Hey there guys! I know it's been a while since my last post. It's been about eleven months of blog hiatus and a lot has been going on in my life. While some of it were ugly, most of it are still great I must say so the good vibrations are still overflowing!

On to my new blog post. Well, it's not actually that new since I was supposed to write this in February right before I decided to take a break from blogging. Nevertheless, this still excites me and I'm pretty sure that you guys will be excited too as it is about this glorious place where the Spanish era is somehow preserved, nature and wind power thrives and the home of the ever politically famous Marcos clan, Ilocos!

I'm saying that my trip to Ilocos is unforgettable. Why so? Not only that the province is full of wonders, color and culture but it is very refreshing that after a very long time, so long that I can't even remember exactly when the last time was, I get to travel with my real family! Although not entirely complete, I get the chance to travel with my real persons, the very people whom I chose to keep on my list of "loved ones".

Another thing that is refreshing for me is that instead of doing this in a DIY mode, I was able to set everything up through a travel agency. I learned through my younger brother this travel agency called Lakbay Pinas Travel & Tours and I thought that it would be quite hard for me to do this trip DIY since I have to coordinate tons of things with a lot of people so maybe this would be a perfect option for me. And I was right! Since I inquired about the tour from them, everything went smoothly with utmost convenience.

My family is a group of 13 pax and we booked for a 3D2N (3 days and 2 nights) tour in Ilocos. It was an exclusive tour since we were able to fully occupy their entire van.  It was a long 12-hour road trip from Manila to Ilocos but everything was well planned and on schedule. Below are the highlights of our tour.

(Read on to learn more about Lakbay Pinas Travel & Tours.)


Paoay Sand Dunes
We went to a bunch of spots in Ilocos where we got appreciate its beauty. Starting it off with the Paoay Sand Dunes which is definitely one of my favorites during our entire tour. We shouted our lungs out when we braced the extreme 4x4 off-road ride, especially that balls-twisting devil's drop! It scared the hell out of me from bird's eye view as it is almost a 45-degree slope.  It made me want to go to pee when we went for it haha! Made me shout all the bad words I know too! #sorrynotsorry

We also did go sandboarding! It was funny though because none of us went straight all the way down. We were teasing each other that we were too heavy for the board to slide haha! You can enjoy doing these exciting activities for just Php 500.00 per person, max of 5 pax per 4x4 vehicle.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
We enjoyed strolling around the Kapurpurawan rock formation located on the coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. Derived from the Ilocano term "puraw" which means white, its creamy white color and limestone formations are a joy to look at. It's amazing how mother nature has perfectly sculpted it. Alternatively, if you are already tired of walking, you'll see some horses around the corner which you can rent for Php 100.00.

Bangui Wind Farm
In the morning... refreshing sea breeze, warm, yellow sun, blue sea and green energy! It's really best to visit the Bangui Wind Farm at this time of the day and enjoy pretty much everything that is around.

Kabigan Falls
Walk with nature and enjoy the cold waters of the Kabigan falls. We had a lot of fun getting to this spot as we got the seniors trekking with us too! You know when you go on a trip with your fambam, it's going to be from kiddos (young ones) to thunders (oldies). LOL

In going to Kabigan falls, you'll be asked to pay Php 30.00 per head. That's Php 10.00 for the entrance fee and Php 20.00 for the tour guide fee. The tour guide fee is actually Php 100.00 for a minimum of 5 pax and any succeeding person would be Php 20.00 per head.

Patapat Viaduct
We got the chance to have a quick stop-over and photo-ops at this winding and scenic man-made beauty... Not to mention being included in the top 5 longest bridges in the Philippines, the Patapat Viaduct. Patapat, which means "belt" in Ilocano, really speaks for itself as it beautifully hugs the slopes of the mountains.

