Laoag City Travel Guide: DIY Itinerary, What to See and Do, Best Hotels and more

Aurora Park and Tobacco Monopoly Monument photo by Martin San Diego : NPVB
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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Laoag City

(Laoag City, Philippines) The City of Laoag is the capital of the province of Ilocos Norte. It’s at the west-central part of the province bordered by the South China Sea. Its fertile soil makes the province a prime location for agriculture. Being a part of Ilocos Norte, it’s included in the programs by the national government directed to the development of tourism and other economic projects.

Aurora Park located in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte photo by Barrera Marquez via Wikipedia CC
Aurora Park located in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte By Barrera marquezOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

History says that even before the Spaniards came, the City of Laoag along with the other parts of Ilocos Norte and the provinces of Ilocos Sur, Abra, and La Union are known for its gold mines that traders from China and Japan would go there to have their beads, ceramic and silk exchanged for gold.

The Spanish colonization era paved way for the constructions of churches and bell towers. Their attempt to fully colonize the region wasn’t as successful as they wished because the Ilocanos fought them. Due to these incidents, the Dingras (1589) and Pedro Almasan revolt happened (1660). Many rebellions continued to happen in the province to fight for freedom.

La Paz Sand Dunes by Ricky Artigas via Wikipedia CC
La Paz Sand Dunes By ricky artigas – Flickr, CC BY 2.0
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Today, The City of Laoag is a prime tourist destination where people of all ages can either try the sand dunes, sample a delicacy or two or go on walking tours to see what the capital city has to offer.

In this Laoag City Travel Guide blog, we listed DIY travel tips and advice on how to get there, activities to do, places to eat, best places to stay, tour packages and more.

Currency and Accessibility to ATM Machines

Currency Exchange is available in most hotels. You’ll have to ask the hotel you’re staying at in case you want to use US Dollar (USD/$) or other currencies.

Some ATM machines are located at the hotel while some can be found in public places. Two notable ATM machines present are from Landbank and BPI. Some establishments have credit card payment options but it’s advisable you use cash just to be sure as the place is outside Metro Manila.

WIFI Access

Most of the hotels have free WIFI use.

Best Time to Visit the City of Laoag

Strolling and embarking on different adventures in the City of Laoag is best done during the summer months. The summer months start in March and ends by the last week of May or sometimes the first week of June.

Try to avoid traveling during the rainy season, which is from May to September with its peak in June, July, and August.

Exterior of Laoag International Airport photo by Alaric Yanos via Wikipedia CC
The exterior of Laoag International Airport By Alaric A. Yanos – Official Facebook page of Imee Marcos (original here), Public Domain

How to Get to the City Laoag

Our Victory Liner Lakbay Norte 7 Bus at La Paz Sand Dunes
Our Victory Liner Lakbay Norte 7 Bus at La Paz Sand Dunes

By Bus

The City of Laoag may be far from Metro Manila but don’t let the 8-9 hour ride inhibit you from seeing a spectacular place because there are many bus companies going there like Baliwag Transit and Partas Liner. The trip to the City of Laoag is made memorable by passing through the rice fields of Bulacan, Pampanga, and Tarlac. The last provinces that you’ll pass by are Pangasinan, La Union, and Ilocos Sur. The cost of a one-way ride starts from Php600 (USD11++).

Cebu Pacific Flights to Laoag
Cebu Pacific Flights to Laoag

By Air

Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific have daily flights from Manila to Laoag. The airplane ride will take an hour.

Getting Around the City of Laoag

Vacationing in Laoag? Don’t worry because there are different modes of transportation like mini-buses, jeepneys, tricycles, and motorcycles. This is your ticket to getting around the city as well as visiting nearby municipalities.

Where to Stay 

Fort Ilocandia

Fort Ilocandia
Fort Ilocandia

Address: Barangay 37, Calayab, Calayab, Laoag, Philippines

Price starts at USD57++ for Standard Room via Agoda

The 5-star hotel in the Ilocos region features 77-hectares of land located in the sand dunes with its own beach. The hotel has its own restaurants such as Full Moon (Chinese!), Flamingo Teppanyaki and Bar-B-Q with their unique themes of course. Guests can request private dinner/s, withdraw cash in the vicinity and check out their souvenir shop. It’s near the hotel and convenience store.

Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center

Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center in Laoag
Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center in Laoag

Address: Barangay 41 Balacad, Laoag City, Calayab, Laoag, Philippines

Price starts at USD59++ for Superior Room via Agoda

Wouldn’t it be nice if the hotel you’re staying at is only a few steps away from tourist spots? When you stay at this hotel, you have that luxury plus you can further enjoy your holiday because they have a swimming pool. They’ve got free WIFI in all their rooms and in the public areas of the hotel. An air-conditioner, cable TV, and your own private bathroom makes the accommodation even better.

Java Hotel

Java Hotel in Laoag City
Java Hotel in Laoag City

Address: Gen. Segundo Ave., Barangay 55 B. Salet, City Proper, Laoag, Philippines

Price starts at USD44++ for Deluxe Twin via Agoda

The 58-bedroom hotel is great for friends or families who are traveling together. Each room have LCD/plasma TV, complimentary coffee and the usual amenities that can make your stay comfortable. The presence of a fitness center, outdoor pool, children’s playground, massage service and tennis courts can make you not want to leave the premises anymore but alas it’s near top attractions.

Ziur Inn

Ziur Inn in Laoag
Ziur Inn in Laoag

Address: Villanueva St. City Proper, Laoag, Philippines

Price starts at USD11++ for Double Room via Agoda

Ziur Inn offers world-class service for their guests. On top of that, non-smoking rooms are available for check-in. They offer tours which you can negotiate at the lobby. They also offer massage and spa. They have free WIFI, onsite currency changer, and laundry services. You can avail of their free parking or airport transfers.

AA Travellers Pad Hotel

AA Travellers Pad Hotel
AA Travellers Pad Hotel

Address: McKinley Street, City Proper, Laoag, Philippines

Price starts at USD10++ for Standard Room via Agoda

For a budget hotel, AA Travellers Pad offers superior service and facilities. For a minimal price of USD10++, you get to enjoy standard rooms that have TV and air-conditioning. They have English speaking customer representatives so dealing with check-in and out won’t be a hassle. They have karaoke in case you want to sing your heart out.

Where to Eat

Papa Pau’s Diner

Papa Paus Diner
Papa Paus Diner

Address: J.P. Rizal cor. D.M. Castro Street, Laoag, Luzon 2900, Philippines

Opening Hours: Daily from 10:30am – 10:30pm

Going someplace different means trying out what that place has to offer. In Papa Pau’s they offer native delicacies and the opportunity to dine in a restaurant that features a natural setting. Lovers of boodle fight may choose from different menu combinations which include grilled meats and vegetables. The restaurant is open to children and large groups.

Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant

Lauya a Baka photo via Saramsam Restaurant FB Page
Lauya a Baka photo via Saramsam Restaurant FB Page

Opening Hours: Daily from 11:00am – 2:00am

Address: Rizal Street Corner Hizon Street | N. Corpuz Building, Barangay 7-A, Laoag City, Philippines

Saramsam Ylocano is located inside Balay da Blas Hotel. The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the restaurant is its interior. It gives an old world and eclectic feel while the menu is out of this world. Go there if you want to taste dragon fruit ice cream and wild basil tea. Aside from that, native dishes like Bagnet Pinakbet and different takes on pizza will wow you.

La Preciosa

La Preciosa Carrot Cake photo via FB Page
La Preciosa Carrot Cake photo via FB Page

Address: Rizal Avenue, Laoag City, Philippines

A mix of Asian, vegetarian and vegan meals are available in La Preciosa. Native dishes like Crispy Dinuguan, Balatong Ken Paria (Mung Beans with Bitter Melon, Warek-Warek (their own version of Dinakdakan meat salad) and Pancit Lusay (Made with longganisa and Ilocos bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) dominate their menu. Their carrot cake is a must-try on their pastry menu.

Where to Shop

The City of Laoag houses some of the best shopping places in the Philippines. Wet and dry markets can be found throughout the city where tourists can buy fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats. Travelers who wish to bring something home with them can visit souvenir shops which are a dime a dozen.

