Laoag, Philippines · 20 hotels available
Gen Segundo Avenue (formerly Bacarra Road) corner M.H. del Pilar Street, Laoag, Philippines, 2900
195 (Southend) Gov. R. Ablan Avenue, Barangay 5, West Riverside, Laoag, Philippines, 2900
Laoag City is the capital of Ilocos Norte and it is where a traveler’s Ilocos adventure begins. It is accessible by land to nearby provinces (Pagudpud, Paoay, Batac, Vigan, etc.), Metro Manila, and the rest of Luzon—making it a favorite tourist destination!
The city is also known as the Sunshine City or the City of Lights, probably because of its name’s meaning. “Laoag” is derived from the Ilocano word “lawag,” which means “light or brightness.”
Laoag’s culture and architecture are a wonderful mix of Spanish and Ilocano influence as people flock to this place to marvel at its beautiful bell towers, ancient churches, and majestic ancestral homes. The atmosphere evokes images of historical beauty, bright nature and old romance—it’s a place for falling in love and creating memories with loved ones.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Laoag daily from Manila. It will take about an hour to get there. Sea Air departs Manila to Vigan, Ilocos Sur, which is only two hours away from Laoag. From Laoag International Airport, you can take a tricycle or jeepney to the city proper.
If you are coming from the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark Field, Pampanga, you can take the shuttle or jeepney going to Dau Integrated Bus Terminal. From there, there are buses going to Laoag City. Flights from Cebu are also available. Check the local airlines for schedules and prices.
Take a bus from Pasay or Cubao in Manila. Florida Bus Line, Partas, Baliwag, Farinas have buses going to Laoag City. Be at the bus station early so you can get a sure seat. Travel time from Manila to Laoag is around 9-10 hours.
If you are going by car, take the route to Baguio (via NLEX and SCTEX) then drive towards La Union until you reach Vigan, and then Laoag.
Tricycles are the main means of transportation around Laoag. Walk when you can and when you are sightseeing, then take the tricycle if necessary. There are also jeepneys and buses for trips outside Laoag.
Visit the Laoag Cathedral (Saint William Cathedral) and marvel at its Italian Renaissance design. This charming church was built in 1612 by Augustinian friars to replace a chapel made of wood. A few meters from the church is the Bantay Bell Tower, more popularly known as the Sinking Bell Tower because it is actually sinking at a rate of one inch per year.
To buy pasalubong for friends and family back home, drop by the Laoag City public market for some of the more popular Ilocano delicacies including bagnet, dried fish and seafood, longganisa, tobacco leaves, basi, native rice cakes, and other snacks.
Laoag would require a good pair of walking shoes so you can enjoy visiting the heritage sites. See the Sinking Bell Tower, St. William’s Cathedral, the provincial capitol, and the Museo Ilocos Norte. You will also enjoy taking photos at Malacanang of the North (Malacanan Ti Amianan) in Fort Ilocandia. Walking around town to look at (and take gorgeous photos of) the ancestral houses is also a favorite activity among tourists. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try sand boarding at the La Paz Sand Dunes. One can commute from the city proper to the dunes by hiring a tricycle for a round trip.
From Laoag City, visitors often drive south towards Vigan (old town) or to Curimao to enjoy the beautiful beaches there. Other destinations outside Laoag include Paoay (to see Paoay Church, Paoay Lake National Park, and the Suba Sand Dunes), Pagudpud (beautiful white sand beaches), Bangui (windmills), Bacarra (St. Andrew Church and its old bell tower), and Burgos (Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and Kapurpurawan Rock Formations).
Never leave the region without trying the popular delicacies and dishes like the Ilocano Empanada, Longganisa, Poque-Poque (Poki-Poki), Bagnet, Papaitan, Pinakbet, Igado, and Dinakdakan. For take-home purchases, visit the Laoag public market, but to have an enjoyable dining experience in Laoag, try La Preciosa, Dap-Ayan, Macy’s, or Saramsam.
La Preciosa is both a restaurant and a café with a wide selection of hearty dishes. Saramsam is another favorite—a vintage-themed restaurant with the owner’s antique collection on display. Both restaurants look pretty and cozy, with flavorful dishes at affordable prices.
Since it is the provincial capital, Laoag City offers an interesting nightlife. There are a few bars with live music and exciting party scenes. Some of these establishments include Cockhouse Bar, Uncles (Laoag Cadre Road), and the popular grill place Gerry’s Grill on Jose Rizal Avenue, among others.
Fort Ilocandia is the resort of choice because of its nice stretch of beach, a golf club, casino, archery range, and more. Backpackers and budget travellers recommend Hotel Tiffany, Texicano Hotel, Java Hotel, and Balayni Blas.
If you want more upscale choices or bigger venues for events, there are hotels and inns like Aurelius Mansion, Palazzo de Laoag Hotel and Restaurant, Northview Hotel, Isabel Suites, Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center, Grand Octagon Resort, Ilocos Rosewell Hotel, Casa Llanes, Rio Grande de Laoag Resort and Hotel, Hotel del Norte, Hotel Renzo, Supertram Lodge, La Elliana Hotel, Paradise Lodge and Drive Inn, Parklane Hotel, and Thalia Inn.
From Laoag, it’s easy to go to the towns of San Nicolas, Batac, Curimao, Paoay, Bacarra, and Pasuquin. If you want to visit Vigan, take the bus going to Manila because it will pass by Vigan.
To reach Bangui and Pagudpud, you need to take the bus or jeepney for another two hours of travel.
Try going around Laoag in the evening. It is more picturesque with all the lights illuminating the old structures in the city.