Candon City

Hey there, adventurous souls! Ever heard about a sweet little gem in the Philippines called Candon City? If not, fasten your seatbelt because we’re about to dive into an exciting journey in this marvelous city located in Ilocos Sur.

Nestled in the heart of the northern Philippines, Candon City is a vibrant parcel of culture, history, and, of course, the sweetest delicacies. It’s a city that laughs in the face of monotony, presenting a variety of experiences that’ll have you saying, “Wow, that’s something I’ve never seen before!”

You know those quiet mornings when you wake up and you can almost taste the freshness of the day? That’s what Candon City feels like – a breath of fresh air but with a unique twist of its own. It’s like an artist’s palette, rich with colors and textures that are just waiting to be explored.

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to walk down streets that whisper tales of the past? Well, in Candon City, every corner has a story to tell. Isn’t that just mind-blowing?

Candon City Church Facade
By Judgefloro – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

History of Candon City

We begin our journey in the pre-colonial era. Local groups, namely the Itnegs and Tingguians, first populated the lush landscapes of Candon. They thrived by farming and hunting, living in harmony with the land. Life was simple, and the community was tight-knit.

Moving forward, an important shift came with the arrival of the Spanish in the late 16th century. They stumbled upon the fertile plains and the flowing rivers of Candon and decided to establish a colonial outpost. The Spanish colonization had a profound influence on the city. They introduced Catholicism, a faith that still remains dominant in the region today. The architecture of the city started to adopt Spanish styles, resulting in a unique blend of local and foreign influences.

However, the Spanish rule was not without resistance. Candon became known as the “Tobacco Capital of the Philippines” due to the extensive cultivation of tobacco initiated by the Spanish. The locals, though, were not pleased with the forced labor imposed by the Spanish authorities. The tension culminated in the Candon Revolt of 1807, a significant event led by the local hero, Don Isabelo Abaya. Despite its failure, this revolt sparked the spirit of rebellion that would eventually lead to the country’s independence.

As the 19th century came to a close, the Spanish-American War broke out, signaling an end to Spanish rule. The Americans took over, introducing English as the language of instruction and establishing public education. Candon, like the rest of the Philippines, experienced significant changes under American rule.

World War II

World War II brought tumultuous times to the city. Japanese forces occupied Candon in 1941, leading to years of hardship and struggle. But the spirit of the people remained unbroken. In 1945, Filipino and American forces liberated the city, marking the end of Japanese occupation.

The post-war era was a time of rebuilding and growth for Candon. The city gradually developed its economy, focusing on agriculture and trade. It officially became a city in 2001, a testament to its progress and development.


This city is a melting pot of cultures. The city is home to a diverse population of Ilocanos, Tagalogs, Pangasinenses, and other ethnic groups.

The Ilocano language is the dominant language spoken in Candon City. However, Tagalog and English are also widely spoken. The city’s cuisine is a mix of Ilocano, Tagalog, and Spanish influences. Some of the most popular dishes include pinakbet, dinuguan, and longganisa.

This city is also known for its vibrant music scene. The city is home to a number of talented musicians and singers. The city’s music is a mix of traditional and modern genres.

Here are some of the most important aspects of Candon City’s culture:

Religion: The majority of people in this city are Roman Catholic. The city is home to a number of churches, including the Candon Church, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Language: The official language of Candon City is Ilocano. However, many people in the city also speak English and Tagalog.

Food: This city is known for its delicious food. The city is home to a number of restaurants that serve traditional Ilocano cuisine, including pinakbet, dinuguan, and igado. Visitors can also find a variety of international cuisine in the city.

Music: This city has a rich musical tradition. The city is home to a number of bands and musicians, who play a variety of genres of music, including traditional Ilocano music, folk music, and pop music.

Dance: This city is also known for its dancing. The city is home to a number of dance troupes, who perform traditional Ilocano dances, as well as modern and contemporary dances.

Art: This city has a thriving art scene. The city is home to a number of artists, who work in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and photography.

Literature: This city has a rich literary tradition. The city is home to a number of writers, who have written novels, short stories, and poems in both Ilocano and English.

Theater: This city has a vibrant theater scene. The city is home to a number of theater companies, that produce plays and musicals throughout the year.

Natural Beauty

This city is surrounded by natural beauty. The city is located on the banks of the Candon River, which is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, and boating. The city is also home to a number of parks and nature reserves, including the Candon City Nature Park, which is home to a variety of plants and animals.

Activities in Candon City

There are a number of activities to enjoy in this city. Visitors can explore the city’s historical and cultural landmarks, go swimming, fishing, or boating in the Candon River, or hike in the Candon City Nature Park. The city is also home to a number of restaurants and bars, where visitors can enjoy the local cuisine and nightlife.

Food in Candon City

Firstly, buckle up because we’re about to dive into a world of flavor. Candon City is renowned for its “Kankanen,” a collective term for native rice cakes. Just imagine stepping into the city’s bustling market early in the morning. The sweet scent of cooking rice wafts in the air, guiding you straight to the stalls selling “Bibingka” – a soft, slightly sweet, and cheese-topped cake cooked in a clay pot lined with banana leaves. It’s a breakfast staple that will surely kick-start your day.

Next, let’s swoosh over to “Dinengdeng,” a wholesome vegetable dish that’s a must-try. It’s a medley of local veggies, like ampalaya (bitter gourd), okra, eggplant, and squash, simmered in a light, fishy broth. This dish is a testament to Candon City’s love for simple, hearty, and healthy meals.

