Ilocos Sur, Philippines · 2 hotels available
Candon City is a destination ideal for those who want to learn about the country’s oldest history and experience rich local culture. From history geeks to food adventurers, this is surely a vacation that will give you lasting memories.
Candon City or fondly called as the Tobacco Capital of the Philippines, is a city located in the province of Ilocos Sur in the Northern part of the Philippines. Aside from tobacco, the city is also known as the place where the country’s largest kalamay (sweet delicacy) is made. With the richness of the experience the place has to offer, one is guaranteed to be relieved of stress during and after their vacation in the city.
From Manila, you can take a flight via Air Philippines or Asian Spirit that lands at Laoag International Airport. There are also international flights from Hong Kong and Guangzhou going to Laoag. From Laoag, you can take a bus ride that lasts two to three hours (or 140 km) depending on the bus operator.
If you are coming from Manila, there are no routes to Candon City via sea. If you are coming from Visayas or Mindanao, you can take the regular ferry route (i.e. 2Go) to Manila then choose to travel to Candon via bus or plane.
If traveling by bus, you can ride from the Pasay or Cubao Bus Terminals and choose from a variety of operators: Partas, Dominion Bus Lines or Viron going straight to Candon, Ilocos Sur.
If traveling by car, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) then take the road going to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to Tarlac-Pampanga Northern Luzon Expressway (TPLEX) then take the exit to MacArthur Highway. After that, take the road to San Fernando By-Pass Road for 82 kilometers then towards MacArthur Highway. There will be another 70 kilometers before arriving at Candon City. The whole travel takes about six and a half hours.
There are various ways to travel around the city; for the more modern way of going around, there is the common tricycle and jeepney. For the history and adventure buffs, you can take a crack at the kalesa – it’s the Filipino version of a horse carriage, which is very popular in the city. If you also prefer a mass-transport type, there is also the mini-bus or a rent-a-van for the more private transportation.
One of the major attractions and a must-see destination is the Candon Church or the Saint John de Sahagun Parish Church. The church was built in the 17th Century to honor the city’s patron saint, John of Sahagun. Inside the church are paintings of the mysteries of the holy rosary and a painting of The Last Supper in the ceiling. Of course, the trip is not complete without visiting the tobacco plantation and seeing how it is made and cured.
There are also a couple of monuments in the area such as the Sakada Workers Monument and Isabelo Abaya Monument both celebrating the progress of locals in the city.
For the water adventurers, Candon City is home to beautiful beaches. The most popular of which is the Darapidap Beach, which is a 3-kilometer white-yellow sand beach. From the beach, you can also spend some time crossing the Paypayad-Darapidad hanging bridge, which is literally breathtaking.
Walking along the streets of Candon City will definitely give you the tobacco vibe as you pass through farmlands and curing barns. This is different experience in discovering the culture of the place. Of course, no tour is complete without the festivities. There is the Tobacco fiesta held every March and another trade fiesta held every December.
The most popular delicacy in Candon City is the Candon kalamay (glutinous rice cake), which consists of sugar, rice flour, and coconut meat wrapped in banana leaf. Surely you will not miss this because aside from this being available in restaurants and stores, you will see vendors peddling these sweet delicacies on the streets.
Another specialty of the city is the LSJ Chichacorn, which is popular not only for its taste but for its freshness and the way it is prepared and made. There is a hands-on procedure on the local kornik being done by the whole family and all their cooking and packing equipment are their inventions.
On the restaurant side, you should definitely visit Bistro Candon located within Four Brothers Compound in Candon. Bestsellers are the Vigan longganisa pizza, igado and poqui poqui bagnet pizza.
For the night goers, there are various bars within Candon City. You can visit San Juan street, Manila North Road and National Highway to check out bars. One highly recommended restobar is Café Bossa, which is an old home converted into a restaurant. This is more for those who want to enjoy their nights with art – as the place was filled with eccentric art.
For the common traveller, the highly recommended Candon City Hotel is Staylite located along National Highway. One night costs around PHP1,800.00. You can also check Candon Hotel or the Candon Plaza Lodge for the more urban accommodation. If you prefer the resort-type of accommodation, you can visit Candon Beach Resort.
Bring protection from the sun for travels, since this is an area with voluminous farmlands, expect a lot of sun – so you can fully enjoy the experience, try to bring a cap or an umbrella.
Bring water as you will be doing a lot of walking and it would help if you rehydrate especially with the growing heat in the region.
Plan your itinerary ahead and find out which hotels are nearest to your destinations.
Check the weather and best to travel without the rains so you can enjoy the whole Candon City experience.