If you’re not sure what type of adventure you’re up to or if you’re looking for a place where you can see sights that can complete your wanderlust, added with a knack of historical value, then Ilocos Sur is the perfect spot for you.
Known as one of the provinces in the Philippines rich in history and ancestral sites, Ilocos Sur is home to heritage landmarks. Getting there is easy-peasy too! Located along the western coast of Northern Luzon, it is very accessible through other must-see spots like Ilocos Norte on the north, Mountain Province on the east, La Union on the south, and West Philippine Sea on the west.
How to get there: Fly via Manila-Laoag-Manila flights which will only take about two hours. You can also opt to travel via bus.
Once you get there, here are some of the sights that will surely make you go loco over the heritage province of Ilocos Sur:
Vigan’s Calle Crisologo Heritage Village
As the capital city of a first-class province, Vigan City is home to ancestral houses that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. If you think anything “old” is scary, then you’ll be in for a surprise. These cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old bahay na bato, hardwood balustrades and azoteas transport travelers to the Spanish era – making them feel magical than spooky.
The Vigan Heritage Village was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1992.
Musical Dancing Fountain at Salcedo Plaza
If you’re an avid fan of anything fun and flashy, drop by the Dancing Fountain at Salcedo Plaza. From what we’ve heard, the fountain symbolizes the Ilocano way of life – dancing with every beat of life’s music. Watch out for the spectacular shows at night so you can appreciate the colorful hues which you can go near to. Get those cameras ready!
Bell Tower, Bantay Church
Saint Augustine Parish Church, popularly known as Bantay Church, was dedicated to St. Augustine of Hippo. It houses an image of Our Lady of Charity. It is one of the oldest churches in the region.
The Bantay belfry sits on the hilltop overlooking the province. It was a silent witness to all the happenings in the province and was used as a watchtower back in the colonial era.
Nuestra Señora dela Asuncion Church
Satisfying travelers’ spiritual needs, Nuestra Señora dela Asuncion Church sits on top of a hill in Sta. Maria. The baroque Church served as a fortress during the 1896 Revolution and in World War II but it continues to stand tall. In 1993, it was declared by the UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
Cabugao Beach Resort
Want to see a white sand beach? Head over to Cabugao Beach Resort in Cabugao town. While appreciating the azure water of the West Philippine Sea, you can stay at beach huts, hammocks or on the sandy beach.
Another breathtaking and magical sight in Ilocos Sur is the Pinsal Falls. Legend has it that it was home to an Ilocano giant whose footprint can be gazed upon. Ask your travel guides about Angalo’s footprint… we don’t want to spoil the story!
Pinsal Falls is located a few kilometers from the national highway at Barangay Babalasiwan in Sta. Maria.
As a gateway to the Cordillera mountains, Bessang Pass has witnessed a battle between Filipinos (with Americans) and the Japanese Imperial Army back in 1945. A monument now stands to commemorate this historic event.
You can go trekking at the municipality of Cervantes where Bessang Pass is located. Trekkers can choose from different trails – a Spanish trail, Japanese foxholes, dugouts, pine forests, grasslands, meadows, or through the Heroes’ Trek.
Sabang Surfing Site
Ilocos Sur is also a favorite spot of surfers. The surfing area at Sabang, which can be reached via motor boat through the Salomague Island, offers waves that are huge enough to satisfy a traveler’s craving for the ultimate surfing experience.
To get a glimpse of the wild, fly to Baluarte to take a peek at Ilocos Sur’s wildlife and rest over at their picnic area. There’s also an interactive mini zoo, a butterfly garden, and pony rides (for the kids!).
Don’t forget to take a snap of that iconic long-neck dinosaur on display at the entrance.
Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone
If you’re trying to squeeze in as many activities as you can in your schedule, drop by the Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone filled with ziplines, bridges, and breathtaking views you definitely shouldn’t miss! You’ll forget all the worries you have once you set off their zipline which goes over flowing waters. The Adventure Zone is also a favorite site for trainings because of their rope courses and wall-climbing areas. Try rappelling and kayaking too!