Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots

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Photo taken by Ken Borja, from Unsplash | Places in Ilocos Region

Where to go in Ilocos Norte Province

Ilocos Norte is not just a typical province where nature welcomes you with chirps and fresh twigs to pleasure the ears and the nose.

Like its counterpart Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte is a province with a distinct character that astonishes every tourist that steps foot in it.

Ilocos Norte is a world-renowned eco-tourism spot with rich baroque architecture and rich local culture. It is also home to seemingly endless rocky coastlines and the remarkable Cordillera Mountains.

Here, history meets natural beauty to form an idyllic masterpiece. 

Whether you want to explore the charming Spanish heritage churches, slide down the slopes of the sand dunes, or gaze at the cinematic row of windmills and waves during sunset—there is an experience waiting for you in Ilocos Norte.

If you want to know where to start, here are the places to visit first on your list of tourist spots. 

Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots

Saud Beach: Immerse in World-Class Beauty

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Image credit:

Boracay of the North

A famed tourist attraction dubbed as the “Boracay of the North,” Saud Beach is where fantasy and reality meet. To prove its magnificence, the beach is listed in Travel+Leisure’s 25 most beautiful beaches in the world.

Located at Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Saud Beach is accessible and just an hour and 30 minutes away from the provincial center. This beach became famous for its rustic appeal, pristine waters, and refreshing surroundings to relax in.

Here, you can laze on perfectly white sands, in glass-clear water, or under the hood of coconut tree cabana. Saud Beach is the place to go if you want a refreshing dip and a perfect escape from the bustle and stress of the city.

Paoay Church: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Photo taken by Bernard Spragg. NZ, from Flickr
Photo taken by Bernard Spragg. NZ, from Flickr

Serving as a metaphor for the resiliency of the Ilocanos

Bearing the Philippines’ rich history, the Paoay Church, also known as Saint Augustine Church, is a Roman Catholic place of worship that boasts of unique architecture and artistry. This makes it one of the most famous and oldest churches in the Philippines. 

Completed in 1710, the church stands strong to this day on its enormous buttress foundation that acts as a support system. This strengthens the stability of the church itself, allowing it to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Impenetrable as it may seem, the church still sustained damages from earthquakes over the last three centuries. Still, it only added to the character of the structure.

For some, it also serves as a metaphor for the resiliency of the Ilocos Norte people.

Suppose you’re one of those people who likes to appreciate intricate architecture and its deeply rooted historical value. In that case, Paoay church is one of the tourist sites that you should stop by.

Laoag Church: Home of the Sinking Bell Tower

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An Earthquake Baroque Structure

Located in Laoag City, the Laoag Church or St. William’s Cathedral is a more ancient church built by Augustinian friars in 1580 and considered a top tourist attraction and national historical landmark in Ilocos Norte.

First built with wood and thatch, the church now carries an Italian Renaissance design after many earthquakes and renovations.

The main attraction in Laoag Church, however, is its sinking tower. Because of the sandy ground where it stands, the tower holding the church bell is slowly sinking to the ground.

It sinks further at around an inch every year. Stories say that the tower doors could once fit someone on horseback. Now, one has to duck to gain entry into the tower.

Labeled by scholars as one of the Baroque churches with earthquake proof structure, the tower is assumed to have been built after the church and also surviving numerous earthquakes and typhoons.

If you are curious to see what is inside, tourists are also allowed to climb up to the sinking bell tower’s belfry.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

A natural masterpiece

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, found along the coastline of Burgos in Ilocos Norte, is a natural masterpiece carved by centuries of wind and sea erosion.

These pristine white limestone rock formations stand as unique sculptures against the azure backdrop of the South China Sea.

The name “Kapurpurawan” translates to “whiteness” in the local Ilocano dialect, perfectly capturing the essence of this natural wonder.

The distinct shapes and textures of the rocks create a mesmerizing landscape, attracting photographers, nature enthusiasts, and adventure seekers alike.

Paoay Sand Dunes: White Sand Adventure

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From the white sand of Saud, Ilocos Norte offers more white sand adventures in Paoay Sand Dunes. The Paoay Sand Dunes is a white sand desert spanning over hundreds of kilometers in land area.

Here, you can try a range of activities, from riding a 4×4 on the terrain or sandboarding down the cliffs.

From Laoag, you can reach the Paoay Sand Dunes within 30 minutes of travel. If you want something nearer offering the same activities, you may alternatively visit the La Paz Sand Dunes.

This tourist spot is just under 15 minutes from Laoag city and the Laoag International Airport.

