Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Feb. 25, 2014 midnight:  Luzon travel start.
I was just in Davao last month of Feb for 2 weeks vacation, and been brooding in Manila for a week now, I felt like uneas, the call of the road is beckoning, my feet is really itching, I have to go somewhere.  I packed my luggage, plan to take the 9:00pm deluxe or super deluxe bus of Partas but packing took a lot of time so I decided to get on the 12:00mn bus.  I should’ve taken the so-called “sleeper bus” of Florida Bus Co. but unfortunately, their operation is suspended because of the bus accident in Bontoc that killed 14 people that included comedian Arvin “Tado” Jimenez on Feb 7.
Horse-drawn calesa with the Sinking Belltower.
I took a taxi from our place to Partas bus terminal in Pasay, and luckily there was a bus about to leave at 11:00pm. 
The trip from Pasay to Laoag is about 10 hours, we reached their bus terminal in  Laoag at a little past 9:00am.  The trip has a lot of stops along the way for quick meals and quicker toilet use.  Most toilets charges 2 pesos, they cashed in already on your gall bladder.  I thought the big and brisk toilet business happens only in Turkey where almost all public toilets in bus terminals, parks, even some mosques incur one turkish lira fee, which by the way is way more expensive compared to our on-going 2-peso toilet fee.

View on the way to Laoag.
Tip:  Be sure to bring a jacket or sweatshirt and wear pants as It’s so cold inside the bus.  I was wearing cargo pants, the cold got to my legs and the long-sleeved shirt and neck warmer I luckily was able to put on my hand carry bag, did not helped much nonetheless.

Day 1: Feb 26, 2014 - Laoag
Walked from my hotel (UKL Ever Hotel, which by the way is a nice budget hotel, not much of an atmosphere to boot but quite comfortable, clean room and bathroom) to St. William Cathedral, Sinking Bell Tower, Tobacco Monopoly Monument, fountains at Aurora Park, Provincial Capitol, Museo Ilocos Norte – they’re all beside each other around the round-about-park called Aurora Park. Only the Museo charges 20 pesos entry fee, the rest are free.  I did all sights within the city center before embarking the next day on those sights in nearby towns.

Laoag ala Hollywood sign.
Tip: If you’re staying at UKL Ever Hotel or around the city plaza, you don’t need to take tricycles to tour places of interests, take a walk.  And if you happen to be hungry beyond 9:00pm when all establishments around the area are closed and the roads and streets are deserted, the McDonalds beside St. William Cathedral at the round-about is open 24/7.

  • Sinking Bell Tower – 400 year-old baroque-style bell tower right at the center said to be sinking an inch every year.
  • St. William Cathdreal – built in 1612 by Augustinian friars, replacing an old wooden chapel.
  • Tobacco Monopoly Monument - commemorates the lifting of tobacco monopoly in the Philippines in accordance to the royal decree of June 5, 1881 of King Alfonso XIII in 1881.
  • Museo Ilocos Norte
  • Provincial Capitol
St. Williams Cathedral with the Sinking Bell Tower on the background left.
Tobacco Monopoly Monument

Brief Info:
Laoag Cathedral, canonically known as St. William Cathedral is a church in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It was built in 1612 by Augustinian friars to replace a wooden chapel. 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. [Wikipedia]

Partas bus from Manila – Laoag                                                
Tricycle ride Partas terminal – UKL Ever Hotel                     
Dap-Ayan (food court near the capitol building)
                Bagnet  (lechon kawali)                                                

25 - 35
UKL Ever Hotel – (Php 600 / night) located right at the center near the market, clean  room albeit small, clean bathroom, walking distance to all attractions, very fast wifi connection in room, small breakfast included, worth my 600 pesos.
Address: Abadilla St. Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
Telephone: +63 (077) 772-2771
Others: +63-999-525-7777
E-mail: or

How to get there:
Manila - Laoag is around  45-minute flight.  Or 10-hour trip by bus (I took Partas).
All tourist sights mentioned above are within short walking distance from each other and from Laoag City Hall.

Coming up next  – Batac and Paoay.


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