Our love for travel is one of the things we share as a family. I remember visiting a lot of different places with the family even at a young age. Now that I have my own child, our travel adventures continues with our bundle of joy. When our baby Sam was a month old, we took her with us to Baguio. On her 3rd month, we went to Bicol and then to HongKong when she was 11 months old. But one of the most memorable trips we had with Sam is our Ilocos Road Trip with the family after she turned one.
The Ilocos Region has plenty to offer in terms of culture and Heritage sites. One of the best ways to explore them is to go on a road trip. But since we have kids with us for this trip, we made sure that our itinerary is also suited for their age. The first thing we did after finalizing our itinerary is to book our accommodations in a Hotel in Pagudpud. Booking hotels online in advance using websites like Traveloka.com is essential especially when you are travelling with a big group. This also gives you an opportunity to get the best rates and options for affordable accommodations.
A day before the trip, I made sure that we already have everything we need for the trip. It is important to plan items that you have to pack to make sure that you won’t fall short on anything during the trip. Having a plan also prevents you from over-packing. If you have a baby with you, pack the baby essentials in a small backpack or carry all for easy access during the trip. It is equally important to bring tools or medicines for allergies and other special medical needs that family members may need.
On the day of our Ilocos Road Trip with the family, we made sure that everyone is all set for the long ride. We brought some toys and games with us to entertain the kids during the ride. A ready supply of water and snacks is also another road trip essential that you shouldn’t forget. After travelling for a few hours we reached our first stop. The Paoay Church, one of the UNESCO Heritage sites in the region.
The Saint Augustine Church, commonly known as the Paoay Church, is the Roman Catholic church of the municipality of Paoay, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. Completed in 1710, the church is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the building. It is declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993.
Our 2nd stop is The Marcos Museum and Mausoleum which lies in the heart of the city. The mausoleum houses the glass-entombed corpse of Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos which was kept well-preserved all these years. At the museum, one can find the memorabilia of the late President from his stint in the Armed Forces of the Philippines up to his presidency.
The 3rd stop on our list is the Malacañang of the North or Malacañang ti Amianan, as the locals call it. This 5-hectare property in Brgy. Suba, Paoay, Ilocos Norte is considered as one of the important landmarks in Ilocos.
This is because the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his family would stay here whenever they go to Ilocos. Thus, making it their official residence in the province. The former president was born and raised in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte and is recognized as a famous son of Ilocos.
On our 4th and final stop for the day, we decided to enjoy the beauty of Pagudpud Beach. Pagudpud has two popular beaches to choose from, the Saud Beach and Blue Lagoon. Both share a nice view, white sand, and clear blue waters.
I immediately fell in love with the serene white sand and the waters of Saud Beach. But the big waves typical in open sea waters may pose a danger to the kids and weak swimmers. With the children’s safety in mind, we decided to go to the more tranquil waters of the Blue Lagoon. The white sand here is not as fine as that of Saud beach but it still has a pleasant feel. The kids definitely had fun playing with it and building sand castles.
We continued our Ilocos Road Trip with the family the following day. Our first stop was the Patapat Bridge or the Patapat Viaduct in Pagudpod. It is considered as the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines with an elevation of 30 meters above sea level. The bridge is stretched along the town’s coastal mountains, snaking through the Cordillera Mountain. It was built under the order of the late President Ferdinand Marcos with the intention of minimizing road accidents caused by landslides. The bridge and its landscape offers a magnificent view that we couldn’t help but take loads of photos. A word of caution though, the bridge is also a national highway so be conscious of passing vehicles and keep the kids safe all the time.
After Pagudpud, we proceeded to Vigan which is also a UNESCO heritage site. One of the main attractions in Vigan is Calle Crisologo or Mena Crisologo Street. One can easily go back in time to the Spanish era with the well preserved homes and antiques found in Calle Crisologo. Some of the houses that belonged to rich and prominent people during the Spanish colonial period have been turned into museums. We enjoyed the Kalesa Rides along the cobbled streets, souvenir shopping, and picture taking at the old houses.
Our next stop is at the Baluarte or Fortress of Vigan. This is a privately owned mini zoo that houses animals from other countries and those that are endemic to the Philippines. The zoo owner, Mr. Chavit Singson, ensures that the place is continuously being improved for the public’s enjoyment. The kids enjoyed seeing all the animals and even interacting with some of them. We also got to watch an animal show during our visit. Taking loads of pictures simply cannot be helped. For parents who are spending for the vacation, the best thing here is the Free Entrance!
A trip to Ilocos will not be complete without sampling their food. There are plenty of must try Ilocos dishes, one of the more popular ones is their empanada. In fact, some would say that when it comes to Empanada Batac offers the best. So if you happen to be in the area, make a stop at the Batac Riverside Empanadaan.
We all enjoyed our Ilocos Road Trip with the family, but our 3-day vacation was not enough to see everything that the province has to offer. I would love for Sam to see the Bangui Windmills, Sand Dunes, Hidden Garden, Padre Burgos Museum, Bantay Church, and other hidden jewels in the region. Given this, another visit to the Ilocandia is still on our travel adventure list.