Laoag City

Laoag City is the capital of Ilocos Norte.

It is the traditional hub of politics, commerce, education and religion in all of Ilocandia and has continued its dominance to this day. As the most progressive city in the region, Laoag prides itself with modern infrastructure facilities that include an international airport, state-of-the-art telecommunication facilities as well as first class hotels. This has drawn major companies, banks and other businesses to set up office in this delightful city by the Padsan river.

In spite of its modernization, however, the city has not cast off its mornings. Laoag’s long history (it was discovered by the Spaniards way back in 1572) has endowed it with an old world grace. To this day, the city has retained the Hispanic grid plan of its thoroughfares. May colonial structures including public buildings, monuments and ancestral houses have likewise been preserved. These structures are situated around the plaza complex and may be conveniently toured on foot or quaint horse-drawn calesa.

Year established: 1589 as a town; 1965 as a city
Land area: 12,747 hectares
No. of Barangays: 80
Market days: Wednesday & Sunday
Fiesta: February 3 to 12
Population: 102,457


Suggested Itinerary

  • Laoag is presently the prime commercial center of Ilocos Norte, drawing major companies, banks and other businesses to set up branches and offices in the city. Medical services, telecommunications and educational institutions have helped make Laoag a regional economic center.
  • The cultural role of Laoag was enhanced with the opening in 1999 of the Museo Ilocos, supplanting the earlier Ilocandia Museum of Traditional Costume inaugurated in 1977.
  • At the core of Laoag’s massive grid-planned urban area is the main city plaza, a public space dedicated solely to the functions of the state, linked to Southern Ilocandia by a bridge which spans the Laoag River and sets a dramatic approach to the city.
  • To have a glimpse of the genteel past of the selected few of Laoag society, one should take a stroll down Rizal Street westward to where the old house of the Hernandez family stands.
  • Also on Rizal street, to the east and north, one finds American period houses, some of them with fancy cutwork in the verandahs.
  • A short walk away is the public plaza where stands the Tobacco Monopoly Monument, an obelisk of clay brick, erected in 1881.
  • Provincial Capitol
  • St. Williams Cathedral
  • Sinking Belltower
  • One of the best ways to get to know Ilocano culture (if you do not have the luxury to time to go around the entire province) is by visiting Gameng: Museo Ilocos Norte. The museum is about a block away from the town plaza and is housed in a restored tabacalera, a factory of sort for tobacco back in the Spanish era.
  • Visitors will find a trip to the market worthwhile. A riot of colors meet the visitor to the market as row after row, various vegetables, sea weeds, fruits, meta products, seafood, and grains are sold under brightly colored beach umbrellas outside the market and on incandescent bulb-lit tables inside those looking for baskets and blankets and other handicrafts need only mount the stairs to the upper floors where the best bargains can be had.
  • Visitors may opt to ride one the many horse-drawn carriages that ply the city streets.


Famous People

  • Roque Ablan ,Sr.
    Newspaperman, lawyer, social worker, labor leader. As provincial governor of Ilocos Norte at the outbreak of World War II, organized a local assistance government. Fought the invaders valiantly until his disappearance in 1913.
  • Santiago S. Fonacier (May 21, 1885 – December 8, 1977)
    Journalist, reporter, lawmaker, nationalistic and priest of Iglesia Filipina Independiente. Was born in Laoag City, on May 21, 1885. In 1912, elected to the first Philippine Assembly as representative of the first district of Ilocos Norte.Senator Santiago A. Fonacier was born in Laoag, Ilocos Norte on May 21, 1885. He took his elementary education in his town and secondary education in a high school accredited by the University of Santo Tomas and the Liceo de Manila. He studied for the priesthood in a seminary of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and was ordained priest in 1902.

    After his ordination, he taught for two years. However, being inclined towards journalism, he left teaching and founded and edited Spanish periodicals, among them La Lucha, which survived from the 1900’s to 1941. Thereafter, he became a reporter of La Democracia and El Grito del Pueblo. He did translations into Ilocano of Rizal’s two novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

    In 1912, Fonacier was elected to the first Philippine Assembly as representative of the first district of Ilocos Norte. He served in full his four-year term. In the following election, 1919, he ran and won as senator for the first senatorial district, composed of the provinces of Abra, Batanes, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Isabela.

    Aside from being an assemblyman and senator, he served the government as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines, the Philippine Independence mission to the United States, the Institute of National Textbook Board, and served as a military chaplain.

    Fonacier was one of the original followers of Msgr. Gregorio Aglipay, the famous Filipino clergyman and revolutionary who founded the Iglesia Filipina Independente as a renegade Catholic sect free from the jurisdiction and rules of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican itself. He succeeded Aglipay.

    Bishop Fonacier died at the age of 92 on December 8, 1977. He was married to Carmen Jamias with whom he had eight children.

  • Tomas S. Fonacier
    Ipinanganak sa Laoag, Ilocos Norte, noon 25 Disyembre 1998. Natamo ang titulong doctor sa pilosopiya sa Stanford university at doctor ng mga batas, Honoris Causa, SA U.P. May-akda ng The Chinese in the Philippines during the American Regime at iba pang sanaysay. Unang dekano ng U.P. Iloilo. Tagapangulo ng Institure of Asian Studies. Direkto, sangay ng U.P. Alumni Annual Fund. Rehente ng U.P. hanggang sa mamatay nonng 5 Hulyo 1981.
  • Heneral Fidel  V. Segundo
    Ipinanganak sa Laoag, Ilocos Norte, noong Abril 24, 1894. Nagtapos sa United States Military Academy sa West Point, Estados Unidos, noong 1917. Puno ng unang dibisyon regular ng USAFEE na nakitalad sa Bataan noong 1942. Nabilanggo sa Kapas, Tarlac, ngunit pinalaya pagkatapos; Dinakip noong Disyember 19, 1944; Kasama ang kanyang anak na si Fidel, pinahirapan at pinatay nga mga Hapon
  • Anastacia Giron Tupas
    Ipinanganak sa Laoag, Ilocos Norte noong Agosto 24, 1890. Rehistradong Nurse, PGH, 1912. Nagtamo ng Certificate of Public Nursing, University of Pennsylavania, At P.S.E., M.S. (Edukasyon) at M.A. (Nursing) U.P., Unang Pilipinong Nurse at Superintendente, PGH School of Nursing, (1917-1923). Nagtatag at unang Superintendente, Southern Island Hospital School of Nursing (Lungsod ng Cebu), 1918-1928. Pangulo ng Komiteng Taga-balangkas ng Batas 2808 ng Nursing, 1919. Nanguna, Philippine Nurses Association (PNA), 1922, nagtatag at unang Direktor, U.P. School of Public Health Nursing. Puno at pagkaraan dekana Emeritus, PWU College of Nursing, may-akda ng The History of Nursing in the Philippines, 1952. Tumanggap ng pinakatanging gawad, Philippine Association of Board Examiners, 1951; at postumong gawad ng PNA bilang.

Images of Laoag City

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