Laoag Photo: Georgia D.

Laoag

Laoag City, known as the gateway into Ilocos Norte, is the ultimate hub of everything Ilocano. This provincial capital and “Sparkling Gem of Ilocandia” is home to rich heritage sites, unique natural attractions, and tasty delicacies that proudly showcase the best of Ilocano culture.

If you want to learn more about the Ilocanos’ rich culture and history, the Museo Ilocos Norte would be a good place to start. Nicknamed Gameng, from the Ilocano word for “treasure,” this learning center of Ilocos Norte traditions showcases cultural artifacts of the Ilocanos, Yapayaos, Itnegs, and other ethnicities of the province.

You can continue your quest for knowledge in the museum’s library, which houses a collection of books on the region and its people. And if you’re looking for some interesting Ilocano finds, check out the museum’s souvenir shop, Sarusar.

Once you’re done exploring the museum, step outside and take a walking tour of the cultural heritage sites scattered along Laoag City’s streets. Head over to the historic Aurora Park to see its famous centerpiece, the Pamulinawen Fountain. Named after a young lady in an Ilocano folk song, this fountain is a popular photoshoot venue for locals and tourists alike.

Aurora Park is also home to the Tobacco Monopoly Monument, a historic brick structure built by the Ilocanos in 1882 to celebrate their freedom from the Spanish tobacco monopoly. Other famous Spanish-era buildings include the St. William Cathedral and its Sinking Bell Tower.

One of Laoag City’s most popular destinations is the La Paz Sand Dunes, a sandy coastal desert recognized as a National Geological Monument by the National Historical Institute. Since this unique desert environment is the only one of its kind here in the Philippines, it has become an essential part of almost every Laoag City traveler’s itinerary.

Simply stepping foot on the sand dunes is already a wonder in itself, but those looking for a more thrilling experience can try sandboarding or riding a 4×4 vehicle along the steep mountains of sand. The “Devil’s Drop” is one of the steepest drops you can experience, with an inclination of almost 45 degrees.

You can also try the various sports and ecotourism activities offered by the Laoag Eco-Adventure Development Movement (LEAD), which includes traversing across mountains, rivers, and other natural attractions. Once you’re done experiencing the thrills of the La Paz Sand Dunes, head to Padsan River or one of Laoag City’s beaches for a stunning view of the sunset.

Don’t forget to sample the renowned flavors of Ilocos like pinakbet (Ilocano vegetable stew), longganisa (local sausage), poque-poque (Ilocano eggplant dish), and empanada (grated papaya, egg, and longganisa wrapped in orange rice dough).

One of the most popular dining destinations in Laoag is La Preciosa, a restaurant that serves traditional Ilocano cuisine. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try the famed Johnny Moon Cafe. Dedicated to the Ilocos-born artist Juan Luna, the quirky place is adorned with colorful pop art murals inspired by Juan Luna’s masterpieces.

After a long day of touring the city, you can either sit back and relax or experience the nightlife of Laoag in entertainment hubs like the five-star Fort Ilocandia, which is home to a golf club, a casino, and various other sports and leisure amenities.

You can also visit La Tabacalera, another popular lifestyle and dining destination sitting right beside the old brick structure of Museo Ilocos Norte. Drop by Samtoy Books and Lacasa Ilocano Crafts while you’re here. You might find some interesting Ilocano crafts and literature to take home as souvenirs from your Laoag City adventure.

Top Rated Restaurants in Laoag Browse All

  1. Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant
    4.3 Stars
    Filipino
    42 Reviews View
  2. La Preciosa
    4.1 Stars
    Filipino
    37 Reviews View
  3. Greenwich
    4.7 Stars
    Pizza
    6 Reviews View
  4. Johnny Moon Café
    4.0 Stars
    Filipino
    9 Reviews View
  5. Macy's Diner
    3.8 Stars
    International
    10 Reviews View
  6. Eagle's Nest Bar & Restaurant
    4.7 Stars
    International
    3 Reviews View
  7. Kookee
    4.7 Stars
    Filipino
    3 Reviews View
  8. Tacos Del Norte
    5.0 Stars
    Mexican
    2 Reviews View
  9. Mang Inasal
    4.5 Stars
    Fast Food
    2 Reviews View
  10. McDonald's
    4.5 Stars
    Fast Food
    2 Reviews View

Top Rated Hotels in Laoag Browse All

  1. Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino
    4.3 Stars
    Hotel
    21 Reviews View
  2. Java Hotel
    4.2 Stars
    Hotel
    9 Reviews View
  3. AA Travellers Pad Hotel
    4.5 Stars
    Hotel
    3 Reviews View
  4. Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center
    4.0 Stars
    Hotel
    5 Reviews View
  5. Ziur Inn
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    2 Reviews View
  6. Balay da Blas Pensionne House
    4.5 Stars
    Hotel
    2 Reviews View
  7. Laoag Parklane Hotel
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  8. Grand Octagon Resort
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  9. Aurelio's Mansion
    4.0 Stars
    Hotel
    2 Reviews View
  10. Laoag Renzo Hotel
    4.0 Stars
    Hotel
    2 Reviews View

Top Rated Places in Laoag Browse All

  1. Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant
    4.3 Stars
    Filipino
    42 Reviews View
  2. Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino
    4.3 Stars
    Hotel
    21 Reviews View
  3. La Preciosa
    4.1 Stars
    Filipino
    37 Reviews View
  4. Greenwich
    4.7 Stars
    Pizza
    6 Reviews View
  5. Malacañang of the North
    4.0 Stars
    Museum
    15 Reviews View
  6. Java Hotel
    4.2 Stars
    Hotel
    9 Reviews View
  7. Laoag International Airport
    3.9 Stars
    Airport
    17 Reviews View
  8. Johnny Moon Café
    4.0 Stars
    Filipino
    9 Reviews View
  9. Laoag Sinking Bell Tower
    3.8 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    10 Reviews View
  10. Macy's Diner
    3.8 Stars
    International
    10 Reviews View