Last May 2011, my summer destination was Ilocos. Together with my officemates (our second trip, the first was in Bohol), we spent 3 days and 2 nights touring Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. It was a hassle-free trip, thanx to the services of Glenn Tolentino. We rented his services as we saw his ads in Sulit.com that he offers a tour package in Ilocos. Including in the package was a rent of a van (on which he was our driver and tour guide) and a homestay in Laoag with meal. The homestay was superb. He has a beautiful house, and the rooms are equipped with lcd tv, hot and cold showers, and a wi-fi. We stayed on their front porch at night, having drinking session, and ate on their long dining table -- of course yung kinain namin ay luto ng asawa ni Glenn, all Ilocano dishes I think, and masarap. We stayed there for one night as we spent our second night in the house of one of our officemates in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, pero kasama pa rin syempre si Glenn, because we were renting his van and he was our driver and tour guide. By the way, if you plan to have a vacation in Ilocos, you can check Glenn here:
Glenn Perdido Tolentino
|The homestay house. House of Glenn|
Marcos Museum and Mausoleum
This is located in Batac, Ilocos Norte. You can see lot of photos (memorabilia and collections) of President Marcos and his family here, and of course President Marcos himself where his preserved corpse is laid in a glass-coffin. Unfortunately, cameras are not allowed inside the mausoleum.
This picturesque church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte is also known as St. Augustine Church. The church was completed in 1894 and now part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Malacanang of the North
Also located in Paoay is the Malacanang of the North, the official residence in the northern part of our country of the first family during Marcos presidency. Built in 1977, this palace overlooks the Paoay Lake.
La Paz Sand Dunes
A desert in the Philippines? Yes, located in La Paz, Ilocos Norte is a 52-sq miles of sand. It has been said that some scenes on Tom Cruise's movie Born on the Fourth of July were shot here and also for Fernando Poe's Panday. Sarap maglakad dito, feel na feel mo ang buhangin, sobrang fine...
Bantay Bell Tower
Located in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, this bell tower sits on a hilltop called Calvario Hill. You can actually climb up to the top of the bellfry and see the view of the town and the mountain view of Abra.
|Saint Augustine Church beside the Bell Tower|
|View from the Bell Tower|
Baluarte is in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. It is owned by Chavit Singson and it covers 20-ha land that has a mini zoo where you can find pet tigers of Chavit.
Vigan Town (Vigan Heritage Village), Ilocos Sur
Ilocos version of Intramuros, but I think structures (Spanish colonial houses) here are more well preserved than in Manila, specially in a cobble-stoned street called Calle Crisologo, that's why Vigan is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We tried a calesa ride and explored the village, and it's like getting back to the time when the Spaniards still occupied our country.
|Pottery making in Vigan|
Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte was completed in 1892. Overlooking the South China Sea, it is one of the tallest lighthouses in the Philippines. I first heard of this lighthouse in GMA7's Misteryo as locals said that the lighthouse is haunted and a lot claimed to have seen ghosts here. Anyway, it is an amazing structure.
Kapurpurawan (White Rock formation)
Located at the coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. This is my favorite tourist spot in Ilocos Norte, it's like you're in another world as this is a geological wonder. It's a long walk just to get to the rock formation. The van traveled in a dirt road from the highway for several minutes, and from the drop off point near the coast we need to walk for about 20 minutes just to reach the white rock, but the long walk really paid off after seeing, touching and climbing the White Rock.
Our last stop for our second day as this is the hometown of my officemate, Bangui Ilocos Norte. The wind farm consists of 24 windmills facing the South China sea. These windmills provide 40% of the power requirements of Ilocos Norte.
Kabigan Falls, Pagudpud
Before going to the beach, we first visited this fall. It's another long walk just to see this fall, pero masarap ang paglalakad dahil bukid na bukid ang scenes. The water falls 120 ft into its basin and the water is so cold.
Beach finally... it was almost lunch time when we arrived in Pagudpud beach (Hannah's Beach Resort).
Agua Grande River Park
I prefer this river than the beach, maybe because it was my first time to swim (not really swim) in a river.
Also in Pagudpud, Patapat Viaduct is a 1.3-km concrete coastal bridge that connects the Maharlika Highway from Laoag to the Cagayan Valley Region.