Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Racing With Time In ILOCANDIA

Prerequisite : http://loydtraveltrail.blogspot.com/2009/08/conquer-ilocos-region-for-two-days.html

Visited Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte for 2N/2D – that is, from Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur up to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte – using local transport. Tiresome and at the same time, amazing! This is how me and my best friend Elmer managed the trip and ourselves.

Night 1 – Arrival in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

Our Cebu Pacific flight from Manila arrived at 7:00pm in Laoag City. From the airport we took a jeepney to the town proper. Had a very light dinner while waiting for the 8:00 pm Partas bus trip to Vigan. Actually, you can take any ordinary bus going to Vigan but Partas bus will take you there much much faster.

At 11:00 pm, we arrived Vigan town and walked to Granpa’s Inn. Checked in at P900 for twin-sharing guest room. Had dinner at Café Leona then walked along Crisologo Street and had some photoshoot before retiring.

Tip: To take great pictures of you and Vigan on the background, be at the Crisologo Street at night from 10:00 pm onwards or in the morning before 7:00 am. It is during this time that you can take photos of the Heritage Village clear of tourists.

Day 1 – Heritage Sites Tour

As early as 6:00 am, we had just coffee, had a short walk down Crisologo Street, some photoshoot, then headed to the main road to catch a bus going to Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur. It took an hour to get there. What’s in Sta. Maria anyway? It is where the La Asuncion de la Ñuestra Señora Church, a World Heritage Site and a National Landmark, is located.

At 8:00 am, an hour after some wonderful photos of the Sta. Maria Church were taken, we’re on the road again to go back to Bantay, Ilocos Sur – again, to take photos of the famous Bantay church and bell tower.

Photo shoot here and there, up and down the bell tower, it took us some 30 minutes until it was time to go back to Vigan for the free breakfast at Grandpa’s Inn.

By 10:00 am, after traversing Sta. Maria, Bantay, and Vigan – all in Ilocos Sur, we were now ready for our next destination – Ilocos Norte.

Again, via Partas Bus we’re on the road to Laoag. By 1:00 pm , we arrived and checked-in at Texicano Hotel. Had Lunch at the hotel then off we took a jeepney to Sarrat – a small but rich town famous for its antiques, beautiful museum and the homes where former president of the Philippines, Ferdinand E. Marcos, was born. We had some photos in and out of the equally famous Sta. Monica Church.

An hour later we went back to Laoag and took a jeep to Batac, which is synonymous to Sarrat – where the Marcos mausoleum is located. The museum was closed that time so we were not able to see the body of Ferdinand Marcos sealed in a glass casket.

It was hot and Elmer and I were already exhausted – so we decided to head straight to Paoay and spent some time to rest and dine and admire the Saint Agustine Church – another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Night 2 – Laoag City By Night

By 6:00 pm, we’re back to Laoag and took a little rest. Then back on the streets to find a nice restaurant and bar to get some food and drinks. Mostly, restaurants were closed at 10:00pm so we had no choice but to go back to the hotel and retire.

Day 2 – Northern Luzon Exposure

By 7:00 am we already had breakfast at Jolibee and took a jeep to Burgos – where we will hike up the hill to find Cape Bojeador – the tallest lighthouse in the Philippines. It took us about an hour to reach the site and another half-hour to trek the hill to reach the lighthouse. Up there was a spectacular 360-degree view of Ilocos Norte’s nearby towns and of the South China Sea. Going down the main road took a little less than 30 minutes, I guess.

At 11:00am we’re off to Bangui – where the Bangui Windmills are located. These are wind turbines on-shore facing the South China Sea and considered to be the biggest in Southeast Asia, and primary source of electricity in Ilocos Norte.

Shortly after some photos of awesome windmills, we’re on the road again to Pagudpud – our final Ilocos Norte destination. Starving and exhausted, the nearest canteen we found at the Pagudpud Town Plaza became our supreme refuge. Since it was already 1:00 pm – and our flight back to Manila was 7:00 pm, we decided to spend the whole afternoon in Saud Beach. Our original plan to go to Kabigan Falls, Patapat Viaduct and Blue Lagoon beach was discarded.

By 3:00 pm we were on our foot heading back to Laoag City. By 5:00pm we are at the Laoag International Airport. Exhausting as it be, it was a relief when we finally head back to Manila.

I wonder if Elmer would come and join me again in my next trip very much like this, he he he.
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