Ilocos region also referred as Region I of the Philippines has 4 major provinces namely: Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, and La Union. The region is located on the northwest region of Luzon and has a total area of 13, 055 square kilometer. The region’s top agricultural product is tobacco. They also grow rice, corn, fruits and vegetables, sugar cane and cotton. The livehood of Ilocanos are fishing and other manufacturing like producing jewelry, ceramics, textile, clothing and furnitures.
The region is also famous for having different tourist destinations. In the province of Ilocos Sur, historical churches are something you ought to see. Churches like St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is also known as Vigan Cathedral. With style from the Spanish era, you’d be able to take a peak how Filipinos lived during the Spanish Era. Mestizo District is also famous in Illocos Sur because it has the largest ancestral homes and other colonial era houses and architecture in the Philippines. Santa Maria church, a baroque church is not something you should miss because it is included in UNESCO World Heritage List.
Ilocos Norte is also rich with tourist destinations. One is the Paoay Church that’s built in honor of St. Augustine and is also included in UNESCO World Heritage List. Paoay Lake, a freshwater lake that invites you to see the beautiful view of Illocos It is also a national park here in Ilocos.
Laoag The main city of the area. Famous as a gambling city, and blessed with an International airport, so it occasionally gets overrun by tourists from Korea, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong. It is also served by a flight from Manila on CebuPacfic -- flight time is about an hour.
Pagudpud Up on the North coast of the Philippines, it probably isn't the best place to go in winter, although if you're after deserted beaches, then its a great relief from the hoardes at Boracay. Its about a 90 minute bus ride from Laoag.
When you’re in La Union, Agoo-Damortis National Seashore Park and San Juan Beach is something you shouldn’t miss.
Pangasinan, another province in Ilocos is known for the Our Lady of Manaoag Church that’s always been full of devotees and tourist.
Other than theses tourist destinations, Illocos also celebrates a number of cultural festivals. Among these are:
· Sinait Garlic Festival; -- celebrated during May 1 to 3 that aims to show the hardwork and ingenuity of Ilocano farmers. The province has also this famous cooking festival and other contest that highlights garlic like Search for the Biggest garlic Bulb.
· Viva Vigan Arts Festival – the first Viva Vigan Arts Festival was celebrated in May 1993. This festival is now being celebrated every first week of May. The event highlights various activities like kalesa parade, binatbatan street dancing, santacruzan, exhibits and other food fairs.
· Longganisa Festival – held every 22nd day of January, this festival features the longest longganisa with the hope of it being included in the Guiness World of Records.
· Pinakbet festival – Pinakbet, a favorite cuisine by Ilocanos, is the highlight of this festival. The occasion has also various cooking competitions to show the cooking talents of the housewives.
· Tabako festival – this festival is being celebrated in Candon City, Ilocos Sur every 1st day of April for being the Tobbaco capital of the country
· Binatbatan Festival – a colorful festival in Vigan. The festival’s name was taken from the word ‘batbatin’ or separating cotton. Cotton is oone of the local products in Vigan.
There are tons of fun activities in Ilocos you shouldn’t miss so if you’re looking for a place to visit in the Philippines, put Ilocos in your list.
How to get there
Getting There By plane - The province boasts of the Laoag International Airport, located in Laoag City. There are some scheduled flights to and from Hongkong, Guangzhou, Taiwan, and Korea. Domestic flights are also available via the national carrier Philippines Airlines.
By sea - Various sea going vessels are docked at the ports of San Fernando and Currimao and are used for interisland transport.
By land - Take a scenic bus trip from the capital Manila to Ilocos Norte, lasting about eight hours. Among the bus companies plying this route are the Philippine Rabbit, Partas , Dominion, Florida, Farinas, and Maria de Leon bus lines.
Getting Around Ilocos Norte is best explored on foot or riding the calesa, the traditional horse-drawn carriage that promises a unique experience in itself. Tricycles also abound for traveling short distances. Going from town to town would mean taking a bus, a mini-bus, or a jeepney
The Saud Beach
Saud Beach in Ilocos Norte overture soothing and balmy ambience thus making your mood more relaxed and serene. The verdant taste of sea waters and the infinite stretch of fine white powdery sand that fondles your extremity are the optimal reasons why you fervor to sojourn in this place. Saud Beach is the widest and the most expensive beach resort in the area. Ilocos is undoubtedly enshrined with nature beauty, the hills and mountains are exuberant,the valleys are teeming. Veraciously, paradise is within your horizon.
Ø Beach Huts
Ø Beach Lounge
Ø White golden sand beaches
Ø Sports arena
Location: Ilocos Norte, region 1, Philippines is inhabited in the north western part of Luzon and geographically situated between 170-43 and 180-29 north latitudes and 1200-25 and 1200-58’ east longitude. It is bounded on the east by Cagayan and Apayao, in the southeast by Abra, in the west by the South China Sea.
GPS Coordinates: 18º 33/ 29” N, 120º 47’ 6” E
How to get here: By Air- From Manila fly to Laoag International Airport, there are jeepney’s or taxis waiting by. They will bring you to Pagudpud where Saud Beach lies.
By Land- From Manila the usual starting point, ride on an air-conditioned bus, it will take about 8 hours to northern Luzon. Get off at Vigan where you can ride on a jeepney, it would be about 110kms from here to Pagudpud, Saud Beach.
For a long straight trip to Pagudpud, you can ride on an Air-con bus at Partas station, located in Cubao, Philippine Rabbit in Manila and RCJ Transit in Sampaloc Manila. The long trip will take you about 10-12 hours. If you leave Manila at 7:30 am, you will get to Pagudpud by 5pm or 7pm depending on the flow of traffic. From Pagudpud, you can ride on a tricycle to reach the Saud beach.
The Guling-Guling Festival
Is being celebrated a day before the Ash Wednesday as they believed that it is the last day for the people of Ilocos to relish all forms of life’s abundance and richly life style prior to observing the Lenten Season. Guling-Guling was originated during the Spanish time when friars, Spanish priests conceived of a feast for the religious sector to mingle with its parishioners. “Guling” is an Ilocano word which means to mark, taint, tarnish or make a sign. During the Spanish era, people the chieftain would tarnish the sign of the cross on the person’s forehead using wet rice flour to convey purity be cleaned from all sins. The loom weavers on the other hand, commemorates the festival by generating the traditional skills on woven Ilocano fabric because they want to preserve the ancient industry.