Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Happy List: Random List #9

I was feeling heavy inside the past two weeks. You know that feeling of pain when someone close to you is going through some rough patch and there isn’t much you can do about it? I was having that ugly moment. But now I’m past that. Thank God. I could look back now and see not just the bad but the positive things as well. It’s all about re-framing the mindset.
  1. Laundry days, making them a part of my weekly routine, enjoying the domestication from it, and my washed clothes not having after smells
  2. The Conjuring 2 date w/ Julie+Katrina and our establishment of stronger admiration for James Wan
  3. Buying insoles for my too big sneakers and docksides, end of struggle for my poor feet, yesss
  4. Thankfulness because Lola Itang finally got the rest she needed, even if it meant not seeing her around anymore, we’ll forever remember her
  5. Trying hard to be the most supportive companion
  6. Fun times with the (BIG) extended family and some sense of belongingness there
  7. Catching up with Jason after his busy days of mourning
  8. GOT S06E09 a.k.a. The Battle of the Bastards!!! #holdsbreath
  9. Translation side duties, even when English to Filipino is much harder, hahaha, seriously
  10. Three straight days of solid breakfast meals

Photo was taken during an early dinner with Jason’s family after Lola Itang’s interment, still a happy shot.

*Photo by Ronaldo Dela Cruz

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Baler 2016: Surf, Stroll & Stall

The joy in getting something done always feels way beyond itself. It goes to as far as throwing away the value of that something being either just a small or great feat.
As for this trip, the true accomplishment was getting high school friends to say yes without backing out at the last minute and really actually pulling this off. That and checking Baler off our list. Baler’s been on our minds since before we graduated in college, so one can only imagine how fulfilled we must’ve felt when things finally came through.

But enough of being sentimental. This is supposed to be a fun adventure story.

DITUMABO FALLS (MOTHER FALLS)

A 30-40 minute hike through a trail that involves a stream, a damp concrete pathway and a stuck (I think) dam leads to Ditumabo Falls. Hiking, though a bit hard, was made fun by the relaxing sound and cooling feeling of stream water. Also, we started early, so it really wasn’t that hot yet. 
The falls itself had strong and wide torrents cascading that made for solid viewing. Water was, as expected, ice cold. Swimming for long could result to some serious shivering. 
There was even a mini-falls on the way near the main falls. It was crowded during our visit. We were either sitting or standing side by side other groups, so we didn’t stay long.  

HANGING BRIDGE

Though scary-looking, the wooden hanging bridge was something I enjoyed crossing. It didn’t make me feel queasy but jolly like a kid instead.
It has been built to link two barangays, but because of the nice river view it provides, it now also serves as a tourist attraction. I enjoy bridges. They can take you to two or more places at a time. They can make you feel exploratory.
After crossing though, there isn’t much left to do aside from checking out souvenir items on sale at the stalls or riding a boat back to the other side.

ERMITA HILL

Ermita Hill is symbolic of the catastrophic tidal wave that once hit the town and wiped out parts of it way back the 1700s. In memory of those who died, a structure was erected. In front of the hill, a sculpture of seven persons climbing and scrambling up the hill represents, according to our guide, the story of the seven families who tried to save themselves from the said tragedy. 
Aside from this sculpture, a white cross may also be found atop the hill, but one must take on the challenge of going through 200 steps to see it. Moreover, Ermita Hill also has viewing decks that let tourists get a glimpse of the overlooking beaches around.
As for us, we decided not to climb up the hill anymore. We were already solved after seeing the sculpture and being in the viewing decks.

DIGUISIT ROCK FORMATIONS

The Diguisit Rock Formations, as the name implies, is best known for its rocks and islets. Since it was low tide by the time of our visit, we got to really see the small rocks beneath the water. We also saw tiny sea creatures. 
We then kept walking into the water until we came close with the huge boulders. Even from afar, I could tell they have rough surfaces and pointed ends. 
We didn’t go to the beach proper, though. We took turns taking pictures since it made for a nice photo backdrop. It had that dramatic look to it.

