Calle Crisologo, Ilocos — The oldest street in at the heart of Vigan City where ancestral and old houses lies.

Ilocos, Philippines: A Place Back in Time

If you’re looking for an adventure with history and exquisite beauty, Ilocos is the right destination for you. It’s architectural art pieces will definitely bring you back to its rich history roots.

Old houses in Calle Crisologo.
Preserved Architectural Art Pieces

Ilocos Region is known for its splendid history located at the Northwest of Luzon in Region I, bordering Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Administrative Region in the east, South China Sea in northwest, and Central Luzon in the south. The region is composed of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, La Union, and Dagupan City. Majority of the residents speaks Ilocano or Pangasinense but don’t worry! The locals know how to understand and speak Filipino and English, due to high number of tourists in the region every peak season.

It is an eight hour drive from Manila to Vigan City. It is advisable to book your trip than travelling alone in the region if it is your first time. Moreover, the convenience you’ll get if you book your trip is highly recommendable, but you’ll get limited time for each destination. You’ll get an itinerary plus, you’ll able to reach each travel destination with ease.

Tip: If you’ll be staying there for 3 days pack light, one bag per person. Believe me!

Number #1 attraction in Ilocos is there preserved churches built in the Spanish Era with astonishing structural design. It is a great venue for Visita Iglesia every Holy Week or if you’re into spiritual adventures, this one is for you! I had a chance to visit the popular churches — Bantay Church and Paoay Church. Aside from being close to God, the architectural design is highly appreciated. The cleanliness and orderliness are maintained and the personnel are very friendly.

Bantay Church, Bantay BellTower, and Paoay Church

Tip: As the saying goes, make three wishes if it is your first time visiting the churches.

If you want to light a candle, you need to drop 10php on their donation box. It will be your contribution for the maintenance of the church and your share for the less fortunate ones. After visiting these churches, for sure a great company of food will be awesome. Dinakdakan and Bagnet are the best food in Ilocos to feed your hungry stomach. I recommend Herencia Restaurant, which is a 5 minute walk from Paoay Church. The prices are very affordable, ranging from 195–300 per viand. Swear your cravings will be satisfied!

Ilocos Favorites: Dinakdakan and Bagnet

Let me take you to Marcos regime in Marcos Museum. Pay 50php for your entrance fee and you’ll be able to go back in time. The Museum is composed of relics and photographs of Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos in their reign. Moreover, the said wax body of Marcos is located at the center of the museum. It is said to be the real body of Marcos but for me, it’s a body made of wax. If you went there, just judge it yourself!

Note: Cameras are not allowed inside the tomb of Marcos.

After strolling in the city, try the 4x4 ride in Paoay Sand Dunes. It costs 2,500php for 4–5 pax and it will last for 1–1 1/2 hour with unlimited sand boarding. I really enjoyed this ride, but quite nerve-wracking. You need to ready yourself to all the pain you’ll get after riding this vehicle. The ride is a FULL BODY WORKOUT. But, the view is just superb. It’s like you’re in Dubai with all the sand plus, you’ll appreciate the blue waters of South China Sea.

Paoay Sand Dunes and South China Sea

Sadly, you can’t splash on the waters of South China Sea but, you can enjoy the sand, waves, and sun in Blue Lagoon, Pagudpod. Rates: 50php for the entrance, 150php for parking, and 600 for cottage. If you want to try their zip-line which is the longest zip-line above water, it costs 700php per ride. Furthermore, it’s like you’re in Boracay because of the white sand.

Note: The stones are sharp.

But if you’re into trekking, try visiting Kabigan Falls. The entrance fee is 10php and 200php for the tour guide. It is a 30 minutes — 1 hour trek before reaching the falls. But, worth it! The view is breathless.

Note: Wear your swim wear and just bring your towels. The water is cold as ice. Be ready!

Kabigan Falls

And don’t forget the famous Bangui Windmills, huge fans that supply electricity. This is a great venue for picture taking.

Bangui Windmills

Last but not the least, explore the beauty of Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, which is 10 minutes drive from the Bangui Windmills. The beauty of nature will surely amaze you.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

This is surely the best summer destination for adventure lovers out there. Make your summer memorable and exciting with different activities and go back in time. It is definitely MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!

If you want to book your trip to Ilocos, you can visit 8Wonders Travel and Tours website.