Visiting Ilocos Region

People are commonly on the look for something great and new – be it in food, places, and company. Maybe that explains why we love to travel and explore the world. Why should we go far if we haven’t visited our famous locations, right? Region one or the Ilocos Region is one of the places we should not miss to go. This might not be your typical venue idea, but Ilocos is one for the books!

Ilocos Region homes the following: Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union and Pangasinan. Given these number of places, there are many things, food and places one can enjoy. So what can we do in Ilocos Region?

Eat and drink!

venue-ilocos-empanadaTravelling is never complete without tasting the delicacies or famous drinks and dishes of the place. Ilocos Region can give what you are looking for. So what are the well-loved Ilocos’ food?

Bagnet: If you love lechon and crispy pata, there’s no reason why you would not fall in love with bagnet. Perfect with suka and rice, the crispy deep friend pork meat will make you feel like a kid again. Tastes like childhood, eh?

Longganisa: Nothing beats the signature longganisa from the Ilocos Region. Not quite sure how does the longganisa from Ilocos taste so well. Perhaps the garlic and special ingredients give it a little more kick and flavor.

Dinengdeng: Similar to chop suey and other vegetable soup is the dinengdeng. The Ilocos version of the vegetable soup is with an extra taste of saltiness. It is still like the usual soup with lots of vegetables, but it’s with bagoong. Curious how it is like? Why not try the original recipe in Ilocos?

Igado: This dish is pork meat and liver in soy sauce and vinegar. Igado is not adobo as the pork meat is sautéd in soy sauce and vinegar mix.

Poqui-Poqui: Another classic Ilocos dish is poqui-poqui. You would better understand the smoked-eggplant dish if you try it yourself.

Fusion Pizza: As we love catering and restaurant food, pizza included, we are in a constant search for something new. In Ilocos, particularly in Saramsam Restaurant and Herencia Café, you will see unique pizza toppings like pinakbet and dinuguan. Maybe by now you are very much curious and intrigued on how it tastes, but they say that is very yummy and worth a try!

Empanada: When you say Ilocos, you’ll hear the word empanada next to it. The classic Ilocos empanada is crunchy on the outside and chewy inside. It is quite hard to explain how this small wonder tastes so good. Vegetable, egg, and meat all in together and yum, yum!

Basi: A local beverage from Ilocos, basi is made from sugarcane. It is fermented and processed to give the extract and eventually form itself into an alcoholic drink.

The list is longer than this, but we believe others are better experienced and tasted than reading, right?

Surfing in the La Union

venue-surfing-la-unionIf you can’t catch some waves in Baler, Aurora, you need not go further. One of the best places to go surfing in the Philippines is the La Union, particularly in San Juan. As region one is very close to the West Philippine Sea, you can expect some huge waves and a big splash of water.

San Juan, La Union, is considered to be the Surfing Capital of Northern Luzon. Why not, right? If you are a beginner in the sports of surfing, there are a lot of tutorial services offered along the beach. Aside from it’s the perfect place to chill and learn a new sport, you may want to consider this fantastic place to be the venue for your next event.

The usual surfing hype in San Juan, La Union, is from July to March every year. Nevertheless, you may opt to visit the place any time to enjoy the incredible scenery and have fun in swimming.

Cordillera Mountain Range

The Cordillera Mountain Range may not be technically positioned in the region 1 or Ilocos, but since it is one of the longest of its kind in the world, it stretches from different areas.

Cordillera Mountain Range helps block off strong typhoons entering Ilocos. Isn’t it wonderful? Enjoy the beauty of nature by visiting Cordillera Mountain Range. Who knows, someone might be planning to hold a one of a kind wedding ceremony in this mountain range? Exciting!

Buying in the Bangus Capital of the Philippines

Located in the province of Pangasinan, Dagupan is said to be the Bangus Capital of the Philippines. Rich in healthy and clean waters, Dagupan has been able to maintain the culture of healthy fishes, particularly of Bangus. The fish can reach 1.70 meters, but the usual sizes of their exports are 39 inches to 1 meter only.

