If you’re planning to explore the Ilocos Region, make sure you allot at least four days or more. Because a weekend just isn’t enough to explore its historic towns that have earned their reputation as the gems of the north.
We have taken you back in time through a tour of the famous town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur. Now, we’re bringing you to two more famous towns in the Ilocos Region: Paoay and Sarrat.
The Church of Paoay
Located in Ilocos Norte, the town of Paoay is known for its centuries-old landmark: the Church of Paoay.
The parish was founded in by Augustinian Missionaries in 1593. During the Spanish occupation in the late 1800’s, the church’s tower was used as an observation spot by the Katipuneros, members of a Philippine revolutionary society who fought to gains independence from the Spaniards. Then during the Japanese occupation in the mid-1900’s, it was used for the same purpose by the guerrillas.
In Ilocos, travelling is almost always synonymous to eating. That’s why it’s so fitting that just across the Church of Paoay is the popular Herencia Cafe. During the peak season, it’s almost always filled with customers. And why wouldn’t it be? People flock to it to get a taste of the unusual Vigan longganisa pizza and the pinakbet pizza.
The pinakbet pizza
The Vigan longganisa pizza.
Malacanan of the North
Anybody who is familiar with Philippine history knows that the famous son of Ilocos Norte is none other than the late Ferdinand Marcos who ruled the country as president from 1965-1986.
Despite his infamous legacy, he left behind a treasured landmark which attracts the fancy of his supporters, detractors, and curious tourists alike—the Malacanan of the North.
A portrait of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
While Marcos held office in Malacanan, the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines, in Manila, this served as the Marcoses official residence in Ilocos Norte. Hence the name Malacanan of the North.
One look at its interiors will give you an idea of the former glory that the Marcoses once had.
The structure is so huge that one could get lost exploring all the rooms inside.
Overwhelmed with Philippine history yet? Watch out for our third installment of the Ilocos Express series where we’ll take you to the maginificent rock formations of Kapurpurawan!
Written by: Korina Iledan