Sunday, March 02, 2014

Sunday, March 02, 2014
Laoag Empanada
Where to Stay: UKL Ever Hotel 
I’ve stayed at UKL Ever Hotel for the entire time I was in Laoag.  It’s located at the market end side of the city, very central, within walking distance to all the sights in the city.  Staff are ok, not very friendly yet not rude.  Some rooms have balcony, mine’s at the back, so it’s the quite side, with a window above my head.  Clean room is painted lavender color, air conditioned with telephone, hot and cold showers, cable LCD/TV, Wi-Fi works excellent inside the room, clean toilet is separate from the shower by a curtain.  There’s a 24 hour security at the lobby, and there’s a disco bar at ground level beside the entrance to the reception.  At 600 pesos / night for single room with breakfast, it’s not bad at all.  I’d recommend it for tourists on a budget as well as people who come to Laoag for business.
Price: P600/night with breakfast.
Address:  Abadilla St. Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Telephone: +63 (077) 772-2771

Many provincial buses ply the Manila – Laoag route, there’s  FariƱas, Maria De Leon, RCJ, Partas.  Bus terminals in the capital city are either in Pasay, Cubao or Manila.  Better to call the bus company to find out the nearest to you.  I chose Partas from their terminal in Tramo, Pasay (fare P830).  Bus left at 11:00pm, arrive Laoag at 9:00am.  Travel time is 10 hours.  Bring sweatshirt or jackets and wear pants as it can get really cold at night inside the bus.

Getting In:

Getting Around:
I took a tricycle from the Partas bus station upon arriving Laoag to take me to my hotel and I paid 50 pesos.  The guy at the hotel reception told me that it should’ve been only 20 pesos. 
Tricycle fare costs 11 pesos per person for the first kilometer and usually you take the whole tricycle which by the way are small, by yourself.  It pays to be having the exact amount for the fare on your pocket to avoid getting overcharged.
Calesa (horse-drawn carriage) are plenty and plying along most roads in the city, pay 15 pesos for the first kilometer.
On-foot - major sights in Laoag (St. Williams Cathedral, Sinking Bell Tower, Tobacco Monopoly Monument) are within short walking distance, all located in and around Aurora Park beside the Provincial Capitol.
If in doubt, negotiate before jumping in.


Where to Eat:
Dap-ayan - My first meal was at the Dap-ayan, a food court along the main J.P.Rizal Street corner V. Llanes, at the back of PNB Laoag, around the round-about Aurora Park.  Several red-draped tables arranged in a huge shaded court as big as a basketball court with food stalls all around the sides offering local fares.  But of course I went to Dap-ayan to have a taste of the famous orange-coloured empanada.  I ordered the special all-inclusive one from the first food stall and a plate of bagnet with rice plus a bottle of orange soda.
Price: Empanada (P35), Bagnet with rice and bagoong sauce (P100).
Address:  J.P. Rizal cor. V. Llanes Street.

Jollibee – Laoag  Filipino version of McDonalds.
A. Bonifacio Street corner Nolasco Street, Laoag, Ilocos Norte.  Tel. +63 77 773 2249.

McDonalds – Laoag  Open 24/7.
Across the parking lot of the St. Williams Cathedral.  Tel. +63 77 771 7676

Chowking – Laoag (Chinese dimsum)
A. Bonifacio Street, Laoag City (beside Jollibee, across Puregold).  Tel. +63 77 771 4655


Where to buy:

SM Laoag – the giant shopping mall chain in the Philippines has a branch in Laoag adjacent to the Provincial Capitol.

Pure Gold – chain of supermarket in the Philippines has a big branch in Laoag that looks like a warehouse-type supermarket.

You can buy your grocery items at either of the above supermarkets to save on cost.
SM Laoag
Pure Gold Supermarket


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