Paoay Tour: Paoay Church, Malacanang of the North and the Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

After dusting myself up from the Sand Boarding Adventure, it is now time to head to our next destination – Paoay!

Our original plan was to rent a trike from the city (Laoag) going to Paoay. However we’ve found the trike drivers too overpriced! Imagine 600php? When you could just take a public jeepney going to Paoay for only 34pesos?!

Don’t ask me what I took! Haha.

Jeepney going to Paoay

Jeepney going to Paoay

And so after around 30minutes, we’ve reached our first stop on the list, the Paoay Church.

Paoay Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Paoay Church

Paoay Church

The St. Augustine Church or popularly known as Paoay Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It’s construction started in 1694 by the Agustinian Friars, completed 1894 and was re-dedicated in the same year. It is made of coral blocks and brick that incorporates Gothic, Baroque and Oriental designs that add up to its striking appeal.

Built to withstand earthquakes common in our country, it is probably the best-known “earthquake baroque” church in the Philippines. In fact, one of its key features are the 24 carved buttresses that support the church’s structure during earthquakes.

Paoay Church

Paoay Church

Paoay Church

Paoay Church

Paoay Bell Tower

Paoay Bell Tower

Paoay Bell Tower

Unlike other bell towers in most churches around the country, the Paoay Church’s stunning bell tower is detached from the church. This is to avoid the tower from smashing on the structure when an earthquake occurs.

After the Paoay Church, we headed to the residence of the Marcoses and the Lake Paoay. This time we’ve rented a tricycle for 170php since there are no or few public transpo that goes in there.

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North is located in Barrio Suba, Paoay, Ilocos Norte and it’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. A minimal fee of 30 pesos is collected for those who want to visit the place.

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North

Built as the official residence of then President Ferdinand Marcos in Ilocos Norte, it is an imposing structure that resembles a 19th Century “bahay na bato” with an overlooking view of the legendary Paoay Lake. This once a seat of power is now converted into a museum that houses several memorabilia of the former President and his family.

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North

TRIVIA: The Malacanang of the North is actually a “birthday gift” of then First Lady Imelda Marcos to her husband on his 60th birthday.

Ilocos Food Treats

By lunch time, we’ve headed to Batac and there took our lunch, delighting ourselves with various Ilocano dishes – pinakbet, etc. as well as their specialty empanada.

Ilocos Food Treats

Ilocos Food Treats

The above blog post is part of my Ilokandia Ultimate Adventure – Laoag – Pagudpud – Vigan tour series of posts in the Ilocos Region, Philippines that happened last November 28 – December 2, 2012. | Ilocos Adventure: Laoag Vigan Pagudpud Budget Itinerary | Laoag City Walking Tour: Places, Food, and Fun Treats | Ilocandia Sand Boarding and 4×4 Ride in La Paz Sand Dunes | Paoay Tour: Paoay Church, Malacanang of the North and the Paoay Lake
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Ilocandia Sand Boarding and 4×4 Ride in La Paz Sand Dunes

No better way to start our first day in Ilocos than a view of the sunrise in the spectacular Sand Dunes of La Paz.

We even saw the moon still up at this early hour. Amazing huh?

Moon Set and Sun Rise

Sunrise in the spectacular Sand Dunes of La Paz + Moonset.

Sunrise in the spectacular Sand Dunes of La Paz + Moonset.

Our tour guide and pioneer sand boarder (*I’ll tell you about it later), fetch us up at 6am. We reached the Sand Dunes in less than 15 minutes and there switched our jeep to a 4×4 Rough Rugged Ride. This is where the fun begins.

4×4 Ride in La Paz

The ride was one heck of an adventure. We hop on the back of this 4×4 truck.

4x4 Ride in Ilocos

Hold on tight and you’re in for the ride of your life across ups and downs, lefts and rights of the vast sand dunes. If only I’ve caught what happened in video so I could show you why Roller Coasters are More Fun in the Philippines! haha

4x4 1

4x4 2

4x4 3

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Stunning Early Morning Portraits

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Bonus to the ride are mini stop overs where the views are stunning. An overlooking of the entire city in early morning fog and dew, with hawks flying in the distance (yes they’re a native here). And a spectacular picture of the South China Sea. Photo buffs like me would surely take delight in this!

