A Glimpse of the North
In northern Luzon is ILOCOS Province, composed of two very prominent provinces: Ilocos Norte (meaning North Ilocos) and Ilocos Sur (meaning South Ilocos).
Affordable flight: Cebu Pacific Air's round trip promo fare (Manila-Laoag-Manila) is at a very reasonable $40 (one-way at $20!!!). Since we are from Cebu City in the Visayas, we had to pay another round trip promo fare (Cebu-Manila-Cebu), also at $40.
Our trip took us first to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air have daily flights to Laoag International Airport. Our trip was at 9:35am and we arrived an hour and 10minutes after.
Affordable hotel: JAVA Hotel
We stayed at Laoag City's JAVA Hotel. It was not really the cheapest but it was value for money accommodation: very affordable and worth its price. From the airport, we traveled on board the hotel's shuttle bus for 20minutes to the hotel.
|This beautiful facade greets the hotel's guests|
|Equally picturesque back view of Java Hotel|
|Beautiful "Spanish tiles at the lobby and Balinese Moroccan atmosphere"|
|Antique furniture is all over the place|
We arrived before lunch and while waiting for the lunch to be served at the hotel's restaurant "Eagle's Nest", we took photos of the place. We then had sumptuous and filling lunch of grilled salmon, sizzling gambas, insarabasab (Ilocano's take on pork belly), and sauce called KBL (kamatis, bagoong & lesona). Doesn't that make your mouth water and stomach grumble!
|Grilled tuna, insarabasab and sizzling gambas|
|Java Hotel's trike|
We rested for a couple of hours after lunch. At around 4pm, we went to Laoag City proper to hear mass and roam the city by foot. We went to the Cathedral, sinking bell tower, museum and tobacco marker (Ilocos being the tobacco capital of the Philippines).
|Cathedral of St. William|
|Sinking bell tower - before this bell tower sank, a man riding a horse can go through the entrance..|
|Laoag City Museum|
Dinner was at Macy's, a 60's-themed American diner, serving Filipino food (see the sign at the front?)! Hmmm, what do you think about that?
|The design was fairly accurate as an American diner but the food is Filipino|
We went back to the hotel, happy and amused with what we've seen so far. After a night swim at the hotel's pool, we retired early eager for the first day of our tour of Ilocos Norte.
|Java Hotel's poolside|