Monday, April 12, 2010

Never Been That Up North!...Until Now :)

Ilocos. Three days, Two Nights.My most eventful trip ever. :)

For so many years, I dreamt of going to Vigan, seeing the heritage houses, swim at Pagudpud and discover the pristine beach and powdery sands of the Blue Lagoon. Sadly, no one wants to go with me during the 12-hour ride, so I set aside my plans...until I met Mench. :)

Due to the heartache that was 2009, I asked Mench if she'd be willing to go with me to Ilocos. She never hesitated. Then when I dropped the bomb, that is, riding the bus for 12 hours or more, she threw dagger looks and cursed me like there's no tomorrow. But then, its her first time to travel and she's a great friend :P

DEPARTING MANILA


They say that no matter how smooth your plans may be, things may leak out when you least expected it. Because I was at the roadshow earlier, I asked Mench to take care of our bus ride since the hotels were staying in are ironed out already. When she called GV Florida to confirm the 9:30PM ride, they advised us that the two buses are fully booked. When she called me up, I asked her to call and reserve other buses at the last minute. Good thing RCJ Trans. had an available 7:30PM slot, so off to Espana we go.

The display ended earlier than I expected, thankfully, MJ offered to take me home to get my stuff and get me to the terminal at 7PM. When were about to get dinner, (because he doesn't wanna let me leave with an empty tummy) Punta Azul, our resort in Pagudpud called to tell me that brownouts occur most of the time there and guests are complaining about it. Then Ms. Maritess offered to find us a place to stay with generators. But because it isn't an issue for me, and I know for a fact that all the resorts there are fully booked, I insisted we'd be willing to stay there, as long as I get a roof on top of my head during the night. While I was fretting on how to tell Mench about the news, MJ was consoling with me by getting lost at Espana looking for the RCJ station. Yeah, talk about bad trip. :P Because we thought that it was exactly on Maceda Street, we got lost but thankfully arrived before the bus departs. Malyn bid us goodbye while I hugged the teddy bear for the last time, and for staying with me even though I was already in hysteria. LOL.

Before 8PM, we were bidding goodbye to Manila. We were talking most of the trip. We were heckling at the CR sign that says "Ihi lang, bawal poop" or looking at the NLEX and the interesting places around. Our busmates were already asleep, but Mench and I got into talking more and calling up MJ because he went to a friend's house and he was driving at Manila at 12MN and we were helping him stay awake. Yeah, that's how bored we were.

At 6AM, we were already at Laoag Terminal. During the ride to Pagudpud, we can already see the windmills and the bridges, the farms and even the salt making houses. Arrived at Pagudpud at 8AM.

BLUE LAGOON, MAIRA-IRA
Because we were dropped off at the Pagudpud Market and RCJ Trans. stops there, we had to take a tricycle to get to our resort. It costs us 250pesos to get there. Talk about overpricing! The funny part was, the GV Florida's Pink Bus went in front of us that Mench and I told the driver, "Eh kuya, ibaba niyo na kaya kami para sa bus na yan kami sumakay" (Please drop us off so we can ride that bus) I dont know, we just wanted to take a picture with it. hehe.

When we got at the top of the Maira-ira, the Blue Lagoon was so inviting. I was telling Mench that the beach is calling my name once again. So after dropping off at the Punta Azul Beach Resort, where we are about to stay, we went to the beach to appreciate its beauty. And as a treat, she got her wish to eat halo-halo once again. :P

After taking our supposed rest from the 12-hour bus trip, we sizzled and kissed the beach at 4PM. But as beautiful as it may seem, the Blue Lagoon creates huge waves that makes you want to surf. So swimming at the beach may seem a little off most of the time because it'll push and pull you in and out of the water. Literally.

Come dinner time, we went to Agua Ceda, a nearby resort/restaurant because Hannah's Place was packed and pricey at the same time. We had the famous Bagnet, Ilocos' Pinakbet, where different from the dish in Manila, there are a handful of tomatoes but squash-less and Crab soup. From there, we met this awesome family from Cainta and Antipolo that were also in vacation, and also Ina and Yuan.

