In the first part of Ilocos Adventure post, I shared about the places I visited in the towns of Batac and Paoay, Ilocos Norte. For this part, I will share about my quick stop in Laoag City. I and my co-workers just stayed in the city for a half a day but I can say every second we spent in Laoag was worthwhile. The city proper was smaller and less urbanized then I expected but I was surprised that it was this fact that made me love it even more. So onto my Laoag hullabaloos…
On August 9, during the last day of the conference, most of officemates went back to Manila already while I and four co-workers (Ate Kate, Shei, Sab and Io) decided stay to visit the rest of the Ilocos provinces. We were also later joined by Ate Kate’s husband, Kuya Vince who flew all the way from Manila.
La Preciosa Restaurant
After checking out of Plaza Del Norte, we proceeded to the city proper of Laoag. We then checked in at La Eliana Hotel, a budget accommodation. We agreed to just stay there for the night since we will be leaving for early in the morning anyway. After resting for a bit, we went out to start to our half day tour of Laoag. Our first stop was the the La Preciosa Restaurant, which was situated just across La Eliana Hotel. They are famous for their cakes and a poqui-poqui, an eggplant dish. La Preciosa seems to be an old Spanish house converted to a restaurant. The interior is reminiscent of old antique houses and is very homey.
Since it was just around 2 PM, we decided to try the cakes and reserve poqui-poqui for dinner. We ordered three flavors: carrot cake, toblerone cake, and blueberry cheesecake. All the cakes were good but my personal favorite would have to be the carrot cake!
Ilocos Norte Capitol
One good thing about about the location of La Eliana and La Preciosa was it was just a walking from major establishments and sites in Laoag City. So from the restaurant, we just have to walk a bit to reach the Ilocos Norte provincial capitol. The capitol is located right in the heart of the city. In front of it is a small scenic plaza that offered a very good view of the sunset.
The Tobacco Monopoly Monument
Right across the capitol is the the Tobacco Monopoly Monument. The landmark was said to be built in commemoration of the time when the Ilocano people was forced by Spaniards to plant no mother crop but tobacco. The locals were also forced to sell the products only to Spaniards.
The monument is a part of a bigger park and is located right in the middle of the city circle or rotanda. I was so fascinated by the tiles in the park and I could not get enough taking photos of it!
Sinking Bell Tower
Another jump away from the monument was the Sinking Bell Tower. The tower is said to be one the biggest bell towers built in the Philippines but nowadays one can hardly imagine how it was it is full glory because it is liteally sinking! If Pisa has their leaning tower, we have a sinking one!
St. William Cathedral
South of the bell tower is the St. William Cathedral, the church that serves at the seat of Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag. The bell tower is actually part of the property of the cathedral but I could not fathom why the former was situated at a distance. It was past sunset already when we arrived so we were not able to fully appreciate the outer facade of the church.
From the church, we decided to drop by Puregold grocery store to buy food and drinks for our trip to Pagupud for the following day. After shopping,we went back to La Preciosa to eat dinner. Unfortunately, poqui poqui was out of stock already so we had to contend with the available dished listed on the menu. Nonetheless, our dinner was still sumptuous!
Immediately after dinner, we went back to La Eliana to rest. We did not stay up as we have to depart early for “northern” Ilocos Norte the following day.
I love Loaog. Hands down. Though I was not able to explore the city that much, I was amazed by number of eye candy I was able to see. Another aspect of Laoag that I love is that it’s the really the kind of breather you would wish to see to see and feel when you go out of Manila. I did not get that kind of feeling when I went to Cebu and Davao because essentially these two were like the tamer versions of Manila in the South. Laoag is also a good example of how you should mix culture and urbanity. Goes to show that one really does not really need to forget or destroy history just to move forward.
In my next post, I will be talking all about the natural attractions that Ilocos Norte has to offer. See you!
This is the Part 2 of my Ilocos Series: