Thursday, November 25, 2010

Viva Ilocandia

Last summer, I finally convinced Atcha to go out of town. She’s our dear spinster Aunt who’s also a mother when Dad & Mom passed away many years back. Her last trip was about 20years ago, and she didn’t feel like travelling far due to insisting on living out frugal and sees the trip as a waste of money, but when I told her we’ll be flying to Ilocos Norte with me spending out it all, at last, she said yes by the time I told her my 2 round trip plane tickets are not refundable anymore hehe.
On why of all places we’ll be having our first trip together, I chose Ilocos Norte? For the fact that it’s the birthplace of our ex-President Ferdinand Marcos, to whom she adores so much. Marcos, ironically portrayed as a ruthless dictator during his regime in our school books, was seen as an effective leader by most people who’ve actually lived throughout his term. I didn’t argue much on this as I haven’t won a debate on her when the topic comes on this one.
We arrived about 4pm and had a van to fetched us from the hostel, I arranged it beforehand since my aunt was quite tired that time.
From the airport we passed by this church tower, a landmark of Laoag town, known as the Sinking Bell. Built by the Augustinians friars circa 1612, it is regarded as the tallest bell tower in the Philippines but sandy foundations had it sunk on the ground aside from the earthquakes it endured all throughout the years.

Had our dinner in Saramsam’s Restaurant in the town proper, and tasted their famous Pinakbet Pizza. If you’re a vegan, you’ll definitely like this one. It’s somewhat pungent and salty, but I prefer it more with anchovy sauce. The cute little girl in the pic was a friend’s daughter.

We checked in the Balay da Blas Pensionne House, an ancestral house of the owner of famous Saramsam’s Restaurant. For a rate of 1400Php per night, we stayed in a suite with AC. Breakfast that comes with the package could be a typical Filipino dish of Ilocano longganisa, eggs and rice or the continenantal type of breads, spreads, coffee and cold meats. Value worth of your money. We rent a van in the hostel to tour us around, first stop is Pagudpud town. Not much yet commercialized as only few resorts are noticeably new. We had our lunch in Kapuluan Restaurant from this view.

Another view of Pagudpud beach, so picturesque. Fine weather it is.

The Patapat Viaduct, the 1.3Km concrete bridge connecting Maharlika Highway of Ilocos Norte to Cagayan Valley Region. It is built to minimize landslides on the area. Known as the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines, you get a refreshing view of the South China sea as well.

The lamp of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos. Used by sailors as gudes from the coast during the Spanish era, its regarded as a cultural heritage.

Another view of the Lighthouse, with its steep stairs. Atcha didn’t bother to go out of the van as the view itself looks tiring for her to climb up.

The country’s first Windfarm, the Bangui Windmills. It produces renewable energy that makes up to 40% source of electricity to Ilocos Norte, thus minimizing greenhouse effects and transport costs of power to the town. The mill turbines face the South China Sea and known as the biggest in South East Asia.

Does the image looks familiar to you? Yes, it’s the Church on the back of the old Philippine 10 peso bill. The Paoay Church. A Gothic, Baroque and oriental style church built by Augustinians missionaries in 1593, the bell tower serves as observation post for Katipuneros during the revolution. Also regarded as one of UNESCO Heritage site.

Interior image of the Paoay Church.

Atcha looking in at the Marcos family pictures in the gallery next to the Ancestral house.We never failed to visit this its as the main reason why we came to Ilocos Norte hehe. Next to the house is beleived to be a mausoleum where the former President's body lies. I see it more of a wax figure though.

On our last stop, Malacanang Ti Amianan, an Ilocano term meaning Palace of the North. A Spanish style structure on the shores of Paoay Lake, it served as a second office during Marcos presidency term and now open to the public as a museum with a fee of 20Ph peso for a tour. Spanish style structure of class hardwood furnitures that I love to take home with me haha.

Our visit was short, only of 2nights and 2days as Atcha wants to attend some errands back home. Have we stayed a night more, I wish to take her to Vigan. But I'm glad she enjoyed the whole trip and agreed to do another one next year, maybe Bohol-Cebu trip next? Thank you Lord for helping her stay healthy to enjoy life she missed way back years ago.

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