There are several reasons to visit Ilocos, a region located in the northern Philippines. Some of the most notable reasons include:
- Rich History and Culture: Ilocos is steeped in history and is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the historic town of Vigan, which is known for its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture.
- Beautiful Beaches: Ilocos has a long coastline and is home to several picturesque beaches, including the famous Pagudpud Beach, which is known for its pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters.
- Scenic Landscapes: Ilocos is home to stunning natural landscapes, including sand dunes, rock formations, and lakes, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
- Delicious Cuisine: Ilocos is known for its delicious local cuisine, including dishes such as bagnet (deep-fried pork belly), longganisa (spicy sausage), and the famous Ilocano vinegar.
- Friendly People: The people of Ilocos are known for their hospitality and warm demeanor, making it a welcoming destination for visitors.
In conclusion, Ilocos offers a unique blend of history, culture, nature, cuisine, and hospitality, making it a must-visit destination for travelers looking for a diverse and enriching experience in the Philippines. Below we listed down the Top 10 Ilocos Tourist Spot of 2023.
1. Bantay Bell Tower – Bantay Bell Tower is a historical bell tower located in the town of Bantay, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. It was built in 1590 and served as a watchtower for the town to warn against pirate attacks. The tower is made of coral stones and bricks and has a unique architecture that showcases Spanish colonial influence. Today, the tower is a popular tourist attraction and offers a panoramic view of the town and surrounding areas.
2. Kapurpurawan Rock Formation – Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is a natural rock formation located in the town of Burgos, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It is made of creamy-white limestone rock and is famous for its unique and striking appearance. The rocks have been naturally sculpted by wind and waves over thousands of years to form an arch, cave, and other unusual shapes. Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is a popular tourist destination for its scenic beauty and is considered one of the must-visit spots in Ilocos Norte.
3. Vigan City – Vigan City is a city located in Ilocos Sur, Philippines. It is famous for being the best-preserved example of a Spanish colonial town in Asia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is home to well-preserved Spanish colonial houses and structures, cobblestone streets, and plazas that transport visitors back in time to the Spanish colonial period. Vigan is also known for its traditional pottery, basket weaving, and wood carving industries, as well as its local cuisine, including the famous Ilocano Empanada. The city attracts tourists from all over the world who come to experience its rich cultural heritage and history.
4. Paoay Lake – Paoay Lake is a natural lake located in the town of Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It is surrounded by scenic rolling hills and lush vegetation, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and photographers. The lake is also very a popular spot for fishing, diving, and boating. One of the main attractions at Paoay Lake is the Malacañang of the North, a former presidential summer palace, which offers a stunning view of the lake. Visitors to Paoay Lake can take a leisurely boat ride, enjoy a picnic by the lake, or simply relax and take in the picturesque scenery.
5. St. Augustine Church (Paoay Church) – St. Augustine Church, also known as the Paoay Church, is a historic Spanish colonial church located in the town of Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the best-known examples of Baroque architecture in the country. The church was built in the 17th century and features an earthquake-resistant coral stone structure, a large central dome, and two bell towers. The interior of the church is adorned with intricate carvings, frescoes, and stained glass windows. St. Augustine Church is a popular tourist destination for its architectural beauty and historical significance and is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Philippines.
6. Malacanang of the North – Malacañang of the North is a former presidential summer palace located in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The palace was built during the Marcos regime as a summer residence for the President and his family and is known for its unique architectural style, which incorporates elements of Ilocano, Spanish, and Art Deco design. The palace is situated on the shores of Paoay Lake and offers a stunning view of the surrounding hills and the lake. Today, the palace serves as a museum and cultural center, showcasing the life and legacy of former President Ferdinand Marcos. The Malacañang of the North is a popular tourist destination for those interested in Philippine history and architecture.
7. Bantay Abot Cave – Bantay Abot Cave is a natural cave located in the town of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. The cave is known for its unique rock formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and columns, which have been naturally formed by centuries of water erosion. Bantay Abot Cave is also home to several species of bats and is a popular spot for spelunking and exploring. Visitors to the cave can take guided tours to learn about its geology, biology, and cultural history. The cave is considered a unique natural wonder and a must-visit destination for those interested in the Philippines’ natural beauty.
8. Sand Dunes (La Paz Sand Dunes) – La Paz Sand Dunes is a sand dune area located in La Paz, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The sand dunes are unique geological formations that were formed over thousands of years by wind and water erosion. They are popular for their scenic beauty and for the adventure activities that are available there, including sandboarding and ATV riding. The sand dunes are a popular destination for tourists and are considered one of the must-visit attractions in Ilocos Norte. Visitors can experience the thrill of sliding down the dunes on a sandboard or take a scenic ATV ride through the dunes to enjoy the stunning views.
9. Sinking Bell Tower of Santa Maria – The Sinking Bell Tower of Santa Maria is a historic bell tower located in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. The tower is unique because it appears to be sinking into the ground, hence its name. The cause of the tower’s apparent sinking is still unknown, but it is believed to be related to the movement of tectonic plates or to the shifting of the soil beneath the tower. Despite its unusual appearance, the tower is still functional and is used to call the town’s residents to Mass. The Sinking Bell Tower of Santa Maria is a popular tourist attraction for its unusual appearance and is considered one of the most unusual landmarks in the Philippines.
10. Marcos Museum and Mausoleum – The Marcos Museum and Mausoleum is a museum and mausoleum located in Batac, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It is dedicated to the memory of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda Marcos. The museum showcases the life and legacy of the Marcoses, including their personal belongings, political memorabilia, and artwork. The mausoleum contains the remains of the former President and his wife. The Marcos Museum and Mausoleum is a controversial site and attracts both supporters and detractors of the Marcoses. For some, it is a symbol of the former President’s contributions to Philippine history, while for others, it is a reminder of his controversial legacy. Nevertheless, it is an important cultural and historical attraction for those interested in Philippine history and politics.