11 Reasons Why I Enjoyed Ilocos

It was the annual trip with friends.  We started traveling together during our trip to Naga for the Peñafrancia in 2011. It was followed last year with a trip to Sagada. This year, Ilocos is the destination.  New friends joined us this year and it was as memorable as before. You know you had a wonderful trip when you still keep smiling while thinking about the banters inside the van, the road mishap and a personal experience that could break a friendship should the story leak out. (It was a story not meant to be written. I trust my friends to keep my secret. Ha!)

What I love about this country is that she continues to amaze me as I travel to provinces I have never been. Even places I have stepped foot before continue to mesmerize me. I love it here!

Ilocos is in the northeastern part of the country.  We got Wowtrippers to arrange the trip for us. We booked them for the Sagada trip last year and we had a blast.  It is a worry-free trip. They took care of everything without a hitch (except for the busted tire but the driver quickly replaced it with a spare). Like their Facebook page. They have trips to different destinations scheduled for the year where you can join in. You can also have your trip arranged for your group.

Anyway, these are the reasons why I enjoyed Ilocos.

1. Nature trek.  Kabigan Falls is a short trek but it was a sweet introduction to what Ilocos has to offer.

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2. Patapat Viaduct. Wikipedia says that a viaduct is a bridge composed of small spaces for crossing a valley or gorge. In this case, instead of cutting/knocking the terrain to make way for a road, the mountain is untouched and a bridge was built above the coastline.

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3. Bantay Abot cave.  I learned that Bantay Abot means a “mountain with a hole”.  If you look at this photo, you’ll understand.

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This is a nice view in going to Bantay Abot Cave.

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4. Saud Beach. In Pagudpud, we were billeted at Polaris Resort. It is a beachside resort so after the itinerary for the day, we spent the late afternoon at the beach.

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The sunset was gorgeous.
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My friends posed with the setting sun.

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5. Bangui Windmills. A trip to the north is not complete without visiting this landmark. I remember when I was in high school, we were required to have a science project. I asked my father’s help and being a mechanical engineer that he was, he made a windmill for me. Nah. It was only a prototype and we hardly had wind to propel the blades. I had to spin it manually for the light at the end to have power. I had to change my project. My father would have been thrilled to see the windmills.
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6. Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. I dream of going to Biri Island in the Eastern Visayas. I think this is the next best thing to Biri Island.  The  white rock formation is shaped by the waves of the sea. This is nature’s own sculpture.

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We took the opportunity to pose against the white rock. So colorful. The place is beautiful and scorching. Bring umbrellas!

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This is the sight on our way back to our van. Lovely.
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7. Food trip. Let the photos do the talking.
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8. Sand Dunes. Imagine five screaming women in a 4X4. It was fun. I never thought I would enjoy what felt like a roller coaster ride without the seatbelt! The 4×4 would roll down the sand dunes perpendicularly. We allowed our voices rumble through a vast expanse of land. We were holding the rails of the vehicle because our lives depend on it. We felt we conquered our fears. It is a must-try!

Take from the camera of my friend, Jean.

Taken from the camera of my friend, Jean.

Other friends in the next vehicle caught up on us. The photo below is from Wowtrippers.

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9. Vigan’s Calle Crisologo. This famous street brought us back in time. Actually, all buildings in Vigan’s city center have the same architectural style of this famous street.

I purposely edited the colors of the photos to have a vintage feel.
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We rode the calesa on our way back to the hotel.
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10. Visiting Churches. We only visited two but it was enough.This is the Church of Saint Augustine but is most popularly known as the Paoay Church. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an example of the influence of Baroque architecture in the Philippines.
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This is the Bantay Church.
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This is how it looks inside.
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The church has a nice method for lighting candles.
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Outside is a standalone bell tower. The guide told us that several movies and soaps were filmed here.
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11. My fun friends. We bonded because of travel and I love how each one is game. Killjoys are not allowed.

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Photos from Ayet, Jean and Mark

We are now looking forward to our next trip. We are aiming for Coron next year.

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