Tag Archives: Ilocos Norte

Snapshots of Ilocanos

It’s been more than a month since I visited the beautiful northern provinces of Ilocos and if not for my lack of vacation leaves, I would have traveled back, at least to Vigan, just bask in the fabulous heat of this place. I love the places, the people and their priceless expressions and smiles.

Cute kid on his way home from school.

I hope it's nothing too serious, girls.

This photo and the next two were captured in one shot and I just had to crop to focus on each of their faces.

As our calesa passed by, they looked up from what they're doing and flashed their charming smiles.

Whether this guy flashed us a smile under his cover up, we'll never know. 😉

Inside the Paoay Church or the St. Augustine Church

Captured on our trek to Kabigan Falls

I wanted to join these kids to ward off the heat from the Kabigan Falls trek.

Along the trail at Kabigan Falls, a local is off to start his day.

A very shy kid spotted on our trek back to the Kabigan Falls entrance.

Looks like she'll grow up to be a beauty.

I would have been spooked big time had a ghost appeared behind me @__@

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Commuting Around Ilocos Norte: Pagudpud (Day 2)

We actually consented that he be included because he won't stop clowning around. You rock, dude! -- fr Lai's camera

We waited an eternity for our breakfast to be served at Apo Idon so we took it as a chance to enjoy the beach that glorious morning and snap more photos of Saud.

We hired the same trike driver, Manong Vicente who bought us to Saud the day before, for our Pagudpud tour. Trike tours are the way to go if you’re too few to rent a van or simply on a budget. Pagudpud trike tours are divided into North and South tours and costs Php600 each. We decided to take both because we have come this far already and we don’t want regrets later.

North Tour:

  • Kabigan Falls
  • Patapat Viaduct
  • Agua Grande
  • Paraiso ni Anton
  • Timangtang Rock
  • Bantay Abot Cave
  • Dos Hermanos Island
  • Maira-ira Beach (Blue Lagoon)

South Tour:

  • Bangui Windmills
  • Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
  • Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
As with the previous post, please check the gallery at the bottom of the page for more photos and tips. 🙂

Tips:

  • If you’re coming from Saud, it is best to start with the North tour.
  • Best to start at least by 7AM at Kabigan Falls before the sun unleashes its ferocious rays in the afternoon. Note that this is a 30-minute hike from the entrance and you will appreciate starting out early.
  • Manong Vicente’s contact number: +639262735210
  • Be wary of those posting van tours in forums. Some have been scammed into depositing money as reservation. And yes, they vanished into oblivion after.

A little side note. Onboard the trike, Ivy and I were inside, with Lai as the backrider. I am amazed that she managed to doze without falling off the seat. Seriously! And as we chatted much later on, I uncovered the mystery of the perplexed looks we got as our trike passed by. Lai was afraid of getting sunburned that she draped her shawl from the head, totally covering her upper body. I can only imagine how she must have looked like that time. 😀

We finished the tour around 230PM and Manong Vicente dropped us off across the highway (Burgos) where we will wait for a bus bound for Laoag. At this time, our last decent meal was breakfast at Apo Idon. Though we snacked on tupig and soda at the little shack after our hike to the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, we just about consumed what we ate after all the stair-climbing at the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.

As famished as we were, we still hoped for a GWM bus to pass by as it goes directly to Vigan. But since we rather not waste time waiting, we hopped aboard the first bus that passed by and it’s bound for Laoag.

Some 1.5 hours later, we arrived at the Laoag terminal. We rode the trike and headed straight to the public market to buy some of our pasalubongs.  I never realized just how cramped we were in the trike until I turned my head towards Ivy and saw that there was just enough space for her face and her ginormous backpack. I was thinking maybe she will suffocate if she faced front and so she turned her head slightly toward me for some air. That image is forever etched in my memory until Alzheimer’s strike me. 😀

We finished shopping in 30 minutes and grabbed some empanada (by the roadside lest we drop dead from hunger and sheer exhaustion); then hired a trike to take us to the Partas bus terminal.

