Laoag city is a third class city and the urban capital of the province of Ilocos Norte. It is located in the sunniest region north of the Philippines. Laoag can be reached by plane or bus from Manila. The bus ride usually takes about 10 hours. Laoag city is the political, commercial and industrial hub of Ilocos Norte.
The busiest commercial airport of the Ilocos Region is located in Laoag city.
Laoag has a tropical savanna climate and has a warm to hot weather all year round. The temperature slightly dips in the months of December to February. The wet season is from May to September.
Laoag City is one of the richest cities in the country with regards to per capita income. It is strategically located in the northern tip of Northwestern Luzon and is just a two hour jet flight away from tiger cities in East Asia such as Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
Tourists from around the world can reach the city through the Laoag International airport.
This fast growing city has many historic and scenic tourist spots. Interesting places worth visiting are the following:
Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Resort
Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Resort is the only 5 star hotel in Northern Philippines. Laoag city’s profitable casino is located inside this hotel. This place is a famous hangout for high rolling Chinese and Taiwanese.
The multi-lingual staff in the gaming area of the Casino Filipino makes the place a magnet for foreigners not familiar with the English language.
The resort hotel also boasts of its Gary Player designed golf course and sand dunes where all terrain vehicle rides are available.
The hotel’s proximity to the South China Sea enables guests to enjoy a variety of water sports such as Jet Ski, kayaking, canoeing and snorkeling.
Other activities that guests may enjoy are hot air balloon ride, shooting, horse riding, archery, a 4×4 ride and sand boarding.
La Paz Sand Dunes
The La Paz sand dunes is a protected sandy coastal desert and beach combined in the city of Laoag. The desert is about 85 square kilometers wide. This is the best place for adventure seekers north of the Philippines.
The amazing dunes provide a perfect site for adrenaline pumping activities. You can ride around the sand dunes using the rugged 4×4 vehicle. Compact ATVs are also available for rental to enjoy the ups and downs of the sand dunes.
Museo Ilocos Norte
The oldest museum in the La Tabacalera Compound is located in Gen. Luna corner Llanes streets in Laoag city.
The museum showcases the Ilocos Norte culture including a full sized replica of the typical Ilocano ancestral house.
Entrance fee is tagged at 50 pesos per head.
St. William’s Cathedral or Laoag Cathedral
The Italian Renaissance designed structure was constructed by Augustinian missionaries way back in 1612.
The cathedral has an unusual two story facade supported by four columns in each side of the arched entrance. The upper portion of the facade includes a recessed nice which features the image of the patron saint of the city, San Guillermo el Ermitano.
The windows of the cathedral are made from capiz and has wrought iron screen. A huge retablo includes the image of Saint William which is the patron saint of the parish.
Sinking Bell Tower
A few hundred meters away from the St. Williams Cathedral is the Sinking Bell Tower which is similar in some ways with the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. This tower also leans at one side and continuously sinks into the ground at 25 millimeters or one inch each year.
The earthquake surviving Baroque style structure has survived many earthquakes. The tower which was built after a 1707 earthquake is made out of bricks joined by molasses and juice of sablot leaves combined with lime and sand while reinforced with four large columns.
These are only some of the best places to go in Laoag and the Ilocos Region. Check out other Philippine travel destinations and the Ilocano foods.