ILOCOS NORTE, Philippines – Thinking of where to spend your vacation this summer? You might want to consider going up north to Ilocos!
If you have no idea what Ilocos Norte offers, let me recommend some of the most visited tourist attractions.
(Concerned about travel requirements? Don’t worry – Ilocos Norte is now under Alert Level 1 from March 1 until March 15, which means no more RT-PCR testing is required for fully vaccinated inbound tourists.)
If you want something historical
The Saint Augustine Church, also known as the Paoay Church, was considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
The earthquake-resistant Baroque church is made of coral stones and bricks, and it has survived three major earthquakes in the years 1865, 1885, and 1983.
During the revolution, Katipuneros utilized the church’s tower as an observation station, as did Guilleros during the Japanese occupation.
Moreover, in 2018, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) started the restoration of the church, and it was in 2020 when the NHCP turned over the newly-restored Paoay Church to the provincial government.
The said church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the province located in Paoay.
If you are interested in knowing the cultural heritage of Ilokanos and indigenous communities such as Itnegs and Yapayaos, you might want to go to Museo Ilocos.
According to the Museo Ilocos website, the museum was established to give the Ilocanos and their provinces a better understanding of their ancestry and past.
The Museo was actually once a tobacco storehouse (Tabacalera) from the 19th century and is located at the heart of Laoag City, beside the Ilocos Norte Capitol.
If you are into adventure:
Paoay Sand Dunes
Besides being a popular film location – serving as a setting for Ang Panday, Himala, Temptation Island, and even the US film Born on the Fourth of July – the Paoay Sand Dunes also offer thrilling adventures.
Experience an adrenaline rush with the 30-minute rollercoaster-like 4×4 ride. Hold on to the railings and enjoy the quick drops and sharp turns across the sand dunes.
If you want something less high-octane, you might want to consider sandboarding. You just need to stand up or sit on the longboard to slide down the sand dunes.
The sand dunes are located at Barangay Suba, Paoay.
If you are into beaches and waterparks:
In 2021, Saud Beach was listed as one of the 25 most beautiful beaches in the world by Travel + Leisurean international travel site based in New York City, United States.
“If you’re searching for Southeast Asian beach bliss, super-mellow Saud Beach on the island of Luzon is a sure thing. Its white sand pitches gradually into the clear-as-glass water, like a real-world example of a zero-entry swimming pool,” the description of Saud Beach in Travel + Leisure’s article reads.
Saud Beach was also tagged as the Boracay of the North by some tourists and locals and is located in the Municipality of Pagudpud.
Paoay Lake Waterpark
The first-ever floating playground in the North, opened to the public on January 30, 2022, is becoming the newest and most-visited attraction in Ilocos Norte.
Paoay Lake Waterpark is not only a place to swim, but also features inflatables, volleyball, kayaking, frisbee, and more!
According to the Ilocos Norte Tourism Facebook page, rates start at P399 for a two-hour inflatable play pass. Other rates include the half-day (P499) and whole day (P599) inflatable play pass.
The waterpark is located at the Malacañang of the North in Paoay.
The tourist destinations listed here are just some of the most popular destinations, and there are even more interesting sites and adventures to try in the province. Consider my suggestions a warm-up! – Rappler.com