Ilocos Roadtrip – Baluarte Zoo and Paoay Church

It’s the second day of our Ilocos adventure,  we started early and bid temporary farewell to Vigan. Our first stop is the BALUARTE ZOO, the open-to-the-public zoo of Mr Chavit Singson, a favorite tourist attraction in Ilocos Sur especially among families & barkadas. There you’ll see his various collections of animals like the tigers, lion, orangutans, armadillos,  peacocks, mountain goats and lots more! The kids will definitely love the looming dinosaur figure welcoming you to  Baluarte zoo. And the best thing is Baluarte has no entrance fee!

Welcome to Baluarte Zoo folks!

scared of a camel’s kiss nyahahaha

what are you looking at?


You know as a Filipino and a Proud Pinoy it is  a dream for me to visit all the UNESCO Heritage Sites in the Philippines, and I am so glad we made this adventure trip to Ilocos because 3 tourist spots in Ilocos are included in the UNESCO list. So it was like hitting 3 birds with one stone.

After Baluarte we took back to the road and made a stop over at this UNESCO listed site :) It was so hot! Ilocos is really hot!

STA MARIA CHURCH, Ilocos Sur – a UNESCO Heritage Site.


the huge columns dwarfing us!

We continued on our roadtrip, we leave behind Ilocos Sur and made our first stop in Ilocos Norte in the town of Paoay.  A visit to Paoay will not be complete without visiting their baroque church. And yes you guess it right, it’s another heritage site!!!  In a span of a few hours we rounded off Ilocos UNESCO heritage sites!!! Vigan – Sta Maria – Paoay :) Mission accomplished!

PAOAY CHURCH

Paoay Church balusters will really leave you in awe! It’s so massive and grand!

paoay church columns

If you are into non-mainstream food you may want to partake of the pinakbet pizza and dinugu-an pizza available in the restaurant in front of the church, though personally I have not tried it. It’s exotic food for me and i am not a big fan of exotic dining hehhehe

We also visited the MALACANANG OF THE NORTH (there is a 30/pax entrance fee) . This is the former official residence of ex-President Ferdinand Marcos and family whenever they are in Ilocos. The structure is intact but unfortunately the inside is near empty. It was once filled with priceless treasures, antiques, and furniture but was subsequently lost to looters when the Marcoses left the Philippines.

The Malacanang of the North faces the wonderful Paoay Lake. From here you can head to Fort Ilocandia, another landmark of Ilocos Norte (no entrance fee and you can take pictures). We did not visit Fort Ilocandia though because we need to reach Laoag before dark so we can find a good cheap hotel so we were kinda in a hurry.

me & my siblings looking at the serene Paoay Lake

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We headed to LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte where we spent the night. You can check the SINKING BELLTOWER of Laoag. Although I have to say I was a bit disappointed because my expectation of it was high. The structure is smack in the center of a busy street, you can actually bypass it if you are not looking carefully.

Our first stop the morning after –>  Windmills and Beaches of Pagudpud :)

 


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