If you’re in the mood for a road trip this summer, then pack your bags and head to Ilocos Norte. Located 408 kilometers northwest of Manila, the province of Ilocos Norte is a haven for outdoor adventurers.
It is where you’ll experience the cool breeze from the mountains, a lazy day on the beach, a reflective walk through a path of puddles, a climb to an ethereal formation, an adrenaline-filled slide down the sand dunes, and a mouthwatering food trip.
Here are the top five things to do when visiting Ilocos Norte:
1. Trek through the Adams Trail and take a dip in Anuplig Falls. Stretch your legs and arms and trek in the virgin forests of Adams, Ilocos Norte. After passing by the Patapat Viaduct, you may hire a motorcycle or opt to ride on a truck at the Junction. Don’t worry. After an hour’s ride, you’ll find yourself in the small town of Adams, where only 1,790 people reside.
From the drop-off point, you can approach the friendly locals and ask for a guide to the Anuplig Falls. If you have enough time, spend the night in town and chill with some Bugnay wine, which is made from wild cherries. The whole day is not enough to see 18 waterfalls and 10 man-made hanging bridges in Adams.
2. Swim and sunbathe in Pagudpud.
The azure and turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon Cove or the Maira-Ira Cove will truly invite you to swim and just spend a lazy day on the beach. Then, give your stomach a healthy treat in Kapuluan Vista Resort near the lagoon. The resort offers organic food-garden salad to homemade vanilla ice cream.
3. Climb up and take photos of the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation.
From Pagudpud, proceed to Burgos where you’ll find the mysterious Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. From the drop-off point, you’ll have to skip from one coral to another or you may opt to cool your feet on the puddles as you get closer to the magnificent creation.
Kapurpurawan, which in local dialect means “white,” was once underwater, which may explain why the rocks in the area are shaped like waves. As you climb up the rock, you’ll be amazed by the “submarine-looking formation” with the deep blue sea in the background.
4. Ride a 4 x 4 and drive through the Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes. Known as the Desert of the North, the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte are one of the country’s national geological monuments. You can scream your heart out as you ride the 4 x4 and drive through the La Paz sand dunes, which range from 10 to 30 meters in height. Then, surf on the sand through sandboarding and feel the adrenaline rush.
5. Eat what your heart desires.
You have to allot a space in your stomach to accommodate the luscious Ilocano dishes like laing and pinakbet. Satisfy your cravings with the crispy bagnet at Herencia Café in Paoay. Fill your hunger with the delectable empanada in Batac.
Then, treat your taste buds to Dinuguan Pizza and Poque-poque (eggplant) pizza at Saramsam Café in Laoag City. Before you leave Ilocos Norte, don’t forget to bring home the biscocho from Pasuquin and the chichacorn from Paoay.