BALER CHURCH

It is nice how, in every trip, either planned or unplanned, we always get to include a church or two in our itinerary. Since most travels take up much effort and risks, it’s an instant chance to give thanks for an amazing opportunity and pray for a safe adventure. 
In a way, there’s also much that one can tell about a particular place based on the story of its church/es. 
As with Baler Church, I’d say I didn’t see anything that stood out for me. Research told me that this wasn’t the original church constructed here, so this one is still fairly new and have yet to make history.

AURORA QUEZON’S ANCESTRAL HOUSE

Little info: Aurora Quezon was Manuel Quezon’s wife. They also happened to be close cousins. Unconventional but yes, it’s true.
As per the ancestral house, it’s still the original house but not really. Some parts of it have been renovated to ensure its stability. Inside it are photos, furniture, paintings, and writings relating to the couple’s family. A favorite display here is the vintage vehicle Manuel Quezon used when he was still president.
It is a typical ancestral home, not grand, not palace-like. There isn’t much to be explored here, but what would leave a mark to visitors is its ambiance inside. This ancestral home reminds me just how houses from before could be so ventilated and comfortable, so homey, to live in despite being small and simple. 

MUSEO DE BALER

First eye-catching thing about Museo de Baler is its façade because it gives off that rustic impression to it which only seems fitting considering what this place contains inside.
Visiting Museo de Baler is like time travelling to the past of the town through exposure to photographs, writings, dioramas, and antique earthenware inside. 
Displayed on the first floor are mostly artifacts like old porcelains, items of clothing, church bells relating to Baler while more abstract paintings may be found on the second floor of this two-storey building. This place is perfect for student field trips. It is seeing these antiques that makes history more interesting and less boring.

SABANG BEACH

The waves were a-calling, and we obliged.    
When people say they want to go surfing in Baler, this is where they go. First of all, it’s important to remember what it’s for. One should not expect anything spectacular as per its view, fine white as per its sand and clear as per its water. But whatever it lacks in all of the above mentioned it makes up for in its waves. 
Sabang’s waves are just the right kind for amateurs who wish to at least be able to stand on the board and, if luck’s on their side, actually ride the waves.
When we got there, we were welcomed by beginners and instructors alike. I was instantly inspired. My friends and I were each assigned an instructor to give us a 10-minute lecture about the basics. Afterwards, we only had to be a few meters away from the shore to ready ourselves and catch some waves. 
I wasn’t scared of the embarrassment of falling off because I could see that most of the surfers were also just beginners. And so I did fall off, many times. Then I got to stand on the board, and then fell off immediately. This was apparently because I wasn’t extending the distance between my two feet enough which would then make me lose my balance. Balance was everything here, but being able to push yourself up was also key. Then I got to stand on my board longer and longer. That first time I did get to follow the waves from start until I was almost ashore felt so gooood. Gratifying even. And it was all I did for one full hour, sometimes even playing with my friends who were also already able to control their surfboard.
Be warned: It could get tiring.

DINADIAWAN BEACH

Dinadiawan Beach was where we capped off our first night and jumpstarted our second day. It is technically not a part of Baler but the neighboring town of Dipaculao. 
The ride to this refuge was zigzagging, so it was a little inconvenient and risky. Good thing the view of the coastline was able to turn our worry into awe. It was hard not to notice the vast crystal green, and sometimes crystal blue, gracing our eyes. At first glance, it was very enticing to look at, what with the sand color complementing that of the water. 
When we went swimming, the waves were strong enough to lift us up and move us, so going farther into the water wouldn’t be a good idea. Also, while the shore looked all sandy, it was actually rocky beneath. Swimming meant the possibility of gaining scratches here and there. But I couldn’t keep myself at bay. I dipped in for some playtime with the waves; what good were they if I didn’t make good use of them myself anyway, right? With everything that I mentioned about Dinadiawan Beach, my heart was happy and contented with it.