Given that their economy and culture is very much linked to Bangus, Dagupan celebrates Bangus Festival every April as a thanksgiving to a bountiful fish harvest. Enjoy lots of activities such as float parade, Bangus rodeo, and cooking competition.

Of course, you won’t get be bored and dried with eating bangus. There are lots of attractions in Dagupan, too! Some might even be perfect for your beach wedding venues like Tondaligan Beach and Bonuan Blue Beach. You may also pay a visit to Dagupan City Museum, San Roque Dam, Japanese-Philippine Friendship Garden, and Pantal River.

Throwback at Ciudad Fernandina (Vigan)

venue-calle-crisologoCiudad Fernandina is what we know now as Vigan. Probably one of the best venue to hold a classic and romantic wedding is this small town in Ilocos. Vigan is even recognized by the UNESCO as a world heritage. So expect that there a lot of things you can do and places to visit.

In an article of Rappler, they mentioned 12 fantastic things you can do in Vigan. You can explore Calle Crisologo, perfect during dawn. This street is the hub of photographers as it will give you a major throwback feels with its cobble-stoned road and houses. Moreover, aside from the beautiful scenery, Ilocos is famous for their longanisa. Café Leona is one of the well-known Vigan restaurants which offers delicious longanisa.

You can also go for a short cruise in Mestizo River and visit the Bantay Bell Tower, which is resting beside St. Augustine Parish. In other words, there are many things you can do in Vigan. Get your cameras and feet ready because you will surely enjoy your trip in Ciudad Fernandina.

Know more about Pasong Tirad and Bessang Pass

If you’re a history buff, you would love to go to Pasong Tirad and Bessang Pass.

The Battle of Tirad Pass is one of the fights led by the youngest general in the Philippines, Gregorio del Pilar. Back in December 1899, President Aguinaldo and Filipino soldier troops are running away from the Spanish forces. President Aguinaldo and some men are successful in escaping. Gen. Goyo chose to be left so they can secure the area. Unfortunately, there was a traitor in the Philippine troop and led the Spaniards in the other route in Pasong Tirad. It resulted in the death of most soldiers left with Gen. Goyo, including himself.

On the other hand, the battle of Bessang Pass occurred during the Japanese colonization. For sure, you will be getting more stories and accounts from the locals of Ilocos Sur.

Get some air in Bangui’s Windmill

venue-windmill-banguiAnother famous attraction in region one are the Windmills in Bangui. The wind farm in Ilocos Norte uses 230 feet high Vistas. No need to worry if you are thinking about the possible disadvantages of the wind farm to the people residing there. The place is not developed and perfect for windmill installation, as the area seems to gather a good amount of wind.

Perfect for pictorials and quick stroll. Go there with your travel buddy or favorite tropa, or by yourself. You will surely enjoy the breezy place!


Be amazed at the ever-famous Hundred Islands

venue-hundred-islandsLocated in Alaminos, Pangasinan is the Hundred Islands. The National Park is not just hosting 100 islands but about 120. What makes this attraction one of a kind and beautiful to see is its wonderful formation. They are like cloudy green mushrooms sprouting in the middle of the sea.

Hundred Islands have three main islands – Governor’s Island, Quezon Island and Children’s Island. These three are few of the biggest ones in the National Park. Many services are being offered in these islands such as a picnic, cottage rental, guest house and table rentals. Aside from visiting the three top islands, you can go for an island hopping readily available at the entrance of the national park.

Though there are transient and room rentals available, you may opt to choose camping by the beach. It is allowed in the area, but you decide it at your risk. Given that it is a rural area expect that not all spots have a good cellular signal. No electricity and water source for drinking, so you need to bring on your own. Nevertheless, if you are aiming to disconnect from the busy and noisy world of the Metro, going for camping is an excellent way to reconnect with yourself and nature.


We hope this article will be of help when you plan to visit the region. Enjoy and have fun!


(photo credits to its rightful owners)

About Hizon's Catering

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