Ciudad ti Laoag – Lungsod ng Laoag

Things here back in the States have been keeping me away from the keyboard too much.  Don’t know if this article/movie will make it in time for the weekly posting, but here goes, anyway.


I’ve shown some flicks in the past that were pretty much historical in nature.  This time around, let’s jump ahead to 2013 and see just how much change has occurred in the City of Laoag since 1945.  This clip, which isn’t very long but is quite interesting, was put together by Leonardo Dacumos and published on April 21, 2013.  It is very well done, and includes music in the background for your enjoyment as well.

No one, other than Leonardo, can provide the details any better – here is what he has to say:

The City of Laoag (Ilokano: Ciudad ti Laoag; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Laoag) is a 1st class city in the province of Ilocos Norte, Philippines.

It is the capital city of Ilocos Norte, and the province’s political, commercial, and industrial hub. It is the northernmost city in the Philippines and the location of the Ilocos region’s only commercial airport.

According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 104,904 people.

The municipalities of San Nicolas, Paoay, Sarrat, Vintar, and Bacarra form its boundaries. The foothills of the Cordillera Central mountain range to the east, and the South China Sea to the west are its physical boundaries.

Laoag experiences the prevailing monsoon climate of Northern Luzon, characterized by a dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October, occasionally visited by powerful typhoons.

So, without much further ado, roll it!


Post Author: PaulK (218 Posts)

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 35+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

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  1. greg curtis says

    Need help..i want to rent a home in malbalacat. Pampnga. Can someone help me out. Direct me on who to contact…i have a friend there that can. Look at residence or take care of paperwork. For. August 15. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Greg – Hopefully someone reading your comment here will have a lead or two for you to follow. I don’t think I’d be much help as I’m unfamiliar with Pampanga. You may also try to check for Mabalacat rental house listings on the web.




    • says

      A follow-on comment, Greg – You will definitely want to have your friend check out the different barangays of Mabalacat City after the tropical storm that’s currently headed that way (TS RASMUSSEN/GLENDA) passes by. Your friend can check to see where there are flooding problems, as well as losses of utilities, and steer you away from renting in those areas.

      You can check the progress of the storm, and read associated information, at

  2. Marilyn Bee says

    this video refreshes and brings back happy memories I had in Laoag. Not really a big city but it is clean and beautiful.People of Laoag are hospitable well disciplined and very friendly. I have explored Laoag and and other amazing and beautiful places of Ilocos Norte. My long vacation there made me love Laoag City.

    • says

      Hi Marilyn – Ilocos Norte and Laoag are truly the hidden paradises of the Philippines. Living about 18km north of Laoag is just what the doctor ordered for me! Hope you can visit again – the province is in the process of improving tourism with many, varied programs that hit all of the essentials.

      Come, enjoy! :)

    • says

      Hi Lou – Thanks for posting the link – I’m very familiar with it! It’s always the first place I look for information about home whenever we are “on vacation” in the States. (Of course, it’s a lot more fun in person!)

  3. Bob New York says

    A nice video with a nice music track even though I may not understand the words, the music itself fits the video scenes very nicely. There are times where it is stated about The Philippines being a dirty place. That could apply to just about anyplace else in the world too. In the thousands of photos, hours and hours of videos I have watched on the internet there is something that always seems to be lacking. Take a close look at the street scenes. How much ” litter ” do you actually see along the curb and other parts of the street ? On average, I have never seen much at all.

    On my first visit to the Philippines, Iligan City, I was up early one morning and saw what appeared to be individuals ( not appearing to be something like a city sanitation crew ) out on the sidewalks and along the curb with brooms, the likes of which I had never seen before, cleaning up the streets and sidewalks for the start of another day.

    I once joked with a photographer that has put probably thousands of pics on the internet from The Philippines that he must have a good ” litter filter ” on his camera lens.

    With so many beautiful things to look at in the pics and videos of places in The Philippines I wonder if anyone ever thought to look for what is seldom there, litter in the streets. I never claimed to be a typical tourist LOL.

    I think a lot of seldom recognized credit is due to all of those that are out there in the early morning keeping the sidewalks and curb area along the busy streets in good appearance for the start of another day.

    • says

      Hi Bob – The City of Laoag continually wins national cleanliness and beautification awards. The litter-free streets you see in the video are the daily norm. Throughout Ilocos Norte, pride in community appearance runs deep. Weekly cleanups are the norm in the barangays as well. The morning after a party in a sitio or a neighborhood will find residents outside early, picking up all party-related and other litter.

      Even along the roadways, weekly cleanups with litter piles burning can be seen. If the cleanups are delays by weather, they are held on the first clear day. Then, driving to Laoag means navigating through thick smoke crossing the highway. 😉

      • says

        Hi Paul – I remember seeing pictures and videos of street sweepers in Manila, mostly women, in the old days, I believe during the Marcos administration. I don’t see them anymore.

        • says

          Hi John – I’m afraid that they may have turned in their brooms, and picked up the packets of small towels, the boxes of assorted cigarettes, the bottles of water, and other easily portable merchandise to ply among the rows of halted cars at stop lights.

          Up in Laoag, all of the store owners share in the cleaning of streets, alleys, and all around their shops. Very early in the morning, someone walking the streets of Laoag has to take care not to be “moistened” by the post-sweeping toss of water (to control any dust). 😆

  4. RJ says

    Very nice video, Paul. I too was impressed with the cleanliness of the streets. I hope I can visit there and learn more about Ilocos Norte. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      A follow-on comment, Greg – You will definitely want to have your friend check out the different barangays of Mabalacat City after the tropical storm that’s currently headed that way (TS RASMUSSEN/GLENDA) passes by. Your friend can check to see where there are flooding problems, as well as losses of utilities, and steer you away from renting in those areas.

