best attractions in Ilocos norte

20 Best Things To Do in Ilocos Norte Philippines 2021

cover photo credit: Image by Jose Roberto Jr. Del Rosario from Pixabay

Let’s explore the best things to do in Ilocos Norte Philippines, a scenic and rich in history province located in the northern part of the archipelago of the Philippines.

Top Best Things to Do in Ilocos Norte Philippines


  1. La Paz Sand Dunes

Labelled as the “Desert of the North”, this is an 85 square-kilometer protected sandy coastal paradise along with the beach is located at Laoag, Ilocos Norte. The fresh breeze and breath-taking view makes it perfect for strolling along the shore or for their most loved activity here, the 4×4 ride consisting of 4 stops that is sure to leave you wanting to go again and again as you stay in the back or beside the driver and grip the railings as if your life depended on them. 

The first stop allows you to visit the viewing deck of the town, the second gives you a 360-degree view of the sand dunes, the third stop makes you breathless as you set your eyes upon the sea shore and the last stop is an icing to the ride as you are going to experience unlimited sandboarding. This ride is perfect for thrill-seekers as it is filled with adrenaline-inducing stops, turns, ups, downs and bumpy roads as if you were in a roller coaster minus the seatbelt. An unforgettable scenery here is the setting sun highlighting the dunes and the beach. This is a popular attractions in Ilocos Norte, Philippines.


  1. Patapat Viaduct Bridge

One of the favorite things to do in Ilocos Norte Philippines is the Patapat Viaduct Bridge.  Fourth longest bridge in the Philippines, this elevated concrete structural beauty is located at Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte which connects the Maharlika Highway to the Cagayan Valley. The infrastructural wonder sits 31meters above sea level that winds around the mountainside. 

The perfect place to stop and admire as the mesmerizing, picturesque view of the crystal blue sea with its waves paired with the natural landscape gives you a serene feeling and contentedness as you feel the strong, cool breeze and gaze upon the sky and lush landscape. Passing by here, no matter how many times, is sure to leave you in awe every time.


  1. Fort Ilocandia Resort

An elegant, first class hotel in the north located at Laoag surrounded by sand dunes and the sea, Fort Ilocandia Resort is loved by both tourists and locals alike and perfect for those who have affinity to the sea. This 5-star deluxe resort will leave you relaxed as it gives you serenity and peace with wonderful and unique views of the landscape and infrastructure amidst the sand dunes and nature that will leave you awe-struck along with a complete, accommodating staff and spacious rooms. 

There are different activities hosted by the hotel to keep their guests entertained – jet skiing, kayak and canoe, hot air balloon, archery, shooting, horseback riding and more adventurous activities like an all-terrain vehicle ride through the sand dunes, a 4×4 ride, sand boarding and many more. Restaurants that litter here range from Chinese to seafood and perfect for romantic dinners, casual gatherings or for family bonding.


  1. Paoay Church

St. Augustine Church or more commonly known as Paoay Church, is one of the top tourist destinations in Ilocos Norte as it was designated as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government and hailed as UNESCO World Heritage Site among the baroque churches. The beautiful, mesmerizing and picturesque view of the rustic church amongst the lush landscape and blue cerulean skies will leave you breathless and in awe.

 A photographer’s dream scenery as its interior are simple, eccentric and elegant, some part are preserved and some reconstructed due to the earthquake that hit Paoay. The authentic and ancient tree sap, coral stones and brick walls that make up the bell tower and the church completes the beauty and aesthetic of the scenery which shows you a memoir of our history.


best things to do in Ilocos norte philippines

Image by jctagulao from Pixabay

  1. Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

  “Light of Ilocos Norte”, this cultural heritage treasure built during the Hispanic era is a must-see tourist destination as it gives you a mesmerizing view of the sea and the land wherein you can enjoy the fresh breeze and tranquility.  

It is all masonry made with bricks with the octagonal tower topped with a bronze cupola and the viewing gallery is surrounded with iron grill works that are sure to catch one’s eyes. The slight trek up is worth it as you get to gaze upon the marvelous view of the ocean, the shore and the lush landscapes. This lighthouse is still in use as of now to guide international ships, an interesting adventure of Ilocos Norte Philippines.