MILLENNIUM TREE (BALETE TREE)

After heading out to buy souvenirs and before hitting the road home, we stopped by the Millennium Tree.
It looked more striking physically than in photos. It’s huge, as in huge-huge. Contrary to its name, it’s only 600 years old, leave or take a few. What’s more is locals say that its enormity is the making of many Balete Trees that have sprung and branched out from the original Balete Tree. The roots are long, thick, curving, and branching making the tree so big. It’s so big and wide that 20 persons can actually fit inside it. We just circled around it and took some photos then we were on the road again.
It was a good idea that we took a local tour guide with us. I learned that he has undergone some kind of training plus he’s a local, so he knows his business. The destinations are already beautiful by themselves, but knowing how they have come to be just adds color and interest. Also, talk has better recall than books.

Every destination we visited, except Dinadiawan Beach, was packed. It was a summer weekend then, so that was expected. More than that though, I’ve come to realize that there is only one and the same Baler tour being offered here, so people basically follow the same itinerary and do the same activities. That’s understandable since Baler is just a small town. Beach options are the only thing that differs in every tour.
The trips I’ve been a part of lately have leveled up activity-wise. From simple island hopping activities, we have upped the game by pursuing extremes. We have begun exploring and appreciating places not just by their breathtaking sights but also by how much they can satisfy our want for adrenaline rush. The truth is we don’t really look for these thrills, but they just happen to be available where we decide to go. As for the (kind of) adventure-seeking bunch that we are, we never want to pass up the opportunity ‘cos who knows when we will come back to these places we’ve been and (I know this can be irritating to read. I can think of another way to reword this, but let’s be real here and now), Y-O-L-O.

Being in places like this makes one wish days could stretch.

Published this post today because more than a week of rainy days needs a share of a little sunshine and warmth. :)

Photos by Froiland Pajutan and Charles Cornejo!
Photo edits by yours truly!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

THE BEST OF THIS IS A CRAZY PLANETS BOOK 2 by LOURD ERNEST H. DE VEYRA

The Best of This Is A Crazy Planets Book 2 is the second collection of Lourd de Veyra’s most popular published essays on his blog of the same title at SPOT.ph.
This is to say it’s alright that I skipped to Book 2 because it’s not really a continuation of Book 1 but just another separate compilation.

Someone once said that the root of all comedy is pain, and that the line separating humor and hurt is dangerously thin. – Lourd de Veyra (The Thin Man: There Has Never Been Another Palito)

The Best of This Is A Crazy Planets Book 2 is intended for the Filipinos, as the essays are reflective of Filipino culture and attitude (from the mundane like TV viewership, censorship and daily life choices to critical like political views). Only that the articles expose the absurdities and ironies of the populace’s actions, words and beliefs; hence, the book title. Or, this book maybe intended for other readers too, so they can better understand the Filipinos as a people.

Ganun talaga ang kabalintunaan ng buhay. Ang mga namamatay nang maaga ay nabubuhay nang walang hanggan. – Lourd de Veyra (In Defense of Lito Lapid)

The writing was brilliant, so effective. Lourd de Veyra did here what he does best. He has always been known for his use of the comedic approach in relaying rather important, eye-opening messages across so casually. His words in his articles hit home. He had also put a word, a definition to the things others couldn’t seem to put a finger on, or afraid to do so. That said, even more amazing was when the comedic approach was let go to turn straightforwardly all serious and crucial with his observations, situations and questions.

I noticed the questions. There were lots of them actually. Some were literal questions, but some were rhetorical. Some sounded simple and easy to answer, but some were just impossible to.

