Written by Majesta Zea from There And Back With Snacks
Ilocos is the Northwest portion of the main island of Luzon in the Philippines. Far away from the tourist towns of the Philippines, Ilocos is perfect for the travel who desires to go down the road less traveled. Friendly people, plenty of history, great food and gorgeous beaches can all be found that help give you a true Filipino experience.
Where to stay on a budget?
In general, this part of the Philippines, everything is budget friendly because the prices are not inflated from tourism. However, a beautiful place to stay is UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Vigan. The buildings are very old and still have that Spanish touch. I’m not one to be a fan of budget hotels but the Vigan Plaza Hotel is one of the best in the area and because it’s a cheap place about $50 USD a night you can be in the heart of the town and have a complimentary breakfast! It’s also in a great location to explore the rest of the Ilocos area. Getting to Ilocos definitely involves some traveling from the main city of Manila. You can take a connecting flight in to Laoag which will be about an hour and a half flight and cost $70 USD or you can take a deluxe bus for $15 USD but it will take about 12 hours. You decide.
Where to eat on a budget?
There is no particular location I would recommend because I prefer to eat from street vendors. You can purchase delicious empanadas or BBQ for as cheap as $2 an empanada and 50 cents a BBQ stick. They even have dessert vendors! I know you should stay away from chain restaurants however, if you want to try something commercialized, I suggest Jollibee. It’s the Philippines’s #1 fast food chain. $4 will get you a meal.
What to do?
The beach!! You can not go wrong with their beaches in this area. They are extremely less crowded than in other parts of the Philippines but just as beautiful. Kapurpurawan Beach and Sexy Beach are must see places. If you love history, seeing Paoay Church can be a quick but worthwhile sight to see.
What not to do?
The horse and carriage ride in Vigan. Although not a super touristy area, the horse ride is a tourist trap. It will cost you about $10 USD and it goes by quickly. Also, if you do not speak the language, you will have no clue what you are looking at because most of the drivers won’t be able to speak English too well. I much recommend you spend your time walking. Also, when on the beach there will be locals approaching you to buy items from them. Usually hand made crafts, do not buy from them. If you buy from one, word will spread and you will get surrounded by many more quickly. Buy items from sellers who are more anchored to their location so that you can be the one to move away.
3 fun facts
- The language spoken mostly is Ilocano. Many people who work at larger restaurants and hotels can speak English so it is not absolutely necessary to know Ilocano.
- Tipping is greatly appreciated and usually expected. There are many people who will gladly help you with your luggage, directions, drive you or pick up after you if you like. Please tip them. This is how they make most of their livelihood.
- The Philippines is a very polite country. It is customary to address everyone in a respectful title, such as Sir or Boss for males and Miss and Mam for ladies. Smile everywhere and at every one.
This magical guide was written by Zea, you can find her amazing blog here! She also has Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so make sure you check her out on there! If you are looking for more accommodation then check out Agoda and Hostelworld, I highly recommend them. Travel insurance? Go World Nomads, a trusted and reliable travel insurance company.
Author: My name is Majesta Zea but you can call me Zea for short! I’m 26 years old and have been blogging for about a year now . I was born in the Philippines and lived there for the first few years of my life. Since then, I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, London and currently Las Vegas. I have a passion for exploring the world and the food it has to offer. I have a never ending passion for travel and although I am based out of Las Vegas, I try to do so whenever possible!