Sunday, August 17, 2014

Laoag, Ilocos Norte: Fort Ilocandia

Lately, reading blogs before traveling to a place is a prerequisite for me. They're always so honest and informative in a way that typical travel sites just aren't.

This was my first time booking a travel package tour so even though my friend referred me to J2F Ilocos Travel & Tours, I was a bit apprehensive. Paranoid questions like, "What if this is a scam?" would of course pop up. But they only asked for a P1,500 downpayment (for the whole group tour) and no scammer would go for that small an amount, right?

So book the tour I did and I'm soooo glad I chose to book with them. The package tour was both extremely convenient and budget friendly, I totally recommend.

Our driver slash tour guide picked us up from the airport (we had an evening flight), and we checked in at the hotel. The next morning, the guide picked us up at 7:30 AM and off we went for adventure Day 1. Our first stop: FORT ILOCANDIA.

Top - Forever 21, Skort - Vetus Shop, Shoes - Cotton On, Bag - Pull & Bear


According to Kuya John (our driver/guide), Fort Ilocandia is the most expensive place to stay in in Laoag City. It appears to be old and rich in history, similar to the feel you get from Laoag's museums, except so much more luxurious. But we got to peak into one of the rooms which looked completely modern inside, of course.


The package tour allows you to roam inside the hotel lobby and take photos and you can check out the garden too, but only up to the area below, from which point they keep exclusive for guests.
This is where the Fort Ilocandia tour ends. But it's a good thing I did my research! I happened to know beforehand that archery facilities are available here so I asked our guide about it. At first he told me there was none but after consulting with the hotel staff, this was confirmed. Archery is in fact available at P300 per 10 arrows. Totally affordable, right?

Going for archery also allowed us to go beyond the "exclusive" point. Yey, free tour!

On our way to the archery area, we also saw that they had a lot of other activities available including shooting/firing, ATV riding, hot air balloon, etc. We could have stayed there the whole day and tried out allll the activities but we had a lot on the day's itinerary waiting for us (and that would have meant us getting broke since each activity has a different fee. Haha.)

But we could not resist sneaking in one more activity - shooting. It was P800 for 10 bullets. Coming from Cebu, we found that rate incredibly cheap so we had to go for it!

I've always wanted to try this out. It was a bit scary. Guns are not toys, kids. So one bullet was enough for me - even though I shot the target above the shoulder - which means I did not hit a thing. Lol.
It was raining almost the whole time we were there but a little rain can't stop us. ;)

Personally, the hotel's set-up, it being old and rich in history, and wide and vast and quiet, is a tiny bit creepy for me - as I imagined staying there at night and roaming around the resort and dimly lighted hallways.. but there's no denying its beauty and luxury too. This place is definitely worth a visit - and don't settle for quick 10-minute tours either!


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