You should go on an Ilocos road trip with your friends if

1. A friend offered to shoulder vehicle, driver, and gas costs and you only have to worry about accommodation and food. This is the second reason why I went anyway (first is to spend time with my beloved band, yihee!). Thanks Cha!

2. You’re okay with being uncomfortable sometimes. I tell you, road trips aren’t a walk on the park more so if it’s in Ilocos. Some roads are bumpy and during long stretches between two destinations, you need to learn how to sleep in awkward positions.

3. You are not easily bored. People have the misconception that road trips are ALWAYS fun, with music blaring and laughs echoing at ALL times. Wrong. Road trip means sitting inside a vehicle for hours on end and unless you’re comfortable with silence, sleeping in a car, listening to your own music (i.e. on individual earphones) and staring at the road, you will feel restless. Boredom is actually one of your foes especially if you’re a city person. That’s not a problem for me because I can always sleep.

SONY DSC4. You appreciate things like history and nature. They’re both sort of tedious, not the extreme and adrenaline-rushing activities like roller coasters which humans have grown to love. Ilocos is full of simple things. There are museums and rock formations and old lighthouses with vandalism. It takes someone who has had his share of solitude to see past the mundane and enjoy himself.

5. The heat doesn’t bother you (or it does but you don’t let it ruin your trip). Come midday, everywhere you go, you will be burned. There’s no escaping the rays of the sun and based on experience, the temperature is inversely proportional with patience, kindness and all other virtues. If you’re able to stay sane despite the will of your body to stay inside a freezer and never leave, you’re good to go.

6. (Speaking of the heat) You don’t mind getting a tan. Enough said.

two days worth of sunshine
two days worth of sunshine

7. You’re not too health-conscious to the point of being KJ (killjoy). Your diet for the trip will consist of Bagnet for breakfast, oily empanada for midnight snack and junk food for snacks. Even if  you haven’t drank coca-cola products in ages, you will drink three or more bottles in one day because it takes an iron will not to succumb to the thought of ice-cold soda down your throat after all the walking that you did under the evil sun.

My third bottle of Royal, and it's only 4PM
My third bottle of Royal, and it’s only 4PM

8. You’re vain. Because there’s not much to do except take pictures. Take a photo of the foods you eat, of yourself in many different angles, of the road, and of the wonders. Repeat.

9. You don’t mind staying at homestays. Accommodation can burn through the hole that is your budget and the best way to prevent that from happening is to stay at the homes of the locals. Aside from being practical (because you will be out roaming around most time of the day anyway), you are helping the locals instead of corporations. At one time, we stayed in a house with air conditioning, Wi-Fi, three bathrooms, and unlimited potable and cold water. Though no other amenities were provided, all the basics were covered and we only paid 250 pesos each.

SONY DSC10. You don’t mind testing the strength (or lack thereof) of your friendship. I believe that traveling together is one such test for it brings out the best and worst in you especially when faced with certain circumstances. There’s a difference between spending a couple of hours a day or a week with dear friends and spending three or four (or eight!) whole days with them. Based on experience, trips can make, break, or change the course of friendships. I believe it’s not about being in good terms all the time (because God knows how stupid and impatient people can get), it’s about understanding the shortcomings of each other and not letting the petty things pile up into something big.

pagudpud (33)
thank you Reverse! It is still a memorable trip for me.

The more we know about a person doesn’t make us powerful. In fact, it puts us in his mercy because the more a friend opens up to us, the more our understanding of the whys and hows of his actions should be.

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