Note: As a precautionary measure in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to check with the authorities the updated travel requirements and possible restrictions that might affect your travel plan. Contact the city tourism office of Laoag at [email protected] or Ilocos Norte tourism office at [email protected] or at +63 908 810 8655 to know the latest update.
Remember to always follow the health and safety protocols imposed from your travel origin to your destination. I wish you a safe trip ahead!
Traveling to Laoag for the first time? This detailed DIY travel guide is exactly what you need. Scroll down and take note of the outlined information from sample itinerary and budget, best places to visit, top things to do, recommended tours and transports, budget-friendly accommodations, and other travel tips. Have a fun and enjoyable trip ahead!
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.
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.
WHERE TO STAY IN LAOAG
The best place to stay in Laoag is at the town proper for accessibility of transport to tourist spots and local delicacies. Here are the best-rated and most popular accommodations that you can find in the area.
- RedDoorz @ General Segundo Avenue Rating: 8.7 | Price: P1,215 for a room good for 3 persons
- Casa Sarmiento Travelers Inn Rating: 8.5 | Price: P1,671 for a room good for 3 persons
- Casa Felipa Rating: 8.3 | Price: P1,924 for a room good for 4 persons
- Sienna’s Flat and Transient House Rating: 8.8 | Price: P1,823 for a room with balcony good for 3 persons
- People’s Inn Rating: 8.8 | Price: P2,228 for a room good for 4 persons
- Travel IlocosPh Transient House Rating: 9.4 | Price: P1,823 for a room good for 3 persons
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.
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.
- 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.
TOP TOURIST 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TOP THINGS TO DO 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.
- 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.
LAOAG SAMPLE ITINERARY & BUDGET
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.
|Arrive in Laoag||7:00AM||–|
|Sinking Bell Tower||–||–|
|St. William’s Cathedral||–||–|
|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||–|
|Santa Monica Parish Church||9:00AM||P15|
|Malacañang of the North||11:00AM||P50|
|Back to the city proper||1:00PM||P15|
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…
EXTEND YOUR TRIP
Complete your trip to the north by visiting Pagudpud and Vigan. Check out the budget travel guides below:
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