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Sand Boarding Experience

And for the highlight of the adventure, the sand boarding!

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Time to buckle up and practice those balancing acts! Works pretty much similar than surf boarding, just imagine the water turned sand this time. And instead of plunging into the ocean, see yourself rolling (sometimes even head first like I did) into the dunes.

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Did you drank enough water at the beach during surfing? Well here you’ll be eating sands literally. Haha.

Sand Dunes Falls

“Get up each time you fall.”
Just like a lesson in real life, my sand boarding experience didn’t come easy. I had to go through several failures and falls before reaching that perfect stunt – just like the cup of success that we all aim in life amidst the trials we face

Get up

But need not worry, the dunes will not hurt you that bad (I didn’t said it doesn’t hurt at all!), they’re soft anyway and the triumphant feeling of perfecting the sand boarding stunt afterwards is rewarding enough!

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Sand Boarding Contact

Rate: 2,500 pesos per group of four
Contact Details: 09088853669 look for Glenn Guererro
Notes: Package is for 1-hour sand boarding lessons, good for four persons. It also includes the 4×4 jeepney transportation to and from the sand dunes. Make an arrangement if you will be doing it solo.

Sand Boarding Contact

Sand Boarding Contact

Trivia: Did you know that Sir Glenn (the contact above) is the pioneer of Sand boarding here in Ilocos? It started as a hobby that he later shared to others, particularly tourists. He got the idea from Dubai, saw it on TV, and brought it here in the Philippines. Today it is one of the must dos when you’re in Ilocos.

And to end it all a souvenir to let the world know that I survived Sand Boarding! Are you in for the challenge?

Sand Boarding Souvenir

Sand Boarding Souvenir

Yep! I've long been wanting to have something like this. Perfect for my travel adventures! Hope you could let me know if you knew someone makes this in an affordable cost *wink

Yep! I’ve long been wanting to have something like this. Perfect for my travel adventures! Hope you could let me know if you knew someone makes this in an affordable cost *wink

The above blog post is part of my Ilokandia Ultimate Adventure – Laoag – Pagudpud – Vigan tour series of posts in the Ilocos Region, Philippines that happened last November 28 – December 2, 2012. | Ilocos Adventure: Laoag Vigan Pagudpud Budget Itinerary | Laoag City Walking Tour: Places, Food, and Fun Treats | Ilocandia Sand Boarding and 4×4 Ride in La Paz Sand Dunes | Paoay Tour: Paoay Church, Malacanang of the North and the Paoay Lake

Laoag City Walking Tour: Places, Food, and Fun Treats

Getting out of Laoag Airport

The Province of Ilocos, particularly Laoag City has no better way of welcoming tourists than providing a free shuttle from the airport.

Yes! A free shuttle in getting out of Laoag Airport direct to the city, door to door delivery to your preferred accommodation!

Laoag Free Shuttle

Free shuttle in getting out of Laoag Airport

No more overpriced tricycles, pedicabs, motorcycles, etc.

First agenda for tonight is to deposit our luggage to our budget hotel – Texicano.

Where to Stay Cheap in Laoag?

Texicano Hotel, Laoag City
Address: J. P. Rizal Street, Laoag Ilocos Norte
Room Rate: Starts at 310 pesos for a single fan room
Contact Details: (6377) 7705776

Affordable Accommodation in Laoag - Texicano Hotel

Affordable Accommodation in Laoag – Texicano Hotel

After leaving our baggage behind, we’ve decided to head out for a night time view of the city.

What I like most about Texicano apart from the affordable rates, friendly staff, is it is well located in the heart of the city.

Few blocks not too far away we’ve taken a walk and found ourselves at the city tourist spots.

The following images are taken from various times of the day, during day and night time.

Start your walking tour in the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol. Near it you could also find the Museo de Ilocos.

Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol

Ilocos Norte Capitol during the Night

Ilocos Norte Capitol during the Night

Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol

Aurora Park

Located in front of the Capitol building, the Aurora Park is where the statue of the maiden Pamulinawen – where the Tobacco Monopoly Monument was erected in 1882 – left of the park is the Laoag City Hall.

