After the soak in Anguib beach (and not even taking a shower), I took the bus to Laoag City. Few hours later, I smelled like a dried fish. I did not know that Sta. Ana to Laoag City will take 8 hours.
I arrived around 10pm and concluded that night life in the city is boring. There are no loud music in the streets. Here are the 8 things you can do in Laoag city:
1.) Check-in Texicano
I did not have any hotel bookings then. When I checked the booking app the hotels were already expensive. So I just asked the tricycle drivers where I can stay for a night. They recommended me Texicano or Star dance– perhaps their favourite place where they bring their special someone. I followed the advise of the elder tricycle driver. Perhaps, he knows better from experience.
The hotel is one of the first hotels in the city. I was scared at first for ghosts. BUT I just really have to spend the night here as all of the places I will visit are only within 1KM perimeter from this hotel. Plus, I afforded the room for only around 600 philippine pesos (11 US dollars). Not that bad.
2.) Eat Empanada
The security guard in my hotel, who is actually just watching netflix on his phone, advised me that the city is actually safe even at night. I roamed around the dark streets to look for food. I chanced to pass by a food stall selling Empanada- one of their famous dishes. Empanada is a fried pasty with fillings of egg, vegetables and meat. Sometimes, you put vinegar for additional taste. I bought one for dinner.
3.) Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag
The centuries old 45-meter tall bell tower built by the Augustinian friars in 1612 is one of the tallest in the Philippines. The construction is typical of the earthquake baroque structures found in Ilocos. Tales by old people mention that a person on horseback once could enter its vaulted entrance without stooping. Now, a person of ordinary height has to stoop to enter thru the tower door, because the tower has sunk considerably and evenly, thus its reputation as “The Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag”
4.) Visit the Ilocos Norte Capitol
The capitol was built according to the design of Ralph Harrington Doane and to the administration of Jose Paez and Tomas Mapua, 1917-1925. When the Japanese troops came in Laoag on December 21, 1941, the capitol was abandoned by Governor Roque Ablan to continue his government in the mountains of Maananteng, Solsona, Ilocos Norte. In February 12, 1945, a day before valentines, it was taken back by the 15th infantry, United States Army Forces in the Philippines- Northern Luzon, Currently, it is famous for picture taking with the big letterings Ilocos Norte in the background. The provincial tourism office is also in this building.
5.) Jog around Museo Vivo De Ilocos
On my day jog within the city, I liked the different varieties of bonsais in this park. This park is just on the left side part of the capitol.
6.) Visit Museo Ilocos Norte
Erected in 1878 and known as the Tabacalera Building, the edifice was originally designed as the Administrative Centre of the Tobacco Monopoly in Ilocos Norte during the reign of Spain over the Philippine Islands. Currently, the museum now houses GAMENG– the vast cultural heritage of Ilocos Norte.
7.) Appreciate Taoid: A Museum of the Cordilleras in Ilocos Norte
I did not know that the Cordillera people has this amazing culture until I visited the Taoid: A Museum of the Cordilleras in Ilocos Norte. I am publishing a separate article about this museum this upcoming September.
8.) Have some intellectual conversations with Northwestern University Students
I got a free tour of the Taoid Museum from Tourism students of Northwestern University- Glydel Rhovy Natividad (with light blue shirt), Tricia Mae Magbual (with dark blue), and Zharinah Kainah Leano (with yellow shirt). Some of my misconceptions against people from Apayao (one of the provinces of the Cordillera) were rebutted by them.
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