Showing posts with label Ilocos Norte. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ilocos Norte. Show all posts

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Ilocos Norte: Empanada, tupig & bibingka food trip

Even after my trip to Ilocos Norte, the taste of the crunchy and savory empanada is still vivid. I was finally able to complete my Ilocos Norte empanada experience by trying out the Dinardaraan (Dinuguan) Empanada at Johnny Moon Cafe and Elvie's Sweet Empanada near PLDT.

Johnny Moon also serves Bagnet Empanada and Sisig Empanada. But I don't think the bagnet meat is tasty enough for an empanada for you to notice it. So I really recommend the Dinuguan Empanada if you want something different.

And speaking of different. While most empanadas use the garlicky longganisa, Elvie's offers Ilocos empanada with sweet longganisa. The sweet taste of the longganisa plus the sour sukang Iloko makes a very interesting combination.

From Batac to Bacarra, here is my list of the best empanadas in Ilocos Norte.

I also didn't realize they took their tupig (glutinous rice cakes with coconut) quite seriously in Ilocos Norte. They even have an intense competition every year to determine who makes the best tupig. But those from Currimao and Sarrat are the ones which stand out.

I got to try the Sarrat tupig during a trade fair at the Ilocos Norte Capitol in Laoag. They use purple glutinous rice which is why the tupig is dark purple.

We drove to Currimao the next day to try out the tupig at Irene's Native Delicacies along the National Highway. They mix in margarine, milk and cheese to add flavor to the glutinous rice and coconut.

And instead of the usual tupig grill we see on the street, they cook their tupig by baking it in a traditional wood-fired oven.

In Currimao, they also make bibingka with glutinous rice and coconut, and topped with peanuts. The consistency actually reminds me of tikoy.

What other Ilocos Norte delicacies do you like?

Ilocos Norte: Nueva Era Eco Cultural Park, overnight stay in a treehouse & the great outdoors

Nueva Era Eco Cultural Park, Ilocos Norte
Do you want to stay overnight in a tree house? The Nueva Era Eco Cultural Park, the newest attraction of Ilocos Norte, offers that possibility. Nueva Era is one of three mountain municipalities of Ilocos Norte. They constructed the park to showcase the Tingguian culture and to allow visitors to enjoy the great outdoors.

Nueva Era Eco Cultural Park, Ilocos Norte
Nueva Era Eco Cultural Park, Ilocos Norte
Aside from the four treehouses, there are also huts and bungalows with basic but comfortable accommodation amenities including beds and an electric fan. They also have a campsite for those who want to take their adventure outdoors to a higher level.

Nueva Era Eco Cultural Park, Ilocos Norte
Nueva Era Eco Cultural Park, Ilocos Norte
The Nueva Era Eco Cultural Park also has a swimming pool, bonfire area or dap-ayan and a museum showcasing the Tingguian culture. There are trails and nearby treks for those who want to hike. Plus a restaurant is in the works for those who get hungry since there aren't that many food options in Nueva Era unless you buy food in the market.

Nueva Era Eco Cultural Park, Ilocos Norte
It just opened so enjoy it before the crowds start coming! For reservations and more information, contact Nueva Era Tourism Officer Ria Rivera (0915) 2582512.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ilocos Norte: Sarrat's Santa Monica Church, President Marcos Birthplace and heritage walk

Santa Monica Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
The Santa Monica Church and Casa Parroquial in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte have got to be built in one of the most picturesque settings in the country. The church's claim to fame was that it was host to the grand wedding of Irene Marcos and Gregorio Araneta in 1983. Built in front of the wide and sandy Padsan River, the Sarrat Church is surrounded by numerous trees, creating a cool and breezy environment around the church complex.

Santa Monica Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
Santa Monica Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
Unfortunately, the beautiful facade and altar of Sarrat Church were destroyed in a strong earthquake that hit Ilocos Norte just two months after the wedding. They were never able to reconstruct the beautiful Baroque facade. But now that it's declared an Important Cultural Property, I hope government can restore its old facade.

Casa Parroquial, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
Casa Parroquial, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
The adjacent Casa Parroquial or Casa del Palacio Real was said to be built before the church and was later used as the Presidencia Municipal of Sarrat.

