City of Laoag
Façade of Laoag Cathedral
Exterior of Laoag International Airport
La Paz Sand Dunes
Aurora Park located in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. The provincial capitol can be seen in the background
Sinking bell tower of Laoag
From top, left to right: Façade of Laoag Cathedral, Exterior of Laoag International Airport, La Paz Sand Dunes, Aurora Park, Sinking bell tower of Laoag
Flag of Laoag
Official seal of Laoag
Etymology: Ilocano: lawag ("light")
The Sunshine City
Anthem: Marcha de Laoag (Laoag March)
Map of Ilocos Norte with Laoag highlighted
Map of Ilocos Norte with Laoag highlighted
Laoag is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 18°11′52″N 120°35′37″E / 18.1978°N 120.5936°E / 18.1978; 120.5936
Country Philippines
RegionIlocos Region
ProvinceIlocos Norte
District 1st district
CityhoodJune 19, 1965
Barangays80 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Panlungsod
 • MayorMichael Keon
 • Vice MayorRey Carlos V. Fariñas
 • RepresentativeSandro Marcos
 • Mayor-council government
 • Electorate83,819 voters (2022)
 • Total116.08 km2 (44.82 sq mi)
57 m (187 ft)
Highest elevation
759 m (2,490 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 (2020 census)[3]
 • Total111,651
 • Density960/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
 • Households
 • Income class3rd city income class
 • Poverty incidence
% (2018)[4]
 • Revenue₱ 873.5 million (2020)
 • Assets₱ 2,314 million (2020)
 • Expenditure₱ 716.5 million (2020)
 • Liabilities₱ 684.7 million (2020)
Service provider
 • ElectricityIlocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)77
Native languagesIlocano

Laoag ([laʊˈag]), officially the City of Laoag (Ilocano: Siudad ti Laoag; Filipino: Lungsod ng Laoag), is a 3rd class component city and capital of the province of Ilocos Norte, Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 111,651 people.[3]

It is the province's political, commercial, and industrial hub and the location of Ilocos Region's busiest commercial airport.

The municipalities of San Nicolas, Paoay, Sarrat, Piddig, Vintar, and Bacarra form its boundaries. The foothills of the Cordillera Central mountain range to the east, and the South China Sea to the west are its physical boundaries.

Laoag experiences the prevailing monsoon climate of Northern Luzon, characterized by a dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October, occasionally visited by powerful typhoons. Laoag is also called the "sunshine City"


Aerial view of Laoag, 21 July 1923 11:06 AM

Long before the coming of the Spaniards, there already existed an extensive region consisting of the present provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, and La Union renowned for its gold mines. Merchants from Japan and China would often visit the area to trade gold with beads, ceramics, and silk. The Austronesian inhabitants of the region called their place samtoy, from sao mi itoy, which literally meant "this is our language."[citation needed]

In 1571, when the Spanish conquistadors had Manila more or less under their control, they began looking for new sites to conquer. Legaspi's grandson, Juan de Salcedo, volunteered to lead one of these expeditions. Together with eight armed boats and 45 men, the 22-year-old voyager headed north.[citation needed]

On June 13, 1572, Salcedo and his men landed in Vigan and then proceeded towards Laoag, Currimao, and Badoc. As they sailed along the coast, they were surprised to see numerous sheltered coves (looc) where the locals lived in harmony. As a result, they named the region "Ylocos" and its people "Ylocanos".[citation needed]

As the Christianization of the region grew, so did the landscape of the area. Vast tracts of land were utilized for churches and bell towers in line with the Spanish mission of bajo de las campanas ('under the bells') – a proclamation by King Philip's 1573 Law of the Indies. In the town plaza, it was not uncommon to see garrisons under the church bells. The colonization process was slowly being carried out.

The Spanish colonization of the region, however, was never completely successful. Owing to the abusive practices of many Augustinian friars, a number of Ilocanos revolted against their colonizers. Noteworthy of these were the Dingras uprising (1589) and Pedro Almasan revolt in San Nicolas (1660). In 1762, Diego Silang led a series of battles aimed at freeing the Ilocanos from the Spanish yoke. When he died from an assassin's bullet, his widow Gabriela continued the cause. Unfortunately, she too was captured and hanged. In 1807, the sugar cane (basi) brewers of Piddig rose up in arms to protest the government's monopoly of the wine industry. In 1898, the church excommunicated Gregorio Aglipay for refusing to cut off ties with the revolutionary forces of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. Unperturbed, he established the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. Aglipay's movement and the national sentiment it espoused helped restore the self-respect of many Filipinos.

