Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Postcards from Ilocandia, 2010

Sa wakas, naisulat ko din:

September 4-6, 2010
The trip was entirely a spur of the moment--it spurred the moment I received my very first credit card from RCBC Bankard :) I got so excited being able to book promo flights from Cebu Pacific using the card. But no, this trip was not one of those, we actually availed  the regular fare to Laoag. Immediately, I had myself, Mitchi and Tessa book the flight for the first weekend of September. Then, Jejerome just followed since he has his own card.

We boarded around 2 pm in NAIA Terminal 3 via Cebu Pacific. We were amongst the last few passengers since we came in arnd 20mins before they closed the gate. Which I would never ever advise to do on your own flights. Unless there are really compelling reasons, be at the airport at least 2 hours before actual boarding time. Though there is really not much documents that they are gonna ask from, but it saves you from cursing the cab driver to drive faster, saves you calories from running and dragging your fifteen kilo weekend bag and saves you from arguing with the airline attendants as well. It feels better, really, to have time to enjoy the trip--yes including the airport experience, to slowly go through the whole trip without rushing (and cursing and blaming!)

I miss the old Cebu Pacific Tickets-- the one with green covers and all that jazz, unlike this one which looks like the grocery receipt:

The Manila Skyline. Cramped.

We arrived in the Wet and drizzly Laoag Airport around 4pm and took a jeepney ride directly to the Pagudpud Bus Terminal. There was a typhoon at the time which was already moving far north. The four of us did the rain dance in Manila-- which was wrong. Because, indeed it left Manila but moved up north where we are going.

It's around 2-3 hour ride to this Municipality from Laoag and all you can see are verdant fields and farm animals along the way. Jejerome, who had very little experience of going to provinces (because he doesn't have one I think), was the most excited to see these. Bus fare, by the way is around 160 per person. I don't think there are aircon buses travelling to Pagudpud from Laoag--except the Florida Flowery Bus Lines, which has a direct 12-hour long trip from Manila to Pagudpud.

Mitchi, while waiting for the goods we bought from the grocery located at the public market in Pagudpud.

We stayed at Rafol's Homestay, as per Tessa's intensive research.:)
The owners offered us to have our dinner cooked so we just bought the ingredients from the Market before we went there.

The place actually has a lot of homestay inns on you way to the beach but Rafol's, I think, was the closest one to the beach. It boasts its being DOT accredited but really, the house was okay. Just enough for the barest needs.

That night, since there were really no place to hang out, we just stayed at home and the three just had another drinking spree.

The morning after was quite better as we already saw Mr. Sun. But it wasn't long after that it began to drizzle again. We headed to the beach anyway. ANd this is what we got:

not entirely the Pagudpud we were expecting because of the typhoon, but we understood that nature has its own way of pissing you off :)

but then again, who actually cares? My feet haven't stepped on the sand for almost a year now!

Jejerome testing the waters

Tessa gathering the weeds that were washed off the shore, to later on form her name in the sand

Mitchi immediately dove in

So is Jejerome. But the waters are not on its best as you see.

One of the very few shots I have, since I was the one holding the camera most of the time and I'm not really fond of solo shots. Oh btw, those white sticks behind me are the Windmills of Burgos.

I didn't have plans of swimming, which is why I took the camera to shoot them but when I asked Mitchi to take my photo along the shore and on this rock, the waves were just overwhelmed and drenched me. just like that.

Kuya Dhan, with an H, the other owner of the Rafol's Homestay offered to tour us (with a fee of course!) to the spots around Pagudpud. The tour is consisted of North and South parts, each part is at 600php, so a total of 1200php for the whole trip which was fine considering the distances of the places we've been to.  it's really just ideal to be in groups of three or four, otherwise, you'll need to rent another tryke. The tryke doesn't have it's roof though, so Jejerhome had his share of facial treatment under the drizzly afternoon tour.

Our first stop: The Patapat Viaduct 

The road leading to Cagayan

Then off to Paraiso ni Anton:

No one knows why it was called Paraiso ni Anton so we made things up. :)
A good porn movie title though.

Trees abound the place thus it's naturally cool and shady.

This is the infamous tryke by the way.

Then we went to a rock formation called Bantay-Abot.

Bantay-Abot is dreived from two Ilocano words which means Bantay- hill and abot-hole.
(actually I forgot which is which but bottomline is it means a hill with a hole.)

We also dropped off the famous Hannah's Resort where, as seen here, the water is relatively calmer than the beach where we have been to. It's lagoon-like so the seawater and waves are more controlled.

Then off we went to the Southern part of the trip, starting off with the Windmills of Bangui, Burgos.

20 War-of-the-Worlds-alien-like windmills will welcome you. They are exaggeratedly big, like a few floors shorter than the PBCom Tower in Ayala.

I was warned by my friend Jowin to take care of my cams lens as it is expected that it will be kind of windy in the area but at the time we were there, the wasn't much wind blowing against us. but yeah, it's useful to know that when you reach this part, don't forget to cover your cameras' lenses lest the san particles might get inside you gadgets.

A few jumpshots from here and there, while a handful of men, which I assume were fisherfolks, looked at how stupid we are posing and jumping along the shore.

We then moved to the Lighthouse of Cape Bojeador.

It is said to be the oldest and still functional lighthouse in Asia. Towering and overlooking the I don't know which sea, it is quite a long walk from the main road/highway up to the foot of the lighthouse. The entire to road to the lighthouse is cemented by the way so there's no need to worry.


You will need to ask the Manong caretaker, who usually stays with the peddlers the foot of the lighthouse, to take you upstairs. You will be lead to a museum containing miniature structures of the lighthouse itself and may other historical artifacts. it is by the way, not lighted so it's best if your phone has flashlight When you enter the museum. It's also creepy if I may say.

the entrance to the lighthouse itself.


A view from the lighthouse, overlooking Cape Bojeador.

Some parts of the lighthouse have not been well maintained.

This space, according to Manong Caretaker, used to be a swimming pool
for the the upper class..

That was our tour of the neighboring towns.
We then travelled back to Laoag and headed for Batac, Ilocos Norte

The two eagles guarding the entrance of the Mausoleum. The miniature eagles as that of the stone statues on every Makati boundary, said to have been ordered to be placed by Marcos during his era.

No cameras were allowed to take pictures inside the mausoleum. It was a spacious hall, where the light only emanates from the glass coffin. the place was chilly and kinda creepy hearing the Gregorian Chants in the background. He was wearing no shoes.

From the Mausoleum, when hailed a tricycle to bring us to Paoay Church.

The Manong from the church I believe even  asked me to stand at a certain spot in the yard to get the best angle of the church. Here:

If you notice, this trip was all about climbing the bell towers of all the churches. haha.

From Batac, we then rode a two-hour (or so ride) to Vigan.

bagnet, dinakdakan and pinakbet for our Vigan lunch

I was surprised by how, even the newer establishments, has cooperated in terms of the new structures to jibe with the local architectural theme.

The famous Calle Crisologo.

their old fashioned McDo structure :)

you simply can't leave Vigan without tasting their famous empanada.

Found in the their plaza are these miniature landmarks of the world, which I find really really amusing:
The Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Collosum, and the Parthenon

Taj Mahal, The Pyramids, Champs Elysee, and I believe the Borubudur Temples 

The Sydney Opera House

Statue of Liberty and the I don't know what-- looks like an Aztec structure to me.

The Seattle Space Needle

Three pull-packed and fun-filled days. I shall come back soon Ilocos.

I heart you Ilocos <3

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