Type : Activities / Cultural
Best Date : March- June
Expense :  Cheap
Things to do : 4×4, Sand surfing, ATV, Sand Dunes, Visit Churches
Points of Interest: Malacanang of the North,  Paoay Church, Paoay Lake, Paoay Sand Dunes, Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Centre, ect


Paoay which is in my opinion more interesting than its neighbouring city of Laoag. Having much more fascinating attractions such as the ‘Marcos Presidential Centre (Malacanang of the North), Paoay church and the Sand Dunes, Paoay is an increasing popular destination in the ‘Ilocos Norte’ Region.

The Place

I visited Paoay as a half day excursion from where I was staying in Laoag. I simply just asked a tricycle driver to take us to all the points of interests in the region for a standard agreed fee. Here is where we got to:

‘Paoay Church and its Bell Tower’ also known as the ‘St Agustin Church’ is another of Philippine’s UNESCO heritage site. Built in 1710 the church is particularly special due to is 24 buttresses in its side. Still hosting masses, this church is popular for tourism due to its beauty and historic significance.


‘Paoay Lake’ which is the largest lake in the province of ‘Ilocos Norte’. Shaped like a horseshoe. Legend has it that there was an ill-fated village which was submerged underwater by god as punishment and after the floods disappeared it left the lake, which we know today as ‘Paoay Lake’.


‘Malacanang of the North’ which has a entrance fee of 20php was the official residence of Ferdinand Marcos’s family during his reign as president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. Today the building is used as a presidential museum of culture and history, with many of the late presidents furniture, artwork and projects that were both successful not. Built for Marcos’s 60th birthday by the Philippine tourism authority at the time, the building has been refurbished and now visited by masses who want for tourism and educational purposes. Special events such as weddings are also hosted here.


‘Paoay Sand Dunes’ which is the centre point for adrenaline in the province with its 4×4 trail, ATV and sandboarding activities. It costs 2500php (£35 equivalent) for the 4×4 trail which rides up to 5 people and includes unlimited sandboarding. The 4×4 buggy is brilliant and very fun, there are plenty of uphill, steep downhill and plenty of bumps within the trail, I can only describe it as an enjoyable rollercoaster and you can feel the G-force whilst standing and no seatbelts. Throughout the trail there are stops (3 in my count) to take photos and take a little breather whilst enjoying the panoramic views. After the whole trail which lasts about 12-30 minutes you are dropped off the sandboarding area which is a steep downhill slope. You are able to stand or sit if you wish whilst sandboarding, but it is advised that standing are for those who already know how to skate or snowboard as it can be very dangerous.


Overall ‘Paoay’ is culture, religion and adrenaline altogether in a small region of Ilocos Norte. It is not too expensive to roam here with a tricycle and tickets to attractions are not too expensive, however activities are a little different and can be a little pricey. Paoay I believe is underrated and should be a more popular destination in the Philippines. I highly recommend this place.

2 thoughts on “Paoay

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