✈ Ilocos 2019 — 2D1N Itinerary

It has been a fast-paced life lately and I both love and hate it. I have been travelling a LOT and consecutively, and while it's fulfilling, it's also emptying. For my pocket! Lol I didn't plan to have these trips right after each other but things happened~ And of course, I feel blessed + also tired because I'm only a normal human being, am I? Anyhooo, here's a quick blog post for my recent one (as in I just got home from Manila last Wednesday) ㅡ Ilocos!

This trip was long overdue: my high school barkada and I already planned to go 2-3 years ago? That time though, weather wasn't cooperating, then my friends were having some personal issues. So obviously, we didn't go. It hurt my heart not using that flight (ooh, that rhymed huh) but guess it wasn't meant to be.... This year, Kneesa and I really made it a point to go even if it was just the 2 of us, since if we can't go now, WHEN!? Also, I still had plane tickets that I won from AirAsia! Yassss

For the life of me, I can't imagine riding the bus for 12+ hours but I did and I survived. Lol blessing in disguise that I was from a very busy schedule then, so I was damn tired and slept almost the whole journey. What's troubling last Saturday though, when we went, was Typhoon Ineng was happening HARD. On the way, we read news that Ilocos Norte was even under state of calamity! THAT TIMING. I was super anxious because we were already on the way and we paid the downpayment for our tour package. I just had to hold on to the reports that Ineng was exiting the Philippines then and it was going to be sunny the next day.

And again, THAT TIMING. The weather was great, bright and full of sunshine the whole time we were there!

Little tip: if I were to go back to Ilocos, I'm gonna do the same thing ㅡ arrive a day before the tour so that I can rest from the long-ass road trip and so that I can really take a bath and freshen up. I mean, our tour group came from Manila the night before and proceeded to sight-see just after arrival. I cannot imagine the jet van lag and sticky feeling from the heat~


 Paoay Church 

This is where we met our fellow tourists. We arrived before them though, so we roamed around ourselves first. This was also where Kneesa and I squealed, "NADAYON RJUD TA!!!!" (WE FINALLY MADE IT!!!!)

Paoay Church is actually one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and a UNESCO World Heritage Site! If we had much time, I would've attended mass there ㅡ it was a Sunday then too! By the way, the lawn was srsly green here, it looked so unreal

It was so hard to take a photo here, especially when you're overpowered by other groups with bigger numbers. With just the 2 of us then, we had to *own it* to get a spot. Like, of course, how could we miss this as a tourist?? Just stand and snap then go~

We then went to this building beside the church which houses pasalubong stores and some restos. This corner caught my eye too and made me regret not wearing a dress or something fancier for photos.

And because it was hot, ICE CREAM! This was for 25 PHP and flavors are dragon fruit and queso. There was avocado too, but I'm not a fan so I made the Manong not include it. I don't get the hype *shrugs*

 Paoay Sand Dunes 

Fee: Truck worth 2,500 PHP / 5 pax or 500 PHP / pax

'Tis the HIGHLIGHT of this trip! Because it rained the day before, I thought it would affect our itinerary and we wouldn't be able to ride the 4x4.... Thank God I was wrong! Anyways, we already allocated the 500 PHP fee so we were set. But since there were only 2 of us, we encouraged our tour mates to come with us so that we can fill the truck. Ending: there were 6 of us! Actually 7, but the real max was 6 so the other 1 had to join another group. Same rate still.

Yall, there's no harness, no safety belt, no anything for this ride. It's your own freakin risk. Lol I would consider myself not-so-adventurous ㅡ people will roll their eyes with this, especially that I travel a lot, hike and all ㅡ but I'm not really into extreme stuff unless I think it's really worth it like YOLO, "I'm already here, let's do it!". Yes, thinking about the long commute, made me go and push for it But even when we haven't started yet, I was already holding on for dear life!

Up and down the sand dunes we went, and WOW. I can't explain enough how scary AND exhilarating it is like PLS DON'T MISS THIS WHEN YOU'RE IN ILOCOS! All I could do was shout and laugh all my feels and fears Good thing they also *calm* us down by doing stopovers. Photo shoots ensue!


I lowkey wanted a red truck and ooh la la, it was assigned to us! Talk about law of attraction~ I therefore love how my pictures turned out, along with my fave mustard yellow shirt purchase from my Kuala Lumpur trip.


Finally, kiat! Even if you're the most annoying *true* friend! Hahaha

It's not yet over! I don't even remember how long things happened, but I knew it was too fast for my liking. My hands were sweaty AF too, so I couldn't hold on very well to the truck's railings. I let go TWICE! It was srsly a hilarious buwis-buhay experience I will never, ever forget. I mean, how can I when it made my body and stomach ache so bad?? Both from falling and laughing


I'm just fake-driving here. Lol this is just stationary for people to take photos at / with. Ahh, but I should learn how to drive ASAP!

Sandboarding time! This is unlimited ㅡ inclusive of the truck fee. It was actually nerve-wracking even though it's not that high~ Fail though, because I handed my camera to kuya driver but he was only able to take photos of me when I was already down and finished. Tsk seeee


Kneesa has a video of me but I haven't transferred it to my phone. Lol anyways, I looked funny then so bye ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

 Malacanang of the North 

Entrance Fee: 20 PHP

After the craziness, it was time to move on we had lunch in the area then went inside the museum / past residence of the Marcoses.

When I think about it, it's not too big? Though for sure, before, it's the epitome of grandeur and wealth. Well, I don't enjoy looking at other's deep pockets.... Because mine isn't. Lol but thankfully, I have enough


To be honest, I would skip this. But I'm already there, might as well.


