Friday, March 20, 2009

Laoag City: Within Reach

If there are many ways to skin a cat as the old adage say, there are many ways to reach the city of Laoag. This was my thoughts when I realized that I have been to Laoag six times in the last three years aboard a lancer car, then at other time on Partas bus, then on a Philippine Airlines flight, then on my Adverture van, then on board a Cebu Pacific flight and the last time being on board a long family van.

Laoag City is a city in the province of Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It is the capital city of Ilocos Norte, and the province's political, commercial, and industrial hub. It is also the location of the Ilocos region's only commercial airport - the Laoag International Airport.

The airport services flights to and from Hong Kong and mainland China, as well as, domestic flights by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Foreign airlines also offer direct charter flights to Laoag.

Since Laoag is only 10 to 14 hour- drive from Manila, traveling by bus or aboard your own car are available options depending on desired time and day of arrival in the city. The flights offered by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are limited, and so it is good that the city can be reached by land travel passing through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and now the newly constructed Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) for a faster smooth drive.

Tourism has become a major economic driver of Laoag City. Places of interests include the only 5-star hotel in the northern Philippines, Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Resort, a tour of heritage sites featuring Spanish colonial buildings, Philippine-baroque churches, white-sand beach resorts of Pagudpud, and Marcos-era mansions.

Other tourist sites include:
• St. William's Cathedral and Sinking Bell Tower • Ilocos Norte Capitol • The Tobacco Monopoly Monument • La Paz Sand Dunes (on ventura hi-way) • 18-hole Golf Course designed by Gary Player • Cape Bojeador Lighthouse • Bangui Windmills • Ilocos Norte Museum • and Marcos Museum.

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