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LAOAG BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE (with itinerary, expenses and top attractions)

UNDERSTANDING LAOAG

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.

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.

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

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 the Church of St. Augustine, the Paoay Church is one of the earthquake baroque styled 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

MUST TRY ACTIVITIES IN LAOAG

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

  • Go local and indulge in the flavorful Ilocano cuisine.
Empanada
The striking orange empanada of Laoag. Nam nam!

Batchoy
Batchoy
Longganisa and Bagnet
Longganisa and Bagnet
Balut
Balut – a boiled developing embryo of a bird, usually of a duck.
  • 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. 😀

LAOAG SAMPLE ITINERARY

Itinerary for Laoag can be done by 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 1

Activity Time Budget
Arrive in Laoag 7:00AM
Breakfast 8:00AM P100
Stroll Around 9:00AM
Plaza
Sinking Bell Tower
St. William’s Cathedral
Provincial Capitol
Tobaco Monopoly Monument
Museo Ilocos Norte P50
Lunch at Saramsam Restaurant 1:00PM P200
La Paz Sand Dunes 3:00PM P1,250
Rest until sunset at the Sand dunes 6:00PM
Lights out
La Paz Sand Dunes
Photo session at the sand dunes in La Paz.

Day 2

Activity Time Budget
Breakfast 8:00AM
Santa Monica Parish Church 9:00AM P15
Paoay Church 10:00AM P15
Paoay Lake 10:30AM
Malacañang of the North 11:00AM P50
Lunch 12:00PM P200
Back to the city proper 1:00PM P15
Buy Souvenir 1:30PM
Check out 2:00PM
Saramsam Ylocano
The Saramsam Ylocano restaurant that serves the best of Ilocano cuisine.

WHERE TO STAY IN LAOAG

Here is a mix of homestays, budget inns and luxurious hotels in Laoag.

  • Ziur Inn +63 922 850 9301
  • Casa Felipa Hotel (077) 677 1191
  • UKL Ever Hotel (077) 772 2771
  • Texicano Hotel and Restaurant (077) 772 0606
  • Bakasyunan Inn Laoag (077) 600 4380
  • Hotel Asuncion Laoag (077) 607 0861
  • Isabel Suites (077) 770 4998
  • Hotel del Norte (077) 772 1697
Paoay Church
Paoay Church

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…

Owning the buggy ride. 😉

BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER

Lastly, have fun and don’t forget to be awesome! 🙂

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

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

Or, go to Visayas and visit these fascinating islands:

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Published inPhilippines

2 Comments

  1. What a comprehensive travel guide. I’ve been to Laoag last 2011 during my 15 days backpacking around Ilocos Norte and Sur then, down to Baguio. I will surely go back in Ilocos Region soon.

    • thefunsizedtraveller thefunsizedtraveller

      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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