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Lakbay Norte 2: Hotel-hopping in the North

March 22, 2011

Six days, five hotels

During the six day tour in Lakbay Norte 2, we got to stay in five different hotels, often arriving late at night from a long drive just ready to crash on the bed with our backpacks and souvenir bags/media kits in tow.

Here’s a quick rundown on the inns where we refreshed our HP/MP during the Lakbay Norte 2 adventure (sorry, gaming reference).

Night 1: Sun City

San Vicente Naval Operating Base, Brgy. San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley

We got our own villa with two bedrooms – a master’s bedroom and another room with two double beds. Each Asian-inspired villa came luxuriously decorated with its own sala and had two bathrooms. In the living room area, there were a couple of olive green couches, heavy dark wood furniture, Zen touches like a bowl of potpuri, paintings of lotus flowers, stylish woven basket-like lamps and customized amenities in cute bottles. Recessed lighting over specific spots like over the bed and hallway made the place look more cozy.

While we were given the standard rooms, the most expensive villa in the resort (a two-story house with its own private pool) costs about HK$ 3000 (almost P17,000/night). According to Sun City receptionist Jernalin Cabildo, despite its geographic location, Sun City is popular for family reunions, conventions, destination weddings and other special occasions. A courtyard at the back of the restaurant leads to the infinity pool, gym and a small lounge area, and the water sports area for jet skis and kayaks. Food in Sun City was excellent, especially the fresh mushroom soup, and dessert, but most of us were too full to eat dinner because we had stopped for another hosted seafood dinner in Sta. Ana.

  • Room cost: HK$ 680 (P3,796)
  • Ideal for: families, couples, conventions
  • Bonus points: free wifi in lobby (the LAN connection in the room didn’t work for me), classy interiors

Night 2: Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co.

Cagayan Economic Freeport Zone, Sta. Ana, Cagayan

Though the rooms were less luxurious than Sun City, the service at Eastern Hawaii Hotel was top-notch. We were welcomed with a tray of what we thought was fresh “lumpia” (actually some rolled-up facetowels for us to freshen up with) and a welcome drink after our rainy island-hopping tour to Palaui. The hotel apparently also had an infinity pool, across the street where we had dinner, but the cold weather caused most us to just sleep the whole afternoon instead of swim. Rooms also came with a bonus of two hours of free wifi. Kudos to the cheerful and attentive staff who refused to let us carry our own bags and accompanied us all the way to the dining area instead of just pointing out the way. Dinner here consisted of good old Pinoy classics you look for when you’re at the beach – liempo, grilled prawns in butter, sisig, and fish.

  • Room cost: (updated!) P2,000/night for twin and king sized beds; P4,000/night for suite with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with sala
  • Ideal for: large groups, conventions, families
  • Bonus points: all guests get a free 15-minute massage

Night 3: Kapuluan Vista Resort

Sitio Baniaran, Barangay Balaoi, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

After a long rainy day on the road (passing through Buguey and Claveria from Cagayan), we checked into Kapuluan Vista Resort, owned by Mike and Alma Oida, avid surfers. Beds were covered with white sheets and gauzy net fabric over the beds, with fresh flowers strewn on the bed for good effect. The bathrooms had a mini garden with a sun roof on the side ensuring they got good light. The reception/dining area was decorated with several wooden tables and a cozy gaming area, with a surfboard hanging over the reception desk. There was also a small swimming pool at the center of the courtyard. From the deck overlooking the pool, you can get a good view of the ocean, which unfortunately was just raging waves and howling winds during our brief stay. Surfing gear and bicycles are available for rent and according to owner Mike Oida, they also have yoga retreats and will be offering photography retreats at the resort. Food was wholesome and detoxifying, starting with kilawin, seafood sisig, cilantro soup, salad greens, and the main course of dinakdakan (grilled pork) and blue marlin capped off with homemade ice cream.

  • Room cost: P2,700 for standard room (w/Queen sized bed good for 2 +P500 for  extra person)
  • Ideal for: couples, those looking for a healthy vacation
  • Bonus points: a couple of friendly poodles (Drew and Julia) like to curl up guests; game area, organic food

Night 4: Ilocos Norte Convention Center (INCC)

Barangay 41, Balacad, Laoag, Ilocos Norte

Clean, effortlesly elegant, and practical, the Ilocos Norte Convention Center (INCC) seems to know how to cater to businesspeople. Suites were simply decorated but were very fresh, clean and comfortable. Balconies, lined with a trellis of plants and flowers looked over a large swimming pool which fronts a nearby Chapel. The breakfast food, which was served buffet-style was typical of hotel food, with the exception of the the Ilocos longganisa. While it didn’t have quite the same character as the other hotels we stayed in, it was still a very pleasant place to stay.

