And so I made a resolution to start writing like a travel blogger and not just show teasing photos of the places I visit. This is one of those posts. The summary of our tour of Ilocos back in April. Tara na sa Ilocandia!!!!
Ilocos is located in region 1 in the Northern tip of Luzon Philippines. There are 2 Ilocos provinces namely Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur collectively called Ilocandia. Our travel last April focused on Ilocos Norte which is a very famous tourist destination in the Philippines. It took me 30 years to finally visit it despite being raised in Pangasinan.I have disregarded it for a long time thinking that since its in the same region as my province, it wouldn't offer me anything special. I was wrong. The good reviews and the beautiful photos of Ilocos I read and saw in the past certainly lived to their expectations.
Laoag City, the capital of Ilocos Norte is 10-12 hours from Manila by land. If you don't feel like traveling that long, a plane ride would take approximately 1 hour. I booked a one-way flight for me and my wife then took the bus back to Manila. I suggest you do it that way or the other way around so that you can drop by Vigan, or Paoay or Batac.
After a quick meal in Laoag and taking a few photos of lod buildings and churches, we boarded the bus to Pagudpud which is still 2hours north of the city. That's where we met with our guide Mang Arnel who on the same day took us to our tour destinations.
Since it was just me and my wife, we took the budget tour provided by Mang Arnel for 600 pesos/day. Cheap because the mode of transportation was a tricycle. You have the option to rent a car but it is advisable for groups. I was in kuripot mode that time so tricycle was good enough. Yeah, open air. We enjoyed it.
The first stop was Bangui windmills. It was already 4pm when we started so we were not able to go to all 3 destinations. It was actually my suggestion to Mang Arnel not to take is to Burgos lighthouse anymore since it was already dark when we finished Kapurpurawan. I told him to take us to a restaurant instead where we ate dinner together. Please refer to my separate entries below for details.
The tour includes, Bantay-Abot cave, Blue Lagoon, Kabigan Falls, Agua Lydia and Patapat Viaduct.
Try the classic pakbet, the empanada and the longganisa. You will never go wrong with these three.
Be sure to bring cash. There are no atm's in Pagudpud, nearest major banks are in Laoag.
I would suggest you pick a good tour guide should you travel to Ilocos on a D.I.Y basis. The success of your tour will greatly depend on him. In my case, Mang Arnel is the perfect choise. He is famous among bloggers actually. He is the bloggers choice when it comes to the Tour of Ilocos. He is nice and honest. He makes things easy. He knows where the shops are, he knows the right resto for you, just tell him your preferences esp the budget. And he makes sure you dont miss a single spot during the tour. He keeps telling me about the stops, ako na ang tumatanggi minsan. But that's the point, he will call your attention so as not to miss a significant place. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
What I also like about him is about his pricing. He tells you straight how much it would cost. Unlike others who give you higher price and wait for you to bargain. He gives fixed affordable prices so no more tricks on that part. Mang Arnel: 0918.689.0723 or 0926.588.0666 . Call him. He can offer you an affordable van tour as well.