Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Vigan and Laoag, Ilocos Tour

Another long weekend is coming up. I’m hoping that the stormy weather would die down a bit so you can enjoy it with a trip up north. As for me, I’ll be busy this entire week for my project in school. So I’m just gonna share with you an itinerary that you can use for this long weekend. What do you say? Interested? I’m talking about August 21, Ninoy Aquino’s death anniversary which is officially declared a non-working holiday. And since the 21st falls on a Monday, “hurrah!” for us hardworking folks. 

Here’s an itinerary that you can use:
At around 1:20am of Saturday, start heading up north. Count around 6 hours and you would’ve reached La Union by then. Nope, no surfing this time but you can drop by Patio del Sol, a scenic restaurant /resort with a view of the sea. They also offer cozy rooms made of native materials at very affordable rates. You can ask the owner himself, known as Mr. Bert, and he will be the most accommodating and candid host you’ll ever meet. He might even have a few stories to tell on how he started and what his future plans are.  Just enjoy your moment with him.

After an hour, you’re ready to head further up north.  You will be passing by several scenic views so just have your cameras handy.


Come noon, you should be in Vigan already.  Have lunch at one of their restaurants along the cobblestone path. Try their Vigan specialty like pinakbet, bagnet, empanada, longganisa, and other Iloco delicacies. Once your tummies are filled, you can join a Vigan Heritage tour. The ancient Kalesa will be your mode of transportation  and the kutsero will tour you to the following places:

Crisologo and Burgos Museums, Bantay Bell Tower, Pottery Factory,  Hidden Garden, and  Singson’s Mini Zoo. You will be pretty exhausted after this tour so a dose of shopping along the cobblestone streets might uplift you a bit. They sell very cheap native ornaments, clothing and artifacts. So you can do away with bargaining if you’re not that fond of making “tawad”. All this, you can accomplish the whole afternoon. Around 4pm, you can start heading to Laoag if you still have the energy. Anyway, it’s just 2 more hours of driving.  If not, you can ask around for some cheap inns where you can stay for the  night. This way, you can explore the other restaurants and shopping centers in the area.

   inside the musem         Bantay Bell Tower          Pottery-Making
   Pottery Factory                                      Hidden Garden

The next day …
…  after breakfast, start heading further up north to Laoag. Using your map, tour the following places: Paoay Church, Malacañang of the North, Fort Ilocandia, and Marcos Museum where former Phil. Pres. Ferdinand Marcos looks like a wax statue lying dead in his clear glass coffin (cameras are not allowed inside). 
 Fort Ilocandia   

  inside Malacañang of the North           Marcos Museum                    Paoay Church              

Once you’ve had enough of this, you can now go to Saud beach in Pagudpud.It has beige sand and their aquamarine water is clear especially if the sun is shining. If not, it would be a bit wavy and you’d just have to stay at the beach. There are numerous resorts lining the area. Choose one that fits your budget or just pitch a tent and enjoy your outdoor “cowboy” stay.
                      Saud Beach      

Trekking to Kabigan Falls
If this beach is to boring for you, you can head further up north, passing by the Patapat Bridge all the way to Panzian Mountain Beach Camp. Ask them if they have extra cottages/rooms or if you can just get a tent or pitch your own. This resort is quite huge. They have their own restaurant and bar, you can get a cottage that’s overlooking or that’s near the beach and if the waves are quite fierce, you can wade in their estuary.  However, as opposed to Saud beach, their sand is  grey.  What’s also good about Panzian is that the owner assigns a helper to tour you around for free. On your third day, you get to tour Kaibigan Falls and  Blue Lagoon. Then be back at the resort to take your lunch and off you go back to Manila again, passing by the famous lighthouse in Laoag before heading back home. Have fun!                     
Patapat Bridge  

Panzian Resort & Estuary
 Lighthouse in Laoag

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