Ilocos Sur Photo: Harvey P.

Ilocos Sur

You could say that Ilocos Sur is like a living museum, where the rich history and culture of the Ilocanos are showcased through the province’s heritage sites, natural wonders, traditions, and cuisine. A journey into this historical province of Ilocandia is essential for any traveler who wishes to fully experience the culture of the Ilocos region.

No trip to Ilocos Sur would be complete without a visit to its world-famous capital city, Vigan. Fall in love with the timeless charm of this 16th-century UNESCO World Heritage City by exploring its weathered stone pathways, majestic colonial churches, and stunning ancestral homes.

Travel back in time to the Spanish colonial era by riding a calesa, or horse-drawn carriage, down the iconic cobblestone path of Calle Crisologo. If you want to learn more about the past lifestyle of this old European trading town’s residents, check out its famed colonial structures like the St. Paul’s Cathedral, Archbishop’s Palace, Padre Burgos House, and Crisologo Museum.

Just a short ride away from Vigan, you’ll find the Bantay Church and Belfry, one of the oldest surviving churches in Ilocos Sur. Climb up the historic red-brick belfry and you’ll be rewarded with a commanding view of Vigan and its surrounding areas.

Another pride of Ilocos Sur is the 18th-century Sta. Maria Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as a fortress during the 1896 Philippine Revolution. Travelers can also pass by Tagudin to see Tagudin Church and the centuries-old Tagudin Sundials, which were used by Spanish colonizers during their stay in the Philippines.

Continue your tour of Ilocano heritage and culture by learning the art of burnay pottery in Vigan’s Pagburnayan, where potters shape locally-sourced clay into traditional jars. You can also head to the town of Caoayan to watch watch abel fabric weavers as they create colorful weaves using traditional wooden looms.

Aside from being home to famous heritage sites, Ilocos Sur is also rich in natural wonders fit to cater to any kind of nature-lover. Adventurous travelers can brave the challenging hike up to Tirad Peak, which towers above the historical trail of Tirad Pass. Other scenic adventures await those who visit Pinsal Falls or trek along the verdant pine forests and mountains of Cervantes.

One popular destination for adventure junkies is the Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone, located at the site of the majestic Quirino and Banaoang bridges. Here, guests can choose from a wide array of exciting activities like climbing, rappelling, kayaking, and riding the 400-meter-long zipline across the vast Abra River.

If you’re in the mood for some beach bumming, try relaxing along the white sands of Santiago Cove or taking a boat to the secluded and serene shores of Puro Island in Magsingal. Those looking for a unique beach experience can travel to Vigan’s Mindoro Beach, a peaceful stretch of jet black sand that serves as the perfect escape from the heritage city’s crowded streets.

Ilocos is also famous for its signature Ilocano flavors, so make sure to sample local favorites like bagnet (deep-fried pork meat), longganisa (local sausage), empanada (grated papaya, egg, and longganisa wrapped in orange rice dough), and pinakbet (vegetables stewed in fish sauce) during your visit. Some popular joints you can try are Cafe Leona, Grandpa’s Inn, and Bistro Candon.

It might be a good idea to buy some extra empanada, longganisa, bagnet, basi (sugarcane wine), and the highly addictive Ilocos chichacorn (deep fried corn kernels) as souvenirs, just in case you find yourself craving those delicious Ilocano flavors once you return home from your trip.

Top Rated Restaurants in Ilocos Sur Browse All

  1. Gaia Cafe & Crafts
    5.0 Stars
    Café
    13 Reviews View
  2. Marsha's Delicacies
    5.0 Stars
    Filipino
    12 Reviews View
  3. Yoghurt House
    4.0 Stars
    Frozen Yogurt
    60 Reviews View
  4. Irene's Vigan Empanada
    4.0 Stars
    Snack
    23 Reviews View
  5. Sagada Lemon Pie House
    4.0 Stars
    Filipino
    48 Reviews View
  6. Log Cabin Sagada
    4.5 Stars
    American
    8 Reviews View
  7. Bana's Cafe
    4.5 Stars
    Café
    11 Reviews View
  8. Sagada Brew
    4.0 Stars
    Café
    30 Reviews View
  9. Salt and Pepper
    4.0 Stars
    Diner
    26 Reviews View
  10. Hidden Garden of Vigan
    4.0 Stars
    Filipino
    30 Reviews View

Top Rated Hotels in Ilocos Sur Browse All

  1. Misty Lodge and Cafe
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    7 Reviews View
  2. Hotel Luna
    4.5 Stars
    Hotel
    14 Reviews View
  3. Residential Lodge
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    4 Reviews View
  4. Rock Inn and Cafe
    4.0 Stars
    Hotel
    9 Reviews View
  5. Cordillera Inn
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    3 Reviews View
  6. Vitalis Villas
    4.0 Stars
    Hotel
    5 Reviews View
  7. Grandpa's Inn
    3.5 Stars
    Hotel
    10 Reviews View
  8. Hotel Ni Among
    4.5 Stars
    Hotel
    2 Reviews View
  9. St. Joseph's Resthouse
    3.5 Stars
    Hotel
    5 Reviews View
  10. Vigan Hotel
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View

Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Ilocos Sur Browse All

  1. Kiltepan Peak
    4.5 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    26 Reviews View
  2. Echo Valley
    4.0 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    15 Reviews View
  3. Lake Danum
    4.5 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    8 Reviews View
  4. The Hanging Coffins of Sagada
    4.0 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    18 Reviews View
  5. Syquia Mansion
    5.0 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    4 Reviews View
  6. Sagada Pottery
    4.0 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    6 Reviews View
  7. Plaza Salcedo
    4.5 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    2 Reviews View
  8. Pagburnayan
    4.5 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    2 Reviews View
  9. RG Jar Factory
    4.0 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    2 Reviews View

Top Rated Places in Ilocos Sur Browse All

  1. Vigan Heritage Village
    4.5 Stars
    Landmarks
    73 Reviews View
  2. Kiltepan Peak
    4.5 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    26 Reviews View
  3. Gaia Cafe & Crafts
    5.0 Stars
    Café
    13 Reviews View
  4. Marsha's Delicacies
    5.0 Stars
    Filipino
    12 Reviews View
  5. Bomod-Ok Falls
    4.5 Stars
    Great Outdoors
    17 Reviews View
  6. Lumiang Cave
    4.5 Stars
    Great Outdoors
    13 Reviews View
  7. Yoghurt House
    4.0 Stars
    Frozen Yogurt
    60 Reviews View
  8. Irene's Vigan Empanada
    4.0 Stars
    Snack
    23 Reviews View
  9. Sagada Lemon Pie House
    4.0 Stars
    Filipino
    48 Reviews View
  10. Log Cabin Sagada
    4.5 Stars
    American
    8 Reviews View

Popular Areas in Ilocos Sur

  1. Vigan

    Vigan

    77 Places
    View
  2. Bantay

    Bantay

    9 Places
    View
  3. Candon

    Candon

    8 Places
    View