Aurora Park

St. William’s Cathedral

Walking towards the street on the right side of the park will bring you to the St. William’s Cathedral – Built in 1612 by the Augustinian friars, it is well known for its Italian Renaissance architecture.

St. William's Cathedral & Sinking Bell Tower

St. William’s Cathedral & Sinking Bell Tower

Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag City

A few meters away from the cathedral, it is considered as one of the tallest bell towers in the Philippines at 45 meters high – Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag City – It is said to be sinking because the tower is so heavy and was built on a sandy ground which makes it sink considerably unto the ground at a rate of 1-inch every year.

Stories mention that a person on horseback could enter the tower with ease back when it was built. Now, a person of normal height has to bend down just to enter the vaulted entrance.

Sinking bell tower

City Fun Treats

Not far from the Aurora Park lies a night market. Probably it’s Christmas Season that’s why it’s here. We did not hesitate to wander through it, even found ourselves eating street foods, particularly their sumptuous empanada.

If in Davao you’ll find Kwek-kwek as their main staple street food, here they have their empanada.

Ilocos Empanada

Ilocos Empanada

Kalesa in Ilocos

And to complete a city tour in Laoag, you shouldn’t miss riding their calesa. Fare is only 11php, just the same with the trikes, and lesser gas = healthier environment!

Kalesa in Ilocos

Kalesa in Ilocos

So what are you waiting for? Hop on!

The above blog post is part of my Ilokandia Ultimate Adventure – Laoag – Pagudpud – Vigan tour series of posts in the Ilocos Region, Philippines that happened last November 28 – December 2, 2012. | Ilocos Adventure: Laoag Vigan Pagudpud Budget Itinerary | Laoag City Walking Tour: Places, Food, and Fun Treats | Ilocandia Sand Boarding and 4×4 Ride in La Paz Sand Dunes | Paoay Tour: Paoay Church, Malacanang of the North and the Paoay Lake

Ilocos Adventure: Laoag Vigan Pagudpud Budget Itinerary

Know your limits, but never stop trying to exceed them.

After resting for almost a month, these itchy feet will now be on the go again. This time Adventuroj will be heading way up north. Guess where?

Clue: Have you watched the kilig movie of Erich Gonzales & Mario Maurer Suddenly It’s Magic?

Yep! That’s where we’ll be heading. Not in Bangkok (but I’ll be there soon as well. hehe) but this time it will be in Ilocos!

My chance to trace back my roots and see where my ancestors came from. Yes, I’m an ilocana by blood. *I just wished I knew how to speak the language fluently.

So enough with my ratting, here’s a pre planned budget friendly itinerary of the Laoag Vigan Pagudpud tour catered to fit backpackers like me. Feel free to use it and share the adventure with me!

The Ultimate Ilocandia Adventure Itinerary!

Day & Time Activity Est. Expenses
Wed Nov 28    
2:30pm Dvo-MNL 200
7pm MNL-Laoag 200
  Get out of Laoag Airport to the City proper – There is a jeepney that brings passengers from the airport terminal to the city proper, Fare is 60 pesos. 60
  Texicano Hotel, Laoag City
Address: J. P. Rizal Street, Laoag Ilocos Norte
Room Rate: Starts at 310 pesos for a single fan room
Contact Details: (6377) 7705776
Notes: Do not expect too much as this is a budget hotel
300
Thurs Nov 29    
6am Sand Boarding and 4×4 Ride in La Paz Sand Dunes 1000
  Rate: 2,500 pesos per group of four
Contact Details: 09088853669 look for Glenn Guererro
Notes: Package is for 1-hour sand boarding lessons, good for four persons. It also includes the 4×4 jeepney transportation to and from the sand dunes. Make an arrangement if you will be doing it solo.
 
