Budget Itinerary for Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur

Pagudpud -> Laoag -> Vigan

florida bus liner laoag cubao

Not even a whole 24hrs back in the Philippines my wife and I decide to follow her friends who she helped plan a trip to Ilocos Norte. Running on a few hours of sleep we rush to pack some stuff together for the journey ahead. Without really taking into consideration what we would be doing I packed the bare essentials for a usual trip to a tropical island paradise. For more details on packing essentials click here. My wife and I leave from Cubao, Manila at around 11PM on a FLorida Liner bound for Laoag.

Expenses for the day:

Bus from Manila to Laoag        700php each        7hrs

Day 1: Northern Pagudpud

After our all night bus ride from Manila to Laoag we found ourselves at the Florida Liner Bus Terminal in Laoag. From the terminal our next course of action was to find out how to get to Pagudpud to where my wife's friends were staying. Not knowing where to go we asked the locals, they recommended taking a tricycle to go to the bus terminal for buses headed towards Pagudpud. We got on a tricycle and asked to be taken to the terminal. Halfway towards the terminal the driver recommended that we take a van as the bus for Pagudpud had already left and we would have to wait it. Following his lead we switch out of the tricycle and head into a van which left immediately as we arrived since our presence made the van full. After about a two hour van ride from Laoag we reach Pagudpud. My wife's friends were staying at Saud Beach Juanita Uddon Transient Lodge meaning we still needed to take a tricycle ride to get into Saud beach the driver of the van was nice enough to drop us off right in front of the trycycle line. Finally we arrive at Juanita Uddon Transient Lodge meet my wife's friends and partake in breakfast as they just finished cooking using the the lodges facilities. During breakfast we discuss the details of lodging to stay in my wife's friend's air conditioned dormitory type room which would cost 350php per person, an ordinary private room without air conditioning cost 250php per person. We opted for the ordinary room since we were the only guests, we had the whole place to our selves a private bedroom, living room/dining room, kitchenette and bathroom best deal ever!

My wife's friends came to Pagudpud by renting a van from Manila which was at their disposal for 4 days so anywhere they wanted to go the van would take them. Graciously they offered to have us ride with them as the van wasn't full and had plenty of space. Our first stop of the day was Saud beach a 10 minute walk away from Juanita Uddon. The beach was clean, pretty and very inviting unfortunately the weather was very gloomy and chilly the day we were there. Next was Kabigan Falls a 30 minute van ride from Saud beach. There's is an obligatory tour guide fee costing 100php a minimum of 5 people to guide every succeeding person will cost 20php plus an entrace fee of 10php. The guide will take you on a 30 minute trek towards the falls. After Kabigan falls we hoped back in our van towards a 10 minute ride to Patapat bridge. After a fun filled pictorial session with everyone we then drove to Bantay Abot rock formation again another destination for picture taking which took about 15 minutes to get there. Following the trail from Bantay Abot Cave for about 10 minutes takes you to Hannah's Resort a huge resort complex with the longest zip line over water. After Hannah's a 20 minute drive back to Juanita Uddon ends the day for us.

Expenses for the day:

Laoag Bus Terminal to Laoag Van Terminal                                 25php Each                                -5mins

Laoag Van Terminal to Pagudpud                                                  100php Each                              -2hrs

Pagudpud Tricycle Terminal to Saud Beach                                 35php Each                                -3mins

Juanita Uddon Transient Lodge                                                        250php Each per night

Kabigan Falls Tour Guide                                                                 20php EAch

Kabigan Falls Entrance Fee                                                             10php Each

Hannah's Resort Entrance Fee                                                        100php Each  

Day 2: Pagudpud to Laoag

Waking up during a cold morning, we leave Juanita Uddon Transient Lodge at around 9am to get an early start. The day before Julius the tricycle driver that took us to Juanita Uddon offered us a tour package for Pagudpud priced at 1000php (good for 2-3 persons) but since we already saw the northern part with my wife's friends yesterday we struck a deal with Julius, southern tour of Pagudpud for 500php. Julius arrives and we take off. He first takes us to all the Pagudpud signs for some souvenir photos. Half an hour later after two Pagudpud welcome sings we head to the Bangui Windmills. It takes about half an hour again to get there. Happy with the footage we've taken, he drives up the cliff side for the view deck, which provides a higher view of the Windmills and a look at all of Pagudpud. We only stayed for a few minutes up in the view deck then we left for Kapupurawan rock formation. 30minutes later we end up at an intersection with other tricycles. Julius did mention before that he was not authorized to drive into Kapupurawan as only drivers with a special license could get in so he drops us off to switch tricycles with another driver and here's where it get a bit disappointing. The new driver then lets us know that the fare ride with him is 300php to get inside Kapupurawan and the light house atop a hill. At this point we feel a bit swindled by Julius since he only took to a few places in the south and now we had to pay another driver for the rest of the tour. From the intersection we paid an entrance fee to Kapupurawan. 10 minutes later, we are at the rock formation. Satisfied with our time at Kapupurawan, we get back on tricycle and head off to the light house for about 15mins. The lighthouse is free to get into and we take our time while enjoying the cool breeze. That being our last stop in Pagudpud, the driver drops us off to where we can catch bus back to Laoag.

