I must admit that I’m a sucker for travelling. I tend to itch with excitement when it comes to new places to discover. It seems like you are given the privilege to enter their world and to connect with them. Every trip I make is like a step closer to my dream and that is to see the beauty of the world at least before it will be long gone. And what could be close to perfection than to head start in your own country.

Philippines is definitely blessed with a rich culture, flora and fauna, and with the most hospitable people on earth. I challenge you to explore its 7,107 islands and you might just want to stay forever. Being a traveller, I prefer to tread the less beaten tracks. I want to discover the corners where only a few tourists has come upon. Seriously, you may not be able to conquer all those islands, but there are less hassle ones that you can opt for. Allow me to take you to one of the most sought after places of the Philippines, located at the northern part of Luzon.

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Ilocos is one of the famous places in the country which is rich in Philippine history and culture.  It is also the place of the former President Ferdinand Marcos. Though he has long died, but his legacy is still so apparent in the region. If you’re into adventure and history, this is definitely the place to be.

How to get there

To get to Ilocos, one can travel by air or by land. You can book a plane from Manila and fly directly to Laoag, Ilocos which will only take more or less an hour to get there. But if you prefer a 10-hour road trip, you can simply book yourself to a group tour package tour which, except for your meals and pasalubongs, covers EVERYTHING. I suggest you opt for the latter. It’s more fun because you get to see other parts Luzon along the way.

My top 3 favorite places in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte

I yearned to visit Ilocos for the sole reason that I wanted to see the Bangui Windmills, and also, for someone who lived exactly the opposite direction of the map, it feels like a big accomplishment for me to be able to visit that far. The Bangui Wind Farm is the first power generating windmill farm in Southeast Asia. Make sure to take a lot of pictures when you get there. It will definitely take your breath away. It is best to visit in the middle of the afternoon where the sun is no longer that scorching hot, but you still have enough sunlight to enhance your photography skills.

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If you’re a beach bum, Pagudpud is your place to be. The long stretch of white sand beaches and the crystal blue waters is like heaven. I’m not much of a beach person but I felt just like this when I got there. There are beach resorts where you can stay for the night or two, and there are also some beach huts to hide under the sun for a couple of hours. There’s also a zip line for the daredevils, which crosses over the water from one resort to another.

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Please don’t leave Ilocos without visiting Vigan City. This is one of the country’s classic eras that has surpassed the test of times, and is very much appreciated at present. Calle Crisologo may just be the only cobblestone-street, but the long stretch paved way to the people, tourists and locales, to enjoy the antique furniture being displayed along the way.

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Food to try

Surprisingly, food is affordable in this part of the region. Vigan is famous for their bagnet, and chorizo. These are pork meat products which you can see anywhere, but what makes them Vigan-certified is the way they prepare the meat. It’s a must-eat. There are other delicacies that you can discover for yourselves. When in Laoag, try to dine at La Preciosa’s Restaurant. You will be surprised at how affordable their sets of meals are.

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There are still many corners in Ilocos that I wasn’t able to mention but worth visiting as well. I’ll leave that part for you to discover and write for yourself. Until my next trip! J

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About the traveler:

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Marvi Maglipong is a Registered Nurse by Profession, but spends more time volunteering to various non-profit institutions. She’s a bookworm by heart. Currently, she’s working as a humanitarian at Islamic Relief Worldwide and lives in Bantayan Island. 

Follow her on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marvijune