Face to face with Ilocos Norte : A touch of history, a sight of the mountains, and more discoveries in day 1.

Over the weekends, Great Travel Philippines was privileged to have been invited by the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office to join the press familiarization tour in line with its current tourism promotional campaign dubbed “I’m IN”.

The four-day tour was loaded with an itinerary that ushered all of us- participants, to the first-hand experiences of the beauty of Ilocos Norte and the vast offerings the place has for both local and foreign tourists.

Much to talk about this trip, so let me bring you with us on that wonderful journey, one day at a time.

Amici Resort Hotel; photo taken from their FB Page

Let’s begin with Day 1.

Amici Resort Hotel

We arrived early in the morning at our home for the next two days – Amici Resort Hotel. There was a sudden feeling of comfort as the place is just so relaxing. Something you just need after long hours of travel from Manila. There is a certain vibe of life’s simplicity, telling you that you are now away from the city’s busy life. The rustic-designed casitas with modern amenities are ideal for one’s travel accommodation needs. Start the morning right with the breakfast buffet of delicious foods that most of the ingredients are fresh, farm-to-table picks. Amenities inside Amici Resort Hotel include a swimming pool, basketball court, fitness gym, grand hall, and a lot more.

View from Solsona-Apaya Road. Photo courtesy of Dexter Ganibe

The Solsona-Apayao Road.

Our first destination was the Solsona-Apayao Road. From Laoag it took us more than two (2) hours to get to the site. But there were no dull moments as the greenery and the nature along the way provided a relaxing rural feel. The Solsona-Apayao Road is a newly-opened highway linking the two provinces. The group was brought to a view deck where lovely picturesque mountain sights are just all around the place. A place for a daytime campsite, picnics, photo ops, and selfies, the site offers a rich environment of the most sought-after flora and fauna and the sea of clouds.

Ladrillos Restaurant

Lunchtime and we feasted on the sumptuous Spanish dishes of Ladrillos Restuarant which is located at Balay San Nicolas. Every food we took on the plate was great, the crunchy local okoy with sweet and spicy dip is a hit starter plus a refreshing sip of the mint lemonade.

Ladrillos Restuarant. Photo taken from their FB Page.

Balay San Nicolas

Since the restaurant is within the Balay San Nicolas, named an important cultural property in 2015, a tour immediately took place. Also known as Valdez-Lardizabal House, this 19th-century heritage house is the oldest and most imposing heritage house in Ilocos Norte according to the National Museum. This old house is built in its traditional Spanish colonial style and is believed to have been constructed in the 1800s.

Paoay Lake Water Park.

Paoay Lake Water Park

Time to have fun. We headed to Paoay Lake Water Park, the newest floating playground in the country. It is also the first in Northern Luzon. This 4,200 sq. Meter water park which is located at the Malacanang of the North offers water fun activities via inflatable play. One can also enjoy beach activities like volleyball, kayaking, Frisbees, and more while others may simply take their time to chill in the lounge areas.

Kamarinn Cafe

It was a long day and what better way to end the day than a great dinner at Kamarinn Cafe. The star of the night -the Pinakbet Pizza. Tourists will enjoy dining here as the food offerings are good, and the place is relaxing since it is designed for the cool-breeze, open-air concept. The resto also offers a clear view of Paoay Lake.

The author inside the Balay, San Nicolas

The first day of the trip was exciting. The fun has just begun. There are more to explore in the next few days, and we will be sharing them all with you in the succeeding stories. Stay tuned, more of the beauty of Ilocos Norte coming your way.

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