Our 2nd day in Ilocos was spent at Laoag and Pagudpud. The travel to Laoag from Vigan was approximately 2 hours and we were arrived in Laoag shortly before 8 a.m.
A visit to Laoag won’t be complete without seeing the Paoay Church, famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the building (from Wikipedia).
Next we went to Fort Ilocandia, the only 5-star resort hotel in the North, but didn’t stay long there. We just looked around the hotel and took some pictures. I love how the morning sunlight “bathed” its corridors with warm lights.
Fort Ilocandia’s Piano Lounge:
We went next to the Malacanang of the North (or “Malacanang Ti Amianan”) but it was still closed when we arrived. (We went back after lunch but it was still closed – turned out Ms. Imee Marcos has some visitors coming).
We then traveled all the way to Pagudpud (still using My Vigan Home’s transpo – an Expedition – and with Kuya Ruffy as our guide). It was a 2-hour drive, but well worth it. As I always get sleepy in long travels (and I think I slept really long here), I wasn’t able to enjoy the rustic sceneries that we passed along the way.
Ahh, finally we’re in Pagudpud!
The trip to Pagudpud was all sunny but it was raining when we reached Polaris Beach Resort. We didn’t have plans of swimming there (we wanted to just talk pictures and walk in the sand hehe). Entrance fee is P20.00 / adult head.
We didn’t mind the rains at the beach for as long as it stays at the beach hehe. Because our next stop was something we’ve been wanting to see and experience for long: the Bangui WInd Mills. Thankfully there’s no rain (only strong winds) that greeted us there. The sight of windmills was really breathtaking.
We bought some wind mill souvenirs (ref magnets).
Our last stop that morning was the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, and is just a few minutes’ drive from the Bangui Wind Mills. It was first lit on March 30, 1892 and is set high on Vigia de Nagparitan Hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador where early galleons used to sail by. After over 100 years, it still functions as a welcoming beacon to the international ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago from the north and guide them safely away from the rocky coast of the town (from Wikipedia).
The entrance to the tower – where the lighthouse’s lantern is located. It was closed when we went there (accessible only to a certain few?).
This was our last stop and we need to travel back to Laoag where we will be dropped off to our next hotel, the Isabel Suites. We thought we could have lunch with Kuya Ruffy but he has to rush back to Vigan for some work.
We were back at Laoag at around 12.30 p.m. and checked in at the hotel. We booked a suite room at Isabel Suites because it was really cheap (P2,450/night). Here’s our room:
I love the big and clean rest room (complete with a bath tub):
After taking our lunch at a nearby diner, we asked the hotel if they know of a tourist guide in a tricycle because we still have the afternoon off and I’ve read a lot about Laoag’s famous tricycle tours. AJ and I don’t want to miss this one, too.
Luckily, the hotel’s guard knew one and he was available that day. His name is Jeremy (0910-2572426) and he made our afternoon stay at Laoag all the more memorable. His rate is just P800 for the whole tour (and that’s for me and AJ already).
Since we have been to some parts of Laoag in the morning, he took us to the Ilocos Norte Museum (Museo Ilocos Norte) to see and appreciate more of the region’s heritage. Entrance fee is P30.00 / adult head.
Then we went to Batac to see the Marcos Museum. Entrance fee is P50/head. There are many interesting memorabilia here of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his wife, Imelda.
The dress Madame Imelda wore during FEM’s funeral was also displayed, and her dress was made by Inno Sotto:
Kuya Jeremy then took us at the nearby carinderias selling Batac’s famous fried empanada. Ilocos’ empanadas are one of the most sought after pasalubongs and I was able to try one here.
The empanada was simply delicious – with fried egg, longganisa and togue as fillings.
We ended up buying a box of these (10 pieces) as pasalubong to my Ninang (who requested them) and to AJ’s family.
We left Batac with full stomach, ready for our next stop which is back at Paoay. It is Paoay’s best secret – a place that is very familiar to us and yet a wonder because you will feel you’re in a different country. It’s a place where adventure is a must and one that you should not dare miss. I will tell you about that soon. =)
Meanwhile, let me greet everyone a HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS 2012! Here’s to more trips and luck and good health! Cheers!