  1. Sinking Bell Tower

The eccentric beauty of this historic, mysterious tower, located in Laoag, stands out with the Hispanic, rustic feel of it amidst the modernized infrastructures that surrounds it. The old, baroque-style of bricks joined by molasses and leaves gives a feeling of nostalgia and wonder as it is believed that this bell tower is really sinking about an inch every year.

 A well-maintained Spanish colonial landmark is a must visit for tourists and locals alike wherein you can admire the ancient tower for its natural, picturesque beauty, perfect for photographs.


  1. Saud Beach

Dubbed as “Boracay of the North”, this serene and tranquil white sand beach, located at Pagudpud, is well-loved and popular among tourists and locals as it is clean and pristine paired with the clear, turquoise waters and fresh, cool breeze truly relaxes and eases one’s mind.

 A perfect place to view the sun rise and sunset undisturbed, a place wherein you can be inspired by the nature and wildlife that surround the beach and a place where you can be at ease and think about whatever you want peacefully as this is an almost hidden paradise. The picturesque of the water, the sand and the sky is sure to leave anyone amazed and in awe.


  1. Bangui Windmills

Iconic landmarks of Ilocos Norte, the Bangui Windmill Farm consisting of 50 majestic wind turbines are one of the most visited tourist destination as it paints a picturesque and breath-taking view paired with the sea, the shore and lush nature that surrounds the 70 m. high windmill. 

Standing below the windmill is not for the faint of heart as it is nerve-wracking. 20 of them are seen lining the shore which is perfect for picture taking and bonding with the family and friends wherein as you feel the fresh sea breeze and gaze upon the waters and the sky, a sense of tranquility and peace washes over, a wonderful thing to do in Ilocos Norte Philippines.


  1. Kabigan Falls

A testimony to the beauty of nature, located at Pagudpud, this majestic falls is tucked deep within the dense forest wherein a more than 30-minute hike is needed through the trees, dirt paths and across small rivers wherein it is fairly an easy hike. 

It is worth the sweat as the 87 ft. waterfall is breath-taking as it falls to its concave basin, wherein you are allowed to take a dip in its cold, clear, clean and refreshing waters. The hike is an adventure in itself wherein you can enjoy the countryside scenery but for those who don’t want to hike, the residents of the barangay have a rental vehicle to take you there.


  1. Hannah’s Zipline

Located in Pagudpud, this is a must experience chill and thrilling ride over the trees and water which will leave you mesmerized and in awe as you gaze upon the majestic view of the clear, azure blue waters of the 

Blue Lagoon, the view of the eccentric flora and fauna of the landscape and feel its fresh, cool breeze. Locals and tourists alike love this as they get to experience the beauty of nature in an aerial view in different angles.


  1. Malacañang of the North

A popular tourist attractions in Ilocos Norte is the Malacanang of the North. Found in Paoay, this presidential museum for the late president, Ferdinand Marcos, was their former residence in Ilocos Norte that was gifted by her wife, Imelda Marcos. This antique, elegant and simple mansion of rustic and authentic structures and furniture that holds a piece of our history wherein one can feel the nostalgia of the place as you roam every room available in each floor. 

The picturesque view of the mansion will leave anyone in awe especially the view in front wherein the mansion overlooks the mesmerizing Paoay Lake and well-maintained landscape.

  1. Kapurpurawan Rock Fromation

“Jewel of Ilocos Norte”, this majestic and beautiful yet fragile masterpiece of nature is located in the rocky coast of Burgos which is a magnificent white rock destination for locals and tourists alike as you gaze upon the picturesque view of the formation and the clear blue waters along with the refreshing, cool breeze which makes the hot, exhausting hike to get there worth it. 

This naturally sculpted formation of smooth ivory limestone is another iconic landmark of the north contrasting with the waters of the Bangui Bay, this is sure to leave you amazed and in awe, another fantastic thing to explore in Ilocos Norte Philippines.