City Market

What you’ll find

  • Native delicacies like bagnet, baradibud and empanada
  • Fresh seafood
  • Basic needs
  • Handicrafts and native products
  • Home decorations
  • Ornate bags

Sarusar

What you’ll find

  • Inexpensive souvenirs like key holders, t-shirts, rings, chimes and ashtrays
  • Basi
  • Bagoong

What to See and Do

Adventure Trip at La Paz Sand Dunes

La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag
La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag

La Paz Sand Dunes is where you can jump in a dune buggy or ride a 4X4 sand cruiser where you’ll go up and down and not in a mellow kind of way in the sandy hills of the place. You also get the chance to learn how to sand board.

Discover the Sinking Bell Tower

The Sinking Bell Tower by Wayne S. Grazio via Flickr
The Sinking Bell Tower by Wayne S. Grazio via Flickr

The Sinking Bell Tower is located in Saint William’s Cathedral (Laoag Cathedral, which is also a tourist spot). They say that the bell tower sinks one inch to the ground each year. It’s still functional though as they ring it every mass.

Utter a Prayer at Saint William’s Cathedral (Laoag Cathedral)

St. William’s Cathedral in Laoag
St. William’s Cathedral in Laoag By Oloapsaziracav – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The church was built in 1580 using wood and thatch by Augustinian friars. Through the years, the church survived earthquakes and fires and underwent renovations. The Italian Renaissance architecture of the church provides a sort of modern design to the otherwise old church.

Take an Educational Tour to Museo Ilocos Norte

Museo Ilocos Norte photo by Ilocos Norte Flickr
Museo Ilocos Norte photo by Ilocos Norte Flickr

Educational tours aren’t only for the youth and a visit to the museum is a must even for adults. The province’s cultural pride and representations of the past eras in Ilocos Norte can be seen in the museum. Visitors can learn about the crafts of Ilocos like hand weaving, traditional drums and photo series of Spanish-era churches.

Relax at Rizal Amusement Park

Aurora Park and Tobacco Monopoly Monument photo by Martin San Diego : NPVB Laoag City Travel Guide
Aurora Park and Tobacco Monopoly Monument photo by Martin San Diego : NPVB – Laoag City Travel Guide

This amusement park offers a sweet way to have a casual afternoon at its quiet corners. There isn’t much to do at the park except to relax or meditate if you like. Artists and the like will have a great time finding inspiration in the park and if you go hungry you can go to the food stalls and restaurants nearby to try Sinanglaw.

Visit Taoid Museum

Taoid Museum photo by Dexter Allan Palma Ladesma via FB
Taoid Museum photo by Dexter Allan Palma Ladesma via FB

Another museum if you will; the Taoid Museum showcases the cultural beginnings of ancient civilization. Artifacts, clothing, replicas of indigenous tribes of the region and tools from the same people can be seen on exhibit. The museum sits in a two-story building.

Laoag City Sample Itinerary 3D/2N

Day 1

6:00 am – leave for Laoag
3:00 pm – Arrived at the bus station in Laoag City
3:30 pm – Check-in at hotel
4:30 pm – Go on a DIY Walking Tour
7:00 pm – Eat dinner
8:30 pm onwards – Drinking session with friends and family

Day 2

6:00 am – Eat breakfast
7:00 am – Visit St. William’s Cathedral
9:00 am – Go to La Paz Sand Dunes for ATV ride, 4X4 and sand boarding (up to 4 hours)
12:00 NN – Eat lunch
1:00 pm – Go to Museo Ilocos Norte
3:00 pm – Relax at Rizal Amusement Park
5:00 pm – Visit souvenir shops and go to a non-touristy place suggested by a local
7:00 pm – Eat dinner
8:30 pm – Visit Night Market by the Riverside

Day 3

6:00 am – Eat breakfast
8:00 am – Visit Aurora Park
10:00 am – Go to Taoid Museum
12:00 NN – Eat lunch
1:00 pm – check-out of the hotel

Important Travel Tips

  • Bring enough cash to be sure
  • Pack light and bring lightweight clothes when traveling
  • Always keep hydrated especially when visiting the sand dunes and going on walking tours
  • Bring rain jacket (in case it rains)
  • Save important contact numbers
  • Be friendly with locals and learn a thing or two

Contact Information

You can contact these numbers if you have an inquiry.

  • City of Laoag Tourism Office – 770-3810 (204)
  • City of Laoag Police Department – (077) 772 0201/0909-532-8524
  • Laoag City General Hospital – (077) 772 8828

Other Laoag City related stories: Lakbay Norte: 11 Things to Do and See in Ilocos Norte

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