I like how there are articles aptly written in English, in Filipino, sometimes in a mix of both, often with the appearance of the most slang form of the vernacular. The language variety adds an extra appeal to the book, as this clearly sets one article apart from the other. This makes them so conversational and easy to understand. As per the tone of the articles, like the language choices, it takes on different kinds as well depending on the subject, but it is playful more often than not and unapologetic almost all the time.

The thought of an indifferent universe is the most frightening of all. What, then, would be the use of all that sacrifice, the repression of the most basic appetites, the denial of profound pleasures? – Lourd de Veyra (Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?)

Personally, many of the essays hit home in both a positive and a negative way. It would be positive when I would come up with an understanding of or be in agreement with a particular sentiment. It would then be negative when I would realize how those realizations were most of the time about either bad practices, wrongdoings or ugly truths. Among my favorite essays were Dolphy: May Liwanag ang Buhay, The Thin Man: There Has Never Been Another Palito and A Night at the Comedy Bar.

I was always looking forward to the closing sentences of each article. They were always snappy and witty. Sometimes the point of the entire article is only set in the end with either a rant, a blow, a ridicule, or just a statement of the fact. Even better is when the last sentences change the way one understands what has been read. Even better is when they are short, pointed and hurtful.

Some things stuck with me like how people, including me, can just turn indifferent all of a sudden, how their short attention span can be dangerous, how they like putting the blame to others, how sometimes they are just too sensitive for their own good, how while they keep on blaming the system they forget they are the ones who make it up.

I closed this book with renewed awareness of myself and my environment. :)

I should probably visit his blog for more. :)

Are you done reading this book? What are your thoughts? I’d like to know them! Feel free to share them below!


Friday, May 20, 2016

The Happy List: Random List #8

While I write some of my happy lists in one sitting, it takes me days to make them most of the time because I either instantly get mental block or I still have to think of ways to squeeze in all my happiness in but a short list (cos I like keeping it that way) or sometimes I feel I don’t have much cheery things to write about (cos, admit it, there really are just days like that). This one was written from Tuesday until Friday today.

  1. Two simple gifts for Mom last Mother’s day, belated Happy Mother’s Day to all sorts of moms out there btw!
  2. The feast of St. Isidore (even though I ended up getting LBM, ew, haha)
  3. Buns with cream cheese
  4. Election day and it being a quick and successful one in general
  5. Still election-related, seeing my online friends get really involved in sharing the pros and cons of candidates and become critical in choosing who to vote for (at least the way I see it) Personally, I could say I was able to make a well-researched vote
  6. Opening This is a Crazy Planets Book 2 by Lourd de Veyra and learning so much from it, I was won over after two essays, and see that little turtle bookmark peeping in the photo above, I got that as a souvenir for myself from Caramoan, isn’t it cute?!
  7. Tearing up over the confrontation between Steve and Lisa near the end of the Steve Jobs movie and that poignant scene when Cooper was reviewing all the video backlogs until he got to Murph’s in Interstellar, awww
  8. Burgers in local burger joints around
  9. Making up after a fight
  10. Knowing that boredom will soon fade away because it’s almost the weekend, and you know what weekends are for #beaching
  11. TGIF


Happy weekend to all of us! Let us enjoy the remaining days of this summer!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Ilocos Norte & Ilocos Sur 2016: Touristy Things on Land & Other Realizations

My college adventure friends and I have already explored quite many of the prized destinations in the South, so we thought we should start moving up North to see what lies ahead. We decided to go for Ilocos Norte and Sur for the total North experience.
                             
ILOCOS NORTE

Day 1

Paoay Church
The first order of business after more or less 13 hours of travel time from Cubao was Paoay Church. This was a fitting starter spot, as it was an instant picker upper the moment we saw it.
Paoay Church’s being a mix of Baroque and Gothic architecture makes it an interesting structure to look at. With details so beautiful and rare to see, the church was truly admirable. This is one of the biggest and most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen. No wonder it’s among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Marcos Museum and Mausoleum
The two-floor museum houses different memorabilia that trace the story of Former President Ferdinand Marcos from his beginnings until his death. This trip down history lane was rather interesting. There was much learning. Also, nothing is more fascinating than seeing items of clothing, writing, transportation etc. from way, way back, especially those that are already obsolete in this era, to show us how people lived in the olden days.
Inside the mausoleum, it was eerie and chilling which, I think, was only a natural reaction when inside a rather dark room with an unburied dead body in it. He was there. Ferdinand Marcos looked like he was just sleeping. He was such a curious thing to watch. It was his face, but in a way, I could also tell that it wasn’t really it.