Just minutes after settling ourselves, we attacked our empanada like wolves (or PG, as in patay-gutom. LOL). I finished mine in roughly 5 minutes while Ivy finished hers in probably 10 minutes. Mind you, the empanada is not that huge… made me wonder really. Did I eat that fast or was she that slow? Our friends will say, it’s the latter 😉

Tip:

Bagnet is cheaper in Laoag (in my experience, that is). A kilo of bagnet in Laoag costs Php400 (I haggled it down to Php390, as I bought 2 kilos; not much but I’m good with it 😉 ) In Vigan, it retails for Php420/kilo.

Details:

Trike tour + tip <Php 600×2=(1200+100)/3>

Php434

Kabigan Falls Tour guide (Php 150/3)

50

Enivornmental fee: Timangtang Rock

10

Entrance Fee: Agua Grande

25

Bus fare (Burgos to Laoag)

50

Trike from terminal to Laoag Public Market (Php33/3)

11

Trike from market to Partas terminal (Php33/3)

11

Bus fare (Laoag to Vigan)

133

TOTAL           

724

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Commuting Around Ilocos Norte: Saud (Night 1)

Weary from a long day of lugging our stuff around while doing our city tour, we dozed off in that ordinary bus and when we woke up, we managed to crack up at our disheveled state. Picture us with wind-blown and matted hair, matched with dusty (and oily) faces and feet. We were such a sorry sight but we still managed to be in a tired-but-cheerful mood.

To pass the two-hour journey to Saud, I took photos of the countryside which pretty much looks the same as in most part of Ilocos.

The road to Saud via an ordinary bus.

Though there are occasional not-so-nose-friendly-countryside-smell, I still love the cool (and strong) wind blowing into the open bus window.

I only had three snaps of the road to Saud, because I dozed off yet again as I gazed outside and took in the quiet countryside.

Around 6PM, we finally arrived in Sawit Junction in Burgos. In our sorry state, we  still managed to charm our way into asking for directions or maybe because we looked kawawa already. Hahaha. We then hired a trike (driven by Manong Vicente) to take us to Saud and he dropped us off at one of the beaches lined up there (which happened to be the same beach that Francisco, the Fil-Am guy we met at Paoay Church, suggested).

Tip: Saud beaches are reminiscent of Puerto Galera. Accommodations are lined up; and as you go farther from the center, the cheaper it gets. So if you’re not prissy, get the cheaper one and just have your meals at the fancier places in the area. 😉

It was the fastest wardrobe change I made before dipping into the glorious beach for some night swimming. Ok fine. We didn’t plunged as fast. We had to do some (ok, a lot) of cam-whoring first before we finally gave in to the seduction of the waves.  (^__^)

Our sumptuous dinner of bagnet (again! ^_^) and ginataang sitaw at kalabasa.

The beach isn’t that well-lighted so after relaxing and chatting by the shore, we headed back while the restos still provided some light and took our much needed bath. Finally! We then headed to the nearest resto to feast on yet another round of bagnet and ginataang sitaw at kalabasa (String beans and squash in coconut milk). Much as we wanted to have a nightcap, most restos were closed already so we just went back to our room to get some decent sleep and prepare for our next tour. Pagudpud here we come! ♥

Details:

Bus fare from Laoag to Pagudpud (ordinary)

Php70

Trike fare to Saud (Php45/3)

15

Accommodation (Php1200/3)

400

TOTAL     485
  

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Commuting Around Ilocos Norte: Laoag (Day 1)

We reached Laoag around 5:30AM and decided to ride the trike to Jollibee-Bacarra (which is open 24 hours) to freshen up before going about our itinerary for the day.

We soon found out that trikes are the equivalent of cabs and FX in Ilocos. For convenience and to cover as much ground as possible, take the trike especially if you’re a group so you can just split the fare among yourselves.

From Jollibee, the following are merely walking distance from each other. But before proceeding, you can check the map from your smartphones or simply approach a crew and ask for directions; they are pretty helpful and friendly.

