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TRAVEL PHILIPPINES : Explore Ilocos : Laoag – Vigan – Pagudpud

The date : October 10, 2010 (10/10/10). The place : Pagudpud. The memory- he proposed to be my boyfriend in the sweetest way I could only imagine (well..almost haha) 🙂 I’m kinda reminiscing here so forgive me it’s just because Ilocos has a very special place in both our hearts.

We went to this trip together with some of our closest workmates in Philippine Airlines. Thanks to our PAL trip passes we booked the next flight, plotted our leaves and off we went. We were blessed with a good weather while touring the provinces even if it’s the rainy season. Given that we had only few days to enjoy the trip we all had fun! Lasting memories were made with good friends and the then new Boyfriend <3

Your itinerary will definitely get packed  if you  want to see the ‘major’attractions in a 3D2N trip of Ilocos. Don’t worry, you won’t really mind the long drive to get anywhere in the province because hey, it’s Ilocos! The history are well alive in this place combined with stunning landscapes and crystal blue seas not to mention Bagnet! Allow me to share with you some of the tourist spots we visited.

Our itinerary:

Laoag – Vigan – Pagudpud – Laoag 

Day 1:

Laoag, Ilocos Norte

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We took a an afternoon flight on our first day and we arrived at Laoag Internatonal Airport in time for dinner. Our tour guide Kuya Glenn took us to this famous restaurant “La Preciosa”. The first floor of the building is a bakeshop and the restaurant is on the 2nd floor. The food did not disappoint (the boyfriend LOVED their bagnet and he wants to come back for it sometime in the near future) and the price of the food was also very affordable. If ever you find yourself to be in Laoag, please go ahead and have a meal here, for sure you won’t regret it – after all this restaurant has a 4* rating in Trip Advisor.

We really can not go anywhere after dinner so we decided to just call it a day and take some rest as some of us came from work before our flight. So there goes Day 1.

Day 2

Vigan

Baluarte ni Chavit Singson

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‘Ooooh a zoo!’ – the kid inside me screamed when we got to this spot. Governor Chavit Singson’s Baluarte is a home to some friendly wild animals that you can feed and pet. The highlight for me were the tigers – so powerful looking those creatures too bad they needed to be caged.

Calle Crisologo

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A trip to this part of the city will surely take you back in time. This attraction is described in Vigan.ph website as:

The major attraction of Vigan is its mestizo district which is filled with Spanish-style houses that evoke a bygone era when its people lived prosperously because of the Manila-Acapulco maritime trade. For visitors who want to experience being transported back to this period in Philippine Spanish colonial time, a walk or a calesa ride through Vigan’s Calle Crisologo or Mena Crisologo Street is a must. The tour will take visitors more than a couple of hours and will cost around half a thousand pesos. You will be guided through four blocks of cobblestone streets lined with heritage houses of the families of the Filipino-Chinese traders who rose to prominence during that time of vigorous trading in abel cloth, indigo, gold, tobacco and other goods that were transported to Vigan from all over the North.

After this, we had lunch at the Hidden Garden, Lilong and Lilang coffee shop – an eco tourism inspired restaurant. FYI, they served one of the best watermelon shake we ever had 🙂

Bantay Church and Bell tower

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We visited this small town called Bantay. The famous landmark here is the Bantay Church and Bell Tower. You’ll be amazed at the architectural detail of the church and belfry which would remind us of Spanish architecture.

Laoag, Paoay

Paoay Church

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The church is also known as The Saint Augustine Church and was declared as a UNESCO Heritage Site. This is a good example of a Baroque church and you can’t help but admire it’s architecture especially it’s facade. Your tour in Ilocos would be incomplete if you won’t pay this historical church a visit.

Afterwards we dropped by Marcos Mausoleum and we were told we can’t take any pictures, too bad.

Pagudpud, Ilcoos Norte

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

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Haha! Forgive our ‘Teleserye’ pose (i miss this bunch of people! Hi guys! 🙂 ) I fell in love with Cape Bojeador Lighthouse maybe because we caught the sunset here and the view is spectacular and I have this thing with bricks, I don’t know why.

