Laoag City

The city has an international airport that jets in hundreds of tourists per day, many coming from Taiwan and mainland China. A flight from Manila is a mere 40 minutes , a bus ride is an overnight trip.

Laoag is 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.

So, what essentially is Ilocano? Well first, you have the language. There are 8 million Ilocano speakers and the language is continuously spreading. Most of the Cordillera Region speaks it, and people in La Union, Pangasinan, and the Cagayan Valley do too. Oh, and some Hawaiians speak it too (The first Filipino migrants in Hawaii were mostly from Ilocos).

And we mustn’t forget the flavors of Ilocos.

Ilocanos love matching bagoong (fish paste) with just about anything, use souring agents such as native palm vinegar, and have a penchant for bitter things like veggies and papaitan. When you get to Laoag, don’t forget to try pinakbet, igado, dinakdakan, and poqui-poqui.