Megastructures of the north

Bangui Windmills

The Windmills of Bangui, 15 of these structures stand on the Pebble Beach. (The orange speck on the right is a bulldozer, so imagine the height of this structure)

This would be the last entry for Northern Luzon adventure and would be a perfect climax for the series. When going to Pagudpod, you’ll never miss these spectacular windmills left-side of your view. It’s one of the most amazing view you’ll see up there on the north. When at the beach of Pagudpud you’ll still be able to see these afar.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse stands in Burgos, said to be the tallest lighthouse in the country.

On your right (coming from the south), amidst the mountain terrain, you’ll see the towering structure of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos. Both mega structures, the former a new construction, and the later a true historical monument. (more…)

Golden sands of the north

Pagudpud Hammock

A cozy hammock in the golden afternoon sun

It was around 3 in the afternoon when the bus departed from the Laoag plaza to head to the far north region of Pagudpud. Seems now we’re getting used to a lot of bus transfers and stop overs. But what we were looking forward to was the beach! The road was scenic, nonetheless, with the view of the sea at your left and the mountains at your right. But it was quite anoying to hear some old 80’s hits covered in a karaoke style by some low rate artist play again and again in the driver’s cassette radio. Good thing there’s portable mp3 players now to save the day or it owuld be a mental brainwash after this long ride. In about 2 hours, we reached the town center of Pagudpud.

Golden sands

Golden stretch of sands

From the town center, it’s another 10-15 minutes tricycle ride towards Saud Beach where a round of resorts line up the beach. We ended up at Jun and Carol lodge where we got a room for 4 at the top floor with a verandah facing the beach for. Really cool! The amenities were ok, but our cable was busted. It was ok though, since we didn’t go there to watch TV. Most of the resorts here are quite expensive. Even the food, so if you plan to go here on a budget, bring food. Which we forgot to do. (more…)

Stopovers from Vigan to Laoag

Bantay Belfry

Impressive gothic belfry in Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Will try to finish up the entries on our northern Luzon trip in the coming days. I will also have individual posts on some interesting objects along the way. The first couple of weeks has been very busy at work. Double deadlines as they say. Well to continue on…

The travel from Vigan to Laoag is only a couple of hours trip, but if you have time to spare there are lots of interesting stopovers on nearby provinces that would give your time and money enough its worth.

Bantay Belfry and church

Bantay belfry and crimson church, Ilocos Sur

First off from Vigan is the Bantay Belltower and church. Now this is a must and you wouldn’t miss it since it’s on the highway and near the bus stations at the entrance of Vigan. From first seeing the belfry at the distance from the church gate I was already in awe at it’s magnificent structure. For me it’s one of the most magnificent structures I have ever seen. It’s baroque-gothtic style and color truly impressed me. Too bad the gates was closed we couldn’t get up, they said that this belfry used to be a lookout tower during the war. Not to belittle it’s church which stands a few meters away, the church boast a crimson facade and amazing window arcs emphasized by its white shade. (more…)

Pinagburnayan

National Artist Fidel Go

National Artist, Fidel Antiporda Go

Looking into my handy street map and a list of places to go, we trodded along the streets of Vigan to see more of the place. Well upper north of Vigan we stumbled upon Pinagburnayan. And what perfect timing as National Folk Artist, Fidel Antiporda Go, was about to give a demonstration on making a Burnay Jar. Interesting seeing the process, from taking a clay, molding it first, a dash of sand before putting it on a potter’s wheel where it is manually operated by a foot. Shaping it depends on your hands and fingers. After these clay jars are shaped, they are put on fire in a kiln. Though there are many jars being oven-ized, not all are well made. If there are like 100 jars in a dragon shaped kiln only about 10 would be well made.

Burnay Jars

A sea of jars

Ilocos is the home of these burnay jars which preseded spanish times. The Chinese introduced these jars in the pre-colonial times as an all weather storage for their products during which they shipped around other countries. For Ilocanos, they use these jars to ferment fish sauce, vinigar and “Basi”, their local wine. They bury these jars underground to seal out air for perfect fermentation. (more…)

A walk down history lane

Crisologo Street

Calle Mena Crisologo in Vigan

Ilocos has so much to offer in terms of Heritage sites. Numerous old churches, well preserved spanish houses and mansions. We didn’t manage to visit all the spots in our IT but what we were able to visit was enough to satisfy our lust for travel. Also leaving enough reasons to return and visit our missed spots.

Spanish house Facade

Spanish house facade

Since there’s too much photos and infos here, I’ll just tackle them them individually in the coming days (or weeks). First off is the Calle Mena Crisologo in Vigan. Unlike Intramuros which was continually battered during the war, Vigan was spared and more than 180 of it’s houses and landmarks are well preserved, also thanks to UNESCO for declaring the whole city as a heritage site. (more…)

Retracing northern Luzon

Ilocos Norte Bridge

Ilocos Norte welcome bridge to Laoag town proper

These past few days has been a pretty fast paced trip up in northern Luzon. It really felt like we’re contestants in an Amazing Race as we have to use public transportation to get from one place to another and at the same times asking people directions along the way. It was fun ride.

It was like 15 years ago during my grade school that I first went around Northern Luzon. My dad used to travel a lot and it was like that summer during the end of my grade school that me, my mom and dad along with his friends hopped in our old L300. It remember I really had fun at that time even though I can barely recall the details of the places I visited.

So this time around, along with 3 of my companions, we ventured off to a Vigan-Laoag-Pagudpud road trip (by public transport). And I’m really excited to retrace the routes I walked during my childhood.

SideTrip: Bontoc, the Mountain Province connection

The town of Bontoc

The small town of Bontoc, Mountain Province

I’ve finanlly got a chance to drop by and explore this little town called Bontoc. Most of the time, it’s just one of those areas you only pass by either going to Sagada or Banaue. But it would seem that Bontoc is also an ideal point to jump off any trip going to the different parts of Mountain Province. If you are coming from Manila, you can ride on the new Cable Bus located in Trinity College and they head straight to Bontoc. From there,many jeeps plying to different directions like Banaue, Sagada and Besao can be found. Since Bontoc is in the middle, travel time is reduced.

Tatooed Women

Tatooed Women. A dying art form

Aside from the connection with different areas, it’s interesting to see our tribes people walking down these streets. Elders, still wearing traditional garbs and women with full body tatoos. Those tatoos are said to be a dying art form since modern women doesn’t like to put them anymore due to the painful process. These Tatoos for women are considered decorations, like jewels, for men however, tatoos are a badge of honor, it means they have slayed or killed an enemy during a war. (more…)