A month has passed since my Ilocos trip, and good thing for photos because it’s getting difficult to blog from memories alone!
Our second day was spent on exploring Ilocos Norte, and thanks to J2F Escapades Tours and Travel for being our tour guide that day! I’m not big on package tours but it turns out that public transpo isn’t that accessible in Ilocos Norte. Bringing our own ride is out of the question, and we don’t really want to try the tricycle tours. So yes, I highly recommend that you try J2F’s tour as well, because it really made our vacation comfortable. It’s also affordable, and they made sure that we set our own pace! All’s good.
We left our hotel in Laoag at around 8AM since we wanted a really early start. They arranged a one-day Ilocos itinerary so that we’d pass by many spots on the way to Pagudpud. Our first stop was a bakery!
I didn’t know Ilocos specialized in biscocho but apparently they did! I love biscocho! I’m a bread person (lol), and I’m just willing to try any kind of bread. Pasuquin Bakery is named after the town itself, Pasuquin. They sell soft and normal biscocho. I regret not buying the soft biscocho! Since it’s quite a big package, I worried about how I’d carry it home. But it turns out that it’s the soft biscocho that’s really good? But the toasted one I bought was good, too, so I don’t regret it much. In my opinion, any biscocho is good. (Actual biscocho not pictured. Haha.)
After Biscocho-shopping, we went to the salt factory! Okay, calling it a factory is probably a bit of a stretch. The place looked like a big kubo but once you enter, it’s not. Haha. Another thing I didn’t know about Ilocos is that they’re a big producer of salt. I seriously thought that salt only comes from sea water but apparently there are other ways of producing it.
We each had a turn at filtering the salt from the whatever-you-call-it. The stick used to lift salt from the water was surprisingly heavy! Or maybe it’s the water itself that weighs it down. We only stayed there for ten minutes or less, I guess. It’s just right next the highway, too, so it’s pretty easy to get there.
Our third destination was the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse! Finally. I wanted to go there for the longest time just because I heard it’s haunted! Scaredy-cat me actually wanted to pretend to be brave and all. It’s really a nice detour, though, because it gave us a pretty good view of Ilocos. I think it was the highest point of our trip, literally. Even just from the parking, we were so high we could see the beautiful north! I actually expected lesser visitors, but it probably gained popularity in recent years. There were tons of tourists in the place. It definitely lessened the scary factor.
When we reached the top, we saw the caretaker, and our conversation went a bit like this:
ME: Kuya, may multo ba dito?
KUYA: Ay oo, madaming multo dito.
It was enough to send me running from the place. Haha. But seriously, the place was suddenly creepier. Sadly, I didn’t see any spirits, though! It was still incredibly pretty, though, in a way that old places and things can be pretty. It was really windy, too, so be prepared to not have a single decent photo. Hehe.
Our next stop was Kapurpurawan. What I didn’t know is that we’re also stopping by Palpalookada Nature Park. It definitely has the best view ever! It won’t be easy to reach if you don’t have your own car since it’s a long way from the highway. There was also a road construction going on so yes, it was a pretty bumpy ride. I can’t imagine how other people reached the place without the new roads!
After getting off the car, we still had to walk quite a long way to reach it. But you see, it was actually worth it! We went through a tunnel-like path and it was nice! Me, being someone who gets easily amazed by things, felt as if I was in a picture book.
I’m not sure how this will sound but seeing the park made me feel as if I wasn’t in the country. I don’t know. The waves were pretty strong and there’s an overcast, so it was pretty gloomy. It’s just not always that you’ll see a beach in the Philippines that looks so cold! Also, swimming is supposedly not allowed because it’s pretty rocky.
I’m quite surprised that I rarely hear about it when it’s right next to Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. Kapurpurawan means “the whitest of the white” in Ilocano, and seeing the very white rock formation in person was mind-boggling. It doesn’t look real!!! Well, I think the world I’m looking for is surreal, because really, where else can you see something like it?
I realized only now that I actually do not have a decent photo of the rock formation, but it was incredibly windy that day. It was sunny one minute, gloomy the next! It was definitely difficult to shoot. But of course, I may be inventing excuses. Heh. There’s really no other word for it but magnificent. It’s just one of those many wonders that will leave you speechless. All you can do is take a tourist-y photo next to it. /ahem
We trooped next to the possibly most popular destination in Ilocos: the Bangui Windmills! Heck, even Mario Maurer of Suddenly It’s Magic fame (mehehe) knows about it! It was overwhelming to see them up-close! I didn’t expect them to be so tall and so many! I also didn’t expect the windmills to be so far apart. I though they’re quite near each other actually. But it’s about a hundred or so meters between each windmill.
(P.S. Okay, I overdid the editing I think. But I’m too lazy to re-do everything.)
