aqua Grande, Paraiso ni Anton, Bantay Abot Cover and Timmangtang Rock Formation.

  • Cost: PHP 600

Where to stay in Ilocos

There are plenty of options, when it comes to accommodations in Ilocos. Whether you’re staying in Vigan or Pagudpud, you’ll find a cushy, spotlessly clean and relaxing place to stay in Ilocos. Here are our picks for the best accommodations in Ilocos.

  • Hotel Felicidad (Vigan)
  • Ciudad Fernandina (Vigan)
  • Casa Rica Hotel (Vigan)
  • Alta Vista Ilocandia Inc. (Pagudpud)
  • Java Hotel (Laoag)
  • Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel (Laoag)
  • The Guest House Laoag (Laoag)

Get the best deals for these hotels in Ilocos with Skyscanner!

Sample Ilocos tour itinerary

Day 1:

  • Depart from Manila 07:15 PM and arrive at Laoag at 08:25 PM
  • Dinner and hotel check-in

Day 2:

  • 06:00 AM: Wake up and breakfast
  • 07:00 AM: Depart for Batac
  • 07:30 AM: Take Batac tour (Batac Riverside Empanada, Marcos Presidential Center and Batac Church)
  • 10:30: AM Arrive at Paoay
  • 10:45 AM: Visit Paoay Church
  • 11:15 AM: Lunch
  • 12:15 PM: Experience Paoay Sand Dunes
  • 01:45 PM: Walking tour in Laoag (Monopoly Monument, Saint William’s Cathedral and Sinking Bell Tower)
  • 04:00 PM: Arrive at hotel
  • 06:00 PM: Dinner
  • 07:00 PM: Socials
  • 08:00 PM: Sleep

Day 3:

  • 06:00 AM: Breakfast
  • 07:00 AM: North Tricycle tour
  • 11:30 AM: Lunch
  • 12:00 PM: Hotel check out
  • 12:30 PM: South Tricycle tour (Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Kapurpurawan Rock formations and Bangui Windmills)
  • 06:00 PM: Arrive at Laoag/dinner
  • 07:00 PM: Depart for Vigan
  • 09:00 PM: Arrive at Vigan/ hotel check-in/see Calle Crisologo
  • 10:30 PM: Sleep

Day 4:

  • 06:00 AM: Breakfast
  • 06:30 AM: Depart for Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur via bus
  • 07:30 AM: Arrive at Santa Maria Public Market/depart for Santa Maria Church
  • 07:45 AM: Explore church
  • 09:15 AM: Start return to Vigan
  • 10:15 AM: Tour Vigan (Camarin Jar Factory, Plaza Salcedo and Vigan Cathedral)
  • 12:00 PM: Lunch
  • 01:00 PM: Visit Balaurte and Bantay Church Bell
  • 03:00 PM: Snacks/hotel check out
  • 04:00 PM: Depart for Vigan Bus Termnial
  • 05:00 PM: Take bus ride to Manila

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