Finishing the sumptuous meal by Tita Letty, I asked Mench to stroll at the beach because we were so full from the dinner. We talked about the things that are going on with our lives, a little about work (because I forbid to talk about it on vacations), our current dilemmas and well, the little fluff that's been going on over and over in my heart right now. And thankfully, I have decided on that. FINALLY. That coming back from the vacation, I am sure of how I feel for him. :)
DAY TWO: PAGUDPUD, PAOAY, BATAC AND VIGAN INVASION
After a very relaxing sleep, waking up seeing the beautiful sunrise and the dazzling beach, Mench and I finally got our breakfast and packed for the whole day's adventure.
Leaving Maira-ira, we departed the bus via Laoag to go to Bangui and see the wind powered windmills. As expected the view took me in awe and captured lots of pictures with the windmills. I even forced Mench to do jumpshots, just for the heck of it. :P

Because the tricycle driver was so swell, we asked him to take us to the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos since I insisted Mench we should go there. Waiting for us was a long line to go atop. But this group in front of us told the caretaker to take us with them since we were only two to count, and the last batch before he closes up. The stairs were too narrow but the view on top is very awesome. You could overlook the South China Sea and the Cape Bojeador.

Boarding the bus to Laoag again, we reached the city after almost two hours. We asked a tricycle driver if he's willing to get us to Paoay Church and told us we'd pay P500 to get there. Told Mench we'd just look for a jeepney going to Paoay. The only funny thing is, I wanted to go to Museo Ilocos Norte but the tricycle just passed by it, going to the jeepney terminal. So much for trying to stop the driver, but then I thought we could just go there afterwards. I just havent realized at that time that we wouldnt be passing Laoag once we go to Vigan.

Going to Paoay took us 30minutes via jeepney and it only costed us P33.00 See, I wanted to strangle the trike driver, if we took that ride instead. Hahahah! Luckily, the Paoay Church was open when we get there. And again, it felt so magnificent to get inside one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines. It is just so rewarding to finally visit the places that you once looked at the pictures.

After lunch, we asked one of the tricycle drivers to get us to the Paoay Lake and the Malacanang of the North. Kuya Driver charged us P50.00 to the lake and told us we could walk to the Malacanang. When we got there, he then pointed at the palace and got mad at him because it is definitely not a walking distance and the scorching heat is THE WORST. EVER.

But then, we negotiated with the driver so he took us to the Malacanang. The place is already old, and it actually looks a little creepy but rustic. Though I don't want to live in a place like that someday. Its big nga, you dont know how scary it is naman. :P
After Malacanang, we rode another jeepney via Batac to visit Marcos' Mausoleum. Again, another historic place which houses clippings and memorabilias of former President Marcos. Entering his resting place, no one is allowed to take pictures and the background music is way creepy too. Though I'm proud that I get to be there.


What better way to have snacks than having Ilocos' delicacy, EMPANADAS!!! While Mench was rummaging through her bags for her money, I got to taste the scrumptious food with vinegar, of course. Mench haven't eaten hers though, because she was all frantic about wjat just happened. She even bet on it that she would treat me dinner that night if she finds her money. :P


After Batac, we went to ride another bus via Vigan to spend the last night of our Ilocos trip. At first, Mench's seatmate told her that we would get to Vigan for at least two hours. Then we asked another guy, and he said an hour. Well, like we could even complain when we just recovered from the 12-hour bus trip right?


At Vigan, we were dropped off at the Municipal Hall and asked Mench if we could just walk all the way to Grandpa's Inn because I have been tired of sitting in buses or tricycles and I needed to stretch my legs. She gladly obliged and I'm just thankful that our hotel isn't that far. Heck, its even two minutes away from Calle Crisologo, the famous Vigan street where heritage houses are found and a great place to buy pasalubong for your family and friends.

Checking in at Grandpa's Inn, we retired for an hour before going back to Crisologo because the day's activity got us all sweaty and well, tired. When Mench found the money she thought she just lost, we had our dinner at Uno Grill and yes, I won the bet! :P I also got so ecstatic that I finally had signal on my sun cellular. And I can call him already! <3>


LAST STOP: VIGAN WONDERS

I told Mench the night before that we should be up early to hear mass at the Cathedral. But then I suddenly remembered the time when we were in Baguio, I never really understood their Ilocano Homily that I just gave up the idea of going. After all, we've been to a lot of churches in Ilocos already that we should just spend our time exploring the places that we haven't seen at Vigan. So the Calesa ride it is...