Bangui Wind Farm

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Boy, these things are HUGE! As per wikipedia, all these turbines “describes a graceful arc reflecting the shoreline of Bangui Bay facing the West Philippine sea”. It’s amazing just thinking how each of these can generate electricity. So proud for having a fascinating site utilizing renewable energy resources to reduce greenhouse effect that causes global warming. *thumbs up*

Dusking sky in the Bangui bay and Bangui windmills ended our jampacked Day 2. 🙂

Day 3

Pagudpud Beach

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Waking up to this view? Yes please. 🙂

Patapat Viaduct, Pagudpud

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This is known as the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines and also one of the major tourist spot in Ilocos. You would definitely want to stop in the middle of the road and take a jumpshot with this view (just don’t jump off the bridge!).

Bantay Abot Cave

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The highlight of our trip as this is where he ‘almost proposed’ to be my boyfriend *kilig* (can’t believe it’s been 5 years already!). Bantay is Ilokano for “mountain” and Abot is “hole” and there’s this rock formation called Timmangtang Rock not very far from Bantay Abot. Timmangtang Rock is said to be part of Bantay Abot Caves. The Timmangtang Rock is the male rock and the Bantay Abot Cave is the female, hence they’re called Lover’s Rock. We took a LOT of photos in Bantay Abot cave as it has such a picturesque view.

Afterwards we went to see the Blue Lagoon also known as Maira-Ira beach. It is a stretch of white sand and the turquoise clear water was so inviting  however the midday sun was so harsh. It’s just past lunchtime so we just decided to take a few photos and have our lunch overlooking the beach. Then we ventured on the long drive back to Laoag for our last stop before hitting the airport.

Fort Ilocandia Resort, Laoag

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Our last stop and this means more PHOTOS! (and brick walls!)

A 3D2N trip to Ilocos is very well worth it. Best to come here with family and friends and enjoy all that Ilocos has to offer – from its rich historical culture, good food and hospitable people. Nevermind the long drive to different provinces – just look forward to all the experiences and memories to be made here. While you’re at it , do look after the cleanliness of these places. We all want to preserve these amazing spots for our children and children’s children right? 🙂

We were not able to experience Paoay Sand Dunes adventure so we will definitely be back! Have you visited Ilocos? What’s your most memorable memory in Ilocos? Do share! 🙂

Postscript:  Should you require a tour of Ilocos and looking to book an affordable package, you may contact Mr. Glenn Tolentino (click on the link).

Sending you cat hugs from across the web. Till next time! 🙂

32H

**photos taken by the boyfriend and friends.

Must Visit

Travel Philippines : Boracay

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Boracay is beautiful.

You have the clearest, calm and warm blue waters crashing by the shore mirroring the infinite blue skies.

The sun kissing the horizon beaming the most orange-y sunset you can’t help but admire.

People from all across the world are coming here to celebrate life and happiness.

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The boyfriend and I have been visiting this island since 2010. We’ve been here five times already and this has always been our go-to place when ultimate relaxation is badly needed. We really don’t get that many VL’s from work but we make sure that we get to explore new places together three times a year. Ours are trips lasting not more than four to five days though because sadly, we all do need to go back to our reality to earn more moolah to fund our next adventure. Nevertheless, we both enjoy getting sunburnt, experiencing different cultures and eating our hearts out from sun up to sun down and this place is just perfect for whatever it is you need in a relaxing vacation.

Boracay is always included on those three trips we plan yearly, it goes like (1)-new destination (2)-Boracay (3)-new destination and this one right here just never fails to amaze. IMG_1859This is the first tourist spot we’ve visited together and yes, we always fall in love with it. boraca 2

The island is crowded.  Everywhere you look you will find an establishment under construction. You find yourself under the scorching sun as there are very few trees to shelter in. Never mind the overpriced goods and items and oh, don’t get me started on the chaos of “LaBoracay”. Yes, the island have its flaws but no questions asked, it is still beautiful.

The ocean was one of the greatest things he had ever seen in his life—bigger and deeper than anything he had imagined. It changed its color and shape and expression according to time and place and weather. It aroused a deep sadness in his heart, and at the same time it brought his heart peace and comfort.

-Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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Where else you can find a place with a very beautiful backdrop for those selfies, wefies, and sexy poses you’ve been practicing all summer long? A place where you don’t need an itinerary, you can just lie on the sand with a good book and perhaps with that someone who will share the scenery with you.

This right here is why Boracay is still on top of my must visit places in the Philippines. With this, I encourage everyone to please preserve its pristine beauty. We are very much responsible with our environment as with ourselves and we all do want to share the same experiences with our children and our children’s children right?

What’s in your travel plans this year? 🙂

**photo credits goes to the Boyfriend.

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