Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012
M Y   I L O C O S   R E G I O N   V I S I T   R O U N D U P

My 5-day Ilocos Region vacation had recently ended. These are my destinations in order of arrival: Currimao, Paoay, Batac, Laoag City, Pagudpud, Burgos and Vigan.

It's no joke enduring a 12-hour bus ride from Metro Manila to Ilocos Norte that's why I chose to ride the Partas Deluxe Bus. At P800+, it was P200 more expensive than the basic air conditioned version which was a good investment. It allowed me to recline the back of my seat and pull up a leg support at the bottom. The seat adjustments allowed me to curl up like a fetus for prolonged hours of the trip. And it let me have controlled privacy because my seat row is for 1-seaters.

Currimao's Playa Tropical

This was my 1st destination because I figured that I had to arrive in style. Also, for convenience, a 12-hour bus ride deserved a luxurious ending. For P4,100, I was able to book this spacious room at Playa Tropical. Online booking on the hotel-resort's website allowed me to pay only P300+ in advance and settle the rest in cash basis by check out. My room rate was inclusive of free breakfast for two. Read more.

Detour To Paoay and Batac

While staying at Playa Tropical, the receptionist suggested a tricycle ride to take me to Paoay to visit the famous Paoay Church and to Batac to visit the remains of the late Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. Without hesitation, I gave in. To see both sites in one afternoon would be fine. Since I just came from a grueling bus ride, I was not willing, however, to take several trips just to reach Batac and Paoay separately. This is why the tricycle tour for P300 appealed to me.

Unfortunately, I was shut off from Paoay Church. It already closed its doors when I arrived at the site. In Batac, it was a different story. Read more.

My tricycle driver guide was so concerned that I would suffer the same fate in Paoay that when we reached the doorstep of the air conditioned room where the body of the late Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. was, he literally pushed me just so I could beat the closing of the door. Coincidentally, it was the death anniversary of the late president and I was the last visitor that fateful day.

After what seemed like an amazing race experience, my guide drove me to the famous Ilokano empanada district in Batac. I ordered the basic egg and vegetable empanada (P30-P40) for me and my driver. I ate mine inside the tricycle on my way back to Currimao where I had a good swim at its infinity pool the next day. Read more.

Laoag City Walk

From the highway in Currimao, I boarded a Laoag City-bound bus. I planned of hopping to another bus that was bound for Pagudpud from Laoag City. That did not instantly happen because I decided to roam around the city looking for a place to eat for lunch. While walking around, I dropped by a few tourist destinations like the Ilocos Norte Capitol, the Museo Ilocos Norte and the sinking bell tower. Read more.

Pagudpud Escape

Aboard a bus for Claveria, Cagayan, I planned of getting off at Barangay Pancian, Pagudpud. I was booked for P1,700 that day for an overnight stay at Pannzian Resort, a special interest (television sets are not allowed inside the rooms) beach resort nestled between the heart of Pasaleng Bay and the foot of Mount Pico De Loro Norte as mountaineers would like to call the mountain range there. I was the lone guest so I had the whole resort and beach for the duration of my stay. Tent spaces are allowed in the resort premises at a close proximity to the beach which, I guess, makes the place ideal for backpackers also. Read more.

While at Pannzian, I tried trekking to the cold spring outside of the resort. I took with me a resort guide for the 15-minute (one way) trek and gave him a P100 tip after. I took a dip in the cold spring for a few minutes only because the water temperature was really cold. The locals below actually get their drinking water from the same spring as well as water for irrigation. Read more.

Field Trip To Bangui and Burgos

After my Pagudpud stay, I met up with a tricycle guide along the highway. For P600, he was to take me to the Bangui Wind Farm, the Kapurpurawan rock formation, and Cape Bojeador in Burgos. I forced him to not waste time as I was trying to beat the sunset for good photos. He did tell me that their Pagudpud mayor (Mayor Sales) wanted the same performance from all tricycle drivers because the latter reckons that tourists will always have places to see so there's no point in driving slow or keeping the tourist waiting for nothing.

Fortunately, I reached all 3 destinations safely. I also had enough sunshine for my photos. My tricycle guide even offered to carry my backpack for me while I took photos of the massive wind turbines (see full post here), the breathtaking rock formations (see full post here) and the eerie watchtower (see full post here). Then he dropped me off in the middle of the Burgos highway to catch a Vigan-bound bus where I planned to take a Partas Deluxe Bus back to Manila.

Vigan Stopover

Sad to say, I got stranded in Vigan for the night because the bus I rode in traveled the highway like a sick turtle. Worse, it took epic stopovers for delivery of goods that a local passenger commissioned it for. I did not sign up for a hearse of a ride to Vigan, I kept telling myself as the trip dragged on for hours.

I finally reached Vigan at 8:00pm (excess of 4 hours) under a very bad weather. I got drenched in rain water and my Nike sneakers gave up on me. The sole of my one shoe almost slipped off and I was so tired carrying my heavy backpack that my body was slightly bent to the left. I walked the Vigan Heritage Village like a hunchback until I reached a cheap hotel to check in. Staying overnight was originally not an option, but I was tired. Vigan had to welcome me that night.

The next day was rather pleasant. The weather was sunny and most of the tourists have left the place. Yahoo! The heritage village was clear of walking tourists carrying big DSLRs and souvenirs! It was what I exactly wanted for my photos. God gave pity on my hunchback experience and He even spared me a few pesos to buy a souvenir shirt. Read more.

Partas Deluxe Bus Going Home

Going home, I waited by 12:00pm at the Partas Bus Terminal for the arrival of its Deluxe Bus that would come from Laoag City. It came at 1:00pm and, once again, I curled up like a fetus on one of its 1-seater as it took me home to Manila.

My travel stamina partner, Laminine   +   My personal blog, New Self    +   Pasig City Natin


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, doc! This summer is a good time. The weather is pleasant there.

  2. Replies
    1. Right LOL! Get up and go then get up then go again.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks. Every travel round-up is unique. I also enjoyed reading other stories online but with different experiences.


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