Ilocos Travel Diary. (Day2)

Published 01/02/2012 by Neds Rocillo

Day 2: Friday. September.16.2011

We woke up 6 o’clock in the morning to eat breakfast. Then we went to Sarrat. Sarrat is the birthplace of our 10th president, Ferdinand E. Marcos.  It is also home to the largestchurch in the entire Ilocos Region, the Sta. Monica Church and Convent.

Sta. Monica Parish Church is a red-brick church built in neo-classical style. It was originally known as San Miguel church. Sir Pepito told us that this was the church where the daughter of Ferdinand Marcos got married. Sta Monica Parish church was the setting of the grand wedding of Gregorio Araneta and Irene Marcos. The event was eventually considered as the “wedding of the century”.

The parish church of Sta. Monica is renowned to be the largest church in the whole of Ilocos province. It is located at Brgy San Leandro (Poblacion) in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte.

Anybody who enters the church will not miss the magnificent framework of wooden roof trusses.

It is considered to be an important cultural property by the National Museum because of its rich heritage and intricate details of architecture.  It took 10 years to construct the whole complex. Construction began in 1669.

I love the look of the church. I just don’t like it when we entered the church, it was not clean. I hope they’ll do something about it. The church is very beautiful, I must say. The architect of the church and the museum did a great job.

P.S. I want to have a wedding like what Irene Marcos had. How I wish..  :))



Cape Bojeador and The Beach

For some reasons, we didn’t go near the light house. The lighthouse is the most accessible of all lighthouses in the north of the Island of Luzon.  This is one of the famous historical landmark in the province of Ilocos Norte. It is the highest lighthouse in the Philippines.

It set majestically on a hill overlooking the South China Sea.

We had a stop over to appreciate the beauty of the beach and rock formations.  🙂  We also took some pictures. I love the smell of the air in that place. It was so fresh! Let me share with you some of our pictures near the beach. 🙂


I can say this tour was not just educational but it was also a  way to bond. It was Jero, Anj and Gaye’s first time to join us on a tour. I think they enjoyed the tour with the whole HMSC legacy batch. I love our jumpshot! Happiness is in the air! ❤


Bangui Windmills

Bangui Windmills are huge, powerful and modern-looking. There are 20 windmills in Bangui. Bangui Windmills are renewable energy resources, this is the source of electricity on the whole Ilocos Norte. How amazing isn’t it? But you would be super amazed when you see it with your own naked eyes. This windmills are really gigantic. They are considered to be the biggest windmills in Southeast Asia. One windmill has the height of 23-storey building. According to our tour guides, this windmills were idea of the Marcoses. Specifically, Bong Bong Marcos  and Imee Marcos were the ones who plan to built this renewable energy resources windmills. Getting an opportunity from the wind that blows from South China Sea toward the land, the location is optimal enough in generating enough electricity and windbreaks.

The location of our country being near the Asia-Pacific monsoon belt is ideal for installing these wind turbines. PAGASA attests that the Philippines has a mean average of about 31 watts per square meter of wind power intensity. If only all these factors (wind resources) are considered in developing renewable energy in most parts of the country, then the people won’t be bothered by the rising prices of power consumption because we are already a self-sustaining country.

Anyway, there are souveneir shops in the place where tourists could buy miniature of the windmills. These are only 50-120 pesos. 🙂 I thought that the windmills are located in Pagudpud but I guess it’s just a common misconception. I will surely go back in this place! 🙂




*PAGUDPUD, ILOCOS NORTE – a 1st class municipality and a coastal resort town on the northernmost tip of LUZON in the PHILIPPINES. *

After going to Bangui where the windmills are located. We went to Pagudpud to eat lunch and to swim! I was looking forward to this because I really love the beach. This trip was bagnet overload, because we again ate bagnet! 

Our tour guide told us that we’re very lucky because it’s not raining. We always say that God is good all the time and all the time, God is good. Amen!  the place is beyond my expectation. I really love the place where nature is such a wonderful sight. Their mountain and ocean views are the best

We again enjoyed taking pictures! We also played beach volleyball. Ms. Edna served as our referee. We also buried half of Martin’s body in the beach sand!

They say that Pagudpud is the Boracay of the North. But according to Sir Pepito, Ilocanos don’t want that kind of image for Pagudpud. They want to stand up in their own. They want to be known for what they have and not for what they look like. For them, Pagudpud is unique! They’re unique! 🙂

PAGUDPUD is a deep Ilocano word which means soft sandy soil.  I wish we could all go back here… Together. 🙂 


After doing fun activities @Pagudpud such as swimming and playing volleyball, we head back to Fort Ilocandia. 🙂 

Day 3: Saturday. September. 17.2011


I woke up very early because I wanted to swim eventhough it’s raining so hard! I woke my roommates up and asked them to eat breakfast with me. It rained so hard, I think it’s a storm.

