Feb 24, 2022
Welcome to Ilocos Sur, one of the most historically rich locations in the country that mixes the colorful Ilocano culture with colonial Spanish heritage. Known for its centuries-old architecture, Ilocos Sur is the perfect destination for history buffs and curious travelers alike.
Ilocos Sur is world-famous for not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites that let you travel back in time. UNESCO describes Ilocos Sur’s capital city, Vigan, as “the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia.” Meanwhile, Santa Maria Church boasts one of the most memorable architectural designs of the whole country, capturing the European Baroque style and adapting it to the Philippine environment.
A visit to Ilocos Sur feels like reading the pages of your favorite book—every landmark you go to has a centuries-old story it can’t wait to tell! From tales of the Spanish colonial era to well-preserved mythologies of the Ilocano people, you’ll always find something new to learn when you’re in Ilocos Sur!
Take a journey through history
Ilocos Sur is a history buff’s paradise—it is home to not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites for you to enjoy! Vigan, the province’s capital, is filled to the brim with ancestral homes, dedicated museums, and other historical landmarks that tell a colorful story of life in the Spanish colonial period. Santa Maria Church stands proudly on its hilltop stage and entices tourists with its unique Baroque style architecture.
Capture the perfect views
Since Ilocos Sur is a coastal location, the Spaniards built several watchtowers around the province to protect its communities from pirates. Two of these towers, the Bantay Bell Tower and the Bateria Watchtower, have stood the test of time and are still intact today, and the municipalities of Bantay and San Esteban have respectively opened them to tourists. Make sure you don’t miss the Bantay Bell Tower’s unparalleled view of Vigan and the Bateria Watchtower’s picturesque view of the sea!
Discover natural wonders
After immersing yourself in history, make sure you take the time to visit Ilocos Sur’s many natural landmarks. Pinsal Falls creates a picture-perfect scene of the best that Ilocos Sur’s environment has to offer, while Mapisi Rock gives tourists the chance to completely surround themselves with nature in between its two towering formations. Both of them are testaments to the country’s natural beauty!
As a province rich with history, many of the accommodations you’ll find in Ilocos Sur also have their own colorful stories to tell. Whether it’s at the heart of a historic city or near its hidden beaches, Ilocos Sur has options for all types of travelers!
Extend your immersion into history by booking your stay in one of the many accommodations within Vigan that preserve its rustic atmosphere. Some of the city’s centuries-old ancestral houses have even been repurposed into inns, giving you the rare opportunity to spend the night in a piece of history!
As a coastal province, Ilocos Sur also has several beaches for those looking for a more laid back atmosphere. Book a night in one of the province’s many beach resorts and spend your days relaxing to your heart’s content!
Ilocano cuisine is widely considered as among the Philippines’ best, and for good reason—its distinct flavors are sure to make every meal as memorable as possible!
Your stay in Ilocos Sur won’t be complete without a plate of its famous Vigan longganisa, a type of pork sausage that’s cooked with various ingredients depending on where in the Philippines you are. Vigan’s take on the meal flavors it with the province’s homegrown garlic and is often paired with sukang iloko, the region’s equally unique vinegar, creating a distinct taste that you have to try out!
Authentic Ilocano specialties
Ilocos Sur’s local cuisine has something for everyone! At the top of the list of must-tries in its local restaurants are the bagnet, deep-fried pork that will surely satisfy any meat lover, and the pinakbet, a medley of various vegetables mixed with shrimp paste. Both dishes also go well together, making for the perfect Ilocano meal!
If you walk through the streets of Vigan, chances are you’ll see a shop selling empanadas, an orange-colored pastry filled with different vegetables packed inside a fried coating. Make sure you also pair your empanadas with sukang iloko—they make for tasty snacks!
Whether it’s unraveling the country’s history or appreciating its natural wonders, Ilocos Sur is packed to the brim with things to do!