Ilocos 2014

I am still going through my backlogs and they’re not getting any less maybe because I am busy pretending to study hard (but it’s just boring without any major subject/s), watching Running Man, reading Manga, meeting with people and all sorts of things humans usually do. On another note, maybe it’s just like what Edra said: I have grown tired of this blog and have lost the urge to tell the world everything that happens to me. I don’t actually know which is which but I’m quite sure I’m not doing this for the world.

Anyway, this one’s long overdue (it happened last May) but I’m writing about it now because I need a break from taking my minor subjects too seriously. Also, it’s still summer in some parts of the world. HAHA!

I’ve been to Ilocos twice. The first time was in high school during a Girl Scout field trip. Aside from the horse named Angelita, some badly-focused pictures developed from film, sleeping in classrooms and bits of memories, I don’t recall much of the trip. Second was last year with my Reverse Band. We’re not really a band, we just like to call ourselves that. That one’s pretty much documented along with its ups and downs.

This year, I visited Ilocandia Region again. This time with my siblings, cousins and father (the chaperone).

ilocos (2)We came from Isabela and I specially requested that we stop over at CCQ in Aritao. I don’t know, their grilled hotdogs are just special to me.

SONY DSCAnd then the nightmare began thanks to the infamous Dalton Pass. I only learned recently that this zigzag road is actually called Dalton Pass because we simply refer to it as Santa Fe. I was told “you better go to sleep because we’re nearing Santa Fe lest you want to vomit your guts out” every time we travel to and from Manila ever since I was a child.

It wasn’t the steep curves that caused the nightmare tho but the impossible traffic. Usually, it only takes an hour or less to go through Dalton Pass. Lo and behold, we spent 12 hours thanks to an accident involving a 10-wheeler truck, slow response from whoever is responsible and insensitive drivers who left their big cars on the road to spend the night elsewhere. Yes, 12 freaking hours. It played with my emotions. A couple of times I was hopeful because we were beginning to gain speed after being stuck for an hour or two only to stop again after 500 meters (and be stuck again for an hour). I’ve never hated traffic more and been afraid of it since. Now I always always always pray whenever I pass by this notorious pass.

SONY DSCWe should’ve arrived in Vigan, Ilocos Sur at 8 AM. At 6 AM we were welcoming the sunrise on Dalton Pass. We were sleepless, hot (we had to turn off the air con to save on fuel) and hungry (we subsisted on junk food and yogurt sticks).

ilocos (69)At sunset we were still an hour or two away from Vigan. Good thing we passed by this nice view to compensate for a wasted day. Oh well, that’s the beauty of thing about roadtrips and life in general, you can’t control everything.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC ilocos (70)We arrived in Vigan just in time for the fountain show. Aside from the kids who love to splash water at the tourists, it’s fixating and entertaining.

5Vigan at night

SONY DSC ilocos (72) SONY DSC SONY DSCIrene’s is one of the famous stores serving Vigan Empanada and Okoy. I have to admit that their Empanada is good but I’m not a fan of the Okoy. It’s the crunchy type made mostly of shrimps. I prefer the one with squash and veggies (who would’ve thought I’d say I like veggies?).

SONY DSC SONY DSCAnother problem was where to spend the night. You see I’m partly a “bahala na si Batman” planner and we arrived without any reservations on a weekend during Summer. As expected, most hotels were fully booked. After much walking in the dark, we found refuge in Hotel Salcedo Vigan.

ilocos (73)Breakfast came with the room and it was delicious. We feasted on tocino, tapa, corned beef, hotdog, ham and the famous Vigan Longganisa. Also, they served one of the best strawberry jams ever.

6Chavit Singson’s Baluarte

ilocos (80) SONY DSC SONY DSCPagburnayan

SONY DSCSyquia Mansion of President Elpidio Quirino

SONY DSCI remember Mikki’s story of the bell being rang to signal that it’s time for meals in their household. Talk about sosyal. I guess this bell served the same purpose because it is located in the dining area of the mansion.

SONY DSCVigan Heritage Village during daylight

SONY DSCUpon seeing the dilapidated state of most houses, I felt a pang of sadness. What if we preserved them? Or better yet, what if we still incorporate their designs when building our homes today instead of trying hard to copy western houses?

SONY DSCAvocado dirty ice cream for the impossible heat.