 After eating, we went back to our room. I asked my roommates to swim with me in the pool area. We saw other HMSC members enjoying the pool already. They have 3 swimming pools. They have an Olympic size pool. We went to the beach but we didn’t swim because the waves were so big. The lifeguard told us that it’s not safe.

 It was our last day in the hotel. We enjoyed our stay at Fort Ilocandia. It’s really a 5star-hotel. We checked out around 11: 30 a.m. 🙂





A one day tour around Vigan and Laoag is like browsing through pages of a history book.  Tourism has become a major economic driver of Laoag City, paving the way for new commercial investments and infrastructure development.

A recent surge in Chinese and Taiwanese tourists have been flocking to splurge in the city’s profitable casino located inside the only 5-star hotel in the northern Philippines, Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Resort. Other places of interest include a tour of heritage sites featuring Spanish colonial buildings, Philippine-baroque churches, white-sand beach resorts of Pagudpud, and Marcos-era mansions. 

Laoag City has been recently adjudged as the number one tourist destination in Region I and among the top ten in the whole archipelago.



St. William’s Cathedral

We weren’t able to explore the cathedral because it rained so hard. We can’t even go down the bus. I got the picture from the internet. According to my research, St. William’s Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Southeast Asia. It was said that this cathedral was damaged by fire in 1843. But as you can see, the cathedral is fully furnished and very well taken care of.

It’s patron saint is not actually a saint, but an Ermitanyo named William.  It is known for its Italian Renaissance design and its Sinking Bell Tower, which sinks into the ground at a rate of an inch a year. St. William Cathedral serves as the seat or central church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag.

The church has an unusual two-storey façade, supported by two pairs of columns on each side of the arched entrance. The top of the façade holds a recessed niche that showcases the image of San Guillermo (Saint William).


Sinking Bell Tower

    (c) owners of the pictures

Next is the Sinking Bell Tower. The sinking bell tower is one of Laoag City’s most famous landmarks in fact one of the top Ilocos Norte tourist attractions. The structure is claimed to be the most solid and tallest bell tower in the Philippines.

 The tower is said to be sinking 1/4 inch per year due to earthquakes and its soft land. Commercial buildings near the sinking tower also sink. I wonder how the Sinking Bell Tower looks like in 300 years!

In addition to that, Sinking Bell Tower is the bell tower of St. William. It’s just weird that the bell tower is 50 meters away from the main cathedral. Interesting!


Paoay Church and Malacañang of the North



The Paoay Church is included in the Unesco World Heritage list. Also known as the St. Augustine Church in Paoay, this is one of the historical churches in Ilocos Norte.

Construction of the church started in 1704 and was completed in 1894 by the Augustinian friars led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo.

 It is probably the best-known “earthquake Baroque” church in the Philippines. Large coral stones were used for the lower level while bricks were used for the upper levels of the church.



Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos is a son of Ilocos, so it’s a little wonder why a resthouse would not be constructed to accommodate his family and guests.

During his 20 year reign, Marcos built a Malacanang of the North (Malacanang in Manila is the official residence of the President, much like the White House in Washington DC).  The mansion is an expression of  opulence and overlooks the lovely Paoay Lake.


Now a museum, visitors can tour the mansion. Many Ilocanos to this day idolize the late President Marcos.

The lake behind Malacanang of the North



Marcos Mausoleum 

Marcos Mausoleum is in Ilocos Norte. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but this is where you’ll find the preserved body of deposed president Ferdinand Marcos. This place has tons of visitors everyday with one goal in mind- have a glimpse to the waxed corpse of the late President Ferdinand Marcos

Ilocos Norte is dubbed as “Marcos country”, referring to the late President Ferdinand Marcos who ruled for two decades in the Philippines and notorious for the countless allegations brought by Martial Law. Batac receives many visitors with one goal in mind- to glimpse the waxed corpse of President Ferdinand Marcos. Born in Sept. 11, 1917 he died of lung, kidney and liver complications in Hawaii in Sept 28, 1989.Because of that, his body which has been waxed way back in Hawaii was brought to Batac City, where he grew up.

Although I wasn’t convinced it was his body, know what I mean? You have to question the legitimacy of the smiling corpse of a dictator.  I have my doubts on the authenticity of his preserved body but if Imelda insists that it is his actual remains,then so be it. The embalmers sure did a good job of preserving his body (and youth) and the matching regal outfit gave him that royal aura. It is a bit of a freakish experience.



It was the last part of our itinerary! This is also the end of my travel diary! I hope I was able to share information about this beautiful place in the Philippines!! 


 Neds ❤





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