Scary waves are scary! From Laoag to Pagudpud, we were passing by so many beaches and we were yet to see one that actually have people swimming in it. You know, I actually had this misconception that any beach is swimmable but apparently it’s not. It was sunny outside that time and it’s curious how not that many people are actually out in the water. Or are they so used to the sea that they no longer feel the need to take a dip everytime? I don’t know. It’s a weekend, too!
I had some troubles taking a good photo of Bangui Windmills but I just can’t take a good shot! I left feeling so down-trodden because here’s the famous windmills in front of me and I’m an awful photographer. Good thing our jumpshots made up for it. Hahaha.
However, I actually felt underwhelmed after? I don’t know, I think I’m probably expecting more. It’s foolish of me to expect more though since they’re just windmills, there’s nothing left to see! Anywya, I’m quite surprised to learn that the windmills aren’t enough to cover all the electricity expenses of the entire Ilocos Norte. I’m sorry, it’s just one of my many misconceptions. Haha. Our tourist guide begrudgingly said that maybe the windmills are just for the tourists and not for the community. I think not. 🙂 If it helps to reduce our consumption of fossil fuel, no matter how little, I think it’s a pretty good innovation. It’s not a replacement but it still helps.
We finally reached Pagudpud! I had always wanted to go to Pagudpud because of many reasons. 1.) The clear and pretty waters of the beaches. 2.) Apparently it has one of the most beautiful night skies in the country! 3.) It’s Pagudpud!
But before heading to the beach, we made about detour to Patapat Viaduct. Woah, I’m telling you it deserves to be a part of a car chase scene in Fast and the Furious! Chos. It really looks amazing! I only heard about it when friends went to Ilocos last May, and Ate Karen claimed that it’s her favorite stop. It’s all for the right reasons, too. I think it’s a good representation of what the government can do when they really analyze a problem and come up with a solution and proper allocation of funds.
Without being too political or emotional, it has one of the best views in Ilocos. The water looks amazing and the zigzag of the viaduct poses a good juxtaposition to the sea.
Before reaching the beach itself, we passed by another sighting! It’s a cave-ish sight that’s right next to the road. I actually thought it was inaccessible when I saw it from afar, but apparently it’s part of our itinerary. I just forgot what it’s called but it’s very near Hannah’s Beach Resort.
It was a pretty hard trek because you need to walk on a very rocky shore. Incredibly slippery, too. The space to walk in was very narrow, and the waves were crushing on the shore quite harshly. Just like in every nature-tripping I’ve been to, I was the last one to reach the destination. Hehe. It’s all worth the effort, though, because there’s a lovely sight on both sides of the cave. But I’m not sure if I can even call it a cave? It’s like a monstrous rock with a pretty big hole in the middle. I have no photo to prove it! Oh well. I think it’s best to go there when it’s not high tide season.
We were there pretty quick, and so we’re finally off to our main destination: Pagudpud! Technically, we’d been in Pagudpud the entire time but you know what I mean. It was around 2 in the afternoon when we arrived, and to say that we’re hungry is an understatement. There were many small-scale restaurants near the beach, and most of them have the paluto option. Go for it! It’s one of our best meals, and definitely the cheapest, too. I bought buko shake to go along with my lunch, but I finished it even before our order arrived. Haha.
We went from one store to another that cooks squids because most had ran out already. There were lobsters and tunas and everything else but we only saw squid in one restaurant.
For 2 jumbo squids, we only spent 180! That’s a really good steal yo. We were even given the chance to decide in what way we want it cooked. We decided the one to be grilled and the other to be adobo-ed. Yes, that’s a verb now! I was actually prepared to spend more in our meals in Pagudpud. My experiences in other beaches here in the country told me that food is expensive near the beach. But I guess it’s different in Pagudpud. There’s a downside, though. You can’t expect the dining area to be in top-notch condition, but you’re paying for the food and not for a fancy decoration.
Since we didn’t stay in a hotel and didn’t check-in in a resort, we had no choice but to use the communal restrooms dotting the seaside. We had to pay 5 or 10 pesos everytime we use it though. But some restaurants let you use their restrooms for free.
The beach wasn’t crowded probably due to the high tide, but apparently, it doesn’t really reach the point where there’s not enough space for swimming. It was a good day for a walk and we did walk quite far till we found a good spot.
The waves were so strong that we ended up being carried by the current all the freaking time. We couldn’t go so far, because Eunise, Iris, and I are very petite. Haha! I loved the water, though. It was just the right temperature that can tempt you to stay for as long as you possibly can. But then, the waves were crushing us. Haha! We end up being carried to the shore every minute or so. It was also difficult because one moment we’re talking, the next the waves already swallowed us.
We didn’t swim that long, which is quite sad. I think I didn’t fully make the most out of my Pagudpud trip. I’m thinking that next time I must try staying in Pagudpud for a day or two. Maybe that way I’ll enjoy it more. I swear our little swim wasn’t enough!
It’s weird how I’ve just been to Ilocos and I am already planning when to go back and what I should do if I did. I’ll definitely try more local delicacies, and I’ll also make sure to spend a longer time in Pagudpud.