Laoag is the capital city of Ilocos Norte and is the number one of the tourist spot in the region–and is among the top ten in the whole archipelago.
Laoag has a rich history dating back to even before the Spanish colonial area. When the Spaniards arrived, Laoag was one of the places colonized and its citizens were forcibly converted to Christianity.
Luckily, the Spanish colonization was never truly successful in this region as the people had the guts to revolt against the abusive Augustinian friars–Ilocano heroes include Gregorio Aglipay, Juan and Antonio Luna, Diego Silang and Gabriela Silang. (For my non-Filipino readers, Gabriela Silang is one of the few Filipino women recognized in taking part of the Philippine revolution; and the only one who was recognized to take an active fighting role in it. I’m not saying that there weren’t any other women who did–I’d like to think there were, even when women were not equal in standing to men in the 1700s–but if I’ve learned anything from my history classes from Ambet Ocampo, Dave Lozada and JoEd Tirol, it’s that history is a muddled, edited and sanitized subjectl.)
Anyway, I’m guessing you’re just reading this to check out vacation destinations, so I’ll minimize the history lessons and amp up the photos.
Here’s the view from the bridge entering Laoag:
We slowed the car to take this shot–never would’ve worked in the city, doing that.
The first thing we did after arriving in Laoag?
Eat some genuine Ilocos Empanada from the street. SO. GOOD.
The Ilocos Empanada is made up of rice flour (for thecrust), egg and mongo sprout and Ilocos vinegar. For special orders, you can add Ilocos longanisa or bagnet. Just thinking about it now makes my mouth water.
If you’ve tried the Ilocos Empanada franchise here in the city, the taste is nothing compared to the genuine one found on the streets of Ilocos Norte.
The Ilocos Norte Capitol is the seat of the provincial government.
Here’s the sinking Bell Tower of Ilocos Norte. It’s one of the most visible landmarks you can see entering the city. Read up more about the bell tower on its historical plaque here.
Procession in front of the city tower. Holy Week? Definitely more fun in the Philippines.