We were finally able to head north before 2021 ended. (You can read about and watch our trip to my husband’s hometown of Aparri, plus what to do and where to go there here.) We always do the Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte route to Aparri because we like to explore the area and stay awhile when there.
We stopped at Pagudpud and stayed at the lovely Pannzian Resort for three days(though I have bittersweet feelings about it because I loved our stay but I lost all of the photos and videos I took while there).
Was it easy going there and how different are the Ilocos Norte travel requirements for tourists in 2022 from the ones we had to present when we went there late last year?
Is Pagudpud open for tourists?
Yes, Pagudpud and the rest of Ilocos Norte is open to tourists. Many of the resorts there have also partnered with the Department of Tourism (DOT), so you’ll have a rather easy time looking for where to stay.
Do I need a travel pass going to Ilocos Norte?
We’re lucky because the resort we booked informed us of the travel requirements needed for our trip.
While Ilocos Sur is open to tourists — no restrictions whatsoever to enter — Ilocos Norte is a bit more ‘strict’.
Here’s what we did before our trip.
- We applied for Tourist Passes through DOT Region 1’s website.
- We uploaded the required documents:
- A government-issued ID
- Proof of booking from the accommodation
We didn’t need to apply for a tourist pass for our 9-year-old daughter.
We were given QR codes that worked as our ‘Travel Passes’. We applied on a Saturday and my husband’s pass was approved on a Monday, so it was pretty swift. (The weird thing though is that my application is still in progress — it’s been more than a month since we left Ilocos Norte.)
We drove from Batangas to Pagudpud and didn’t encounter any problems while on the road. The trip was actually quite fast because we took all the Express Ways we could (SLEX, NLEX, TPLEX).
We were met by a couple of checkpoints upon entering Ilocos Norte from Ilocos Sur, but we were just given instructions during the stops.
The region has a hub for tourists where one of you will have to get your requirements checked. The process was relatively fast. Just make sure you have a pen with you because you will be signing forms for each person with you.
I suggest you secure a seat in line while filling out a form so you can get screened faster.
Aside from the forms we needed to fill out and the requirements we had already uploaded to the DOT website (valid IDs, booking form), we were also required to show our vaccination cards.
They gave us a ‘green card’ and a vehicle pass and asked us to bring them back to the site after our stay in Pagudpud but we were actually heading to Cagayan after that, so I was told to just leave them at the checkpoint between Ilocos Norte and Cagayan.
A few things to note: We weren’t stopped at checkpoints on our way to Pagudpud. I don’t recall there being any, to be honest. But there was one in the boundary between Ilocos Norte and Cagayan.
We also didn’t need to register on the Ilocos Norte website, just the one by DOT (above).
As of writing, Ilocos Norte is under Alert Level 3 so the province is rightfully taking more precautions.
Do we need a swab test before going to Ilocos Norte?
We were not asked to take a swab test when we went there in December 2021 because we are fully vaccinated. I did hear of other tourists who were told to get swabbed though I’m not too sure about the reason (guessing it’s because they weren’t fully vaccinated then).
In 2022, all tourists are required to take a test before entering the province. You can take an antigen test upon arriving at the border, present a negative RT-PCR test taken within the last 60 hours of your arrival or a negative antigen test within 24 hours of your arrival.
The good news is that the testing fees will be shouldered by the provincial government if you’re staying for more than two days. (There is no information about how to secure payment for the tests though, so I suggest calling the provincial tourism office or asking the establishment you’re booking for more details.)