LAOAG BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE (with DIY itinerary, top attractions, tips and how to get there)

Summary: This blog shares a budget travel guide for Laoag, Ilocos Norte, estimated budget is P1,900+ per person that is good for 2 days which covers expenses for entrance, food and transportation. All needed details for each top attraction are laid out in the post including operating hours, entrance fee, location and information on how to get there. The Laoag blog is intended for DIY budget travelers, either solo or traveling in group.

LAOAG AT A GLANCE

Welcome to the sunniest region in the Philippines, LAOAG or “lawag”, which means light in local dialect, has been known as the “Sunshine city” for its tropical savanna climate with warm to arid temperature year round.

Located at the northern part of Luzon in the Philippines and being the capital of Ilocos Norte, Laoag is yet another city with a strong presence of Spanish influence from its century old churches and ancestral houses down to its traditional lifestyle and solid awareness of its Ilocano heritage.

La Paz Sand Dunes
At La Paz sand dunes on a 4×4 jeep making the most of life, yeah! 😉

The city of Laoag uses different modes of transportation: tricycle or mini-van for short travel with P10 minimum fare while jeepney and bus for long distance. The best time to visit Laoag is during the months of March through May when the place remains warm with only a rare chance of rain, making it a perfect season to surf the vast sand dunes of La Paz.

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HOW TO GET TO LAOAG

Laoag can be reached by land from different areas in Luzon and by air from selected domestic destinations in the Philippines.

Paoay Church
Trying to be creative with Paoay church shot using an Asus phone.

Getting to Laoag By Air

As of late, only Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific offer flights from Manila, Cebu and Davao to Laoag City.

By Land

  • Via Manila  – There are available buses from GV Florida, Partas , Baliwag or Fariñas Transit that travel to Laoag at their terminals in Cubao and Sampaloc. Travel is via North Luzon expressway which may take for about 8 hours. Bus fare ranges from P700 to P900.
  • Via Clark – Take the shuttle service at the Clark Airport and drop off at Dau terminal where you can transfer to a bus bound for Laoag. Travel time is around 8 hours, bus fare is around P600.
  • Via Baguio – Buses and vans that go to Laoag are available daily at Baguio City Bus terminal. Travel time is more or less 4 hours, fare is around P300.
  • Via Tuguegarao – Buses from Florida Liner or GMW Liner offer daily trip to Laoag. Travel time is approximately 5 hours, bus fare is around P300.

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TOP ATTRACTIONS IN LAOAG

Here are 5 top tourist spots that you can cover in a day tour or with an itinerary for 2 to 3 days while in Laoag.

THE SINKING BELL TOWER

Sinking Bell Tower
A notable attraction at the heart of Laoag city, the 90-meter high Sinking Bell Tower has been drifting further into the earth each year due to its heavy weight digging slowly into the soft soil to where it was built since 1612. As of late, tourists are not permitted entrance to the tower.
Rating: 2.5/5

LA PAZ SAND DUNES

La Paz Sand Dunes
The sand dunes is a protected sandy coastal desert in Laoag which offers a heart racing ride on a buggy or a 4×4 and a sandboarding activity. Standard rate for both activities is P2,500 good for 3-5 persons: P2,000 for the buggy ride and P500 for sandboarding. Contact the following tour operators: Wilford Cua +639184778877, LaPaz Sand Dunes  +63 926 676 4686 and Ilocos Sand Adventures +63 908 885 3669. The best time to visit the sand dunes is in the afternoon to avoid the scorching heat of the sun and to catch the fascinating sunset at the desert after the activities.
Rating: 4/5

MALACAÑANG OF THE NORTH

Malacañang of the North
Soak in the culture and heritage through the different pieces of memorabilia and architecture inside Malacañang of the North. Entrance fee to the museum is P30.
Rating: 3/5

PAOAY CHURCH

Church of St. Augustine
Also called as the Church of St. Augustine, the Paoay Church is one of the Baroque-style churches in Ilocos Norte. It was completely built in 1710 and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. Near the church is a big lake where you can freely stroll.
Rating: 3/5

SANTA MONICA PARISH CHURCH

Santa Monica Parish church
The biggest Baroque church in Ilocos Norte, Santa Monica Parish church or commonly known as Minalin or Sarrat church was built in 1779 and had since served the public for weddings, including the daughter of then President Ferdinand Marcos.
Rating: 3/5

TOP THINGS TO DO IN LAOAG

Here are top things to do and activities that are worth a try around Laoag.

