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Ilocos Road TripAugust 23 - 25, 2008

Ilocos Road Trip

Road Trip
Mountaineer friends from my Mt. Apo climb (ORGASM and the Goodies), invited me to tag along to their Ilocos road trip. Instead of commuting by public transport which we usually do, we hired a van and a driver...saucy! Time to pack up again and see what this great Ilocano north is all about.

Marcos Museum
It seems surprising that this museum seems to be in a state of disrepair and neglect. Lack of funds? Ha-ha. I don't think so. Inside, you'll find pictures of Marcos during the early days, memorabilia, glossed-over writings, and yes, the controversial "it's-not-wax" Marcos in his see-through sarcophagus.

Paoay Church
Quite an ornate baroque church, it's in the list of Unesco World Heritage sites. Built in 1694 and completed in 1710 by the Augustinian friars led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo, it survived the earthquakes of 1865 and 1885, and hence got its moniker, Earthquake Baroque.

Fort Ilocandia
Hmmm...the only 5-star all-in-one hotel in the north, amid 77 hectares of sand dunes along a 9 km fine sand beach. I guess it's cheaper for Taiwanese to take the international flight to Ilocos and golf there than to spend it in Taiwan.

Kapurpurawan Rock
It's not as close to the road as you might think...and you need a 4x4 to get you to the rock itself. It's a lovely piece of white rock shaped like an anvil. Nice photo ops, but that's it. If it's along the way, it's noteworthy, but if you have to go out of the way, probably not worth it.

Pagudpud Beach Camping
Ah, we've gone as far north in our itinerary. We looked for vacant beaches (away from established resorts), asked around who the owner of the land is, and made arrangements for beach camping. We only had enough daylight time to setup camp and cook. Early the following day, we broke camp and were off to the next destination. It was so rushed we didn't get to swim!

Patapat Bridge
The thing unique about this bridge is that it's not a bridge, but a winding 12-km viaduct, elevated from the crushing waves below. Its length joins the Ilocos Norte and Cagayan Valley Province.

Bangui Windmills
The 15 windmills lining the shore were an awesome sight. One is roughly the equivalent of a 23-storey building. Standing below one as the blade spins give one the feeling of impending decapitation. The ambitious project was a green-move to reduce greenhouse gases and accelerate the rural electrification of the region.

Old Vigan Town
Vigan's old houses take you back to a distant time...nostalgic, rustic, poetic - take pictures, walk around, but there's not much else to do. Ah, before you leave, try out Vigan's famous empanada.

Cape Bojeador
It's a turn-of-the-century light house nestled spectacularly on top of a hill overlooking South China Sea. It was built in 1892! The structure is made of local red bricks and accented with cast iron grill work,and stands 65 feet/20 meters high, considered the highest elevated lighthouse in the country. Cape Bojeador was declared a National Treasure by the National Museum.

Surfing in San Juan, La Union
We lodged at Surfer's Inn upon our night arrival. The crew took up lessons morning the following day, then lunch and off we went. We passed through like a blur.

Ending Thoughts
First of all, I'd like to thank Cloud for making most of the arrangements and being our tour guide. He took on all the headaches so we can just chill, relax and enjoy the trip. Also, thanks to the Goodies and the ORGASM for still tagging me along their events - they've done all the arrangements and preparations, and I just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

Ilocos is interesting. I finally got to see what people talk about - Pagudpod, Marcos Museum, and then some. I just wish we had more time to chill out in one place before moving on. Well, that's what a next time is for.

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Jonathan CabusasJonathan Cabusas
"Sagada sana"
(Sept 25, 2008) Pwede! WAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! 3 nalang ang leave credits ko for 2008.

Aarone SunglaoAarone
"Sagada sana"
(Sept 25, 2008) Syanga!

Sylvia ZibuschkaSylvia Zibuschka
(Sept 24, 2008) it's so funny, we have been almost at the same places at the same weekend - we could have met coincidentally ;)

(Sept 24, 2008) Sagada sana, pero December na at ayusin natin ang sked at iba pa, meeting tayo UP ng Sunday.

Ivan RodernoIvan
"Tanong, magkano kaya?"
(Sep 24, 2008) last time we spent about 3k kasama na pasalubong..

(Sept 24, 2008) Tanong, magkano kaya? hehehe

Jonathan CabusasJonathan Cabusas
"Mukang meron part 2.Hehheh Sama kana"
(Sept 24, 2008) Kelan yan???

Ivan RodernoIvan
(Sep 24, 2008) The best talaga! Next time masmahaba sana para relax lang tyo... no rush

(Sept 23, 2008) Mukang meron part 2.Hehheh Sama kana .:)

Jonathan CabusasJonathan Cabusas
(Sept 23, 2008) KAINGGIT NAMAN!!!!!!!!

Dennis DiazDennis Diaz
(Sept 23, 2008) Nice photos! I nicked the one with the rock. It looks really lovely. Also read it takes a 4x4 to get there? How long the ride? and how exactly to get there? For a climber I think it's worth the trip, even if takes you off the main road, hahaha.... cheers!

(Sept 23, 2008) uy, have the same staircase shot that you took at the Cape Bojeador lighthouse :D ganda talaga ng Ilocos

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