Sunday, February 3, 2013

Road Trip to Ilocos Provinces

This was an opportunity that I could not miss so even if it was just the first month of 2013 and even if I have already a scheduled trip in Ilocos this June, I grabbed this chance of joining DJEF and helped them organizing the Seminars and Field Trips of BS Computer Engineering of Bulacan State University – bus rental, catering services, certificates, and more. In return, I have explored Ilocos Provinces for free and have a good travel experience for the first quarter of 2013. Anyway, DJEF is a travel agency owned and managed by my travel buddy – Jonah Meneses. I used to be the graphic designer of DJEF Travel and Tours making promo ads and also website for it

This was a week-long trip covering 3 destinations – Subic, Ilocos Provinces, and Baguio but this post will just be highlighting the Ilocos Provinces part. 

From SBMA, the travel time to Ilocos Norte particularly Pagudpud took approximately 13 hours via bus. It was almost 4 AM of January 29, 2013 when we arrived at our first accommodation – Cathy’s Homestay. 

Saud Beach, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Located in Saud, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Cathy’s Homestay is one of the well-known accommodation in the place where you get to enjoy the white sand beach of Saud just nearby.
View in front of Cathy's Homestay
The theme of the place is more like of a pension house or a guesthouse where you can also enjoy home-cooked dishes of Ilocanos. The owner, Ms. Catherine Respicio, is very accommodating and helpful. She will even pick you up from the Municipal Hall of Pagudpud even at 4 o’clock in the morning.
We enjoyed the white sand beach of Saud where you can also see from afar the famous Windmills of Bangui. Considered as the Boracay of the North, Saud beach is just good for swimming and not recommended for surfing. By the way, unlike Boracay and Puerto Galera, there is no night-life in this place. It is just meant for you to relax and enjoy the cold ocean breeze. 
Running Jumpshot along the Shore of Saud
Jonah, DJEF Manager, sand doodling.
Antoniang, Jonah and I

The next destination was Bangui Windmills.

Who would suppose that these 20 wind turbines built to supply power to the province will turn out to be a attraction that draw tourist in the place?
Bangui Windmills
Erected along the windy shores of Bangui, these enormous windmills – I call these “big electric fan” – attracted tourists to the place. Bangui Wind Farm is the first wind farm in the Philippines.
We found this wood here and this caught Antonia's attention.
Another jumpshot!
These turbines present themselves as picturesque objects that can be of interest to photographers.
Photo taken by Antonia Mendoza
Souvenirs can be bought along the Bangui bay and as a remembrance, I bought a miniature of the mega turbine.
One signage that caught my attention here was …. “Kangkang Windmills Café”.
If you are naughty enough, you'll know what I mean. LOL!

I say that this is a must-see attraction if you’re heading to the northern tip of the country – cold sea breeze, relaxing sound of the waves, and great place to take picture.

The next stop was in Burgos where the spectacular rock formation can be found facing the South China Sea – Kapurpurawan Rock Formation.
The rock formation was made naturally by the forces of the South China Sea splashing waves to the coast line of Bugros. The term “Kapurpurawan” came from the Ilocano word “puraw”, which means white, such as the creamy white color of the rocks.

Some says it resembles a white submarine, others say it’s like a dragon in slumber but for me, it’s just a white rock that is amazing to look at from afar.

I wasn’t able to look closer because I was already tired so I just saw it from the “kubo” located at the to where vehicles can park.

By the way, according to our driver, going here was free but we were halted and asked to pay for entrance fees when we got there,

The next stop was in Paoay where we got to visit one of the centuries old church – The Paoay Church and the Sand Dunes.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this more than three-century-old Baroque Church of San Agustin will surely amazed both local and foreign tourist of the place because of its architectural style. Its magnificent façade captivated me at a first glance. 
 For a moment, I felt like I was standing in front of a vast wall painting because of its picturesque form.

Aside from the La Paz, Laoag Sand Dunes, Ilocos is also known for the Sand Dunes in Paoay. Here, we had enjoyed the crazy soul separating 4x4 ride. After that ride, we had fun sand boarding. At first, you may think that balancing is not a challenge as sliding down is not that fast. So some students were challenged to try the activity. They dared to slide down the steep slope. It turned out to be a disaster as some wasn’t able to stay on the board going down.Of course, there were some that stumble but no one got physically hurt. Only egos were broken! LOL!
Just a trivia, this is where the iconic movie of Nora Aunor was filmed –Himala and Ang Panday.

The last place we visited in the Ilocos is one of the famous streets in the country - Calle Crisologo.
Located in Ilocos Sur, this cobblestone streets takes you back to the old centuries. Here you can see century-old houses and calesas.
According to my research, it was named after Mena Crisologo, a writer and a politician also known as the Ilocano version of the famous writer Shakespeare. 
I really enjoyed walking in this time-travel street where I got to behold the Spanish-era establishments on both sides. I also enjoyed buying souvenirs and gazing at the antiques.
Walking along Calle Crisologo for me is a real blast from the past! :D

What I missed on my visit to Ilocos Provinces are the Marcos ancestral house, Cape Bojeador, Kabigan Falls, and perhaps a dozen more. Well, there is always next time. Maybe someday where we will just go there for leisure only.
Happiness :D
With all these destinations in Ilocos, truly I can say it is a place worth visiting! 

Tara, Byahe na!


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