  How to get to Paoay from Laoag – rent a tricycle for 250 pesos at Loaog City proper. It is more economical since some destinations in Paoay is not on the national road  
  Rent a tricycle in the city proper for 250 pesos, going to and from Paoay to visit the Church and Malacañang of the North, which are both located in the town of Paoay. Travel time is around 30 minutes. 130
  Another alternative is to take a Batac-Paoay jeepney. Fare is around 30 pesos.  
  Arrive at Paoay Church  
8am Paoay Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site  
  The St. Augustine Church or popularly known as Paoay Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
10am Malacañang of the North and Paoay Lake  
  Entrance Malacañang of the North 40
  Depart for Laoag  
12nn Arrive at Laoag, have lunch 80
  Lunch at Dap-ayan Ti Ilocos. It is like a food court / fast food where there are stalls offering a variety of food choices. Here, you’ll find the famous Laoag empanada and inihaw na longanisa.  
1pm A Walking Tour Around the City of Laoag  
  Laoag City tour – Ilocos Norte provincial capitol – Located in front of the Capitol building, the Aurora Park is where the statue of the maiden Pamulinawen – where the Tobacco Monopoly Monument was erected in 1882 – left of the park is the Laoag City Hall  
2pm St William’s Cathedral & the Sinking bell tower  
  Walking towards the street on the right side of the park will bring you to the St. William’s Cathedral –
  A few steps away to the left of the Capitol Building is the Museo Ilocos Norte.  
  Entrance to Museo Ilocos Norte 30
  Back to the hotel and check-out  
4pm Trip to Pagudpud Beach, “The Boracay of the North”  
  Tricycle to Van Terminal 10
  Arrive at van/bus terminal for Pagudpud 2.5-3 hrs travel to Pagudpud  
  Fare, Laoag-Pagudpud (van) 70
  How to get to Pagudpud from Laoag – Take a bus or van bound for Claveria Cagayan, it will pass by the town of Pagudpud, which is the last town before reaching Claveria Cagayan. Travel time is 1.5 hours.  
  Homestay in Pagudpud (for 1 night) 800
  Arrive at Pagudpud, check-in at Cathy’s Home Stay  
  Cathy’s Home Stay, Pagudpud
Address: Brgy. Saud, Pagudpud Ilocos Norte
Room Rate: 800 pesos, good for 4 persons for an air conditioned room.
Contact Details: 09195716680
Notes: One of the cheapest accommodations in Saud Beach, Pagudpud.
 
  Explore the beach  
  Dinner by the beach 65
Fri Nov 30    
  Here is the list of the activities you can do to appreciate Pagudpud.
Swim and surf in the breathtaking Saud Beach
Traysi tour of Pagudpud for P600.00
Thirty minutes trek to majestic Kabigan Falls
Stopover at Patapat Viaduct with blue skies and blue sea waters as backdraft
See Bantay Abot cave, where waves hit the cliffs
Drop by Agua Paraiso, where waves hit the rocks
Enjoy huge wave and white sand in pristine Blue Lagoon (Maira-ira beach)
Witness Pagudpud sunset
Visit Bangui Wind Mills, Bojeador (Burgos) Lighthouse, Curimao, Laoag, Paoay and Vigan
 
  Wake up and early morning walk by the beach 100
  Breakfast  
  Swimming  
  Tricycle to and from Pagudpud town proper  
  Brunch 80
  Check out of the home stay  
8am The Windmills, Rock Formation, Lighthouse and the Church  
  South and North Pagudpud Tour (Tricycle)
Rate: 600 pesos per tour
Contact Details: 09208532047 look for Kuya Rene
 
  South Tour includes Bangui windmills, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation and the Cape Bojeador Light House.
North Tour usually includes Kabigan Falls, Bantay Abot Cave, Blue Lagoon Beach, Patapat Viaduct, Paraiso ni Anton and Aqua Grande. The town of Adams is also worth a visit if you have more time.
 