Some favorite Ilocano cuisines.
Some favorite Ilocano cuisines.
  • Go local and indulge in the flavorful Ilocano cuisine.
  • Go on a sandboarding adventure!
  • Or thrill ride on a 4×4 jeep and explore the vast sand dunes of Ilocos Norte!
  • Visit the old residence of the controversial Marcos family.
Sandboarding
I felt lousy on my sandboarding attempt here. 😀

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LAOAG SAMPLE ITINERARY

Itinerary for Laoag can be done on a DIY, but more convenient if done on a tour package. Here is a sample itinerary for Laoag for 2 days with an estimated budget of P1,900.00+ per person for a party of two, excluding expenses for accommodation, souvenir and other incidentals.

DAY ONE

ActivityTimeBudget
Arrive in Laoag7:00AM
Breakfast8:00AMP100
Stroll Around9:00AM
Plaza
Sinking Bell Tower
St. William’s Cathedral
Provincial Capitol
Tobaco Monopoly Monument
Museo Ilocos NorteP50
Lunch at Saramsam Restaurant1:00PMP200
La Paz Sand Dunes3:00PMP1,250
Rest until sunset at the Sand dunes6:00PM
Lights out
La Paz Sand Dunes
Photo session at the sand dunes in La Paz.

DAY TWO

ActivityTimeBudget
Breakfast8:00AM
Santa Monica Parish Church9:00AMP15
Paoay Church10:00AMP15
Paoay Lake10:30AM
Malacañang of the North11:00AMP50
Lunch12:00PMP200
Back to the city proper1:00PMP15
Buy Souvenir1:30PM
Check out2:00PM
Saramsam Ylocano
The Saramsam Ylocano restaurant that serves the best of Ilocano cuisine.

WHERE TO STAY IN LAOAG

Here are the best-rated and most popular homestays, budget inns and luxurious hotels in Laoag.

Casa de Renzo is one of the top-rated and most sought after accommodation in Laoag, Ilocos Norte for its location and service. Click the photo for rate and availability.
Balay da Blas Hotel is suitable for traveling family. It has an excellent facility and good location. Click the photo for more details including rate and availability.

Other recommended Laoag accommodations to check out:

USEFUL PHRASES

English is widely understood in Laoag. But in case you want to speak the local tongue, here are phrases that proved to be useful.

English to Ilocano ( the most prevalent language among the locals in Laoag)

Thank You – Agyamanak
Good Morning – Naimbag a bigat
Good Afternoon – Naimbag a malem
Good Evening – Naimbag a rabii
How Much? – Sagmamano daytoy?
Where is… – Sadino ti…

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Owning the buggy ride. 😉

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

Complete your trip to the north by visiting Pagudpud and Vigan. Check out the budget travel guides below:

Or, visit other top destinations in Luzon:

Tour around the city of Puerto Princesa on a budget tour. Click the link for details.
After Puerto Princesa, El Nido is always the next stop over. Check out this El Nido Budget Travel Guide to know more about this top tourist destination.
San Vicente Palawan is four hours away from Puerto Princesa. Check out the San Vicente Budget Travel Guide which includes a travel itinerary to Port Barton, its most visited barangay, and learn few things about this laidback municipality. And oh, did I mention that San Vicente has the longest beach in the Philippines? Just look at the photo.
Balabac Travel guide with top things to do, travel itinerary and sample expenses.
How about extending your trip to Balabac at the southmost part of Palawan. Personally, Balabac group of islands is the best place Palawan can offer. Plus, it’s not touristy. Check out this link for details: Balabac budget travel guide.

Or, go to Visayas and visit these fascinating islands:

Or, go to the surfing capital of the Philippines – Siargao! Budget Travel Guide here.

Or visit other countries in Asia using these budget travel guides:

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2 thoughts on “LAOAG BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE (with DIY itinerary, top attractions, tips and how to get there)”

    1. Thanks, sir Lai. I say, the Ilocos region is a must visit in Luzon. The place is clean and full of natural bounties. 😉

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