Five things I’ve learned from our guide: seven layers of wax were applied to maintain the body, an Egyptian expert was the one who did it, even the guides in the mausoleum are not allowed to open the crypt, only every 10 years does the body get retouched/waxes get replaced, and the 3rd time the body will be retouched is after three years, on the 30th year of his death. It was creepy there, but it was also cool, literally and figuratively. Imagine rounding a preserved body while an air conditioner releases really cold air. Now that was some major goosebump moment.

Paoay Sand Dunes (!!!)
I don’t even know how to describe what happened here, and this is not to just sensationalize the experience. Let’s just say the 4x4 off-road adventure ride is not to be missed by thrill seekers.
The sand dunes look pretty imposing with its vastness. There’s so much promise of adventure just by staring out to as far as anyone can see.
The moment we hopped in the 4x4, there was no more backing out. We had no protective gears or locks to secure us. We were only told to hold on to the tube bar tightly and never let go. And that was it, before I could even prepare myself for what was going to happen, we were already either chugging sideways(!) on rocky portions or flying off cliffs. The whole time it was happening we were calling to all the existing gods, screaming to infinity, cursing the guides, and begging to be off the ride all at the same time. Adrenaline rush multiplied by a hundred. It was nuts! In fairness, there were breaks after some minutes of nonstop tension and craziness. There was even that time we stopped by the beach spot to rest our lungs and take our mind off the nerve-wracking things for a bit.
After overcoming fears, it gave all of us a different sense of accomplishment and courage. It became a bragging right, a source of pride. And why not?! It is the best experience, the absolute highlight, the act I hadn’t written on my bucketlist but should have, and the one thing I would do all over again in Ilocos.

Paoay Lake

We only got to see Paoay Lake in passing on our way back to our lodge. Actually, we were supposed to visit the Malacañang of the North which has a better view of the lake, but it was already closed by 4:30, so we opted to just sightsee for a bit just to get it off the list and say we’ve seen it.

Day 2

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
This lighthouse is considered a cultural heritage structure for good reason. Aside from being a beautiful sight near and afar, it has also been in existence for many decades now. And to my knowledge, it is still a fully-operational lighthouse. It is amusing because it serves both aesthetic and functional purposes.
The longevity of its existence also gave way to horror stories haunting this lighthouse. From the old furniture, yellowed mattresses and broken posts, the look of some of its rooms added up to the creep. This is also why we didn’t stay long in this place.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
To be honest, I wasn’t really able to appreciate the beauty of Kapurpurawan because there was so much distraction. The crowd of visitors, the scorching (emphasis on scorching) heat of the sun and the long walk to the main attraction were just too much to bear. It was a good thing there were stores renting out umbrellas and selling thirst quenchers along the way. 
Don’t get me wrong. I get why Kapurpurawan is popular. It may just be some rock formation, but it looks as though it was purposefully sculpted which it was not, and that makes it more amazing. The way to it has been made more appealing by putting other little sights as well. From this area, one can already take a peek of the huge windmills from the other side, and that makes them an extra attraction.

Bangui Windmills
Now the windmills are among my favorites in this trip. From our van, I could already see parts of them peeping from hills while we were still in transit to Kapurpurawan. And then on our way to Bangui, they started to look closer, bigger and taller. I don’t know how many they are, but there are plenty of them for sure. Seeing them properly aligned makes them such a sight to behold. Not only do I like them because they are an eye pleaser but because they are an energy source so helpful as well. They provide electricity to Ilocos Norte at a low price. How’s that for an attraction?