In Laoag, we take up lodging at Pichay Inn which is a short walk from the bus terminal. After settling in our room we are informed that today was the Pamulinawen festival and there would be a parade. Interested we set off to look for the parade. Laoag is small town and mostly everything is walking distance. After being entertained by the parade we wander around the town to see what they had to offer. Unknowingly we run into another tourist spot the sinking bell in the middle of the town. We then relax at the local park took a few pictures and head back to our room to get ready for dinner. We decide to eat at La Preciosa a 10 minute walk from Pichay inn. Here we order Bagbet, Poqui-poqui and their famous carrot cake. We call it a night and sleep to prep for the next day.

Expenses for the Day:

South Pagudpud tour                                          250 php each                
Kapupurawan tour                                               150 php each
Ordinary bus to Laoag                                        50 php each                  -2 hours
Pichay lodge                                                         175 php each

La Preciosa dinner
Carrot cake                                                           100 php
Bagbet (Pinakpet sauce and Bagnet)               200 php
Poqui- poqui                                                         165 php
Garlic rice                                                              60 php
San Miguel beer                                                    50 php

Day 3: Laoag to Vigan

We started our day early because we have a lot of activities lined up. We made a deal with Aries, the tricycle driver, to tour us to the different tourist sites in Laoag. Our first stop was the Laoag Sand dunes adventure. We arrived at the sand dunes at 7 am, in our opinion; it was the perfect time to do this activity. The sun was up and bright but not too hot to be uncomfortable. This was the highlight of our Ilocos adventure. After our 1 hour sand dunes ride, it was now time to do sand boarding. By this time, it was now pretty hot and although going down the sand was really fun, the climb uphill was really exhausting. There used to be a ladder to make the climb easier but it was destroyed by a typhoon. We bought a souvenir photo to remember our sand dunes adventure. After the sand activities, we ate a quick breakfast at a Chinese place then went to the Malacanang of the North. Malacanang of the North is a huge estate owned by former president Marcos. After a quick tour, we went to Paoay lake and took more pictures then head to Paoay church. We took our time in Paoay Church, had a chance to try out the halo-halo of Ilocos coolers then left for Marcos mausoleum. We only spent about 5 minutes visiting his tomb. Aries then took us at a nearby road where Vigan bound buses was passing by. From there, we continued on for 2 hours going to Vigan. 

We reached Vigan at 4 pm and were dropped off at the bus terminal near Puregold Vigan. From there, we found our way towards Calle Crisologo a 15 minutes walk. We asked around for lodging rates near Calle Crisologo and decided to stay at Mojica Residencia for the night. After settling in, we walked around Calle Crisologo to have dinner. There we found Lampungs restaurant where we ate pinakbet ilocano and dinakdakang Bagnet. After a heavy dinner we retire for the night.


Expenses for the day:

Laoag city tour                                         250 php each
Laoag Sand Dunes                                  1250 php each
Souvenir photo at Laoag Sand dunes    150 php

Breakfast at Chinese restaurant
Longsilog                                                         50 php
Bangsilog                                                         50 php
unlimited ice tea                                              25 php
Malacanang of the North Entrance Fee         30 php each
Halo halo Ilocos Coolers                                60 php

Ordinary bus to Vigan                                     80 php each
Mojica Residencia                                           800 per night

Dinner at Lampungs
Bagbet Dinakdakang                                      180 php
Pinakbet Ilocano                                             180 php
Plain Rice                                                         20 php

Day 4: Vigan

We wanted to see Calle Crisologo during dawn so we started out early to take pictures. After our picture taking session we had breakfast and had our first taste of Vigan longanisa. We head back to our hotel room, and started packing our things for the journey home. While we were packing and reviewing the map of the Philippines, we realized how close we were to Sagada and decided to extend our trip and go to Sagada instead of going back to manila. We switched to a cheaper accomodation and stayed at Green R Hotel. The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for the road trip the next day. For early dinner, we took a 30 minute walk to Hidden Garden restaurant. At the restaurant, we had sinanglaw, okoy and buko halo-halo. After dinner, we walked around the town proper for an hour or so and bought an empanada and a souvenir T-shirt. We went back to the room for last minute preparations and some much needed rest for the next day.

Expenses for the day:

Green R Hotel                                                          750 php
Breakfast at Ilocano Restaurante
Vigan Longsilog                                                     140 php Each

Dinner at Hidden Garden
Sinanglaw                                                                175 php
Okoy                                                                         55 php
Buko Halo halo                                                       150 php
Plain Rice 20
Souvenir T-shirt                                                      90 php
Empanada                                                               30 php