Touring Ilocos Without a Car Part 4: City of Laoag

We left Kapuluan Vista Resort at around 9:30 AM and we arrived at Laoag at around lunch time. We took a trike for Php 40 going to the highway where we waited for around 10 minutes for a bus going to Laoag.

Roughly 2 hours later, we finally arrived at Laoag. From the bus terminal, we took a trike going to the place where we stayed for 3 nights, Balay da Blas. I strongly recommend this place for people visiting Laoag. The rent is not that expensive for the quality of the rooms they offer.


Sammy Blas, the owner of the place was our gracious host. We booked for a Junior Suite (Php 1,350 per night) but he upgraded it to Deluxe Suite at no extra charge. The suite includes a living room with cable tv, kitchen with ref and stove, bedroom with queen size bed and bathroom with hot and cold water.

After checking the room and freshening up, we went down and had a chat with Sammy. He helped us plan our itinerary and suggested places where we can eat.


Laoag is a small city where all the scenic spots are within walking distance of each other. You can tour everything within 30 minutes depending on how long you stay at one place. Main mode of transportation is via tricycle. The fare is Php7.00 per head, or is it Php14.00 per trike?

We had lunch at Saramsam Cafe (Sammy’s the owner) near Texicano Hotel. Try their Pinakbet Pizza and Dinuguan Pizza if you wanna experience something local. Afterwards, we went back at Balay de Blas to rest before starting our city tour.

Places to see in Laoag City

Here are the places we visited within the city:

  • Museum of Ilocos Norte
  • Tobacco Monopoly Monument
  • Sinking Bell Tower
  • St. William’s Cathedral

Outside Laoag, here are the places we visited:

  • Sta. Monica Church in Sarrat
  • La Paz Sand Dunes
  • Mausoleum of Marcos in Batac
  • Paoay Church
  • Malacañang of the North and Paoay Lake

We started our city tour by going to the Museum of Ilocos Norte. There is an entrance fee of Php20 and the place has many interesting old stuff on display and it also has a souvenir shop inside. You’re allowed to take photos inside.

A crummy shot of the museum

Afterwards, just behind the museum you can see the Tobacco Monopoly Monument. It is a monument symbolizing King Alfonso’s lifting of the tobacco monopoly. It was erected in 1881 so it’s really really old!

Don’t take a picture of the Tobacco Monopoly Monument at high noon

Near the monument, you can already see the upper part of the Sinking Bell Tower. Walk towards it and take some pictures. It’s hard to take a decent photo since there are already establishments at the bottom and electrical wires obstructing your view. The tower was built in 1612!! Older than the tobacco monument.

The Sinking Bell Tower. Bottom part is full of establishments.

After taking some photos of the bell tower, we headed to St. William’s Cathedral which was also built in 1612. However, I saw that it was already restored since the facade doesn’t look old at all.

St. William’s Cathedral. Not so old-looking.

TIP: If you’re wondering where the cathedral is, just look up and around till you see the golden arches of Mc Donald’s. The Cathedral is at the back. 🙂

Our next stop is Sta. Monica Church in Sarrat just outside east of Laoag. We took a trike going to the Sarat jeepney terminal. The jeepney ride took only around 15 minutes and the fare is Php11.00 each. Just tell the driver to drop you off near the church. Sarat is also the birthplace of the late President Marcos. Ask the locals where he was born if you want to visit the place.

Shot behind Sta. Monica Church

We went back to Laoag and asked our host Sammy to look for a tricycle driver to take us to La Paz Sand Dunes just outside west of Laoag. The driver met us at the Sarat jeepney terminal and off we went to the sand dunes which took us around 20 minutes. You need to hire a tricycle driver to go there and wait for you while you take pictures and enjoy the sight. Our agreement was Php100.

Plenty of sand in this place!

TIP: If you’re planning to go to La Paz Sand Dunes, the best time would be late in the afternoon when it’s not too hot and the sun is not too high.

After La Paz, we headed back to our inn and decided to call it a day. Since we were already tired we just had Greenwich Pizza delivered to our place for dinner.


  • Trike around Laoag – Php 7.00 per head
  • Jeep going to Sarrat – Php 11.00 per head
  • Rent trike to La Paz – Php 100 for the trip

Our plan for the following day is to tour the southern part of Ilocos Norte (Batac and Paoay) which will be the next part of this series.

Part 1: From Manila to Laoag
Part 2: Going to Pagudpud
Part 3: Pagudpud
Part 4: City of Laoag
Part 5: South of Laoag
Part 6: Going to Vigan from Laoag

If you have any questions/suggestions/corrections, please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks!

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