A street of Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte, 1900–1913

"The great increase in population from 1715 to 1818 from 18,980 to 282,845 made the administration of the province very difficult. Due to the excessive monopolies and forced labor, there were several uprisings: first by the people of Dingras in 1589; one that was led by Pedro Almazan in 1616; the revolt of Diego Silang in 1762–1763; by Ambaristo in 1788; by Pedro Mateo in 1808 (also known as Basi Revolt) and uprising of Sarrat in 1815. For this reason, the division of the Ilocos into two provinces was recommended by the local authorities. On February 2, 1818, a Spanish Royal Decree was promulgated dividing the Province of Ilocos Norte from Ilocos Sur. Laoag, which was then the biggest center of population, was made the capital of Ilocos Norte."

Laoag was captured by the Japanese Army on December 12, 1941, two days after the landing at Vigan and Aparri. Its airport was then used by the Japanese for most of World War II.


Main article: Cities of the Philippines

On June 19, 1965, Laoag changed from municipality to city status, following a plebiscite and passed into law by the Senate President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos. It remained the capital of Ilocos Norte. Mayor Eulalio F. Siazon and Engineer Trinidad Lucas Aurelio were part of a team that led the drive to convert Laoag into a city. Another members of the group was Simeon M. Valdez who filed the bill in congress, co-authored by Antonio V. Raquiza. The first city mayor was Eulalio Fonacier Siazon.[5]


Laoag is located at the west-central part of the Province of Ilocos Norte bordering the South China Sea. It is bounded on the east by the Municipality of Sarrat; in the southeast by the Municipality of San Nicolas; in the southwest by the Municipality of Paoay, in the northeast the Municipality of Vintar; in the northwest by the Municipality of Bacarra; and in the west by the South China Sea. It is one of the largest cities in the Ilocos Region.[6]


Laoag is politically subdivided into 80 barangays. Each barangay consists of puroks and some have sitios.


Laoag has a tropical savanna climate with warm to hot temperatures year round. Temperatures dips sightly during the winter months between December and February. Characterized by two well-pronounced seasons; dry and wet and is classified as mild and pleasant climate. Dry season usually starts in November until April and wet during the rest of the year. The city is shielded from northeast monsoon and trade winds by the mountain ranges of Cordillera and Sierra Madre but it is exposed to the southwest monsoon and cyclone storms.

The rainy seasons, which has an average monthly rainfall of more than 100 millimetres (3.9 in). is from May to September with its peak in June, July and August. Rainfall during the peak month represents 68% of the annual rainfall with an average of 200 millimetres (7.9 in).

In the afternoon of May, temperature reach up to 36.2 °C (97.2 °F) and drops down to 11.4 °C (52.5 °F) in the early mornings of January. The city recorded an average temperature of 27.25 °C (81.05 °F) with a relative humidity of 75.5% in 1996. The city experiences an average of four to five tropical cyclones every year.

Climate data for Laoag City (1981–2010, extremes 1908–2012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.0
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 30.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.1
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 19.5
Record low °C (°F) 11.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 5.3
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1 1 1 1 9 14 18 19 14 7 4 1 90
Average relative humidity (%) 75 75 74 75 77 82 85 87 87 80 77 75 79
Mean monthly sunshine hours 246.4 256.1 294.4 291.9 249.1 229.3 218.1 196.8 201.5 227.7 227.9 242.7 2,881.9
Source 1: PAGASA[8][9]
Source 2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (sun, 1961–1990)[10][11]


Population census of Laoag
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 34,454—    
1918 38,469+0.74%
1939 41,842+0.40%
1948 44,406+0.66%
1960 50,198+1.03%
1970 61,727+2.09%
1975 66,259+1.43%
1980 69,648+1.00%
1990 83,756+1.86%
1995 88,336+1.00%
2000 94,466+1.45%
2007 102,457+1.13%
2010 104,904+0.86%
2015 111,125+1.10%
2020 111,651+0.09%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[12][13][14][15]

According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 111,651 people,[3] with a density of 960 inhabitants per square kilometre or 2,500 inhabitants per square mile.

Laoag City had a total population of 94,466 for the year 2000 as per NSO official report. In 1995, the total inhabitants of the city was 88,336, an increase of 6,130. Based on the 1995 and 2000 intercensal periods, the Average Annual Growth Rate of the city was 1.35%.

The number of households is 19,751 and the average household size is five (5) persons per household. Male-female ratio is 1:1; Birth rate is 26.44% while Death rate is 4.28%.

In the city of Laoag as of year 2000, Urban barangay San Lorenzo had the largest number of population at 2,883, followed by Rural barangay Buttong at 2,277, and then by Barangay 2 Santa Joaquina at 2,048. With the least inhabitants was Rural Barangay 39 Santa Rosa, 592, and then Barangay 52-A San Mateo, 594. Noticeably, the residents of Barangay 23 San Matias decreased by 740.