After that, let’s get a taste of “Chichacorn,” a snack that Candon City is famous for. It’s no ordinary popcorn; it’s crispier, bursting with flavor, and made from local corn. Every bite of this crunchy treat makes the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon stroll around the city.

But wait, there’s more! Have you ever tried “Bagnet”? It’s a heart-stopping delight! Imagine a slab of pork belly, boiled in spices, sun-dried, then deep-fried to a glorious golden brown. The result? A crunchy exterior and a juicy, flavorful interior that would make you say “yum” with every bite. It’s sinfully delicious, and it’s a Candon City specialty.

Lastly, don’t forget the sweet finish – “Tupig.” Picture freshly grated coconut and sweet rice flour mixed together rolled into a log in banana leaves, then grilled over hot coals. The smoky, sweet, and slightly chewy dessert is the perfect way to end your culinary adventure.

Tourist Spots in Candon City

We kick off our adventure at the stunning Calle Crisologo. This place is the heart and soul of Candon City. You know what they say about first impressions, right? Well, Calle Crisologo doesn’t disappoint! With its well-preserved Spanish-era houses, cobblestone streets, and antique shops, it feels like you’ve stepped right into the pages of a history book.

But, hey, let’s not stop there. Next up, we’re going to visit the awe-inspiring St. John de Sahagun Church. This isn’t just any old church, folks. This architectural marvel, built way back in the 18th century, serves as a testament to the city’s rich history and deep-rooted Catholic faith.

Feeling a little peckish after all that sightseeing? Perfect timing! We’re now headed to the Candon City Food Park. A haven for foodies, this place showcases the best of Ilocano cuisine. Slurp on a bowl of hearty “miki” or chow down on some crispy “bagnet” – a local specialty you just can’t miss.

Now, let’s switch gears a bit and make our way to the Tobacco Monopoly Monument, a symbol of the locals’ resilience against Spanish colonial rule. It’s not just about history, though. The monument is surrounded by lush, green parks, making it an excellent spot for relaxation and photo ops.

Finally, let’s round off our journey at Darapidap Beach. This tranquil spot is the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring. Feel the warm sand under your feet, take a dip in the clear waters, or simply sit back and marvel at the breathtaking sunset.

Festivals and Events in Candon, Ilocos Sur

Let’s start our journey with the Tobacco Festival. This one’s a real banger, folks! Every March, the city decks itself out in colors and lights to celebrate the Tobacco Festival. You see, Candon City is a top producer of Virginia-type tobacco in the Philippines. So, they throw this festival to honor the hard work of their tobacco farmers. Marching bands, street dancing, float parades, and trade fairs – the city has it all! The vibe is so infectious, it makes you want to join in on the fun.

Now, let’s hop over to May. The city’s in full bloom for the Kankanen Festival. “Kankanen” is a local term for native rice cakes. The festival is a sweet, sweet tribute to their traditional delicacies. You can watch ‘kankanen’ cooking contests and taste the delicious results! The locals beautifully showcase their culture and food. The foodie in you will do a happy dance, I promise!

Hold your horses, folks, because we’re not done yet! Let’s dive into the Binatbatan Festival in May. This one’s a sight for sore eyes! The festival celebrates the traditional weaving industry of the city. The highlight? A street dancing competition where dancers sashay and sway, mimicking the movements of weaving. It’s like watching a living, breathing tapestry!

Then, in October, the city turns up the heat with the City Fiesta and Feria de Candon. This event is all about festive religious processions, trade fairs, and a whole lot of fun activities. It’s like the city’s birthday party, with everyone invited. The city is buzzing with energy. You can’t help but catch the Fiesta fever!

Getting There

There are several ways to get to Candon City, Ilocos Sur from Manila.

By air:
The fastest way to get to this city is to fly into the Laoag International Airport (LAO). From the airport, you can take a taxi or bus to Candon City. Altogether, the travel time is roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes. Please note that the airfare may change depending on the time of year and the airline you choose.

By land:
If you prefer to travel by land, you can take a bus from Manila to Candon City. You can choose among Victory Liner, Partas, and Philtranco which offer this route. Travel time by land is approximately 8 hours. Again, please be advised that the bus fare may change depending on the time of year and the bus company you choose.

By sea:
You can also get to Candon City by sea. There is a ferry service that operates between Manila and Ilocos Sur. Travel time is roughly around 12 hours. Please keep in mind that the ferry fare may change depending on the time of year and the ferry company you choose.

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So, there you have it, folks! That’s our little sneak peek into the delightful world of Candon City. If you’re the type who appreciates the beauty of diverse cultures, the charm of history, and the thrill of new experiences, this place should be next on your bucket list.

From the city’s history-filled streets to its vibrant festivals, friendly locals, and mouthwatering delicacies, Candon City serves as a testament to the rich and colorful tapestry that is the Philippines. It’s not just a city; it’s a living, breathing storybook, ready to take you on a journey through its chapters.

And as we wrap up this fun-filled journey, I have one last question for you. Are you ready to pack your bags and experience the magic of Candon City? Because, trust me, once you set foot in this city, your heart might never want to leave!

Remember, life is too short to not explore such hidden treasures. So, why not start with Candon City? It’s more than a place, it’s a feeling, an experience, a memory waiting to happen. So, what are you waiting for?

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