  • Room cost: P3,000-7,000 for Suite rooms
  • Ideal for: businesspeople, conventions
  • Bonus points: right across the street from Malacanang ti Amianan (Malacanang of the North), roundtrip airport transfers
  • (reservations/booking site only)

Night 5: Playa Tropical Resort Hotel

Barangay Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte

Though we checked in really late at night after our sandboarding/4×4/videoke socials, we get to enjoy the resort in the fishing town of Currimao fully the next morning. Hallways were decorated with carved wooden details similar to the headboards, while the lobby, dining and gaming area have aged hardwood furniture and quirky touches, like a Foosball table. Outside, lush plants and flowers surrounded four gorgeous villas decorated with spirals (signifying self-discovery). The villas, which are good for max. 8 people have their own private pool. Towards the back of the resort, the infinity pool overlooks the wide beach where fishermen’s bright red and white boats dock on the shore. As for activities, Playa Tropical offers skimboarding lessons and arranges tours to Vigan and Pagudpud, as well as an overnight tour to nearby Badoc island where guests can camp out for the night.

  • Room cost: P3,800 for deluxe double rooms (good for 2 max of 4)
  • Ideal for: couples, families
  • Bonus points: cool gaming room, one free massage per night
12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2011 1:36 am

    nice! i like how you took photos of all the room keys 🙂 i kind of miss sleeping in a different bed every night, hehe 😉

  2. Thesz Liwanag permalink
    April 5, 2011 5:09 am

    Hi there…thanks for the very nice write-up

    I hope to see u once again in the (near) future 🙂 Keep safe


    • April 7, 2011 1:46 am

      thank you ms. thesz! 🙂 we enjoyed our brief stay at eastern hawaii 🙂

  3. Amante J. Dulay permalink
    April 5, 2011 5:05 pm

    Hello, this is Carl Dulay, the FO Supervisor from Eastern Hawaii…We would like to personally thank you for your very flattering write up…btw, our wifi connection is not just for 2 hours and it’s nice you enjoyed our ‘lumpia’ wrappers…if you would like to reach me, my cellphone number is 0927 808 5432…Again, thank you…

    • April 7, 2011 1:53 am

      hi mr. dulay. thanks for the correction about the wifi and sending the room rates 🙂 just updated information on the site! 🙂

  4. Amante J. Dulay permalink
    April 7, 2011 5:05 am

    Hello Kara,

    Just to clarify farther, our Room Rates vary per Building. The usual amenities found in Hotels are available in Eastern Hawaii such as Cable TV, In-House telephone et al. Transportation Service, Room Service, Laundry and Housekeeping services are available 24 hours a day as well as Medical Clinic First Aid services.

    Eastern Hawaii boasts what we refer to as our VIP Building with twin sized and king sized air-conditioned rooms, hot and cold showers while having the usual amenities as well as a Mini-Bar Set-Up, Cable TV, In-House telephone and Wifi (upon request). These rooms are moderately priced at Philippine Pesos Two Thousand (Php 2,000.00) per night.

    Finally, Eastern Hawaii also offers our Mediterranean accented Rooms with its own Kitchenette, Mini-Bar Set-Up, Water Dispenser per room, Dining Area, Sala, Master’s Bedroom with a king sized bed and a single room with two separate hot and cold showers/bathrooms, Cable TV, In-House telephone with Wi-fi (upon request).The rooms are also moderately priced at Philippine Pesos Four Thousand (Php 4,000.00) a night.

    We feature a famous Chinese Restaurant serving daily buffet, ala carte or Set Menus, a Coffee Shop, Spa and Parlour Services and we are pleased to offer our newly opened Poolside Pavilion where we can accommodate conventions while enjoying our infinity Swimming Pool and the beach located right in front of the Pavilion.

    I hope this provides more information on what Eastern Hawaii offers our guests not to mention our Recreational Activities whether it be water activities (Jet Skis, Banana Boats, Speed Boats), Gym and Sports as well as our Driving Range…Again thank you Kara! Come back soon and enjoy!!!


  1. Lakbay Norte Diaries: Cagayan Food-trip + the Luxurious Sun City « Travel-Up
  2. Lakbay Norte Diaries: Eastern Hawaii Hotel in Cagayan « Travel-Up
  3. Trip Summary: Lakbay Norte 2 « Travel-Up
  4. Achievements Unlocked in 2011 « Travel-Up

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