And so we had to bid goodbye to the beautiful seascapes of Pagudpud as we hopped on a non-airconditioned provincial passenger bus priced for 60 PHP for a two-hour ride to Laoag. The ride was very different compared to riding an non-airconditioned bus here in Metro Manila. Riding buses in the provinces seems to be more rewarding as you get random treats like beautiful sceneries while unpolluted, cold, fresh air happily greets your face along the way. Bus conductors happily helped out passengers boarding and alighting the bus as they assist you especially if you had heavy luggages or grocery items to bring.
It was nice to observe how nice the people in Ilocos actually were. It’s very different from Manila, where you are most of the time scared to board a bus, and most of the people riding in transit are rushing their way to somewhere, more often than not. In Ilocos, buses seem to be happy places where people can convene, meet, and share their random stories with each other. It was different. It was very much a happy culture.
After two non-traffic hours accompanied by the fresh and cold breeze of Ilocos, we arrived in Laoag. We took a tricycle going to La Elliana Hotel to check in. And then we immediately left the hotel to explore what Ilocano food Laoag can offer us. Off we went to Saramsam Cafe, an authentic Ilocano restaurant. (I have to make a separate blog about Ilocano restaurants and Ilocano food. It was that good!) After eating, we took an immediate stroll and walking tour around the kalesa-filled city.
Pretty much, Laoag is a more progressive town compared to Pagudpud. Most of Ilocos Norte’s businesses can be found in Laoag, that’s why there seems to be less of a provincial feel about it. But nevertheless, Laoag must be recognized for its city’s culture and atmosphere. Laoag is commendable for laid-back walking tours as there is no need to rush in going from one point to another. The major tourist spots are readily walkable and are in close proximity with each other.
Perhaps one of the things that I didn’t like in Laoag were the electric wires and cables that were dangling almost everywhere. For me, it decreases the appeal of the particular location once wires ruin the picturesque view. See picture above. The Sinking Bell Tower may have been more beautiful minus the wires. But nevertheless, walking around Laoag still gives a very welcoming feeling.
It was almost Christmas when we went, that’s why we got to have our happy Christmas tree shot taken just in time to celebrate the season.
Pretty much, our day ended quite early. We didn’t expect that the city tour will be done in a matter of a few hours. In other words, nabitin kami sa Laoag. We could have visited La Paz Sand Dunes just by the neighboring town. The neighboring cities, Paoay and Batac had tourist destinations in store for us, but we decided to pursue them the next day instead because the day was almost about the end.
Should you plan your own Ilocos trip, you may just do a Laoag visit in passing and do not anymore stay overnight in Laoag. Or do it all together with Laoag, Paoay and Batac so that the day will be jampacked with tours and sight-seeing.
To delight ourselves, we sampled Ilocos empanada near the town plaza and ate dinner in La Preciosa (which I will blog about soon).Yum yum!
Thank you, Laoag! Paoay here we come!
How to go to Laoag from Pagudpud:
- Hop on a bus headed to Laoag. Most bus in this route are usually non-airconditioned and have very minimal leg room (the usual provincial buses with small bodies)
- Fare would be roughly around Php 60.00
Where to stay in Laoag:
- La Elliana Hotel, Laoag: (Room Rates range from P750-P1500) Rizal St. cor Ablan Ave, Laoag (077) 7714876 09204472255