"Travel is never a matter of money but of courage." - Paulo Coelho, Aleph


October 6, 2012

I Miss Ilocos.

My father is a pure Ilocano.  We used to visit Ilocos when I was a kid and during my studying age.  But those visits were more of staying in the ancestral house, strolling around the barrio, viewing the farm and visiting some relatives.  My cousins would bring me to town and buy some goods, etc.  What I loved most was going on the nearby beach or on a not so well known resort.  And I really miss damping myself on their not too wide river located near the ancestral house but not possible nowadays since it’s no longer clean.
As I aged, I learned that there are lots of beautiful and well known places to visit in Ilocos.  It was two years ago I think when I had an opportunity to visit those together with friends.

You can go to Ilocos by plane, bus or by private vehicle.  We took the last option.  Though twelve hours road trip from Manila is really too long, we had fun eating and chatting at every stopover we made and my eyes didn't get bored with different views we passed by the road like this one.

Quirino Bridge in Ilocos Sur

We didn't go near those gigantic windmills.  But just a look at Bangui Windmills before reaching Pagudpud was enough to admire and love the place.

Bangui Windmills, Ilocos Norte
“The windmills, officially referred to as the NorthWind Bangui Bay Project, were a project by the NorthWind Development Corporation as a practice renewable energy sources and to help reduce the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.  The project is the first “Wind Farm” in the Philippines consisting of wind turbines on-shore facing the South China Sea and considered to be the biggest in Southeast Asia.”—source: WikiPilipinas
And here, was my very first visit at the famous white beach of Pagudpud, considered to be the Boracay of the North.

Ivory Beach of Brgy. Saud, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Our stay in Pagudpud was more of swimming, beach hopping and dining at some of the quite pricey restaurants in their several beach resorts.

Before we left Ilocos Norte, we have dropped by the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Burgos, Ilocos Norte

“Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, also known as Burgos Lighthouse, is a cultural heritage structure that was established during the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines.  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.  The 65-foot-tall (20 m) octagonal stone tower is not the highest-elevated or tallest lighthouse in the Philippines, contrary to popular belief.”—source: Wikipedia
It is really old and kind of eerie.  I heard that the place was featured in one of the Philippine television programs in which topics were about ghosts and the likes.  I never felt any presence of ghost during that visit; it’s a good thing, though.

Our last stop was Vigan, Ilocos Sur (of course).  Friend JM parked his SUV on a gasoline station and we took a calesa (horse drawn carriage) to tour the place.  The Kutsero (calesa driver) was our guide then.

Mamang Kutsero brought us to Bantay Church, Bantay Bell Tower, Burnay Pottery, Baluarte and Calle Crisologo.

Bantay Church, Bantay, Ilocos Sur

St. Augustine Church or Bantay Church is one of the oldest churches in the country, particularly in Ilocos Sur which was built in 1590.  It is located in Bantay, one of the Municipalities of Ilocos Sur which is a few minutes’ ride away from Vigan City, capital of the Province of Ilocos Sur.

Near or just a few meters’ walk away from Bantay Church is the Bell Tower or Bantay Belfry which lies on a hill.  A Filipino film/movie Panday was shot there.

Bell Tower, Bantay, Ilocos Sur

This is a sample of Burnay Jar, an earthenware made with the use of pottery wheel, oven and of course skillful hands.

Burnay Pottery, Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Friend RC tried to make one but eventually failed.  So skillful hands are very much needed hehe.

Baluarte or fortress is like a zoo ‘cause you will find different kinds of animals there and it’s actually owned by Mr. Chavit Singson, a popular political figure in the country.

Baluarte, Vigan, Ilocos Sur

And a must visit place in Vigan is Calle Crisologo.  It feels like being transported back to Spanish colonial time in the Philippines if you are there.

Calle Crisologo, Vigan, Ilocos Sur

It’s nice to visit Calle Crisologo at daytime and night time as well.  Pictures in this post were actually old and I consider two years age as old.  Majority of the photos were taken by my OLD mobile phone’s 5MP camera, OLD but still using it at present huhu.  Anyway, I already got my DSLR and how I love to bring and use it there.  Ilocos is a perfect place for photoholic like me.  And yes, I MISS Ilocos.  Haaay…

Till next time Smile

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