So as not to clutter this post, please check the thumbnails at the  bottom of this page and click to enlarge the photos. I also included some tips on the caption. 😉

City Tour

  • Ilocos Norte Capitol
  • Museo Ilocos Norte
  • Tobacco Monopoly Monument
  • Laoag City Capitol and Post Office
  • Laoag City Church (otherwise known as St. William’s Cathedral)
  • Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag

But for the tourist spots outside Laoag, you need to ride the jeep going to Paoay at the Shell station, which is a block away from the Ilocos Norte Capitol. Alternately, trike drivers around St. William’s Cathedral offer a roundtrip tour for Php600 (max. 3 passengers). This is practical considering this is very far from the city. Note that this does not include Fort Ilocandia and in my opinion, you can skip this. But then, that’s just me.

So  if you plan to visit Fort Ilocandia, make sure you let the trike driver wait for you to save time on waiting for the ride back to Laoag. Jeeps and trikes traverse this area but not as frequent since this is far from the main road.

Tour Outside Laoag

  • Marcos Museum and Mausoleum
  • Paoay Lake
  • Paoay Church (St. Augustine Church)
  • Malacanang of the North
  • Fort Ilocandia

A little side note. As I was taking photos in Paoay Church, a foreigner-looking guy approached me and chatted for a bit. His name is Francisco and he’s pure Pinoy but grew up in the US. He’s currently exploring the north and he’s done with Pagudpud, Sagada, Baguio, La Union, etc. He actually gave us tips on where to stay in Saud and gave us some contact numbers as well. Oh, did I say he’s a looker? 😉

Anyway, if you are going to follow the itinerary I posted earlier, you can ask the driver to drop you off at a bus terminal bound for Pagudpud after the tour. We were dropped off at a terminal behind the Laoag City Capitol at around 4PM.

Details:

Trike fare from terminal to Jollibee-Bacarra (Php60/3)

Php20

Entrance fee: Museo Ilocos Norte

50

Jeep fare from Laoag to Paoay

34

Trike tour (Php550/3)

184

Entrance fee: Malacanang of the North      

30

Entrance fee: Marcos Museum & Mausoleum

50

TOTAL           

368



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Commuting to Laoag, Ilocos Norte (Day 0)

We took the 8PM bus schedule to Laoag from the Partas Cubao Terminal located at Aurora Boulevard. Buses leave every hour (starting at 8PM-12MN) so you don’t have to worry in case you miss your preferred schedule. I must say, I was surprised that they really leave on time.

Tips:

  • From the Cubao MRT, take the stairs opposite the Farmer’s Market Plaza. You have an option to hire a  tricycle or take a 5-10 minutes walk (depending on your pace, of course) to the terminal.  Since I grew up in Cubao, I know this area to be notorious; so be aware of your surroundings and your belongings and walk fast. I suggest you go towards Aurora Boulevard because it’s well-lighted compared to the shorter route via an alley right below the Cubao MRT.
  • Have your dinner before proceeding to the terminal because there’s no fast food chain within their vicinity (only girly bars 😉 ) but they do have their cafeteria should you get really hungry.

Travel time is approximately 10 hours including 2 stopovers before you reach Laoag. In our case, it only took 9.5 hours.

Details:

ETD Manila: 8:00PM

ETA Laoag: 5:30AM

Fare: Php917 (Deluxe)

It was during our stopover that I bumped into two of my professors from college; they were on their way to visit  St. Paul University in Vigan (I studied at the Quezon City campus). They look like they haven’t aged at all. I swear! And because we chatted like anything, I forgot to snap us a photo.  So here’s a shoutout to them: Hola! Ms. Elsa Hufano (who looks prettier with her straight hair) and Ms. Lolit Albit (who looks just as charming with her dark brown-dyed hair)! And yes, we call our professors “Miss” and we say it in our infamous kolehiyala accent; “Ma’am” for us is really unheard of. I had to learn and get used to it in the workplace because at one point, I called my boss “Miss”. Good thing she didn’t feel weird because she came from an all-girls school as well. 😀

<<< Next:  Laoag >>>

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