      You can check the progress of the storm, and read associated information, at

  5. Rae_E says

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for sharing this video on Ilocos! My favorite articles here in LIP are the ones featuring various towns/provinces in the Phils. So I enjoyed Brenton’s article on Dumaguete too. But I find Ilocos quite interesting too as based on feedback from friends who have been there, they say it has the most distinct culture compared to other towns in the country. Ilocanos are renowned for being very hard-working and that probably explains why its much cleaner than most towns. I find that refreshing. I often thought that it might be an ideal place to retire to someday but do you think a Visayan speaking Pinay can easily integrate among Ilocanos? Would language barrier be a problem? Of course English is an option but it’s just awkward to speak a non-Filipino dialect when you’re in the Philippines.

    • says

      Hi Rae – Yes, Ilocanos are very hard-working and proud of “Ilocandia” – keeping it as pristine and as clean as they can. Too, there were many, many Ilocano Balikbayans who went to the pineapple and sugar cane fields of Hawaii, worked extremely hard, and provided financial relief for their poor relatives left behind.

      As to acceptance of those from other provinces, and their easy integration, you would not have any problems at all. In our town, we have a number of town mates from other provinces who came north to live and work. Though Ilokano is the primary language, both of the second languages – Filipino and English – are alive and well. It would certainly help if you knew Filipino as well as Visayan/Cebuano. Filipino is the common language that binds the multi-provincial community.

      There are a few, very small areas in the Ilocos Region where Ilocano pride and nationalism surfaces on occasion. There is a little historic “difference of opinion” some Ilocanos have with Tagalogs and Kapampangans. It goes way back to early Ilocano Revolution days. The revolution, headed by Diego Silang (and later, his wife, Gabriella Silang) was eradicated by the Spanish, only with the help of Tagalog and Kapampangan mercenaries. No violence occurs and no anger is displayed, but within those few areas, anyone from those two regions will not receive any assistance, service, or recognition! 😉

      • Rae_E says

        Thanks for your response Paul! I’m glad to know that language won’t be a problem and yes I’m proficient w/ Filipino/Tagalog. That trivia between Ilocanos vs. Kapampangan was quite interesting :), thanks for sharing.

      • says

        Those Kapampangan traitors! :) You know, Paul, a favorite Filipino restaurant of mine is called Pampanguena, located in Gaithersburg, MD. I love their food, but sometimes when I eat there and see a bunch of Kapampangans I couldn’t help but be reminded of their forebears that traitorously helped the Americans capture General Emilio Aguinaldo during the Philippine – American War. Suddenly, their highly-touted sisig doesn’t taste that great anymore. LOL

        As if that wasn’t enough, they pulled the same trick again in WWII by collaborating with the Japanese invaders by identifying Filipino guerillas for the Japanese. Called Macabebes (so named after a town in Pampanga), they wore bayong (rice sack) over their head with slits for the eyes to keep secret their identity, and would point out to the Japanese at the town plaza those suspected of working against the Japanese regime in the Philippines.

        • says

          Hi John – That restaurant must be relatively new. We used to live in Gaithersburg back in 1991-1993 and the closest Filipino restaurant then was down in Fort Washington! 😆

          There were some enterprising Filipinos in Gaithersburg, though, who had a small fresh seafood store. It would be packed with fish, crabs, etc. before opening, and then packed with customers from opening to close. It always helped to know the owners and have them save some for us! 😆

        • says

          Thanks for the interesting post. I am a retired U.S. history teacher with a Filipina wife and a long interest in the history of the relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines. I was wondering where you got the information about the Pampangans identifying guerillas to the Japanese. Not questioning your story, just interested in the source. Thanks again and thanks to Paul for his always interesting posts.

  6. Don says

    My friend is the PM for the Danish company installing 4 new wind turbines in your area. Those things are massive. I think this is phase III. They just unloaded from the ship and are trucking them up to the site to be installed around Oct.

    • says

      Hi Don – If they were unloaded in Manila, Lingayan, or anywhere south of Ilocos Norte, they will be passing by our house on the National Highway, enroute to either Burgos or Bangui where phases I & II are producing electricity that is routed via high-tension wires (also running in front of our house) back to Laoag. The contractors transporting the wind turbine parts via the highway always have great difficulty with their task. Too many low-hanging power and telephone lines cross over the highway. Transport trucks come with a couple of “pole handlers” who temporarily raise those lines with their long poles so that the truck trailers with turbine parts can pass beneath. Makes for a very slow trip. 😆

      There were plans to install up to 28 wind turbines in an area of Barangay Sapat in our town of Pasuquin. I don’t remember the project start date.

      The province has a very challenging goal of becoming self-sufficient in electricity production.

    • says

      Hi Timothy – While the number of tricycles has decreased over the past five years, there remain quite a number of them still in service. The city is trying to regulate the effects of having so many tricycles on the streets, but is not really addressing the cause.

      Certain areas and streets have been identified and posted “No Tricycles” between certain hours, as well as some identified and posted for a total prohibition. Toss in the city making some streets “one-way” in order to halve the number of tricycles using them; and designating specific areas for waiting tricycle parking.

      Of course, regulating the effects only serves to spread those effects around a bit. I don’t think they will try to regulate the cause – registering too many tricycles for passenger service. The drop in the number of tricycles over the past five years is the result of an earlier attempt to regulate the cause. Unfortunately, those efforts caused the loss of many individual, independently owned and operated tricycles. Owners of numerous tricycles who rent tricycles on a per-day basis to “cowboy” drivers and who take a percentage of the day’s fares as well as the rental payments were basically unaffected. They could afford the regulations, both physically and financially.

      Oh well, I never said Laoag was “perfect”! (But, it’s getting there!!) 😆

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