Journeys Part 2: The Ilocos Chronicles

*The second of a three-part series.

A week ago today, I was either soaking up the sun or was soaking wet at Pagudpud. It was a trip hatched early in the year through a Facebook exchange between me, Mark, Jay-R, Jovan, and Densio - we of the impromptu Tagaytay road trip early last year. We invited a few other folks to come with us but sadly, only Rej and Oneal made it.

The idea was to take another road trip but with Densio presently stuck in Germany, she requested that we take a photo of her with us wherever we went. I can't exactly remember how we settled on Pagudpud but we could've easily gone to some other destination and it would still be a great trip. The thought of traveling to such a remote location with my friends was something I just couldn't pass up. I was actually more excited about the traveling than getting there.
Some Twitter updates from the trip.
Thanks to Globe's Twitter mobile service, I got my followers updated on the trip. It also made it easier to recall the progression of events as they transpired - except that Twitter lacks time stamps. In addition, I had my trusy photo and video cams with me!

Anyway, we left Thursday night around 11am and had reached Tarlac around 1am where we had a brief pit stop at a McDonald's. By 3am, we had reached La Union and by 6am, we finally got to Ilocos Sur at the outskirts of Vigan. The entire time, we were guided by two things: Traditional maps and a GPS care of Oneal's Samsung Galaxy Tab. Jay-r was driving and Oneal was navigating.

Calle Crisologo
 Our first day was pretty much spent exploring the Ilocos region. We got to Vigan around 6am and left the area around 2pm. In between, we had breakfast and lunch plus visited some key sites courtesy of our callesa ride:
- Calle Crisologo
- Bantay Church and Belltower (Got up to the bell! It's friggin high!)
- Hidden Garden
- Syquia Mansion (They didn't allow me to shoot a lot of videos! Blah!)

Bantay Church and Belltower
 Afterwards, we were supposed to be headed to Laoag but made a wrong turn and found ourself at Juan Luna's house in Badoc. It was a happy accident and they allowed me to shoot videos while exploring the place.
Lost but found ourselves some place nice.
Off we went to Batac to visit Marcos' corpse. Unfortunately, while waiting for the mausoleum to open, we heard gunshots so close to where we were waiting and had to run away from the commotion. We don't know what happened but it was nervewracking just to know a crime had occured nearby.

Updated tweet from that scary incident.
So we decided to go visit the sand dunes and rid ourselves of the bad vibes. While following signs, we chanced upon the Church of Paoay, which is possibly the oldest church I have ever seen! Another happy accident. Sadly we didn't find the sand dunes so just made our way to Laoag where we stocked up on supplies before heading straight to Pagudpud.
Church of Paoay
When we got to Pagudpud, it was so dark that we can't see anything of the waters. Waking up the next day though is another matter altogether. Our resort was close to the water and we were within eyeshot of the windfarms, which was another welcome surprise. It was so cold that morning though.

The rest of the morning was spent swimming, nay bouncing, along the South China Sea. The waves were high and really aggressive. There was no point in really swimming. You just had to ride the waves and roll with it. It was also a bit freaky when the undercurrent drags you back to the open water after the waves deposit you to the shore.
In the afternoon, we went to visit the blue lagoon at Maira-ira beach. The way there was warm and sunny but it was cold, really windy and drizzling when we got there, it was ridiculous. I didn't risk my camera's lens so I didn't shoot anything.

Next we went to the Bangui Wind Farms where I had the most spectacular experience of my life. It was just as cold and wet when we got there but for me it just added to the majesty of the experience. It was like nature unleashed defying these towering manmade structures. All the while I was standing at this stretch of land with sparse vegetation, which was actually a small portion of the sand dunes. I didn't risk snapping a photo here either but I'd like to think I'll remember that fleeting moment forever!
Notice the droplets on the lens.
By night time, rain had reached our last night at Northridge.

We had to leave early the next day but I managed to snap a few photos and videos of the South China Sea in the early morn. Our adventure didn't end there though. Thankfully, the rain had stopped and we were treated to a nice sunshine as we made our way up to the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. It was really windy though, which added to my agoraphobia.

After that, we were on our way back to Manila with a stopover once again at Vigan for lunch and some pasalubong. We amused ourselves in the car by playing Taboo and spotting funny business signs (Ilocoslovakia Auto Repairs, anyone?).

By 9pm, we stopped over at Gerona, Tarlac for some dinner at the Isdaan, which was an incredible place. There's something for you to do or look at everywhere you turn! I even tried my hand at that Tacsiyapo wall where you get to let out your anger by throwing cups and plates and even TV sets!
The Smashing Tacsiyapo Wall!
We got back to Manila around midnight on Monday. It was a great trip and I wouldn't mind doing it again just to see the longer stretch of the sand dunes!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an excellent impromptu trip. Let's go next time I'm on holiday, never been to Pagudpud.