Sarrat Central School, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
Beside the convent is the Sarrat Central School, where President Ferdinand E. Marcos finished his elementary education. The school was previously used as the Casa Real of Ilocos Norte when Sarrat was provincial capital during the Spanish colonial period.

Birthplace of President Ferdinand Marcos, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
The Edralin House, more popularly known as the Birthplace of President Marcos, can also be found in the town. The house was heavily renovated during the Marcos presidency and today hosts a small museum.

Casa Parroquial, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
There are plans to create a heritage walk to connect the many heritage properties of the town. The banks of the Padsan River are also becoming popular with visitors as locals have set up nipa huts for picnicking and videoke.

Sarrat is just nine kilometers from neighboring Laoag City. And speaking of Laoag, there are several places in the city to find the best empanadas in Ilocos Norte. Guess where?

Ilocos Norte: Paoay Church and Paoay's heritage houses

Diaz House, Paoay, Ilocos Norte
We're all familiar with the Paoay Church, one of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Most visitors visit the church, maybe have lunch in Cafe Herencia, then leave for the next stop on their Ilocos tour. But Paoay, Ilocos Norte has a lot of other interesting structures if you have time to walk around.

Paoay Church, Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Paoay Convento Ruins, Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Ever wonder where the convento of the Paoay Church is? It's on the left side of the church right across the street. Unfortunately, only ruins of the old convento remain. But they are interesting and worth a look nonetheless.

Duque House, Paoay, Ilocos Norte
On a parallel street, behind the ruins, is an American colonial house with a unique octagonal shape. Locals refer to the Duque House, built in the 1930s, as the Octagon House.

Diaz House & Carpio House, Paoay, Ilocos Norte
The Paoay Central School, a Gabaldon school, is on the other side of the church. The road in front of the school used to be called the Camino Real that linked Paoay with Currimao. On it are well-preserved Spanish colonial houses including the Diaz House and Carpio House.

Since you're in Paoay, it's now time for the best empanadas in Ilocos Norte. Guess where?

Monday, August 05, 2013

Ilocos Norte: Your guide to the best Ilocos empanadas

Ilocos Empanada - Batac, Ilocos Norte
Much has been said about the Ilocos empanada. Note that there are two distinct varieties, namely Batac and Vigan, the differences of which, I've written about before. But in Ilocos Norte, there are several places to get really delicious empanada aside from in Batac.

Ilocos Empanada - Batac, Ilocos Norte
Where to find the best empanada in Ilocos Norte is no contest since Batac has always held that honor. Glory's Empanada is the most popular. In Batac, you can order different combinations of empanada ingredients: papaya, monggo, egg, longganisa and even hotdog. Some choose vegetarian. While others double the longganisa or egg or even double both! The Jumbo Empanada has all ingredients plus hotdog. But they also serve a lot of street food in Batac if you want more than just empanada.

Ilocos Empanada - Laoag, Ilocos Norte
In Laoag City, aside from the Dap-ayan ti Ilocos Norte which is the place most tourists go to for empanada, there are four empanadaan which you might find interesting. The first one is JM's Empanada at the Laoag Airport which many locals recommended to me because the longganisa is really tasty! It's just a few meters from the airport terminal building. So you could walk over as soon as you arrive or enjoy empanada right before you leave.

Ilocos Empanada - Laoag, Ilocos Norte
There is Mildred's Empanada, a small cart with tables right beside the Laoag City Public Market. Another place we discovered is along P. Burgos, near the corner of Gen. Giron Street. It's right beside Balay da Blas. They smoke the longganisa before adding it to the empanada.

Locals also recommend the empanadaan near PLDT which is Elvie's Sweet Empanada (tricycles will know where this is) since they use sweet longganisa or hamonado instead of the garlicky derecado.

Finally, Johnny Moon Cafe in Laoag serves Dinardaraan (Dinuguan) Empanada which you might want to try if you are looking for something different.

Ilocos Empanada - Bacarra, Ilocos Norte
Finally, just a few minutes from Laoag, there are two empanadaan in Bacarra. What makes their empanada worth the visit is the crust which is extra crisp and crunchy. You can see and taste the difference! You'll find them in Barangay 11 Santa Filomena 1, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. Just ask for directions, the locals surely know where they are. Note that they are open only from 3 to 7 p.m.

