Ilocosighting (Day 3)


We are now on the last day of our Ilocos excursion. It’s the third day, and we were greeted with a cloudy morning. I had hoped that it will not rain nor it will be too hot throughout the day.

Sinking Bell Tower and Laoag Cathedral

We had our breakfast in a McDonald’s branch near the Laoag Cathedral. You can also see the Sinking Bell Tower in the area.


The Laoag Cathedral is also known as St. William Cathedral. It was built in 1612, replacing a chapel. I must say that it is beautiful, presenting an Italian Renaissance design.


Not far from the cathedral is the Sinking Bell Tower. Erected around 1707, it is composed of mainly bricks, molasses, lime and sand. It got its name from an old story that it used to stand taller than it is now. Legends say that a man riding a horse could enter the tower with no problems, but due to the tower’s continuous “sinking”, a normal person needs to crouch first to be able to enter successfully.

La Paz Sand Dunes


After breakfast, we headed to the sand dunes. And you guessed it right, it’s sand everywhere!

Sand boarding and riding ATVs are the activities that you could do in the area. But we did neither.

Pagburnayan Jar Making


Photo inspired by Murad Osmann

This is the thing I am most excited about the trip. I get to create a jar out of clay with my own hands. Yey!

The name of the place came from the local word Burnay,  which means non-glazed earthen jar. This art has been around way before the Spaniards dominated the area. It was brought by Chinese settlers. Products back then were used to contain drinks. Now, the jars are mostly used to ferment brown sugar, in order to come up with sugar cane wine. It is also used to store fish sauce.





After molding the clay into something, it’s supposed to be put in a kiln to harden it. According to the staff there, it could take a week for me to bring home my “masterpiece”.

Heritage Village

A concrete example of preserved Spanish colonial town, the village was placed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.


Metropolitan Cathedral of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle is commonly known as Vigan Cathedral.

Remember our first day in Ilocos when we first got a glimpse of Calle Crisologo? We went there again and witnessed how it looked like during day time.


Of course, we won’t be leaving Ilocos without tasting their famous empanada.


30 minutes before we leave for Manila, we decided to do one of those Kalesa tours. Kalesa is a carriage driven by a horse. I wish we did it earlier because it is supposed to be an hour worth of ride. The coachman would take us around the town while narrating the significance of every place we go to.



Bantay Church

Our first stop is the Bantay Church. We already went here during our first day when we went to see the Bantay Bell Tower. The church was closed that time, but now it’s open.


Old Provincial Jail Museum


Next is the Old Provincial Jail Museum. This jail is where the former Philippine president Elpidio Quirino was born. His father was serving as a warden back then when his mother gave birth to him on the second floor of the building. Now, it is a museum where it houses Elpidio’s memorabilia. The first floor contains paintings from the Basi Revolt.


A painting of Elpidio Quirino


The former president sure knows his stuff.

Due to running out of time, we cut our kalesa tour short. We were unable to explore the building’s first floor where the paintings can be seen.

And that wraps up our Ilocos adventure.

How about you? Have you ever rode a traditional vehicle before? Let me know about them by commenting below!


70 thoughts on “Ilocosighting (Day 3)

  1. Love this story! I’ve always wanted to visit Ilocos and your series of Ilocos stories gave me a sort of preview of what to expect, where to go and so on. The provincial jail looks really old and historic. Such an interesting spot 🙂


  2. I’ve been to Ilocos and The place transports you to a place somewhere in olden Spanish time. The place is just picturesque. Hope we could do a feature on this soon 🙂 Thank you for sharing!


  3. I love the Ilocos series that highlited every potential spots to visit. Great idea on cutting it into sub posts to give us something to look forward to. We’ll be in Ilocos next year on my birthday. I guess i need tl save this link for options on where to go. 🙂


  4. You wrap up the mini series with a great list! I love that you divided it into paved way on showcasing every spot that we can visit as well.thanks for a cery detailed post. Love the pictures as well. 🙂


  5. It looks like you had fun roaming around. I’m thinking of making this our next family trip since it was only I who went there before and it was because of a photography gig pa. I do wonder what camera you used? The photos could have been sharper to do it more justice but as they say, what matters is the memory.


  6. Ilocos is quite a remarkable destination! The sights to see are very picturesque, especially the architecture. I’ve also heard a lot about the sand dunes — and one of my friends told me a funny story about her mishaps when she played on the sand dunes. Would love to visit here someday — Ilocos has always been a top choice for me! 🙂


  7. Such a beautiful place. I want to visit there one day. The sights are so pretty. Hope you all had fun there. I cannot wait to bring my family there.


  8. I’ve been to everything save for the Old Provincial Jail Museum. How come we missed it. I went on an Ilocos tour with my former officemates some time in 2013, yeah, a long time ago. But we were able to get to so many places from Ilocos Sur to Ilocos Norte. I miss it, Ilocos is one of the most beautiful provinces that I’d been to in the Philippines. Vigan is memorable and Pagudpud, quite lovely.


  9. Huhu, everything in Vigan looks so amazing and well-preserved!! I want to go there this year, it will be my first time, if ever. I wonder if I can go there for a babymoon? I should think there is a lot of walking, looking at your photos. Would you be able to suggest a daily budget, please? Any help would be appreciated. Loved this post, thanks!


    • Hi Martine! 🙂 This tour really requires a lot of walking, water and sunscreen! I don’t know about the daily expenses, but we took advantage of a 3-day tour which costs around 3,000 PHP. This includes the hotel, 1 breakfast and your transportation. Roundtrip from Manila to Ilocos is also included in the package. Just bring extra cash for keepsakes and food.


  10. Buildings from 1600 and 1700 era must be of great historic importance. I’m quite amazed by the story connected to the sinking bell tower, about the horse rider. The fact that i’s been slowly sinking itself, generates a lot of curiosity.


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