I once came across a post that daringly asked the people on social media: “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” I’ve seen a variety of answers like quitting their job, trying out a business venture that they had no confidence to do, or finally confessing their love to someone that they had secretly admired for the longest time.
However, I saw one reoccurring answer out of them all: to travel the world without hesitation. Although differently phrased by many, it all boils down to one thing: people crave to see beautiful places and experience rich cultures outside of what they are accustomed to. Luckily, the Philippines is abundant in both gorgeous destinations and diverse sets of heritages that you need not travel far to experience a different life that still hits so close to home.
At Pagudpud Beach
Out of all of the places that I’ve been to so far, I have never experienced a greater variety of activities and adventure than what I have experienced when I visited the exquisite province of Ilocos. From history to beaches to scenic churches to awesome food, this place is a mecca for travelers and bakasyonistas alike. I no longer need to face the mind-boggling question of what I’d like to do without failing because I have found a place that would not fail me, no matter what the circumstances are.
Don’t believe me? Well, here’s some proof. I’ve listed the top 5 reasons why you should add this place to your bucket list. It won’t matter what your personality is or what your priorities are when traveling, you’ll surely find something for you in Ilocos.
5 Reasons Why Ilocos Should Be On Your Bucketlist
5. Ilocos is full of history so rich, the stories are endless.
From the recently declared UNESCO Heritage Site Calle Crisologo to the bell tower of Bantayan and the properties of the Marcoses, Ilocos will welcome you with an endless stream of stories. If you’re a history buff, you’ll definitely enjoy seeing the stunning Spanish houses and love the time-traveler feels that the place will give you.
Bantayan Bell Tower
Not a big fan of the Spanish era? Then travel back in time to 1970’s and 1980’s when the Marcoses still ruled the country and Ilocos served as their turf. See the stunning Malacanang of the North or pay a visit to the late President Ferdinand Marcos’ body while you’re at it. You can also check out their family’s home, which was preserved and transformed into a museum. Plus points for everything being so photogenic!
4. They have the gorgeous Pagudpud Beach and Blue Lagoon for you to swim, surf, and be lazy in.
Located at the northernmost part of the province is the majestic beach of Pagudpud. Known for its fine sand and calm waters, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy a quick dip around its alluring beauty. The place is perfect to sit down and listen to the waves while you get your tan and finish a book.
Want to get some beach action? Then head to Blue Lagoon, which is just a couple of minutes away from Pagudpud, and you will be welcomed by its strong waves, perfect for a surfing session. Just be mindful as there are seasons where jellyfish like to stay along its shores!
3. Ilocos offers a variety of sumptuous food. Hands down.
Empanada? Longganisa? Bagnet? Pinikpikan? Poque-Poque?
You’ll never run out of great food when you’re in the province of Ilocos. Ilocanos are well-known for being awesome cooks, never failing to serve sumptuous meals every single time. Take a bite of their delicious empanada and you’ll surely forget about that new diet you’re oh-so-eager to push. Try their one-of a kind bagnet, too. No regrets, just fat.
2. They have stunning rock formations, lovely scenery, and enchanting, sustainable windmills.
Like I said, there are abundant places to see and check out in Ilocos. Not only are they Instagrammable, but the views are oh-so-breathtaking, in general. The pearly white Kapurpurawan Rock Formations, the stretch of Patapat Viaduct, and the windmills of Bangui are just some of the destinations that will surely make your heart flutter with their beauty.
Photos will never be enough to justify the feeling of being in places that are so postcard-worthy, they are meant to be etched in your mind and in your memory.
PS: Don’t forget to visit the windmills during sunset. It is just… spectacular. Also, the place is a great venue for cute jump shots and romantic prenup kinds of photographs.
1. They have sand dunes that will surely awaken the inner adrenaline junkie in you.
Paoay and Laoag have gorgeous sand dunes that you can easily explore while riding a 4×4 monster truck. The drivers are so used to the track that the killer slopes are like nothing to them. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for you, those downhill slopes will feel like a crazy roller coaster ride — minus the comfy seats and safety belts.
The ride usually lasts for 30 minutes, with stopovers on the beach and the higher areas of the dunes. If you’re early enough to catch the sunrise, it is extra gorgeous from the top.
View from above the Laoag Dunes
If the truck isn’t enough for you, then sand boarding will definitely fill you with more energy than you thought you could have. Most dunes offer an unlimited time to sand board, although the journey uphill is quite a struggle, especially because you’ll be walking on sand. Rest assured, the excitement every time you successfully stand up on the board will keep you moving despite the exhaustion (and the possible heat).
Convinced yet? I hope that you are. Put this on your bucket list and when you finally make it to Ilocos, don’t forget to immerse yourself in its beauty and culture.
Shout out to our friends at Travel Factor and Smart Bro for making this trip happen! If you plan to tick more places from your bucket list, don’t forget to check out #SmartBroTrips and join their adventures. #SmartBroTrips is a line-up of local tours that offer 20 percent discount to owners of Smart Bro Prepaid 4G or LTE Pocket WiFi. Moreover, each Smart Bro Trip participant shall be given a free kit filled with travel must-haves as well as get a chance to win a brand new Smart Bro Pocket WiFi during the trip. Cheers to making things happen!