Our Full-Packed Ilocandia Tour: Northern - Pagudpud Tour

Next day is our Northern Pagudpud Tour. We are now invading the Ilocos Norte. It’s my 2nd time to explore North and it still makes me WOW. We all get ready, had our complimentary breakfast in the hotel, brought our swimming attire and we are ready to go. We were visited by Roseann’s sister in law and her nephew and they joined the tour. Sadly, Nohj decided to leave early and go back to Manila.

First stop is the Sta. Monica Church. It was raining that morning so we were unable to explore the entire structure. Though we just saw the façade of the Church, we were still impressed. Irene Marcos had her vows to Gregorio Araneta in this church.

Gloomy but magnificent look of the church

At front

Connecting bridge from the church going to the convent.
The right side is the huge bell tower. 

Then we went to our 2nd stop which is the Kapurpurawan Rocks. Good thing rain stopped and sunshine welcomed us here in Kapurpurawan. Crafted by nature in the town of Burgos, the rock formation is in creamy white colored and with smooth curving shapes. It’s quite odd to see it here because you’ll wonder how these rocks were formed through time and that makes it more remarkable.

The Kapurpurawan Rock Formation of Burgos, Ilocos Norte

Picture mode, Roseann's nephew on the middle. 
We noticed a construction on-going at the right side of the location and we found out that they were creating a stone-age village for a movie. How I wish they will not ruin the entire structure and remove it after; or just keep it natural.

And here's what they did.
You can also rent a horse on your way there.
The other side.
Another Cultural Heritage Site here in Burgos is our 3rd stop. The Cape Bojeador Lighthouse that is also known as Burgos Lighthouse was established during the Spanish Colonial period. The lighthouse that was built on top of a hill was used for the sailing galleons. After 100 years it still functions to welcome international ships that enter the Philippines from the North overlooking the South China Sea.

And Parola ng Cape Bojeador
Vintage and rustic view. 
The view above
When all the visitors left but us

Our 4th stop is the Bangui Windmill. Of course it is located in Bangui Ilocos Norte. It’s a successful project in attempt to practice renewable resources and reduce greenhouse gases. It’s the first Wind Farm in the Philippines consisting of turbines placed by the shore facing the South China Sea. They said that it’s the biggest in the Southeast Asia, These wind mills provides the 40% of the electricity in the entire Ilocos Norte. Aside from the electricity it provides to Ilocos, it is now the most known tourist attraction here in the Region.

The Bangui Windmill
More pics above. 
Plus the clear Blue Sky!
Lots of souvenir shops at those Nipa huts. 

If you’re a beach lover, you'll definitely love our 5th stop. Another known beach here in the North is the Pagudpud Beach. (Saud Beach side) It is another popular white sand beach here in the Philippines. We only had our lunch here and didn’t spend much time. Though I was able to visit and stayed here in Pagudpud years back and I can say that it’s a great place to visit. Just like Boracay, there are lots of restaurants and resorts to chose from. The shoreline doesn’t stretch as long as Boracay but the place can give you ultimate skinny dipping, boating and swimming beach experience too. And since Pagudpud is located up North, you’ll notice that is a bit windy here and with big waves in the water. Locals advise swimmers to be careful as strong undercurrent can pull you far the shore. 

The Saud Beach at Pagudpud
Good weather! 
We didn't spend much time here but I'm glad to visit you again!

Also located in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte is the Patapat Viaduct, our 6th stop. The bridge was said the 4th longest bridge in the country. The bridge is 31 meters above sea level and is 1.3 km long. The elevated concrete bridge connects Maharlika Highway from Laoag Ilocos Norte to Cagayan Valley Region. It was also known attraction here in Ilocos because of its magnificent view; they said it was created to avoid landslides from the previous road that caused vehicular accidents from the past.

Most photographed spot here in Patapat Viaduct.
And we also take our turns. 
Our 7th and quick stop is here in Paraiso Ni Anton. The water streaming down from the mountain was known for its miraculous healing power. They recommend taking a sip and bringing water on your way home. They said that it was enchanted and it’s a must for the vehicles to sound their horns three times upon passing by. Well, I do not know if its true but I indeed drank some water too for refreshment. :)

Another must see here in Pagudpud is the Kabigan Falls. That's our 8th stop. You need to walk for around 30mins or less to see the falls. The trail is very accessible. A local guide is recommended going here.

Very inviting!
More pictures of the falls. 
And some of us decided to take a dip. 

Then the last but not the least is the Blue Lagoon, located still in Pagudpud. This was where we stayed the most and went swimming before we left. I really love this place and swimming here for the 2nd time is still as exciting as before. Expect big waves here than the Saud and it’s like a smaller version but still with good resorts to choose from. They normally include this place in the tour if in case you want a beach experience in your tour and stayed far from the beach side.  

Green grass plus white sand and blue water! 
And so we splash and hit the waves!
The other side of the beach, and it's getting dark. 
Thanks for the wonderful experience!

Then that’s how we ended our 2nd day exploring the Pagudpud and Northern part of Ilocos. We do not have much time the next day as we were scheduled leaving Laoag after lunch. However, we had a chance to experience Sand Boarding in La Paz Sand Dunes which completed our  adventure on its full packed! I am so excited on my next post!

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
~Albert Einstein

Our Full-Packed Ilocandia Tour: Vigan Tour

Ilocos represents to two provinces which are Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. The first part of the tour is in Ilocos Sur. Ilocos Sur provincial capital is Vigan City. Everybody knows that once Vigan was mentioned, first thing comes in your mind is the Spanish theme streets or the Empanada. For me, visiting Vigan is like a travel back through time. 