Bantay Abot Cave
Bantay Abot cave seems to be a bit confusing to me because it's more like a hill with a hole than an actual cave. It sort of resembles the shape of a doughnut. It gives you a great view of the Maira-ira waters (commonly known as the Blue Lagoon) and the Timangtang rock located at the coast of Barangay Balaoi, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. A local once shared that there is a beautiful love story behind these the two natural beauties, the Bantay Abot cave and the Timangtang rock. That they were left there as a reminder of a man and a woman's love towards each other.

This is the best shot that I got here. There were quite a bunch of people in the hole with their selfie sticks waving everywhere. LOL

Blue Lagoon
Everybody has enjoyed their time chilling on the shores of the Blue Lagoon. We had fun, especially with the waves! Just like to rest of the top beaches here in the Philippines, there are a number of fun activities that can do here like zip-lines and jet skis!

Paraiso ni Anton (Kalbario Patapat Natural Park)
Paraiso ni Anton (Anton's Paradise) was also one of the stops during our tour. The locals believe that the water that is flowing down the hillside of Paraiso ni Anton has a mysterious healing ability which can cure some mild to severe health conditions. This might be the reason why we saw a bunch of people bringing in some water containers and fetching the water. Some of them would also approach the image of the Virgin Mary and silently pray before they sip the fresh water using their hands.

For our room accommodations, we stayed at Jun & Carol Beach Resort in Pagudpud which of course, were arranged by Lakbay Pinas and we liked it. Oh the convenience! I love it!

Sunset view at Jun & Carol Beach Resort
What I love about this place is that it gives you such a relaxing and romantic view of the sunset. You can even see the little silhouettes of the Bangui windmills from afar! It's beyond amazing!

(Read on to learn more about Jun & Carol Beach Resort.)


Calle Crisologo
Ilocos can definitely take you to a significant part of our history all the way back to Spanish colonial time! Calle Crisologo in Vigan showcases a district filled with Spanish-style heritage houses which are strong proofs that people here lived prosperously during its glorious days. 

Crisologo Museum
Had a quick visit as well at Crisologo Museum where you can find some memorabilia of the Crisologo clan and other antiquities which will make you really feel back in time. 

Well, I must say that Vigan is still glorious for not only that the locals have somehow preserved it but you could also find tons of shops where you can buy pasalubong for your loved ones. It is indeed a major attraction and your Ilocos trip would never be complete if you have not visited this beautiful place.

Vigan Pagburnayan
Witnessed the comedic yet very artistic way of creating handcrafted earthenware pots made from bantog clay at Vigan's Pagburnayan (pottery house). Locals claim that using burnay jars in fermenting products actually help it become richer and taste a lot better.

Paoay Church
I was in awe when I saw the beautiful baroque style architecture of Paoay Church. It also has a beautiful and big landscape at the back where you can find their public washroom and souvenir shop.

Immaculate Concepcion Church (a.k.a. Batac Church)
We've also visited three other churches which made our seniors happy. They are the Immaculate Concepcion Church (a.k.a. Batac Church) in Batac, Ilocos Norte, St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral (a.k.a. Vigan Cathedral) in Vigan and the Saint Augustine Parish church (a.k.a. Bantay Church) in Bantay, Ilocos Sur. 

St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral (a.k.a. Vigan Cathedral)
We were able to pray and thank God for all the blessings and the wonderful family trip that we were enjoying.

Saint Augustine Parish church (a.k.a. Bantay Church)

Bantay Belltower
This is my first time seeing something like this. The Bantay Belltower is actually a bit far from the church itself and it's standing beautifully!

Malacañang of the North
We also gave ourselves a bit of a politically historical tour as we visited the Malacañang of the North. I think this was a gift from the former first lady, Imelda Marcos to her husband, the former President, Ferdinand Marcos for his 60th birthday. However, this was one of the many properties that were sequestered by the Philippine Government when former President Marcos was removed from his office. 

I can see that the property is well maintained especially at the back where you can appreciate the beautiful overlooking view of a lake. When entering the Malacañang of the North, you'll need to pay an entrance fee of Php 20.00. In our case, entrance fees like this are already included in the package that we availed from the travel agency.

Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center
I also got the chance to enter the Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center. It's a museum located in Batac, Ilocos Norte where you can see some memorabilia and most especially, the cenotaph of the former president. Number one rule in this place is that you are not allowed to take a picture inside the room where the cenotaph is located. A big part of the Philippine history took place in November 2016 as the former President Marcos' body was buried at the Heroes Cemetery which brought a huge controversy through and through.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
We also visited one of the strongest and most beautiful lighthouses in the Philippines, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. This National historical landmark was built in 1892 during the Spanish era. I love this place as this gives you a very nice view of the Bangui windmills and the West Philippine Sea. We just had a bit of a challenge in going to this place because we had some seniors with us but it was a lot of fun! #titasofcavite


Ilocos is also famous for some of the best delicacies in the country! I'm placing here the ones that actually made my tummy shouting for joy.

Tinubong is a delicacy that is mainly made of grounded glutinous rice, sugar and coconut that are inserted inside a young bamboo or what they call "tubong". A pack of four costs Php 100.00.

Batac/Laoag Empanada
They say that your Ilocos food experience wouldn't be complete without having a taste of Ilocos' Empanada. It's a deep fried rice flour dough that has a mixture of meat, vegetables and egg filling. There are actually two kinds of empanada in Ilocos, the Vigan and Batac/Laoag Empanada. The one I got in the picture is the Batac/Laoag empanada which has a bright orange color. The Vigan empanada on the other hand, has a more natural color and a thinner crust.

Well, we do have empanadas in my hometown but what makes the Ilocano empanada different is that it's huge! One version has a bright orange color and it has an egg inside. Though it's a bit oily, it's still a joy to eat this crunchy buddy as it's very delicious! It costs around Php 30.00-35.00 per piece.

Vigan Chichacorn
Vigan Chichacorn! I think I've been eating this since we bought it until we got home. They're super crunchy and it comes with different flavors like garlic, barbecue and cheese. You can usually buy them at 3 packs for Php 100.00.

Ice Scramble
Okay, here's the thing, I know that Ice Scramble is rampantly found all over the Philippines but Ilocos is the only place that gave me its glorified version for just Php 20.00!

Macarons (left) and Royal Bibingka (right)
Macarons (left) and Royal Bibingka (right) in Ilocos are rich and super tasty. It's also very handy that you can take them while strolling on the cobblestoned streets of Calle Crisologo! A dozen of each would usually cost you Php 120.00-140.00.

Ilocos also has its own version of one of Juan dela Cruz's favorite breakfast staples, longganisa! It costs Php 100.00-120.00 per dozen depending on the size.

Let's not forget about the crunch-game-changer, Bagnet! It's super crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. It's perfect with sukang Iloko (sugar-cane vinegar). It usually costs around Php 325.00-350.00 per kilo.

Additionally, souvenir shops are found almost everywhere so you won't have a hard time finding them. The only challenge I see is you finding it hard to decide which item to choose as they have such a wide array of items on sale!

TIP: Be wise in buying souvenirs. It's always more affordable when buying souvenirs from shops that are a bit outside of the major tourist spots.

There you have it guys! Here are some of the random shots taken during our trip. (including my shameless self, of course. LOL)

(Read on to learn more information about Lakbay Pinas Travel & Tours and Jun & Carol Beach Resort)

If you'd like to get in touch with Lakbay Pinas Travel & Tours and inquire for their tour packages, please click on the link below to visit their Facebook page:

Lakbay Pinas Travel & Tours on Facebook

If you'd like to get in touch with Jun & Carol Beach Resort and inquire for their room accommodation rates, please click on the link below to visit their Facebook page:

Jun and Carol Beach Resort on Facebook

This trip has indeed been an amazing and unforgettable experience for me. Exploring Ilocos with my family! It has now become the trip that is closest to my heart so far. I hope that you were able to get some useful information from this post that would be helpful should you be planning to visit the beautiful Ilocos in the near future!

(Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The Deksbook is not affiliated with Lakbay Pinas Travel & Tours and Jun & Carol Beach Resort.)

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