Patapat Viaduct
Honestly, I had no idea what was so special about this spot until I saw it in person. It is a bridge along a coast, and that’s kind of already self-explanatory. It has the kind of view that would make one want to go on long rides. After some research, I learned that this is an important viaduct, as it connects Laoag’s Maharlika Highway to Cagayan Valley. We stopped here shortly for some photos before continuing with our business.

Bantay Abot Cave
This cave came as a bit of a surprise. I was expecting something closed, dark and underground. It was none of those things because it was not the usual kind; it was some kind of an open cave by the sea.
According to our little guide Shadow, the two boulders that make up the cave look like a man and a woman kissing. And after paying close attention, we were able to see them too. How it came to be, I have no idea, but it was amazing to look at.
The place was absolutely Instagram-worthy, but Shadow and her friend made sure that it would be more memorable for us by teaching us poses that would make our pictures unique. At a young age, it is admirable to watch kids work their business. 

Kabigan Falls
A 30-minute trek under the unforgiving sun was nothing compared to what we saw when we got to Kabigan Falls. Beyond the farm and over the stream, we found this mini-heaven. It was standing pretty and inviting. There was actually nothing very unique about it, but it was so nice how just by being around it, I was refreshed. It was all I wanted that moment because we had been touring around for two days then, and some real refreshment was what my body needed. 
Kabigan Falls was all water and shade. I did not even go full on swimming; just half of my body was soaked, but I was already totally cooled down. Feeling like it was a little closed and secluded, the surrounding trees and rocks added to the laid back atmosphere. I wish we could have stayed longer, though.

Blue Lagoon

Because we felt like it would be a violation and misuse of summer if we didn’t at least go beaching on our trip, we made sure to include Hannah’s Resort in Blue Lagoon on our itinerary.
Blue Lagoon (also known as Maira-ira Beach) is made up of powder fine white sand and blue green saltwater. It actually covers a pretty long stretch which makes for great sightseeing. It’s beautiful. Aside from swimming and sunbathing, different water activities can be done here as well like jet skiing, banana boat riding and zip line riding. Because it was a weekend when we came, there were a lot of guests, so we didn’t really get to have the place to ourselves or at least enjoy the beach which was sad since this was one of the things we were really looking forward to.
Okay, so Hannah’s Beach Resort and Convention Center is huge. It is hectares and hectares of beautiful scenery.
In fairness to the pools, there are plenty of them. So plenty that even when there are many guests, the pools are not awkwardly crowded. There are those intended for adults and those for children. The ones situated higher even provide an overlooking view of Pagudpud. Water is not hot or cold, just right. And if I remember it correctly, the water also comes from the sea.
If anything, it’s worth pointing out that this resort has so much of the aesthetics. Some make it seem unorganized and scattered. Some of them are not even necessary anymore. The statues on display follow different themes that cause confusion. I am not sure it it’s trying to be USA or cartoon inspired. The room units face different directions and are located sporadically. Stores are also everywhere. It was crowded with people. It always feels like there’s so much going on. It looks busy, so this is not really the place to be for relaxation.

ILOCOS SUR

Day 3

Bantay Church and Bell Tower
This church happens to be the place where the miraculous Apo Caridad is enshrined. People who seek forgiveness, blessing, guidance, and healing come to her in prayer. I was blessed that we had the chance to see her (but not really because she was covered from head to toe for protection). After praying, we got to talk to an old man who related to us stories about the miracles of Apo Caridad as experienced by visitors. Despite being of service for decades, he was still very much in awe while talking to us like he still couldn’t fathom her miracles.
We also took a side trip to the bell tower. We climbed up to see the huge bell. Groups of visitors took turns because the tower couldn’t accommodate a lot.

