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Traveling in Ilocos Norte and Sur - 4D3N Itinerary for P6,000

Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur Blog Post - Philippines

Traveling does not always entail high cost as long as you plan ahead, and stick with the budget. Here in this blog post, I will share with you our travel itinerary. This is for the purpose of providing you ideas in planning up for your own trip in Ilocos.

Reasons to go for Ilocos
If you still haven't decided yet whether to go for Ilocos or not, well here are some things I would like to share about the place. First off, there are tons of activities you'll enjoy in the area. Second, there are great beaches around the province. Third, there are a lot of magnificent sights to explore, Fourth, the food is great. Lastly, the people are extremely nice!

Now, I'm not sure if that convinced you even just a little, but anyway, I shall proceed to sharing with you our travel plan!

Budget: at least P6,000
This budget excludes the air fare (or the bus fare, if you are traveling by land). However, this already takes into account a set of activities, lodging, food and in-land transportation.

# of people with me: 6 (for a total of 7 including me)

Provinces visited: Ilocos Norte (Laoag, Pagudpod, Paoay) and Ilocos Sur (Vigan)
Activities covered: Sand boarding, Riding the 4x4, Riding the ATV, Sightseeing, Sunset-watching

Restaurants visited: Saramsam, Cafe Uno, La Preciosa
Places visited: Sand dunes, Burgos Lighthouse, Patapat Viaduct, Hannah's in Pagudpud, Bantay Abot Cave, Bangui Wind Farm, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, Calle Crisologo of Vigan City, Marcos Museum and Paoay Church

Place of accommodation: Balay da Blas (read more)

Balay da Blas in Laoag, Ilocos Norte

Balay da Blas was a great choice for us. It was perfect for a large group, and the beds were all comfy. Let's not forget about how beautiful the interior is! Other than this room, there are also other options that feature the classic Filipino ambiance with added amenities such as a kitchen. You may want to check out the website of Balay da Blas here.

Now, for a more detailed view of our trip (which you may pattern with in building your own travel plan or itinerary), here is a per day view of our adventure.

Day 1 in Ilocos Norte and Sur - Itinerary
The first day was used to settle down and to build the momentum of the trip. The only activities we engaged ourselves with were the sand boarding and the 4x4 ride.

Note: Since we traveled in as a group, one of the suggested ways to reach where you'll stay from the airport is via van rental. The usual price is quoted at P500.

Saramsam Dinuguan Pizza - Filipino Food

After arriving at the place where we stayed for the entire Ilocos trip, we immediately headed the hotel's famous in-house restaurant, Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant. Food are surprisingly amazing and the prices are all pocket-friendly. After getting some quick rest, we now headed for the sand dunes to get a dash of adventure.

Renz Cheng Sand Surfing

Transportation is already inclusive of the price, but I am not sure whether this is just an agreement between Balay da Blas and the ones manning the operations in the sand dunes. Anyway, once you avail either the 4x4 ride or the ATV ride, you will not only get a free transportation (i.e. to and fro) but also an unlimited sand boarding time.

Paoay Sand Dunes - Renz Cheng

After spending about 45 minutes attempting to ride the sand, we already geared up for the 4x4 Ride. Now, what's the catch? Well, you will be riding a roller-coaster-like ride because of all the uneven sand dunes you will be running over. Also, there is a risk that you might topple over, so I guess that is where the thrill comes from.

Day 2

Day 2 was filled with a lot of trips, and the bulk of our cost that day went to food and transportation. We rented a van for the entire day at P3,000 (all-in).

Burgos Lighthouse in Ilocos

The Burgos Lighthouse is an iconic tourist spot. You may need to walk uphill to reach the lighthouse, but all the energy and effort would be all worth it. Plus, you get to see some great sights from above.

Patapat Viaduct - Ilocos

The Patapat Viaduct is a bridge you'll pass by on your way to Pagudpud. Honestly, I don't understand why this place got famous, but I'm guessing it's because of the beautiful and relaxing sight from the viaduct.

Pagudpud Beach in Ilocos

The Pagudpud Beach is famous for its fine white sand beach. There are a multitude of activities you may do at the beach including water sports, beach volleyball, zip line and more.

Bantay Abot Cave in Ilocos

Located about 5 to 10 minutes from Pagudpud particularly Hannah's Beach Resort, the Bantay Abot Cave is another eye-candy for tourists. In fact, many of them visit here just to have some photos taken most of them are selfies.

Bangui Wind Farm in Ilocos

The Bangui Wind Farm is another famous tourist destination for two main reasons. First is that it is located close to a beach albeit undeveloped. Second is that it is one of the few (if not the only) wind farm/s here in the Philippines.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos

The Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is known for the magnificent rock formation as well as the breathtaking view. Also, you'll get a different view of the sunset here, though not as majestic as it could be. The great thing about this place is you'll get to see as well the windmills without going to the wind farm.

Day 3

Day 3 was focused more on Ilocos Sur which is where Vigan, one of the 7 Wonders Cities, is situated. Again, for our transportation, we rented a van for the entire day at the same rate of P3,000.

Renz Cheng in Vigan City

Vigan City is known for its rich cultural vestiges from the Spanish era. You'll get a feel of Spain with the architectural designs and structures. However, take note that this does not apply to the entire city, but rather to a single street named Calle Crisologo.

Cafe Uno in Vigan City

Located near the heart of Vigan City is this humble restaurant called Cafe Uno (read more). The good thing about this place is it's slight isolation from the busy street of Calle Crisologo; hence, with this, you have higher chances of getting a seat here in this restaurant. Must-try dishes include the Beef Kare-Kare and the Bagnet Sisig.

The Marcos Museum is a great stop for those who are mesmerized with history. You will find there some memorabilia of the Marcoses, as well as the tomb where the late President lies.

The Paoay Church in Ilocos

The Paoay Church is known for its magnificent structure as well as its serene environment. Catch a breathtaking view as the sun touches the face of the church. Plus, you can just burn time strolling around the area. It's relaxing.

La Preciosa Restaurant in Laoag, Ilocos Norte

We arrived back in Laoag past dusk time, and hence it was already time for dinner. We chose this another popular restaurant called La Preciosa, which is a 10-minute walk away from Balay da Blas. Although this is the restaurant I liked the least among those we visited, I was still able to enjoy it, and find the price affordable.

Day 4

Our last day in Ilocos was spent mostly to just enjoy our stay in the inn and to bum around. Hence, the only activity set for that date was the ATV ride in the sand dunes (this is the same place as the one we visited on our first day).

Renz Cheng riding the ATV in Ilocos

Although considerably expensive, riding the ATV was surely a fun thing to do. Since this was the case, what we did was to just avail of half an hour, which was enough to generate a good amount of thrill and experience.

Renz Kristofer Cheng in Ilocos Sand Dunes

What we just did after was to bond, and to take picture-perfect  moments. Also, we waited for the sunset to leave a good impression before we leave Ilocos. Basically, that wraps up our fantastic stay in Ilocos. It was surely epic!

Trip map courtesy of Wanderlog, a road trip planner on iOS and Android

Some notes regarding the travel itinerary
If you'll notice, a huge part of the expenses is attributable to the food and transportation. Hence, if you'll be traveling with slimmer budget, you may want to tweak this part. If you are traveling solo or with a small group, you may opt for other modes of transportation. In this way, you can still enjoy Ilocos for less.

Disclosure: Photos used were from various sources namely my own collection, my food blog and my friends (Alberto and Nat).

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