Laoag is the capital city of Ilocos Norte of Region 1 and has been the northernmost city of the country (487 km from Manila). This city’s ethnic population is overwhelmingly Ilocano and “The Aglipayan Church” as the majority’s religion. Gained the moniker “The Sunshine City” of the Philippines, Laoag City derived its name from the Ilocano word which means “light or bright”.
1. Fort Ilocandia Resort
Fort Ilocandia is the only 5-star deluxe hotel in northern Philippines. The resort sprawls over 77 hectares of land amidst sand dunes and 2 km sandy beach facing the South China Sea. It is the most extensive and expensive hotel, being one of the oldest and premier resort hotel in Norte. It has a casino, golf and country club, even a shopping center and mini zoo inside. Rooms are furnished with usual hotel conveniences while some suites are afforded personal amenities to befit the preference of different customers.
* Its amenities and services were quite tempting to try but I’m afraid this kind of resort was just built for the elites.*
2. Malacanang of the North (Malacanang ti Amianan)
Considered as one of the important landmarks in Ilocos, Malacanang of the North is a 5-hectare property in Brgy. Suba, Paoay. It gained its importance from being the official residence or rest house of the Marcoses whenever they were in Ilocos. This 2-storey mansion has been the gift of Imelda Marcos to the late president Ferdinand Marcos for his 60th birthday. It has been called as such since it became an office extension of the president. Designed in a Spanish and old Ilocano architecture, the house apparently reflects the luxurious life of the family during their era.
This house, however, was taken away from the family when the Marcos regime ended. It was under the care of the government but later been given to the provincial government of Ilocos . The latter converted this to a museum and has been opened to the public in 2011.
3. Paoay Lake
Paoay Lake, known also as “Lago de Nanguyudan” or “Dacquel a Danum” by the locals, is a horseshoe-shaped lake in the municipality of Paoay. This lake was once feared for the stories connected with its existence. The infamous story was very known to the locals. It started when San Juan de Sagun, a barangay many years ago had been very greedy which caused God to be angry. Due to their materialism, an earthquake shook and sank the town’s entirety, giving birth to the lake. At present, kids are often still swayed away by folks from swimming on the deeper part of the lake – believed to be the home of the late residents of the country’s own Sodom & Gomorrah.
4. Marcos Mausoleum
Marcos Museum & Mausoleum integrated both memorabilia storage and current resting place of the late president F. Marcos. The large mausoleum contains the glass-encased coffin in which his embalmed body has been on public display shortly after his remains were brought home from Hawaii in 1993. His remains were finally taken back to the country after 4 years after he died because the late Corazon Aquino denied Marcos’ return to the Philippines. His body will still be kept in a refrigerated, glass-topped coffin inside an air-conditioned crypt until the government will yield the widowed Imelda’s demand to bury his husband in the Nat’l Heroes Cemetery in Manila.
*Taking pictures are strictly prohibited in this site.*
5. Paoay Church
Also called as Iglesia de San Agustin de Paoay, Paoay Church is the Roman Catholic church of the municipality of Paoay. It is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the 24 enormous buttresses of about 1.67 m thick at the sides and back of the building. It was completed in 1710, declared as National Cultural Treasure by the government in 1973, and recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
6. Sinking Bell Tower
One of the things that will capture the attention upon entering Laoag is the Sinking Bell Tower of St. William’s Cathedral. It was built in 1612 by the Augustinians and believed to be the tallest bell tower in the country measuring 45 m tall.
The tower earned as a “sinking” one due to its sandy foundations and being to heavy that it has been consistently sinking into the ground. It was said that when it was newly built, a person on horseback could enter the tower but as today, an average person can only enter the tower by bending first to fit in one’s height.
Travelling to Ilocos has been worthwhile and budget-friendly to many. Tourism has been extremely increasing over the past years. So why miss the chance of experiencing what these cities can offer?
Enjoy and have fun!
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