The Malacanang of the North built at the shores of the Paoay Lake was one of my major destinations in Ilocos Norte.

I spent half a day for this trip since it was a bit out of the way. The experience was well worth the effort though.

Commuting to Paoay Lake took a while. Most tourists visiting the Malacañang of the North usually have their own ride or rent a tricycle / van from Laoag.

I didn’t have that kind of luxury. The locals pointed me to a jeepney stop located near the approach of the Marcos Bridge. It was just a short walk past McDo.

A full jeepney had just left. The next one waited a loooong hour before leaving. It seems I’d have some commuting problems because of scarce transportation options.

View of the Marcos Bridge while waiting for the jeepney to leave.

Commuting to the Malacanang of the North

The jeepneys bound for the Malacanang of the North and Paoay Lake passes by the coastal area of Paoay. It’s a different route from the more frequent jeepneys bound for Paoay town proper.

The actual jeepney ride from Laoag to Paoay Lake took only 30 minutes (P20 fare). The jeepney dropped me off right at the entrance of the Malacanang of the North. It was the jeepney’s end of route.

Road leading to the Malacanang of the North

Malacanang of the North, at last!

The Malacanang of the North used to be the official residence of former President Ferdinand Marcos and his family whenever they are in Ilocos.

It also provided a venue to entertain affluent local personalities and foreign dignitaries.

Set at the shores of the idyllic Paoay Lake and built in grand Spanish-colonial fashion, the Malacanang of the North certainly seemed like a fitting reflection of the lavish life of the Marcos family.

After the Marcos Regime ended, the Malacañang of the North was transformed into a museum.

Front side of the Malacañang of the North


Over the years, the interiors of the Malacañang of the North gradually lost its luster. It’s probably very expensive to keep maintaining the building to a more pristine state.

The hardwood details, marble floors, spacious halls, and capiz shell windows are enough to give visitors a glimpse of how grand it looked during its heyday.

I loved this large painting of the Paoay Church. I wanted to bring it home! It’s probably waaay beyond my price range. Who am I kidding? of course it is!

Decided to “own” it in a photo instead.

For an entrance fee of only P10, anyone can already go inside the Malacañang of the North and feel like they own the place for the day.

Paoay Lake

The best part of the Malacañang of the North was the luxurious view of the Paoay Lake.

View of the Paoay Lake from the second floor balcony

An 18-hole golf course was located nearby

Huge houses across the lake

Backside of the Malacanang of the North

Commute back to Laoag

After a tour of the Malacanang of the North, I waited for a jeepney back to Laoag. I waited for ages but still no sign of a jeepney, not even a single tricycle.

I decided to walk to the highway. It took around 15 minutes.

Clubhouse of the Fort Ilocandia Golf Club

Ilocos Norte and Convention Center 

Flagged a tricycle after waiting at the highway for 30 minutes. Good thing the driver only charged me P35 for a ride all the way to Laoag City Proper.

Dawang’s Place

Packed my bags just in time for the 12nn check-out at the hostel. Before leaving for Vigan, I decided to drop by Dawang’s Place for lunch.

Dawang’s Place is a carinderia, which offers several Ilokano dishes. It was located along the highway at San Nicolas town … further ahead of Robinsons Place Mall if coming from Laoag.

Built at a garage, the place itself looked very unassuming. The line of cars parked at the roadside said otherwise. I would’ve easily missed it if not for their huge signage.

Ordered a very fulfilling meal of Pork Adobo, Lauya (Boiled Pork Ribs), Igado (pork tenderloin and pig’s innards such as liver, kidney, heart), Rice, and Coke. Total bill was only P102.

The buses headed for Vigan and Manila pass by the highway in front of Dawang’s. After crossing the street and a couple of minutes of waiting, I was already on my way to the World Heritage City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur Province.