Laoag City is famous for its blue skies – a lomographer’s dream location! You can take a tour of heritage sites featuring Spanish colonial buildings, Philippine-baroque churches and the colorfully busy market in the heart of the city.
I never thought I would be trigger happy during this trip because I don’t particularly like taking pictures of busy streets. Little did I know that I would instantly fall in love with the city scene, the old Spanish buildings, mansions and pretty much everything that depicts this beautiful city!
The most interesting part of Laoag City for me is the Sinking Bell Tower. 85 meters away from the St. William Church, this bell tower is 45 meters tall. It was said that a horse and its carriage can easily pass through its doors when it was made. Due to its heavy foundation, it sank a few inches each year. Now, it is only a few meters tall and leans to the north. People have to stoop to go through its gates.
One of the main crops of Ilocos is garlic, that’s why its popular to buy garlic in the stands along the highway. A quick 5 minute stopover is almost always required for tour buses so that tourists can buy their native garlic, maybe onions and Ilocano Vinegar.
For a quick restroom break, we all went down the Java Hotel whose design is Malaysian inspired. It’s rates are very reasonable and at the back there is a wall you can climb and rapel down. It’s pretty weird though that it is built behind a gas station.
At the end of the city tour, we dropped by the market to buy “pasalubong” (gifts) to family and friends. It’s very common to bring home Longganisa (pork sausages) from Ilocos. They stink a bit because they’re filled with garlic which is why they can only be checked in the plane and not hand carried. All that trouble is worth it because they are soooo good!