  South Pagudpud tour (tricycle) 300
9am Arrive at Bangui Windmills  
  Officially referred to as the North Wind Bangui Bay Project, it is a major source of renewable energy amounting to 40% of the power requirement of the province. Boasts to be the first wind farm in the Philippines and biggest in Southeast Asia, it is consisted of 20 wind turbines on-shore facing the South China Sea.
  Off to Burgos  
10am Arrive at Kapurpurawan  
  In Ilocano, “Kapurpurawan” means “white” – which describes the radiant and sparkling shade of this rock formation. It is a hill of white limestone rock created by forces of the wind, water and waves coming from the ocean – truly, an amazing work of nature. Adjacent to the rock formation is the ocean, which added to the breathtaking sight.
  The Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos Ilocos Norte really really Rocks!!!  
  Arrive at Cape Bojeador  
11am Cape Bojeador or the Burgos Lighthouse  
  A cultural heritage structure built during the Spanish Colonial period. Octagonal in shape, it is set high on Vigi de Nagparitan hill overlooking the picturesque Cape Bojeador.
  Fare Burgos-Bacarra (bus) 40
  Fare to Bacarra Church (tricycle) 15
  Arrive at Bacarra Church  
  Fare to Bacarra Hi-way (tricycle) 15
  Fare Bacarra to Laoag (jeepney) 10
  Lunch 50
1pm Off to Vigan  
  Check in at Casa Teofilo Loge  
  Casa Teofile Lodge
Contact Numbers :
Mobile – 09326740438
Landline – (077) 7226482 / (077) 7222547
Aircon Rooms with private cr, cable tv and free wi-fi.
 
  Night Strolling at Crisologo Street  
  Start strolling at Crisologo Street. This major attraction of Vigan is its mestizo district which is filled with Spanish-style houses that evoke a bygone era when its people lived prosperously because of the Manila-Acapulco maritime trade.
  Though a trip to Calle Crisologo is enjoyable during the day especially because of the opportunity to shop for Vigan’s best products (antiques, abel woven products, bags, basi wine, burnay and dimili products, chicharon, jewelry, sweets, Vigan vinegar and woodcrafts) in the inobtrusive shops located in the ground floor of some of the grand houses, a walk through it is magical at night.
  try some of the local food like bagnet mixed with pinakbet and their famous longganisa  
  Café Leona Dinner  
Sat Dec 1    
6am Café Uno Bfast  
  see Crisologo Street,Hidden Garden and Baluarte plus the Vigan old church.  
  Crisologo Street – Crisologo Museum – Syquia Mansion – Plaza Salcedo – Burgos Museum – Pagburnayan Jar – Hidden Garden – Baluarte ni Chavit – Bantay Tower – Casa Teofila Lodge  
  Hidden Garden  
7am ViganBaluarte ni Chavit  
  It’s an 80 hectares of terrains, hills and mountain sides that serves as natural habitat for Gov Chavit Singson’s personal collection of wild animals
8am Vigan River Cruise  
  So, I headed out to my second destination via one of these tricycles. I left Baluarte at 10:28 am and arrived at the site of “Vigan River Cruise” 10:39 am. Fare from Baluarte to Mestizo River, the site of the river cruise, is Php 60. Ticket in the boat ride of Vigan River Cruise costs Php 100. Boats used in the cruise are like those small wooden fishing vessels used by many ordinary Filipino fishermen called “bangka” in Tagalog. Each boat has outriggers for stability and safety of riders, which is good for rough river. But don’t worry, the Mestizo River is calm all the way.  
9am Vigan Heritage Village  
  After enjoying the cruise which finished at 11:23 am, it’s time to get to the “Vigan Heritage Village”, the only colonial town in the Philippines and for which Vigan is known. I had made an arrangement with the tricycle I’d ridden from Baluarte to wait for me. Actually, he offered the service to the Heritage Village. I just accepted it for the reason of time management.
  At around 1:30 pm, I thought it’s time to go to bus terminal to be in Laoag before dusk. So, I just took a tricycle for Php 15 to reach terminal of Partas Bus. You just plug down a motorized tricycle and ask the driver to take you to Partas which is near. Wait for bus with “Laoag” sign.  
10am Vigan to Laoag 1.5hrs  
2pm Laoag-MNL  
     
    3595

You could also download the file here. Laoag Itinerary

Happy Adventures!

The above blog post is part of my Ilokandia Ultimate Adventure – Laoag – Pagudpud – Vigan tour series of posts in the Ilocos Region, Philippines that happened last November 28 – December 2, 2012. | Ilocos Adventure: Laoag Vigan Pagudpud Budget Itinerary | Laoag City Walking Tour: Places, Food, and Fun Treats | Ilocandia Sand Boarding and 4×4 Ride in La Paz Sand Dunes | Paoay Tour: Paoay Church, Malacanang of the North and the Paoay Lake