A&D Travels: Ilocos Vacation Part 1 - Vybe Hotel, Saramsam Restaurant, Culili Point Sand Dunes and La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc Church

Our first summer trip destination was Ilocos! Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. This was 7 months long overdue! We were supposed to go on the trip last year October after our Baguio trip but we all got sick while we were there so we had to rebook it. Rebooked it twice pa to January and March but we didn't get to go too.
My SD card crashed that's why I wasn't able to blog about this trip. Recovered a few but quality isn't the same anymore. Huhu!

Finally, our trip pushed thru last May. While BOS and I love long drives, BOS thinks it's best if we just rent a van because he's not sure if he can drive that long/far. So I had our hotel arranged our transportation as well. And it was the right decision! Our trip was from Monday to Thursday, the van (a Toyota Grandia) came to pick us up Sunday night around 10PM. There were two drivers Kuya Karl (the main driver) and Kuya Darius (I think he's an alternate driver although he never drove during our trip, he became our photographer/yayo ni R. Sorry ang kulit ng anak ko!). Ang bait nila. Sleeping overnight in a van is a challenge, the kids were able to lie down and sleep, I was also able to sleep but not comfortably but BOS wasn't able to sleep kasi binantayan niya ang mga drivers.  We arrived in Vigan (Ilocos Sur) around 3AM, had rest room stop and went on our way to our hotel which is in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. We got to Laoag maybe around 6AM? The kids were still asleep when we arrived, we just transferred them to the bed in our room. We stayed in Vybe Hotel in Laoag, booked our tours and transportation (as in everything) thru them too. I didn't want to transfer from one place to another so I opted for us to stay in one place and just travel Pagudpud and Vigan.
VYBE Hotel is value – concept hotel that offers a mixture of elegance and affordability to travelers visiting the Ilocos region.
We stayed in Room 22!
We stayed in their Family Suite which has 1 Queen Bed and 2 Twin Beds. It was a big room, great for a family of 4. It has a dining area and small kitchen when you enter the room. Bathroom is spacious and clean. 
Our first breakfast. We passed by Jollibee to get them pancakes and I ordered breakfast from Cafe Bonita and they were kind enough to serve it on our room. The sofa on the right is an sofa bed, I think this room can fit up to 6 persons!

We were able to rest, unpack and eat breakfast that morning. Our "formal" tour with a tour guide was scheduled for the next day pa, so the first day was sort of our free day. We went out around noon to have lunch at Saramsam Restaurant. Good thing our driver has been to Ilocos so many times, we don't need to use Waze anymore. Our first meal was at Saramsam Restaurant. When I researched for restaurants to try, Saramsam was one of the restaurants that popped so we had our first Ilocano meal here!
We're checking for Pokemons while waiting for our order. Yes, it's a family affair being the mom is an avid Pokemon Go player haha!
Poque-poque Pizza, Php185. This has grilled eggplants, tomatoes, onions and eggs.
Dinardaraan, Php225. It's their version of dinuguan. I love this dish. It's crispy dinuguan but it's so much yummier because it's crunchy! So good with rice!
Pinakbet with Chicharon, Php215. I like Ilocano's version of pinakbet, it's more bitter but it's so good!
Baraniw (Basil) Iced Tea, Php45

After lunch, our agenda was to visit La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc Church in Badoc, Ilocos Norte and do the Paoay Sand Dunes. We saw the church in Vybe Hotel's brochure and it looked so nice so we decided to go check it out. La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc Church is situated by the ocean. This church is so pretty and unconventional. Badoc Island is just across the church, you can rent a boat and go the island which I've read has white sand and clear waters.
This church is so pretty.
We made a stop by the road at Currimao, Ilocos Norte. We passed by this town on our way to the hotel earlier in the morning and I found it so pretty. I just had to stop and take a photo and take it all in.
Next stop: Sand Dunes! There are 3 sand dunes spots in Ilocos Norte: Suba, Culili Point (where we went) and La Paz Sand Dunes (the best sand dunes daw). Our drivers took us to Culili Point, there's a drop-off point and from there we took the 4x4 to the sand dunes. Rate for the 4x4 adventure and sand boarding was Php2,500 which is good for 4-5 pax na.  I honestly didn't know what to expect, I thought we will just ride the 4x4 around the sand dunes. I didn't know na may drops pala siya na parang rides sa theme park. KALOKA! I had FUN but my kids were not prepared! Hahaha! We were standing at the back of the 4x4 at first, R requested to be seated inside the 4x4 na with Kuya Darius after the first few drops. Y was enjoying it at first then cried after the highest drop. Haha! Sorry naman, anak! Ako on the other hand, enjoy na enjoy!
First stop before the drops! Masaya pa kami dito. Thank you Kuya Darius for taking our photos.
We had another stop near the beach before heading to the sand boarding area and the highest drop with the 4x4.
The whole activity took about 1.5 hours. We sand boarded for a good 45 minutes maybe? The kids enjoyed sand boarding! R went around maybe 5-7 times? I went 3 times. You can do it standing up too but I didn't try it, BOS did. Mas nakakapagod yung paakyat ng sand to go the starting point! (Check the video below!) TIP: Keep your mouth closed while sliding down because I ate a lot of sand with me screaming hahaha! It was so much fun but super tiring. You need to shower after kasi ang lagkit namin! Sand boarding is a must when you visit Ilocos Norte! R kept on bugging us to do it again the next day but we couldn't find time in the next few days of our trip.
Left: Me with Y at the lower level
Right: BOS with Y at the higher level
They also take photos of you and you can buy the photos but I forgot how much na. I bought our photos as souvenirs!

Here's a snippet!  This is one of those times we wished we had a GoPro!
video
video

We went back to our hotel, took a shower and had dinner our welcome dinner at Cafe Bonita.  We already picked what dishes we wanted to have prior to our trip. Everything was arranged thru email and SMS. So easy and convenient. This was our most memorable meals (at least for me) during our trip. They served so much food and it was good and filling! We also had our breakfast here during our stay.
In their jammies na! Ready to sleep after dinner!
Onion Rings
Fish and Chips
This was my favorite of them all! Bagnet Pomelo Salad! So good! We had bagnet almost everyday during this trip and this was my favorite! SO GOOD I KID YOU NOT!
Bagnet Sliders
Pasta Norte
Ham and Spinach Pasta
More Bagnet! Bagnet with Pakbet
Crispy Binagoongan
Mango Nutella Crepe

We had a tiring but fun and adventurous first day in Laoag. Sand boarding is a MUST! Don't forget to try Ilocano food too! We slept early on our first night. We also had an early start the next morning. 

I'm really happy about booking our whole stay at Vybe Hotel including our transportation because we didn't have to worry about where to park, if our car can make it thru another day (haha!), and I didn't have to worry about BOS too. Everything was booked thru them including the tours. We had to pay a little extra than if we will DIY our trip but with the kids, ayoko na ma-hassle and I don't want to think about a lot of things na. It was a good decision naman. The kids really enjoyed riding in the van, feeling nila bahay! The drivers we had were really good and can be trusted. I really recommend you stay at Vybe Hotel, really really affordable rates! This is not a sponsored post ha. 

Next entries will be more of our tour to Pagudpud and Vigan! Stay tuned!

Vybe Hotel Laoag
Barangay 55- A Barit, General Segundo Avenue, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
Facebook: Vybe Hotel
Instagram: @vybehotel
For reservations, email sales@vivailocos.com

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