So our Calesa ride, which we insisted our driver, Kuya Eli and horse, Michael, should only take us for an hour. Because were cheap like that. Hahahaha. And we need to go back to our hotel at 12NN to check out or we'd be overstaying and we'd be paying more. Our first stop is the Bantay Church and Bell Tower, where again, a breathtaking view might be seen on top. We also enjoyed taking pictures at the big bell and its accompanying bells on the sides. :P


We went straight to the Pagburayan Factory where potteries are made. The guy we talked there pointed us to the pots that are used in making salts and even showed us the "pugon" where the jars are "cooked". Mench even scored a little pot for free. She insisted to bring it home even it is hasn't been that much of a pot yet.


Our last stop is at Baluarte, Governor Chavit Singson's home and animal farm. We rode a carriage with a miniature horse named Korina (just don't tell Mar! :P) , saw a camel, ostriches, deers, birds, tigers and even dinosaurs...made of cement. :P We were even lucky to catch the Animal Show. I even saw my friend Kaye, as one of the 10 participants who held a python. Ironic that we don't meet in Manila, and now were both in Vigan. We even had a chance to take a picture with Tom the tiger. Mench was so happy that she finally got to pose with a tiger. I, on the other hand, was damn scared. :P


Reached the hotel before 12NN and immediately packed our bags to meet Ina and Yuan to catch the bus at Partas. Wrong move! When we went there, its so sad that we have to be chance passengers because the bus is already full. Then we decided not to wait for the next bus and see if passengers would unload along the way.

At the first stopover, we saw the families that we met at Pagudpud (the Jara and Herreros). Its so funny that we didnt took pictures when we were there that night, so Toni, took her camera and we posed for the last time. Then promised to add each other on Facebook. Along our trip, Yuan was standing I, on an empty container near the driver until Pangasinan, Mench was seated at the conductor's seat, while Ina was privileged to be seated when we were at La Union. The driver and the conductor was even joining us during our conversations and jokes just to make up for the fact that we were uncomfortable most of the trip. Well at least it got funny.

Reached Manila at 11:00PM. MJ and I even had a spat because he was supposed to meet me at Cubao station, then drive me home, but since he was not replying on my texts, I decided to be dropped off at Sampaloc. When he learned that this bratinella left him, he sped his way to the Sampaloc Bus Station and met me there. He got so worried because he said he really wanted to see me that night. And he made plans to have dinner with me and all the works. What a spoiler I must have been. LOL.
Overall, the trip was SUPERB! I feel just in the movies, a lot of drama, action, adventure, comedy and a little bit of romance on the side. Maybe next year, I'll go back to Vigan. And I probably would force him to go with me.
Here's to lasting friendships and a gazillion adventures! And this is loving and living my life to the fullest!

4 comments:

  1. I think i need to go here too...cool nice article...sana nga lang may oras ako para sa mga ito..baka pag dalaga na ang mga anak ko tsaka ko lang magawa.

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  2. Hahaha yung ginawa namin, adventure of a lifetime. We had to commute ala-Amazing Race. At may times na nawala kami, pero super enjoy! :D

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  3. Hello sis! Thank you sa suggestion! Grabe, super adventurous mo pala.. Nakakatuwa na naEnjoy mo every bit of your trip kahit may a few bumps on the road. =) [www.budgetbiyahera.blogspot.com]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! Thanks Mayumi! Oo, sobrang riot ang Ilocos trip namin, but it was fun! :) Although it could have been better with a larger group, I'm just lucky to have a friend who's up for anything. I think sa traveling, you just have to be smart lang talaga. Like when we were supposed to be overcharged sa tricycle, look for an alternative. Mababait naman ang mga Ilocanos :)

      Hope you'd have a fun time as I did. May ibang places pa na you can go sa Pagudpud, hindi lang kasi kami naghire pa ng trike to go around, but try them out if you have lots of time. At matulog sa biyahe, hindi kasi kami nagsleep so naging tulugan ang Pagudpud namin, hehe :))

      Delete

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