Wednesday, July 10, 2013

12 Years Later... Hello, Ilocos!

May 7-15, 2013 – Going back to the province where I was born and grew up sounded like there’s a huge surprise for me. Forget about the more than nine hours of travel [1 hour 15 minutes by plane + 8 hours by bus – I sure did get a butt sore!] and treat it like it’s my first time to see the place. I spent the whole day tracking my way to the north… drop off point – Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur. It’s almost 11pm when I finally reached my mom’s house – oh home!

My adventure to the north started the next day since I had to take some rest and get to meet and talk to my old folks. The place which is a beachfront has changed big time. Cottages have been side by side and there’s no more freeway to the beach for a walk-in swimmer [you have to rent a cottage, silly!]. But the sunset remains to be superb while the highest church in town is standing still.

Okay, fast forward – the first itinerary was scheduled to be in Ilocos Norte: Batac, Laoag, Burgos, Pagudpod, Patapat – just name it and I’ve come across those towns while the highlight of the trip was the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, the giant Windmills, and Kapurpurawan (white) Rock Formations. A relaxing lunch was waiting at the nearby Hannah’s Blue Lagoon with giant lobsters and grilled fish as the main course. It could be another tiring day but everything was spectacular – the places, food, people [hosts], and the government-owned SUV for free ride!

The final sight-seeing spot was Vigan City. Twelve years ago, I recall that this was a humble remote town and it didn’t receive any special treatment from anyone, but now it got its boost as the local government has capitalized its Spanish heritage buildings that turned to be one of the hottest destinations in the north. It was a walk at night to remember as I spent it with my new Swiss friend. The Heritage Park is an amazing scenery with all that Spanish appeal. In addition, the dancing fountain is another attraction that both tourists and locals love to watch.

As I only had a few days to stay, I didn’t have more time to explore further north going east but another trip for the other side of the Philippines surely lies ahead. Hopes are up for this time to come! Farewell my hometown, until next time.