Ilocos Norte

When you start your Ilocos Norte adventure, you are most likely to start in Laoag City. It’s the capital of Ilocos Norte and the hub of everything Ilocano. Just go to Museo Ilocos Norte and you’ll see.  The region’s main offices and universities are also located here. World-famous sights such as Pagudpud, Paoay and Vigan are less than an hour’s journey away.

Ilocos Norte is a coastal province so different colors of sand can be found here — the blackest of black in Laoag, the brown sands in Currimao, the white sands in Pagudpud.  Some parts in Pagudpud are also lined with a rocky shore.

But over all, Pagudpud’s beaches are amazing — stretches of white sand lined with coconut trees and crystal-blue water. It’s not overrun by tourists yet, but it’s getting there. So head out now.

Saud Beach is where the action is as many of the newer and more posh accommodations are here.

If you want a more secluded beach, try Blue Lagoon.  A good place to stay there is Kapuluan Vista Resort.

You can reach Pagudpud through the Maharlika Highway.  It goes up the coast with rolling tropical hills on one side and the blue water on the other.  No traffic here, so if you have a chance to drive, this is the place to do it. Having your own car will let you stop by the charming towns and take as many pictures of the view along the way.

The terrain is relatively flat and dry, but it gives way to hills the farther north you go. They make for an interesting hike too, as the hills sometimes conceal verdant valleys, forests, and rivers.

And we mustn’t forget the flavors of Ilocos, one of the more well-known types of Filipino cuisine.

Ilocanos love matching bagoong (fish paste) with just about anything, using souring agents such as native palm vinegar. They also have a penchant for bitter things like veggies and papaitan. A few of the dishes you shouldn’t miss: pinakbet, igado, dinakdakan, and poqui-poqui.  They love pork too. Proof—the deep-fried pork belly called bagnet and the native sausage, longganisa.