Travel

10 Things to Do in Ilocos

Two months ago, my church friends and I had our most memorable three-day adventure in Ilocos! For this week’s listicle, I’ll be sharing 10 exciting things we did (and gobs of fun!) in our trip to the northwest part of the Luzon island. But first, below is our itinerary map to show you the route connecting the ten places. 😉

Our Ilocos trip itinerary route created via Google Maps! ;)
Click to enlarge this Ilocos trip itinerary route created via Google Maps! 😉

1. Hiking and cliff-jumping at Anuplig falls: Being a boring nerd-slash-home-buddy that I am, braving a cliff jump for the first time is a feat I can be proud of. And just to be sure it wasn’t a fluke, my friends and I did it twice at the 12-meter-high Anuplig waterfalls! 😀 The hike took about an hour and was extra challenging because it rained. But, once we reached the cascading waters, we felt relaxed and refreshed. When we came back down, we had our so-late-it-was-almost-supper lunch of delicious FRESH fish and veggies in a local karinderia (food stall). 🙂 Tip: Always have a local guide with you and bring waterproof containers in case it rains! How to get there: According to this blog post, “Adams is accessible through Pagudpud; it is 200 meters away from the Patapat Viaduct. For the hike, you need to pass a man-made rice terraces and through waterfalls. It is a thrilling trip because of the high cliffs, sharp rocks, and slippery terrains.”

Courtesy of Oats Photography
Courtesy of Joseph Dela Cruz

2. Visiting the Cape Bojeador lighthouse: Cape Bojeador is touted as the highest lighthouse in the Philippines above sea level on top of a hill located in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. This 66-foot-tall (20 meters) octagonal stone tower is a cultural heritage site, being part of the Spanish master plan of illuminating the Philippine archipelago in 1892. To be fair, the interiors of the lighthouse leave a lot to be actually considered an “attraction.” However, it seems that the tower is under renovation so it might become worthy of the hype one of these days. For the meantime, you may keep yourself amused with the lighthouse souvenir items and dragon fruit ice candies (and Magnum!) that can be bought just across the street. 😛

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3. Checking out the windmills: A trip to Ilocos wouldn’t be complete without stopping by to see the windmills! The sight of these gigantic spinning turbines was enough to leave us in awe while exclaiming “windmeeeeeeeeels!” The Bangui Windmills are part of the Northwind Bangui Bay Project by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 1996. Each capable of producing electricity up to a maximum capacity of 1.65 MW, for a total of 24.75 MW, these 15 windmills create a blissful arc along the Bangui Bay shoreline.

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4. Exploring the Kapurpurawan rock formations: The Kapurpurawan rock formations are creamy white limestone formations that were streamlined along the rocky cost of Burgos. The structure was further chiseled by natural oceanic and weather forces through scads of time. A statue of Ilocos’ epic hero, Lam-ang can be found there, as well as a couple of funny signs! 😛 Hats can be rented there, too.

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5. Beaching in Pagudpud: As in most provinces in the Philippines, there are heaps of beaches in the Ilocos region. The particular one we went to, the Saud Beach Resort and Hotel, is not very ideal basing on our experience. It does provide the basic amenities of cottages, bathrooms, and the like, but the seafloor is too rocky and rough to walk and stand on. An online reviewer even commented that it was too pricey (we paid P50 per head and the cottage is around P400) although there wasn’t any lifeguard around. On the positive side, this beach was not crowded at all when we were there so we were able to enjoy the waves splashing in the shore and the sunset jumpshots all by ourselves (almost)! 😛

Courtesy of Oats Photography
Courtesy of Joseph Dela Cruz

6. Visiting Museo Ilocos: The stylish Museo Ilocos houses a good deal of ethnographic materials such as Ilocano, Igorot and Itneg tradtional clothing, household utensils, community tools, ceremonial artifacts, replica items, and photo exhibits. It features said collections in its galleries: The Towns, The Sea, The Pugon, The Land, The Highland, Teatro, Tabacalera Hall, Musical Instruments, Market, Historical, Farm, Dap-ayan, Basket Gallery, Ancestral House, and Textiles. A shop selling souvenir items and cool environmentalist shirts awaits you there, too!

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7. Sandboarding in Paoay Sand Dunes: One of the highlights of our trip is the sand dunes experience in Paoay. After a roller-coaster-like ride on a 4×4 vehicle, we sandboarded our blues away.~ At first, it was hard to find the right balance, but my second attempt was a success. 🙂 Tip: Do your self a favor and go to the sand dunes in the morning when the sand is not yet hot from being soaked in the sun for too long! We stayed quite a while in the museum so we arrived in the sand dunes at noon when the sun was at its strongest. 😥 Or better yet, just wear closed shoes like a pair of rubber shoes or sneakers instead of sandals and slippers. 😉 While you’re at it, you can also check-out the beautiful architecture of the Paoay church within the vicinity, which you can view while having your meal (and Paoay church drawing session!) at the Herencia Cafe.

Courtesy of Oats Photography
Courtesy of Joseph Dela Cruz

8. Trying pottery: We had our Pagburnayan old school pottery experience in RG Jar Factory in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The pottery instructor we met was friendly enough to throw some witty punchlines. According to his summarized instructions, the Burnay jars are made by first combining the clay with a type of fine sand called anay. After the compound has been properly mixed, the next steps are breaking and kneading on the spinner. The shape depends on the position of the finger and the way you hold the clay. To be honest, it was actually the instructor himself who molded our pots! 😛 Tip: The short session is free but be sure to drop in a little donation. 😉

Courtesy of Oats Photography
Courtesy of Joseph Dela Cruz

9. Eating Sinanglaw: We had Sinanglaw twice in our Ilocos trip. The first time and the one pictured below was in a small food stall we spotted in the long highway going to Adams. The second one was in the more popular Sinanglawan spot located at Jacinto St. in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. And oh, by the way, Sinanglaw is an Ilocano dish of mixed internal organs. 😛

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10. Strolling at Calle Crisologo: Calle Crisologo, with its preserved architecture and intricate craftsmanship, is the cultural heritage worth visiting. It is known for its blocks of cobblestone streets lined along Spanish-style houses with red-tiled roofs, thick walls, huge doors, stair cases, and sliding capiz shell windows. Calle Crisologo is also your one-stop shop for Vigan’s best products such as antiques, abel woven products, bags, basi wine, burnay and dimili products, jewelry, sweets, Vigan vinegar and wood crafts. Tip: Go to Calle Crisologo just before sunset to see the historic ambiance during both daytime and nighttime. 😉

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And that’s about our Ilocos checklist for a trip that is nothing short of exciting!

Note: All photos are owned by the blog author, unless otherwise stated 🙂

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I’d love to hear from you! 🙂 Reach me via Instagram (@chasingthestarsblog), by sending me an email at chasingthestarrs@gmail.com, or through Facebook!

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5 thoughts on “10 Things to Do in Ilocos

  1. I did most of these in my recent visit to Ilocos, although I haven’t been to Anuplig Falls and haven’t eaten Sinanglaw. But that’s good, right? Because that means I have more reasons to go back. 🙂

    Nice photos, btw. 😀

    1. Hello there, Joy! 🙂 Thank you so much for dropping by! 🙂 Yes, I agree. 😉 In fact, this checklist still lacks a lot of wonderful spots in Ilocos region, so, there’s always a reason to go back! 😀

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