Did I miss any other interesting empanadaan in Ilocos Norte?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lakbay Norte 3: Surfing, paddleboarding & birdwatching in Ilocos Norte

Blue Lagoon (Mairaira Cove), Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
On Day 3 of Lakbay Norte 3, we drove from Tuguegarao, Cagayan to Laoag, Ilocos Norte.

Chicken Kelaguen at Kapuluan Vista Resort
We had lunch at the Kapuluan Vista Resort in Mairaira Cove, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte where the group went surfing at the famous Blue Lagoon, before proceeding to Laoag in the evening.

Crispy Dinuguan and Higado at Johnny Moon Cafe
Saniata or Dragon Fruit Rolls at Johnny Moon Cafe
Dinner was at the newly-opened Johnny Moon Cafe (Johnny Moon is a funky translation of Juan Luna's name), beside the Museo Ilocos Norte, for some stylized Ilocano food. We spent the night at two hotels: Rosewell Hotel in San Nicolas and the Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center (INHCC).

Pinakbet Pizza at Saramsam Cafe
Poque-Poque Pizza at Saramsam Cafe
We actually sneaked out in the evening for pizza, drinks and videoke at Saramsam Restaurant. Yup, we had Pinakbet and Poque-Poque Pizza.

Lake Paoay
Paddleboarding in Lake Paoay
The next day, we had breakfast at the Malacanang ti Amianan in Paoay followed by birdwatching and paddleboarding in Lake Paoay.

Empanada from Batac, Ilocos Norte
Miki from Batac, Ilocos Norte
We made a brief stop at the Suba Sand Dunes before driving to Batac to stuff ourselves silly with Empanada and Miki. Talk about Double Double!

Check out the video of Day 3 and 4 edited by Carlo Cruise. Also check out the photos of Lakbay Norte 3 in the Ivan About Town Facebook page.

Kapuluan Vista Resort
Sitio Baniaran, Barangay Balaoi
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
+63 (920) 9522528 / (920) 9285273

Johnny Moon Cafe
La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center
Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

Ilocos Rosewell Hotel
Brgy.1, San Francisco National High-Way San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte.
+63 (77) 6706528 or 6706529 / (927) 4784190 / (918) 4610482 / (923)9502266

Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center
Brgy. 41, Balacad, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
+63 (77) 6708817

Friday, May 07, 2010

Ilocos Norte & Ilocos Sur: Road trip from Pagudpud to Vigan (Day 2)

The drive from Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte to Vigan, Ilocos Sur was an interesting one too. After breakfast and checking-out from the Kapuluan Vista Resort in Mairaira Cove (Blue Lagoon), we drove down to Laoag to catch lunch at Saramsam Restaurant.

On the way, we made sure to stop at the Pasuquin Bakery to taste their really delicious soft biscocho bread. That stop is well worth it. The drive to Laoag is about 2 and a half hours and we were there just in time for lunch.

Saramsam Restaurant is also know for its Ilocano pizzas, particularly the Poque-Poque Pizza which has an eggplant and egg-based Ilocano dish for toppings. Also try out the Longaniza Pizza and their Dinardaraan (Dinuguan) Pizza. We also had local dishes that included igado, insarabsab and blanched vegetables with KBL (kamatis, bagoong and lasuna). Dessert was malunggay sherbet with kalamansi which was surprisingly good.

After Laoag, we went straight to Vigan which was another two hours away. We wanted to catch the street dance parade of the Viva Vigan! Binatbatan Festival so we made sure to leave Laoag as soon as we could reach Vigan before the parade started at 4 p.m.

As soon as we arrived, we checked-in at My Vigan Home, a by-reservations only private guest house. And we were off to Crisologo Street to enjoy the street dancing at the festival.

Part 1: Road trip to Pagudpud
Part 3: Arce Mansion in Vigan, a colonial Ilocano dinner experience
Part 4: Historic Town of Vigan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Part 5: Tres de Mayo Festival in Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Part 6: Where to stay in Vigan (Hotels & Accommodation)
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