Laoag city has a simple yet effective way of welcoming its tourists. Upon crossing Gilbert Bridge, the name sign of the city would welcome you and make you really feel you are officially in Laoag. This name sign is actually installed in a roundabout park which you will certainly see when you arrive or depart from the city. While walking on the downtown at night, it would be impossible not to be enticed to take a short trip on it, as it stands out in the middle of the road since it is glowing due to being well lit. However, to reach it, you would have to cross the street where fast vehicles pass. Traffic is continually circling around the roundabout park, so it would require you to wait until the cars lessen or slow down their speed until you can freely cross. Upon reaching the pocket park, you would enjoy walking on its grassy floor with cemented squares, meanwhile, the feel-good vibe of the place is augmented by warm lights coming from the stringed lights making each part of the park well lit. The place is so refreshing as you see the water fountain and the trees are surrounding it. Seeing how clean it makes you realize how the people and the local government are working together to maintain the park.
After a day’s tour of exploring Ilocos region, I have opted to relax here at night before I would take a rest and sleep. I wanted to sit on the park benches for a while, enjoy the cool breeze and just feel the vibe of the city. From where I sat, I could see the Sinking Bell Tower, Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol, restaurants and shopping center and made me observe that despite the park is located in the middle of the most important structures of the city, the irony is that it feels calming and quiet to stay here.
View of the park facing the provincial capitol
a nearby beautiful structure
On the center of the park, you may see the Tobacco Monopoly Monument which you wouldn’t notice right away until you see the narratives on the base of the monument. Made of bricks from clayey soil that is abundant in the Ilocos region, the monument has stood the test of time. It is erected as a homage to the Ilocano tobacco farmers and commemorates the lifting of tobacco monopoly in the Philippines after Filipinos were forced by the Spaniards to only plant tobacco and was only allowed to sell tobacco leaves to the Spanish government for so many years (1781 to 1881). As a sign of gratitude and appreciation, the monument was erected by the locals.
Tobacco Monopoly monument and the name sign of the city
Tobacco Monopoly Monument Narrative
Another interesting spot in the park is where the name sign of the city is standing. During the day, its color is plain white but at night it transforms and changes to different colors, from yellow to blue to orange to red. Since it is best to see this at night time, tourists mostly flock here at night as well to have their picture taken with the city’s name sign, making the pocket park as a rest stop for picture taking as well.
City name sign
If you happen to visit Laoag city soon, don’t miss your chance to visit this roundabout park and share your experience with us by writing on the comment box below. Happy Travels.
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. All expenses were shouldered by the author. All photos are from Kaycie Gayle