Paoay Lake: The Big Water

Home to the Malacañang of the North

Paoay is truly imbued with a bounty of natural wonders that you can explore. Another one of the most visited tourist spots in Paoay is Paoay Lake, the largest in the entire Ilocos Norte Province.

Despite its seemingly still waters, the lake’s history is also as deep. It is believed that the lake was the site of a sunken barangay called San Juan de Sahagún, which the earthquake sank.

Also within Paoay Lake’s vicinity is the Malacañang ti Amianan, or the Malacañang of the North. The structure is a two-story mansion built for the Marcos Family that now serves as a Marcos Museum.

Museo Ilocos Norte

Immerse in Ilocano life and culture

One of the important historical sites in Cagayan Valley, Museo Ilocos Norte is a national cultural treasure trove that invites visitors to delve into the rich heritage and history of the Ilocos Norte province in the Philippines.

Housed in a Spanish colonial era-styled building, the museum showcases a diverse collection of artifacts, exhibits, and memorabilia that chronicle the region’s past.

From traditional crafts to insightful displays on local traditions, the museum offers a vibrant portrayal of Ilocano life and culture.

Wander through galleries adorned with indigenous textiles, glimpses of ancestral houses, and archaeological treasures, providing a fascinating journey into the customs and traditions that have molded the unique identity of the Ilocano people.

Bangui Windmills: Along with the Giants Of Bangui Bay

Photo taken by Ralph Olazo, from Unsplash
Photo taken by Ralph Olazo, from Unsplash

Harnessing the region’s natural topography

Behold the sight of Southeast Asia’s first and largest wind farm, the Bangui Windmills. What may look like giant electric fans along Bangui Bay are actually turbines that generate electricity.

The Bangui Windfarm stretches across nine kilometers of shoreline to form a perfect arc. It has a total of 26 turbines to date and counting. 

The windmills are lined and dotted along the shore facing the sea to capture the strong winds blowing inward to Ilocos Norte’s coast from the West Philippine Sea.

Aside from its magnificent view against the bay horizon, the Bangui wind farm also generate enough energy to supply at least 40% of Ilocos Norte’s electricity needs.

Talk about getting the best of both worlds of being clean and green plus harnessing the region’s natural topography, making it one of the icons in the province.

In Bangui, nature meets technology without damaging the surroundings. Instead, it enhances the place’s beauty while providing a cleaner alternative source of energy for the province.

If you want an open tourist spot where you can have unlimited picture taking, Ilocos Norte’s windmills is the place for you.

Blue Lagoon Beach

A coastal gem

Blue Lagoon Beach stands as a sanctuary for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and recreational activities. Whether you’re in search of serenity, water adventures, or simply a place to soak up the sun, this coastal gem promises an ideal escape on the shores of Pagudpud.

The captivating beauty of Blue Lagoon extends beneath the surface, revealing a vibrant underwater world. Snorkelers and marine enthusiasts can explore the rich marine life, discovering colorful coral reefs and a myriad of tropical fish.

For adventure seekers, water sports such as windsurfing and paddleboarding await, adding an exhilarating dimension to the beach experience.

The reliable breeze provides the perfect conditions for those seeking to harness the wind’s energy for an exciting windsurfing escapade.

Burgos Lighthouse

Photo taken by Luzviminda7641, from Wikipedia
Photo taken by Luzviminda7641, from Wikipedia

Oldest operational lighthouse in the Philippines

Burgos Lighthouse, also known as Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, proudly graces the coastal cliffs of Ilocos Norte. It was constructed in 1892 during the Spanish colonial era – gazing over the azure expanse of the South China Sea.

It stands as the oldest operational lighthouse in the Philippines, guiding ships and telling stories of maritime history.

With its classic red-capped tower, the Burgos Lighthouse invites visitors to climb its historic steps for stunning views of the sea. A must-visit for those seeking both a glimpse into the past and the beauty of the coastal landscape.

Can’t Get Enough?

Ilocos Norte has no shortage when it comes to paradise and technologies elevating the local lifestyle. It continues to rise and become an ideal place to live in.

Aside from its natural and historical wonders, Ilocos Norte is also home to many developments. The province has infrastructures that cater to the needs and leisure. Ilocos Norte also has hospitals and medical centers, financial establishments, public transportation, and food hubs.

The province lives up to its name for convenience, a place for a combo lifestyle of metro-urban living set in a nurturing environment. Let us guide you home to the north. Check out Camella’s house and lot for sale in Ilocos Norte or choose from our catalog of home selections.

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