Burnayan Pottery
Burnayan is where one can find burnays or earthen jars of different sizes and designs. Some may be bought individually while some are sold in sets. The moment I saw them, I was instantly reminded of childhood. Girls from before used to enjoy playing kitchen cooking.
This place not only sells earthen jars to guests but also offers quick demos of pottery making. It looked very easy when I watched the native maker do it, but when three of my friends tried it, they had a hard time. I’ve noticed that the form of the jars would differ depending on how tight one molds the mud. The maker told us that after the clay was molded, it would then be dried for a few days and fired/glazed after.

Hidden Garden
Lunching at Hidden Garden is highly recommended. It is an open-space restaurant and a garden in one. It houses huge servings of some of Vigan’s unique dishes and delicacies like warek-warek and poqui-poqui. These two may sound funny to a local’s ears, but they taste really nice. Warek-warek is mainly composed of grilled pork while poqui-poqui is of grilled eggplants. We ordered both plus the bagnet which lived up to my expectations. It was so good, so crunchy. Aside from these dishes, plants and organic drinks may be found in the garden also.

Baluarte
A visit to Baluarte is so field trip-like. It has everything that one will expect from a zoo – animals (of course), galleries, souvenir shops, and photo stations. We weren’t able to roam around the whole place, but we saw some really amazing animals from which my most favorite ones are the tigers. I’ve always been a fan because they look like handsome puppets when calm and scary beasts when mad.
After checking out the live animals, we then visited the safari gallery that has in it the animals the owner Chavit Singson hunted and killed in the past. 
Some of them are really huge and wild beasts. Truth be told, I had mixed emotions, as I stared at every preserved animal on display.
We ended our trip inside Baluarte with a panicky photo with Tom the Tiger. This was another first for me. I had so much fun. I had the nerves too, but I’d rather deal with a tiger than a snake, no thanks.
Calle Crisologo

Calle Crisologo is one of the streets that form the so-called Vigan Heritage Village.
I love the discipline in this place, discipline in a way that this little street manages to preserve its being authentically vintage. It follows the Spanish colonial architecture from cobblestoned pavements to ancestral homes. They weren’t just constructed recently to look that way but were really built during the colonial era. They have been there ever since. It’s amusing because it feels like I’m time-travelling to a different dimension. It has always been a dream of mine to walk this street and see what it’s like to be here.
Vigan in general is like some sort of a detached city because everything else in it is different. Establishments like food chains, bookstores and malls were built following traditional designs to not look out of place in this rather strictly thematic city, and that is where its magic is at.

A few things I’ve learned on this trip:

Every corner of every Ilocos tourist spot is picture-worthy, but what people don’t know is that behind every pretty photo is the enduring heat. It’s abnormally hot in the North, especially these days. Precaution must be taken seriously. We could’ve had an even more awesome time had it not been that hot out there. Hopping in and getting off the van with the heat and the air conditioner battling it out got us all feeling sticky and drained at the end of every day. 
Travel takes up most time out of the tour. The towns covering our itinerary are not really located close to each other. Laoag to Vigan was more or less two hours, so was Laoag to Pagudpud. Time can be the enemy here. In the end, we had a few places on our list that we weren’t able to go to because we ran out of time.

The bottom line is, while it was great that we got to try something different this time by focusing more on land, nothing would ever beat our love for the beach. We gave it a shot, and we realized it will always be beach over land adventure for us. I guess the very inconsiderate heat added to our longing for water in our system.

With all that I’ve mentioned above, it is not to say Ilocos wasn’t worth it. It was! We got to taste both land (in the form of museum hopping, church hopping and sand dunes activity) and water (in the form of the falls and the beach).

It had been a really jam-packed adventure time in the North. I know there’s still so much out there, so we will keep exploring. :)

*Photos by Rendell Barrera, Justine Dador, Monica Mangalino, Jerome Satera, and yours truly!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
There was an error in this gadget

Popular Posts