  1. Juan Luna Shrine

“Hidden Gem”, located in Badoc, this as the ancestral home of Juan Luna and his brother, General Antonio Luna which holds a repository of Juan Luna’s various masterpieces, personal memorabilia and antique household decorations alongside with his brother’s uniform, sword and a letter he wrote kept in a restored, elegant two-story house made with clay brick walls and molave wood. 

Juan Luna’s awe-inspiring and sympathy-provoking art pieces are on display for us to admire and feel the sense of nationalism and hope for our country as we roam and gaze upon the home and artwork in each floor. This is a must visit as it gives you a feel and understanding of how or heroes lived in their time and keep more in touch with our ancestors.  


  1. Paoay Lake National Park

A must-see tourist destination as this natural horse-shoe shaped lake is loved by many locals and tourists and deemed with irresistible beauty that will leave you breathless and wanting to visit again and again. 

The clear, pristine waters surrounded with clean landscapes and small cottages gives you a feeling of serenity and peace while feeling the fresh breeze and gazing upon the sky and lush environment. The myth about the lake is also mysterious and intriguing which makes people curious if there was really a submerged barangay under the big lake. 


  1. Sta. Monica Church

Found in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, this must-see famous landmark was the last Spanish-built church and the largest in the region was declared an Important Cultural Property of the Philippines wherein the picturesque view of the church surrounded with trees and fronts the Padsan River wherein a fresh, cool breeze flows. 

The historical church that has survived many tragedies is a beauty in itself as it is structured in the Baroque and Neoclassical styles with brick buttressed walls, a 3-level brick bridge and a staircase that connects to the convent. It invokes a feeling of serenity, wonderment and nostalgia, a perfect place for praying, as you gaze upon the mesmerizing church, Casa del Palacio Real or the convent and the restored bell tower making a picturesque scene with the natural environment making it a well-loved place by locals and tourists.


  1. Blue Lagoon

Also known as Maira-ira Cove, located in Pagudpud, this isolated beach is popular for their strong waves that attract surf lovers and thrill-seekers, but aside from that, this place is loved for their pebbly, white sand and clear, azure blue waters that are calm whenever winds aren’t strong.

 The mesmerizing view of the reflection of the sky in the water is sure to leave you in awe and wanting to visit again. More often the waves here are crazy, strong and unrelenting which is the perfect place for surfing and for the brave adrenaline junkies to venture into. The picturesque and beautiful view of the surroundings and the water makes you feel calm and serene as the sound of the waves continue on.


  1. Bantay Abot Cave

Formed out of nature’s wrath and grace, albeit not really a cave, this beautiful and mesmerizing rock formation is a result of an earthquake many years ago which carved a whole in a hill. The trek is a little harder but rewarding as the cave is enclosed in rock structures and the top is surrounded by lush flora and fauna while being embraced by the clear blue ocean. 

The waves here are a little strong with a rocky terrain which is not advisable for swimming but perfect for a stroll in the shallow waters and picture taking. If looked at the side, the site looks a little like a green whale resting ashore.


  1. Dos Hermanos Islands

An enchanting natural formation located in Pagudpud, these islands are two cone shaped rock formations in the northern coast of the Blue Lagoon which piques the interest of both the locals and tourists as these small islands are surrounded by the clear, turquoise waters wherein you can venture and trek to the island by foot when the tide is low. 

Locals advice to follow the dead corals as they give the right path to the island and be ready with underwater or aqua shoes as you have to carefully pass through the water. A feeling of serenity and tranquility wash over as you are in the island, making it a relaxing place for visitors in which this is a perfect place for pictures as the beautiful and picturesque scenery and landscape make you want to visit again and again.


  1. Paoay Sand Dunes

Another famous sand dune in Ilocos Norte, this 88 hectare protected coastal spread of sand and wild landscape that sits adjacent to the Suba beach, giving it a picturesque and breath-taking view. One of their most popular activity is a 4×4 ride across the sand dunes which will make you light-headed with adrenaline, nerves and thrill as you go up and down, bumpy roads, stop and turns like a rollercoaster that is sure to leave your voice hoarse from shouting or screaming. 

The last stop before returning is sand boarding which will excite thrill-seekers and adventurous individuals. This is one of the most perfect place to watch the sunset as its colors encompass the sea and the sand dunes.


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