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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Ilocos

Ilocos is a popular tourist destination because of its accessibility by land. There are flights to this part of the country, but many opt to go on a long road trip. It has been a tradition for some families and friends to go on a weekend drive to Vigan, Pagudpud and other famous attractions in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
Here's a budget and itinerary for Ilocos.

Guide to Ilocos

Ilocos Norte and Sur are popular tourist destinations for a reason. These provinces offer culture, history and nature. They are also developed places that make them easy to access by public or private transportation, and visitors will also find many accommodation types that fit their budget.

Places of Interest in Ilocos

These are some of the destinations you might want to include in your itinerary for your trip to the Ilocos region.

Calle Crisologo

Calle Crisologo in Vigan is one of the most popular destinations in Ilocos. The cobblestone streets, old houses, kalesas and delicious food make it a top attraction in the region. Its ambiance will take you back to colonial time. The historic center is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Paoay Church

This UNESCO-listed church is a must-visit while in Ilocos. Paoay Church is centuries old and has a distinct design that attracts visitors.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

This unique white rock formation is a sight to behold. It was formed over thousands of years. Fast forward to today, it is now a premier tourist destination in the region.

Link to post: Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Bangui Windmills

This wind farm provides renewable energy and gained popularity as a tourist spot because of the scenic views it provides. The ideal time to go is from blue hour to sunset.

Paoay Sand Dunes

You'll start your trip here riding a 4x4 until you reach the dunes. You can try sand boarding here.

Blue Lagoon (Pagudpud)

People make their way to Pagudpud for the beach. One place that many flock to is Blue Lagoon. The beach is nice but can get really crowded during the weekends and holidays.

Link to post: beach bumming in Ilocos

Sinking Bell Tower

This bell tower in Laoag is a few centuries old. It attracts tourists not just because of its long history, but also because it is sinking every year.

Cape Bojeador

The Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is a regional landmark with historical significance. It was first constructed in the early 1890s.

Other attractions include:

  • Malacanang of the North
  • Juan Luna House
  • Baluarte Zoo
  • Padre Burgos House
  • Saud Beach

Getting Around

Most visitors drive their own car to Ilocos or rent one with a driver. This is the most convenient way to explore the region. However, it is also possible to take public transportation to some of the spots, there are buses and jeeps that will take you as close as possible to the places you want to visit. You will save money doing this, but you'll also spend a lot of time waiting.

Another affordable alternative is to hire a tricycle and visit Ilocos' attractions by cluster. With Laoag as your base, it costs around P250 each to visit the destinations in Paoay (Paoay Church, Sand Dunes) and Batac (Batac Church, Marcos Mausoleum). It costs around P600 each to tour Burgos (Cape Bojeador, Kapurpurawan, Bangui) and Pagudpud (Blue Lagoon, Patapat, Kabigan Falls). The tricycle can accommodate up to four persons.

The bus from Metro Manila can drop you off at Vigan so that you can easily explore Calle Crisologo.

Where to Stay in Ilocos

Most visitors stay in Laoag, Calle Crisologo (Vigan) or Pagudpud (beachfront resort). Many tourists use the accommodations in these destinations as a base whenever they explore Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. These places have a variety of hotels, resorts, inns and guesthouses for travelers regardless of their budget. You can book through Agoda to get a good value deal.

How to Go to Ilocos

There are regular flights from Manila to Laoag. However, to get the lowest possible fare, you'll have to book weeks or months before your trip. Most people travel by land because of its convenience and spontaneity.

If you aren't taking your own transportation, you can take the overnight bus. Partas and Florida Bus are the companies that regularly ply the routes from Cubao or Manila to Laoag or Vigan.

The Cubao to Vigan bus costs approximately P670 to P800+++ depending on the class you book. Cubao to Laoag costs around P800 to P970+++ depending on the seat you book.

Budget for Ilocos

This is a rough approximate of your budget for a 3 days and 2 nights trip.

*I rounded out the numbers for easy computation. Everything is in Philippine Pesos.

800 - Overnight bus from Cubao to Laoag
800 - 1 night accommodation shared with at least with one other person
1500 - Food and drinks
125 - Paoay tricycle tour shared with at least one other person
300 - Burgos tricycle tour shared with at least one other person
150 - Roundtrip bus fare from Laoag to Pagudpud
300 - Pagudpud tricycle tour shared with at least another person
800 - Overnight bus from Laoag to Metro Manila                                      

4775 - Total for 3 days and nights per person for a pair of travelers

Sample Itinerary for Ilocos

Day 1

Overnight bus from Cubao to Laoag

Day 2

Check in Laoag accommodation
Paoay tour
Burgos tour

Day 3

Check out accommodation
Depart for Pagudpud
Pagudpud tour
Return to Laoag
Overnight bus from Laoag to Cubao

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