Our tour started by visiting The Baluarte by Gov. Chavit Singson. It’s a 10 minute drive from Vigan proper. 

The Baluarte

The Baluarte started as a rest house in 1991. Gov. Chavit loves nature and shows passion for animals. And since Gov. Chavit with numbers of animals such as lizards, snakes, birds and Tigers cannot accommodate more visitors that are fascinated with his love for animals; Baluarte was constructed to cater more visitors including the public. 

And because I am an animal lover too, I immediately noticed that the animals here are well fed. The aim to develop this 80 hectares land for the animals is impressive.  Enough space to imitate their natural habitat. Entrance is free.

Animals here in Baluarte
We are colorful

You can ride a small horse-drawn carriage, watch an animal show, visit the Butterfly garden or even feed and pet the animals if you want.

You can give a tip to kuya for a short ride.
I love Tigers and I salute Chavit for being able to take care of them.
And this is very famous for this kind of shot.

After the quick animal encounter. We went to our 2nd stop which is the Pagburnayan Pottery Making. By casting the burnay (jars) in the potter’s wheel by hand, the potter can create various shape and sizes of jars. This jar clay will be cooked in Pugon to harden. They said that the pottery industry business was set up in 1922 by a Chinese artisan who bought the Burnay technology to Vigan that was now called Ruby Pottery. Yes, I did my research on that. :p

The work area.
Jars that are carefully handcrafted.
And here's kuya showing us how to do it.  
The closest finish product we can c/o Carlo.

The 3rd stop is the Syquia Mansion. This mansion was owned by the wife of our 6th president Mr. Elpidio Quirino that was also born in Vigan. The wife, Dona Alicia Quirino’s ancestor was a Chinese who made fortune in trading in Vigan.

Spacious receiving area

The mansion shows how the historical gathering takes place, the elegant furnishings shows how elite the family during those times and how they used to view visitors in the secret hole from their room. 

Antique furniture's with the painting of President Quirino. 
The mirror is real gold plated, the kalesa and the vase from ming dynasty.

After the informative tour from the caretaker that we really enjoyed. We went to my most favorite spot. Our 4th stop is the Calle Crisologo. It's just a few blocks from our previous location. 

Indeed the most beautiful street in the Philippines. It was preserved from paved streets and Spanish houses. And because of a love story; the place was untouched during World War II. They said that a Japanese General fell in love to a Filipina in Vigan and he promised to the parish priest that he will make sure not that nothing will happen to Calle Crisologo as long as he will take care of his Family. All because of love.

A walked from the past.
And we captured the town even just for a while.
We skip riding a Kalesa because we spent more time checking for pasalubong. 
To see more view and to feel more of it. 
You can also ride an actual Kalesa and take advantage of the souvenir shops everywhere. Or you can just simply sit down for a while and make a feel of its history.

Restored Casa Feril
I really waited for this.
There are lots of souvenir shops here. 

Abel Iloko weave is also known in Vigan. Blankets, table runners, towels are everywhere plus other Filipino products and souvenirs.

And more of the Calle Crisologo

I wish we also visited the town at night. They said it was more elegant looking because of the yellow street lights. After the visit; we headed to Batac City for lunch and to try Empanada and Mami which they are known of. Food choices here are very affordable. After our lunch, we went to Marcos Museum our 5th Stop. 

Marcos history and images
For Every Tear You Shed, There Will Be Victory - Do you agree?
In front of the museum. 

We also had a chance to see Marcos Mausoleum but no picture taking allowed inside. It’s a bit creepy inside. They said it was his real body but I am not sure. Well, who can say? 

Then we went to our 7th stop. And since Ilocos is the town of the Marcos clan, you can also see here the Malacañang of the North. It’s a rest house but visitors are allowed so it’s more like a museum or a popular tourist attraction here in Ilocos. The huge and spacious house illustrates how powerful and rich the family was then during their era. It has its wide grassland and was facing the Paoay Lake. The large window panes allow the wind to flow freely. And the structure of the house is remarkable.

Malacañang of the North
I actually got tired exploring the house itself. 
The garden area.
The Veranda
The view by the window at the 2nd floor. 
Just a quick shot before we left. 
And you'll feel like a princess going down. 

Then the last stop which is also my favorite. The Paoay Church, The Roman Catholic Church that is also known as St. Augustine Church is also included in the World Heritage list. 

The bell tower that was made of coral stones stand to the right of the church served as an observation post during 1896. The entire Church walls were made of baked bricks, coral rocks, salbot (tree sap) and lumber, and with 24 carved massive walls for support.

The Paoay Church was also labeled as most admired “Earthquake Baroque” church in the Philippines. No doubt on it as it was also popular of its Gothic, Baroque and Oriental architectural designs.

And that ended our Day 1.  

After exploring the heart of Ilocos Sur, we all headed back to Java hotel for a rest. One day is not enough to fully spend time in every location. Maybe next time I’ll visit Calle Crisologo again during the festive celebrations. Or maybe I can splurge with popular restaurants in Vigan for their specialty, or ride a Kalesa. Yes, there are lots of other things to do here that will definitely bring you back. 

Next post is our Northern – Pagudpud Tour.   

“If you have a past with which you feel dissatisfied, then forget it, now. Imagine a new story for your life and believe in it. Focus only on the moments when you achieved what you desired, and that strength will help you to get what you want.” 

― Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain