Laoag City and nearby places

After sand boarding, we headed back to the city proper for some late breakfast. After the meal, we roamed around the vicinity before going to our next destination. Laoag is a developed area with establishments like McDonald’s, Jollibee and the like (the presence of which, I am starting to believe, pave the way towards cityhood). There was a convenience store called “Ilocostop” (reminds me of Ministop and Chotostop) and though it was subpar compared to 7-eleven, anything that is open 24-hours deserve some credit.

SONY DSCIlocos Norte Capitol. I like the white paint and elegant look of this building. On the entrance is a life-size picture of the outgoing and incumbent governor of the province, Imee Marcos. According to our driver, the Marcoses are still popular in this part of the country.

ilocos (4)Near the Capitol is Museo Ilocos Norte. I was excited to visit the place because I wanted to learn more about my ethnicity and appreciate my ancestry and rich legacy (though I’m not from Ilocos, part of my blood is Ilocano so I can somehow relate).

SONY DSCUnfortunately, it was closed for some sort of Traveling International Museum Day Celebration. This, I would have to visit on another time.

SONY DSCProbably the best-looking SM Hypermarket building I have seen, right in front of the Provincial Capitol.

SONY DSCThe sinking bell tower of St. William’s Cathedral. This was a block away from the actual church and I don’t know why.

SONY DSCAccording to legend, humans riding horses used to pass by the entrance of the tower (yep, it’s the same entrance that is now only approximately 5 feet). Imagine how much the infrastructure has sunk over the years!

SONY DSCThe interior of St. William’s Cathedral.

SONY DSCWhile we were taking pictures outside, I had the idea of climbing the Bell Tower. I asked around for information and we were lead to the parish office where we met Fr. Policarpio Albano. At first he was all game to let us in the building but one of his assistants reminded him that it was already closed to tourists because there are falling debris inside and they were after our safety. I was a bit disappointed and my hardheadedness wanted to convince the reverend but my companions got scared. Instead, we just talked with Fr. for a couple of minutes and he shared one theory as to why the tower sinks. According to him, one Spanish priest, after studying abroad for a couple of years, learned that Laoag is an earthquake prone area so he suggested that the foundation of the Bell Tower to be built at that time should be “wedge” type to protect it from the moving plates. Hence, it is believed that every time the earth shakes, the tower sinks deeper and deeper, millimeter by millimeter/inch by inch (contrary to what the traffic enforcer told us about it sinking every time the bell is struck).

SONY DSCOur next stop was Fort Ilocandia. If I was rich, I would have loved to check-in at this hotel.

ilocos (12)Fort Ilcoandia is originally built by the Marcos family for the wedding reception of Irene (they sure know how to throw a party). The lobby isn’t as grand compared to other five star hotels but I love the red bricks, floor tiles and wood in the interiors for they give out a warm ambiance. Displayed along the walls of the hotel lobby are pictures of famous visitors and I noticed that most of them were Chinese. I guess we were in very good terms with the race way back.

SONY DSCI want this chandelier.

ilocos (13)Even the bathroom had bricked walls which encouraged vanity.

ilocos5And some more vanity shots in a cafe with delicious-looking wall paint. Thank God my collarbones are back after 5 years!

ilocos6The hallway that lead to the hotel rooms. While we were there, we only spotted fellow sightseers and none of the actual guests (I wonder if the place is haunted, hehe). Given the price of an overnight stay, I doubt if travelers actually stop over for the night. I guess the hotel is mostly used for wedding receptions, conferences and other corporate events nowadays.

ilocos1There is no entrance fee but sightseers can only roam up to a certain point. In short, to experience fully what the place can offer, you need to check-in. We didn’t have the moolah hashtag thirdworldproblems.

SONY DSCGrand fountain, only operational during special occasions, at night, mostly. I hope the hotel thrives (because I doubt if its income-generating ability is high) up to a point in the near future when I am finally able to afford an overnight stay. hehe.

ilocos2After Fort Ilocandia, we went to Paoay Church. It was almost 12 noon and the sun was at its cruelest.  Walking the distance from the parking to the entrance of the church was very excruciating.

SONY DSC SONY DSCThe church is currently being repaired and restored, probably to make it more stable amid the test of time and natural deterioration while keeping the facade intact.

SONY DSCI like visiting really old structures even if there’s nothing to do except take pictures and look around. It feels like some form residual energy from the past still lingers in the place. Anything with history is awesome.

ilocos 7*Some of the photo credits go to Charisse Socan. Thanks Cha!

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