Majority of ethnic population is Ilocano, whereas the Roman Catholic and the Aglipayan Church are the dominant religious affiliations. The rest of the existing religions in the city include the Iglesia ni Cristo, and other Protestant groups with a significant number of adherents.


Strategically located at the northern tip of the Northwestern Luzon Growth Quadrangle. It is within two hours of jet travel to any one of East Asia's economic tigers such as Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan by way of the Laoag International Airport if direct routes are opened and established.[6] Having critical infrastructure such as the Laoag International Airport at Gabu and the Currimao Port makes Laoag the port of entry of goods and services complemented by an extensive road and highway system that connects it to other cities. A banking system is also found in the city with a number of twenty-five different local, domestic, and foreign banks ready to serve any financial need.[citation needed]

With a 12,747.35m total land area, Laoag City provides a large opportunity for economic expansion. The historic scenic tourist spots, availability of internationally competitive accommodations and facilities, and the presence of supportive national government agencies, makes Laoag an ecotourism center, as classified by the Department of Tourism. The Northwestern Luzon Growth Quadrangle – fondly called the North Quad – also aims to develop rural areas through an integrated countryside agri-industrial development approach with emphasis/focus in attaining sustainable and equitable growth; increase the productivity of agriculture and fisheries; encourage industrial competitiveness in the local and foreign markets like Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. Plans are also being undertaken for the establishment of an eco-tourism village, which will showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Ilocano people and the local industries.[citation needed]

Laoag and the surrounding municipalities also bolster a strong workforce. At present, most industries in the city are small-scale, consisting of small-scale food-processing factories, rice mills, jewelry-making, hollow blocks factories, and metal crafts. Retail giants like SM Prime Holdings with three stores, and Puregold are present within the central business district. CityMall and SM City Laoag, on the other hand, will soon to rise south of the Padsan River with the latter being under construction located in Barangay Nangalisan West. Unitop, Mart One, Novo, New India, ME, JTC, MINISO, and ØNE Ø 5IVE are popular shopping centers offering affordable price. 7-Eleven likewise has seven convenient stores at present. Robinsons in neighboring San Nicolas is only 5 minutes walk from the city limits.

The city is also in the forefront of green-technology after Danish investors set-up the first wind-driven powerplant in Southeast Asia: the Bangui Wind Farm. The 25-megawatt plant cost $47.6 million US dollars. An $11 million US dollar expansion is concurrently under construction, which is set to quadruple the capacity.[23]


Local government

Main article: Sangguniang Panglungsod

Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol
Laoag City Hall

Laoag, belonging to the first congressional district of the province of Ilocos Norte, is governed by a mayor designated as its local chief executive and by a city council as its legislative body in accordance with the Local Government Code. The mayor, vice mayor, and the councilors are elected directly by the people through an election which is being held every three years.

Elected officials

Laoag City elected officials, term of office June 30, 2022 – June 30, 2025:[24]

Mayor Michael Marcos Keon
Vice Mayor Rey Carlos M. Fariñas
  • James Bryan Q. Alcid
  • Handy T. Lao
  • Enrico F. Ang
  • Jeff Ericson P. Fariñas
  • Jaybee G. Baquiran
  • Juan Conrado A. Respicio II
  • John Michael V. Fariñas
  • Jason Bader L. Perera
  • Roger John C. Fariñas
  • Derick B. Lao
ABC President Mary Michelle Louise "Mikee" V. Fariñas
SK Federated President Anzhelyka Faye T. Lao

City seal

Official seal of Laoag City


See also: List of Cultural Properties of the Philippines in the Ilocos Region

Museo Ilocos Norte
Aurora Park

Tourism has become a major economic driver of Laoag City, paving the way for new commercial investments and infrastructure development. Fort Ilocandia Resort, first and only 5-star hotel in the north, continues to attract foreign and domestic tourists. Other places of interest include a tour of heritage sites featuring Spanish colonial buildings, baroque churches, La Paz Sand Dunes, white-sand beach resorts of Pagudpud, and Marcos-era mansions.

The Laoag Cathedral was built in 1612 by Augustinian friars to replace a wooden chapel. It also serves as the seat or central church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag. Built with an Italian Renaissance, the church has an unusual two-story façade, supported by two pairs of columns on each side of the arched entrance architecture design and at the top of the facade holds a recessed niche that showcases the image of the city's patron saint, William of Maleval.

