Monday, November 15, 2010


About the Philippines.

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.

Welcome sign

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
We were met by a very pleasant sight - there IS truth in the hotel's advertising "unique Balinese Moroccan atmosphere, exquisite Spanish design and warm Ilocano touch".  The hotel is all that, and more!

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
 The hotel is 5minutes away from the city.  To get to and from the city, one can ride on the hotel's "trike", for P10 per person.  It is such a unique experience.

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
Up next, our first day tour: Ilocos Norte.


  1. Wow! Very much! I enjoy reading your blog.

  2. What a beautiful place!
    Amazing photos! Very informative blog!
    Can't wait to visit Ilocos Region. I hope we can finalize our itinerary and have our bookings before the end of the month.
    Thank you for sharing your experience... ♠♠♠

  3. Hi lilettusi! Glad to be of help!


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