 Kapurpurawan Rock Formation 

Entrance Fee: 20 PHP

Another HIGHLIGHT ㅡ another fave! I didn't have much expectations, though this was more because Kneesa and I really didn't plan AT ALL. The week of this trip, we just talked through chat and text and finalized everything on the Thursday? And we flew Friday 

I just knew the name of this rock formation, but I didn't have an inkling on what it looks like and all. Totally unlike me, yall know the planner that I am. But it was refreshing and relaxing to have the itinerary ironed out and readied for me~


There's quite a trek, which is not a problem, but if you find that tiring, you can ride a horse for 100 PHP roundtrip. You can also see windmills in the area ㅡ I'm just not sure if they're the Bangui ones?

A kuya was here and offered to take pictures, and our companions took the offer. They said he was good, so if you come across him, you can go and try his services out!


Our tour guide gave us 30 minutes here but nuh-uh! Not enough! You have to walk further to reach other wonderful formations~ This place reminds me of the Yehliu Geopark in Taiwan, as if I've been there. Lol I can't compare.... yet.

There's no phone signal here, by the way. No way to contact us. We just had to decide ourselves to go back to our van because it has already been an hour or so. Then again, we still took our own sweet time.


 Bangui Windmills 

My first windmill visit was those in Guimaras so these giants are nothing new. But I felt these in Ilocos were smaller? I like that they're by the beach though. Beach is lifeu, after all~


There are also pasalubong stores by the shore, from keychains to ref magnets ㅡ I think you're better buying here because they're cheaper compared to those in Vigan, our last stop.

Our accommodation was by the Blue Lagoon and there was no signal there! Our bunch was bummed because we thought we would be able to upload and update our social media accounts (lol, duh) while we rest. Then again, it's nice to disconnect from the real world for a night? They lit a bonfire and we drank and played games.... Interesting episode of the life.


 Bantay Abot Cave 

This is just by the lagoon, near where we stayed.


Quite slippery here so you'll have to be careful. Anyhoo, the views here were amazing. I instantly thought of my photography club members. It'd be so nice to be there with them and ask some pointers on landscapes

This is the whole tour group, damn squeezed in 1 van. Well, I'm squeezed The downside of getting to Ilocos first is that on the way back to Manila, I was uncomfortable AF. Everyone else got dibs on proper seats so....

I would've swam if not for the wet clothes I had to bring home all the way to Mindanao! Lol and / or I'd rather sleep in. Again, uncomfortable seat in the van. I needed the back rest~

 Patapat Viaduct 

The most hectic of them all Everyone's going further down the road to avoid photobombers. Plus of course, there are cars using this road. Well, the Patapat Viaduct is 1.3 km long so we're basically just at the tip of it. If we were to pass it, we would've been in Cagayan Valley already!

You can also lay your eyes on Pasaleng Bay from the bridge.

 Baluarte Zoo 

Entrance Fee: FREE

I didn't like this one bit. We paid 50 PHP for the shuttle going up to their Safari Gallery and I didn't even spend 5 minutes there? This is a property by Mr. Chavit Singson, by the way. A gist of what's inside the gallery:

This was the 1st station and we rode the shuttle again to get to the 2nd. I'm not really keen about this, especially that the animals look so gloomy and all. I'm not saying they're not well taken cared of there, but let's be honest. They're not looking good.


The 3rd station is their pasalubong center and a show area. I was extremely disappointed then because before we rode the shuttle, I saw the deer that I wanted to capture on camera (it was my first time ever to see their kind and I need to document!) but I thought we can just go back. Wrong! From the last station, we can't go back the way we went in

 Calle Crisologo, Vigan 

And it's down memory lane~ You'd know you're in Vigan because the structures and streets are old and charming. Even establishments like McDonalds have adopted such architecture. I've only Max's for proof though:

This is by the entrance of Calle Crisologo and essentially, it's one long kalye brimmed with souvenir stores and tourists. I'm told it's better at night when lights are on, but obviously our time didn't permit. Beautiful, nonetheless. Next time I will stay longer! Haven't even digested everything and we had to leave. What have you, it started to rain hard after we left!


Kneesa and I talk normally in Bisaya ㅡ it's fun that our new friends don't understand what we're saying. We did teach them curse words ㅡ and kuyaice cream vendor was Bisaya too! I'm always amazed to see fellow Bisayas away from home. I'm aiming to be one soon


Oh, interesting bit: Kneesa and I saw this shirt that said "No plans but did it anyway" and we were like, "RELATE!" Bought each for 170 PHP ㅡ cheap when you think about it ㅡ and this was major because I'm not the traveler to buy shirts. I did buy in Siargao but that was a Dri-Fit one.... The guy at the shirt place offered to take our photo outside but it turned out blurred I changed to my manual 35mm here to blur photobombers but not us. Lol I did teach him. That's why I need a boyfriend who's into photography, or he should be willing to be trained!

I know my friends are sooo pressured when it comes to photographing me and I'm #sorrynotsorry That's why I do the framing; all you have to do is click. Well, I also do have to polish my posing skills. Fair enough.

Going so far, it would've been spectacular staying there for a week, but I'm not that privileged with time and money yet~ This tour happened since it's the long weekend and yassss, well-spent! Someone once told me I should travel here in my own country first before abroad, but #realtalk, I have no rules. My travel cycle is more on seat-sale basis, yall. Then again, I get his point. It's more fun in the Philippines, after all


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