The dramatic increase in tourist arrivals also prompted the establishment of a Chinese consulate to oversee the security of Chinese citizens living or visiting the city. A new immigration policy set to simplify entry of Chinese tourists into the country by issuing visitor visas in the airport after arrival is expected to entice more guests to come. Laoag City has been named as one of the top tourist destinations in Region I and in the country.


Gilbert Bridge spanning across the Padsan River

Laoag International Airport services flights to and from Guangzhou and Macau, as well as, domestic flights by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Foreign airlines offer direct charter flights to Laoag as part of travel packages with optional excursions to tourist destinations outside the city. Tourists can find travel agencies including ticket offices of several airlines at the terminal building.

Several large bus companies serve Laoag City making connections to major and minor Philippine destinations. These transportation services are provided by GV Florida Transport, Viron Transit, Maria de Leon Bus Lines, RCJ Lines, Partas and Fariñas Transit Company. Laoag is 487 kilometres (303 mi) from Manila via South Road Access of Laoag and 750 kilometres (470 mi) via North Access of Laoag from Metro Manila.

Mode of transport within the city includes taxi, jeepney, tricycle, and kalesa. Mini buses have daily routes to and from Pagudpud, Batac, and Vigan among others.

The Laoag bypass linking Paoay on the western part serves as diversion road to long wheeler trucks without crossing the city proper. Another bypass road east of the city is under construction linking Bacarra and San Nicolas towns will help decongest traffic upon completion.


Laoag Central Elementary School

As the provincial capital, Laoag is the center of social and economic activity with almost all major commercial and institutional establishments gravitating towards it. The importance of education in socializing its population is shared by both the local government and the private sector, which has invested heavily in the development of the academic infrastructure.

Most of the lower-level schools are government-owned and are divided into three districts, comprising a total of thirty-three elementary schools. Ten private elementary schools are also present including a Chinese school. In addition, there are eight private and six public high schools, and significant rise of integrated schools.

In order to provide continuing education to sustain the economic momentum of the region, the government has established tertiary public learning institutions in the city: the College of Teacher Education (CTE) and the College of Industrial Technology (CIT) of the Mariano Marcos State University.

Other higher education institutions in the city include Northwestern University, Northern Christian College, Divine Word College of Laoag, Data Center College of the Philippines, Ilocos Norte College of Arts and Trades, AMA Colleges, and STI College.

Also found in Laoag are vocational schools namely Overseas Technical Institute, Lazo Fashion School, and Bel Arte School of Fine Arts.

The Science High School, second in Ilocos Region under the Department of Science and Technology, will open its door to aspiring Grade 7 students starting June 2024, located in Barangay Vira east of bypass road.


TV stations

Cable & Satellite


AM stations:

FM stations:

News Programs

Sister cities


  1. ^ City of Laoag | (DILG)
  2. ^ "2015 Census of Population, Report No. 3 – Population, Land Area, and Population Density" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. Quezon City, Philippines. August 2016. ISSN 0117-1453. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 25, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Census of Population (2020). "Region I (Ilocos Region)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  4. ^ "PSA Releases the 2018 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. 15 December 2021. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  5. ^ "History". City Government of Laoag. Archived from the original on July 23, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Geographical Location". City Government of Laoag. Archived from the original on October 11, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  7. ^ "2010 Census of Population and Housing: Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay:as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 23, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  8. ^ "Laoag, Ilocos Norte Climatological Normal Values". Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. Archived from the original on October 13, 2018. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "Laoag, Ilocos Norte Climatological Extremes". Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. Archived from the original on October 13, 2018. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  10. ^ "Station 98223 Laoag". Global station data 1961–1990—Sunshine Duration. Deutscher Wetterdienst. Archived from the original on October 17, 2017. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  11. ^ "Station ID for Laoag is 98223. Use this station ID to locate the sunshine duration". Archived from the original on October 17, 2017. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  12. ^ Census of Population (2015). "Region I (Ilocos Region)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  13. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region I (Ilocos Region)" (PDF). Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  14. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region I (Ilocos Region)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. National Statistics Office.((cite encyclopedia)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Province of Ilocos Norte". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Poverty incidence (PI):". Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  17. ^ "Estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. 29 November 2005.
  18. ^ "2003 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. 23 March 2009.
  19. ^ "City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates; 2006 and 2009" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. 3 August 2012.
  20. ^ "2012 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. 31 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Municipal and City Level Small Area Poverty Estimates; 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. 10 July 2019.
  22. ^ "PSA Releases the 2018 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. 15 December 2021. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  23. ^ "Bangui windmills".
  24. ^ "Laoag City Partial, unofficial results aggregated from Comelec data". ABS-CBN News. May 13, 2022. Retrieved August 20, 2022.