When In Manila, looking for your next vacation destination can be very intimidating. After all, there are 7,107 islands for you to choose from. If you and your friends are searching for a new place to explore, though, then why not head north and visit the unspoiled, charismatic and history-filled Ilocos?
I’ve always wanted to travel to take some time off. Unfortunately, I never got around to it. So, when the opportunity came, I knew I just had to grab the Ilocos Tour.
I had never been to Ilocos. Ironically, I’ve written hundreds of articles about Ilocos. From restaurants to places to visit, I know them all. To be honest, I kind of expected what the trip would be like, but I was completely wrong in the end nonetheless. Earlier this month, my partner, my friends and I embarked on an Ilocos tour and had an unexpected blast from day one!
Keep in mind that travelling to Ilocos from Manila can take up to 8 hours, though. So, if you do not fare well in long distance drives, I highly suggest that you get a tour package instead.
Our three days and two nights Ilocos tour was hosted by travel agency 3 Kings Travel and Tours. Their Ilocandia tour package includes the transportation (normally by van, but they provide an air-conditioned bus for big groups, too), hotel lodging, a tour guide and of course, a tour of Ilocos!
Day 0 – Saturday Night
The meet-up was at C3 Petron Gas Station, Caloocan. The call time was supposed to be at 9:00PM, but we were really early. We were already at Petron around 7:30PM because we thought the roads would be congested by then. So, we waited for an hour and 30 minutes, sitting along the pavement and eating ice-cream.
When our tour guide Thomas finally came, he told us that the call time was moved to 10PM. He also informed us that we will be joining another group for the trip. Fortunately, we aren’t picky.
Ilocos Tour Travel tips
– Always confirm the meet-up time. I was told to go to Petron at 9PM. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any memo via text message that it would be moved to 10PM. I got mine through email.
– Just in case, check with your travel agency if there is another group coming along.
– Bring a blanket. We were literally freezing while we were on the bus. If you have extra room in your bag, consider bringing a small pillow, as well.
– Want to brag about your Ilocos trip? 3 Kings and Travel’s bus has free Wi-Fi on board.
– Bring food and water.
– Even though we were not yet in Ilocos, Thomas was already giving us some information about the place.
Day 1 – Sunday
We arrived in Ilocos around 7AM. Our first itinerary for the Ilocos tour was the Quirino Bridge. Although it was just a quick visit, the view was simply breathtaking. We even saw goats climbing on a steep hill.
Our next agenda was to have our tummies filled with breakfast. We went over to Señorita Dulce for this, which was just five to ten minutes away from Quirino Bridge. After eating, we then went straight to the Bell Tower.
The next stop on our Ilocos tour was the famous Calle Crisolgo. The streets there are filled with novelty and souvenir shops. There are also kalesas and motorcycles roaming around the streets, as well as a bar located within the Heritage Village.
A few blocks away was Museo Crisologo, where you can find all sorts of artifacts.
After getting a taste of the rich history of Ilocos, we went to Burnayan.