Backpacking Ilocos: Adventures in Region I

Are you up for an adventure in the Ilocos Region? Here’s a backpacking Ilocos guide to help you organize your trip, including destinations that are off the beaten path. 


Start your Ilocos adventure by traveling to Laoag, also known as ‘Sunshine City.’ The ride takes 8 hours from Metro Manila, or you can opt for a one-hour flight. You can check-in at Fort Ilocandia or search for alternatives; you will not run out of accommodation options.

Explore: Paoay Church, La Paz Sand Dunes, Malacañang of the North, and Laoag Sinking Bell Tower.


La Paz Sand Dunes


Malacañang of the North


Pagudpud, Bangui, Burgos, and Pasuquin

Head to Pagudpud, just a two-hour drive from Laoag, renowned for its beautiful coastline and stunning fine white sand beaches. You can either camp at the shore or get another hotel.

Explore: Saud Beach, Blue Lagoon Beach, Bantay Abot Cave, Patapat Viaduct, Bangui Wind Farm, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, Pinsal Falls, and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.

Bangui Wind Farm


Cape Bojeador Lighthouse


Kapurpurawan Rock Formation


Patapat Viaduct


Pinsal Falls


Vigan is renowned for its colonial houses and cobblestone streets. About a three-hour drive from Pagudpud. There are several hotels in Vigan that will take you back in time. So check in and make sure to try some of the popular local foods like longganisa, pinakbet, bagnet, and empanadas before you start your tour.

Explore: Calle Crisologo, Plaza Burgos Food Park, Pagburnayan Jar Factory, the Dancing Fountain Show at Plaza Salcedo, National Museum, Crisologo Museum, and Bantay Bell Church Tower.


Pagburnayan Jar Factory


Crisologo Museum

La Union

Don’t miss out on La Union! It’s just a three-hour drive from Vigan. Explore surfing spots like Urbiztondo, Monaliza Point, Carille Point, and Quirino Surfing Site. Apart from Flotsam & Jetsam, make sure to check out new party places like ALPAS for live music and La Kantina for DJ beats!

There’s no hangover that caffeine can’t fix, so be sure to drop by El Union Coffee before you hit the road in the morning for our last stop in backpacking Ilocos.

RELATED: Top Surfing Spots in the Philippines

Urbiztondo Beach




After another three-hour drive from La Union, you’ll reach Pangasinan. Go island-hopping at Hundred Islands and make the most of it before heading back to Manila! Try various water activities like snorkeling at the Coral Garden, kayaking, island-to-island zip lining, cliff jumping, rock climbing, and rappelling. 

Alternatively, you can simply sail to one island, set up camp, and just chill all day. 




As your backpacking Ilocos trip wraps up, take a moment to reflect on the rich history of these destinations. So, where will your wanderlust take you next? Stay tuned!

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