SONY DSCIgado from a sidewalk Eatery. Cheap, delicious and authentic (far from the ones they serve in Manila). Igado is an Ilocano dish made from pork tenderloin and pig’s innards such as liver, kidney, heart.

SONY DSCBantay Church bell tower famous for the Judy Ann-Rico Yan film set in Vigan. I remember because I was a sucker for Filipino films when I was younger. I watch CinemaOne 8 hours a day.

SONY DSCView of a cemetery from the top of the tower.

SONY DSCDon’t know what this tree is called but it’s like a Filipino version of Cherry Blossoms don’t cha think? Found near Paoay Church.

ilocos (82)Malacanang of the North which, just like what I said in a post I wrote last year, is an inspiration for my dream home.

SONY DSCPaoay Lake

SONY DSCMarcos Museum

SONY DSCWhat I’d give to have good handwriting.

SONY DSCTobacco Monopoly monument in Laoag

SONY DSCI’m sorry but Laoag Empanada > Vigan Empanada. It just has more flavor.

ilocos (83)Museo Ilocos Norte

SONY DSC ilocos (84) SONY DSCIlocos’ Next Top Mowdel

SONY DSCJohnny Moon Cafe just in front of Museo Ilocos Norte inspired by Juan Luna (Moon is the English word for “Luna”).

SONY DSCThe interiors were vibrant and the lighting encouraged vanity.

ilocos (85)

We had Bagnet sandwhich which was delicious but had to be eaten right away because the Bagnet and bread become tough, their specialty seafood pasta which was okay, Dragonfruit ice cream because Dragonfruit is abundant in the region (I wanted to visit a farm but we didn’t have enough time) and a tupig-like dessert with chocolate syrup.

ilocos (87)Drinks. I’m guessing the yellow one is Odalisque, “Organic honey with calamansi”, the brown has banana and coffee while the last one is called Una Chula, “a combination of imee wine, bugnay wine, basi, calamansi and iced tea”. The taste of alcohol was very evident, obviously.

SONY DSCA novelty of dining in Johnny Moon is the free stick-on mustache. Perfect for selfies. Like a sir!

ilocos (86)We stayed at Texicano Hotel, the cheapest hostel in Laoag!

SONY DSCYou get what you pay for because only the basics are provided. It’s even debatable whether the air conditioning is working or the sheets are changed. Plus there was a funny smell reminiscent of your grandmother’s bedroom. But since I’m not a fan of splurging on accommodations (because you will only sleep there for a couple of hours and taking a bath is even optional HAHA!) it was acceptable.

SONY DSCNext stop was Ilocos Norte. Unfortunately, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse was under renovation during our visit.

SONY DSCIn Smith’s words in the forever relevant movie Mean Girls, “you have your cousins, and then you have your first cousins…”

SONY DSCBangui Windmills. It’s nice if majority of our energy source is renewable.


SONY DSC ilocos (88) SONY DSCKabigan Falls. A 30-minute to 1 hour trek from civilization.

ilocos (90)Not as beautiful as it appears in photos but I always enjoy the cool waters that falls have.

4Lito Lapid este Pangs.

SONY DSC ilocos (92)Pagudpud Homestay!

SONY DSCI just wanna go to the beach. Sunburn!

ilocos (93)Dyesebel + Allen = Dyesellen

SONY DSCFirst time to play and actually enjoy Beach Volleyball even if we were picking up the ball most of the time. Define NOOB!

SONY DSCBeautiful Blue Lagoon.

ilocos (94)I learned that Banana Boats are more fun when pulled by a Jet Ski instead of a Speedboat. And if you’re not turned upside down in the end, it’s not worth it.

ilocos (95)My favorite doodle turned Henna tattoo. It’s too awesome the artist couldn’t copy my drawing and I even had to guide him every step of the way.

12I have a picture of this sewer because my father fell from it the night before while busy texting. It was a miracle he didn’t have any fracture though he had difficulty walking. Thank God he fell on all fours instead of his head. He was the laughing stock the whole time because we can only imagine how disgusting the smell was. I have fond memories of our last night in Pagudpud. We laughed and talked and scared each other and shared stories till 2 AM. More than the places you go, sometimes it’s the time you spend with people you love that matters.

SONY DSCPatapat Viaduct shot by my sister. iPhone 5s do spit out nice images.

ilocos (98)And our last stop before heading home.

SONY DSCEven if you’ve been somewhere a couple of times, the experience is never the same. I’m sure I’ll be visiting Ilocos again. I just don’t know when.



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