Got up at 3:00am today and for some reason, I couldn’t go back to sleep. So I decided to revive my blog. Let me start by sharing my first trip for the year.
Last january, I got invited by a friend to go to Ilocos with her officemates. At first, I was hesitant because for one, I didn’t know her 2 other companions and second, I think I’ve had enough of 10-hour bus rides. But then I realized that it’s been years since I’ve last visited Ilocos and there’s so much more I’ve yet to discover about the place.
So I decided to go Laoag with Jo, Kat, Ella, and Tere. Started our tour by visiting Paoay Church, a historical attraction that has a huge facade and multiple buttresses. The Church was designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1993.
Next stop was the Malacanang of the north. This residence is considered to be one of the 29 rest houses of the former President Ferdinand Marcos during his 20-year term. Overlooking the Paoay lake, the site brags of Spanish colonial style and sleek interiors.
Being the only 5-star hotel resort in the north, Fort Ilocandia is definitely a must-see. It’s a 77-hectare land composed of luxury rooms, restaurants & bars, retail shops, casino, and an olympic size swimming pool. Not to mention, it’s right in front of the beach.
It was getting late when we hopped on a bus going to Pagudpud. We checked-in at Cathy’s homestay, had dinner & a couple of drinks then called it a day.
Started off Day 2 with the very popular Bangui Windmills. Known for being one of the providers of electricity in Norte, it was also built to help reduce the greenhouse gasses causing global warming. Really looked forward to seeing this up close since it was featured in Wow Philippines’ first campaigns.
The Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is another site to see, or more appropriately, to climb. Approximately a 15-minute walk from the main road, this unique attraction draws hordes of tourists.
Our next stop was a refreshing revelation! Surrounded by a thick forest, Kabigan falls is definitely a treat for nature lovers like me! It’s a 30-45 minute hike from the national highway. The cool flowing water & verdant panorama was definitely worth all the mud!
The Bantay-Abot Cave is basically a hill that was wrecked by an earthquake, which explains the hole in the middle. Standing by the shores of Maira-ira beach, the cool wind & echoing waves gives delight to all the sightseers.
Made a slight detour to Patapat Vaiduct, a concrete coastal bridge connecting Ilocos and Cagayan Valley. This 1.3 km winding road is elevated 31 meters over sea level.
They say Pagudpud is the ‘Boracay of the north’, I’d consider Blue Lagoon as the beach closest to it. With it’s pristine sand & blue waters, anyone would be tempted to plunge in.
After showering & packing-up, we went to the terminal for our trip to Vigan. Checked-in at Green R Hotel. Went to the plaza to experience the happenings, fortunately, they were celebrating the longganisa festival that time.
Hired a Kalesa for Day 3. Being the first landmark when entering the city, Bantay Bell tower marked the start of our tour. The picturesque structure is well-known for being part of popular local films such as ‘Panday’.
The Crisologo Museum is the preserved ancestral home of Floro S. Crisologo, a congressman known for his landmark legislations. In 1970, he was shot dead inside St. Paul’s cathedral and his murder remains unsolved to this day.
The house exhibits a wide range of the family’s memorabilia and a collection of some religious and historical figures.
Next stop was the Hidden Garden. The place is full of blooming flowers, odd-shaped plants, and wooden benches. They also have a small restaurant where most tourists sit and take their lunch.
The Baluarte is a wildlife sanctuary owned by Gov. Chavit Singson. The 80-hectare land comprises of a petting zoo, butterfly garden, and a picnic area.
Among all the sites in Vigan, The Heritage is my favorite. It is considered to be one of the very few Hispanics towns left in the country. It’s cobblestone streets and unique oriental structures makes you feel like you’ve entered a time warp.
Tried the famous Ilocos Empanada at Irene’s and went around to do a little shopping.
Special Thanks to Rb Ablan for letting us hang out at their Laoag Residence.
Credits to Kraevth for the photos! =)