I brought along my favorite Lomo gadget, the LC-A+ loaded with Kodak Ektachrome E100GX to my recent trip up north of the Philippines to explore the picturesque wonders that awaits me in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.
Laoag City is just one of the gateways to the somewhat undiscovered beauties of Northern Philippines such as the famous windmill power plant in Bangui, the vast sand dunes of La Paz, pristine beaches of Pagudpud, and many more. Aside from these well-known locations, the city itself holds unique and mesmerizing structures that preserved what was then, incorporated to the present time.
The city or “centro” of Ilocos Norte is a laidback environment where everything you need is made available anytime, just like any blossomed city in the Philippines. It is around 12 hours away from Manila by bus or you can take a 50-minute plane ride instead. Although towering buildings are nowhere to be found, the city boasts of humble establishments that are reminiscent of the colonial structures that stood way back in time.
Getting around the centro is easy but for a big guy like me, I had trouble riding the small tricycles that are abundant at almost every corner. Second option to go around are the famous “kalesa”. Also, reaching a nearby town is faster, thanks to the jeepney, but come 3:00pm, their operation for going back to the centro from a nearby town is already done for the day.
On our first day in Laoag City, we decided to visit the famous La Paz Sand Dunes. It is just 20-30 minutes away from the city by jeepney. From the little town of La Paz, we hired a tricycle to take us to the sand dunes. Upon arriving, it was a really wonderful sight to see and I couldn’t stop snapping away with my camera.
A few traveler tips in going to Laoag City: If arriving by plane, there’s a “free shuttle bus” to the city center that can drop you off at your hotel; just register at their table at the airport. Don’t miss trying the local delicacies like the Empanadang Iloco (deep fried pocket pies stuffed with bean sprouts, egg, and chorizo), Longganisang Iloco (local chorizo), Bagnet (crispy fried pork), and many more!