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My 3rd stint in Vigan…

When mama asked me to bring her to Vigan. I was wishing that she asked for another place and not in Vigan since I have been there twice already. Since she insisted like a toddler persistent to get her coned ice cream, I gave in to her request setting aside my other priorities. It also served like my post birthday treat for her. Besides, Vigan in reality is so beautiful, you won’t mind revisiting the place in every opportunity.

It's good to be back again!

It’s good to be back again!

It was just an overnight stay. I recently had this self – discovery that I acquired my father’s attitude of being agitated and uncomfortable in leaving the house empty and no one to tend to our pets, we have a dog, 2 cats and a dozen love birds. Though, to enjoy the trip without worries, I made it a point to secure our door locks and bought reliable stuff to reinforce them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

We left early morning of January 2 and reached Vigan in the afternoon, spent the night in a hotel a few blocks away from the famous and iconic street – Crisologo street. As early as week 1 of December, we were already trying to book ourselves and they’re all occupied. Each and every hotel (specially those that we eyed are all fully-booked!) They claimed that it might slow down come January so we opted to schedule it first week of the first month of 2014. Still, we had a hard time finding a nice hotel to stay. We ended up in a not so cozy place, I can imagine my former boss telling me to always look for the best hotels to stay when traveling. Since I couldn’t postponed it anymore, I’d be back to work in a few days, and as long as it’s clean, the bedsheets are well-pressed, with ACU, and provides crisp towels regardless of its’ thread count. We booked ourselves at Green R Hotel. 

Green R hotel, a budget hotel...

Green R hotel, a budget hotel…

I then brought them to Cafe Leona come dinner time.

Mama and his younger brother, Father Noel..

Mama and his younger brother, Father Noel..

Mama at Cafe Leona..

Mama at Cafe Leona..

I had them tried the famous bagnet ( Ilocanos roast pork), their version of pancit bijon, we also had Sashimi as chosen by my uncle and hot choco. It was good to have a priest with you the whole time. We say our prayers each meal. Something we missed to practice at home unless my son, Echo is dining with us. He is so strict and won’t allow us to start eating not unless he’s done with his thanksgiving prayer.

I noticed everyone were tired so we headed back to the hotel. When mama and my uncle were sleeping already. My friend and I with our itching feet sneaked out to explore the place once more. Not wanting to wait for the next day. We just wanted to witness how nightlife is like in Vigan specifically in Crisologo street. We took photos of all the lights we could see. I took reflections too for my souls sister to see, it is one of her favorite subject.

Reflections for soul buddy..

Reflections for soul buddy..

We captured the different lights from the municipal hall’s posts that changes it’s color every minute or so. I only saw something like this in Singapore, in Manila and in one building in Ortigas. Of course I loved purple most!

Yellow!

Vigan – Ilocos Sur

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Yellow!

Green!

Green!

Violet!

Violet!

It's still Christmas in Vigan!

It’s still Christmas in Vigan!

I just like the man's shadow here..

I just like the man’s shadow here..

Taking photos made us hungry and cold. It was 19 degrees in Vigan at that time, we got used to 26. We ended up having Mexican food at Cafe Uno.

Grandpa's inn..

Cafe Uno..

Reminded me of Joaquin's in Tagaytay..

Reminded me of Joaquin’s in Tagaytay..

The first time I dined here was 4 years ago and it felt the same.

My first visit in Vigan..

My first visit in Vigan..

It’s a bit colder during that particular evening and sipping coffee at Cafe Uno was never better.

That thing on that spoon is a kind of native sweetener?

That thing on that spoon is a kind of native sweetener?

We walked around trying to find a 7-11 store to buy some stuff and ended up hiring a tricycle whom we asked to wait so we won’t hire another to bring us back to the hotel. Only to find out that the hotel is just across 7 11. Oh well! I found this window special too..

This window took my attention..

This window took my attention..

The following day was shopping day and taking pictures.

Cafe Uno is the coffee shop of Grandpa’s Inn. While Cafe Felicitas is their restaurant. Both places is equally themed, lots of vintage items can be seen and are interesting subjects from a photographer’s eye..

Cafe Uno..

Cafe Uno..

After breakfast at Cafe Felicitas. We had their famous longganiza with egg and tomatoes and garlic rice.

Cusina Felicitas..

Cusina Felicitas..

I spotted a trip advisor sticker at Kusina Felicitas..

I spotted a trip advisor sticker at Cusina Felicitas..

A painting of the famous heritage site..

A painting of the famous heritage site..

Vintage phones..

Vintage phones..

Honestly..it felt creepy..

Honestly..it felt creepy..

Proofs of Spanish colonization in the Philippines..

Proofs of Spanish colonization in the Philippines..

Lampara..

Lampara..

Chalk menu board..

Chalk menu board..

Had been one of my favorite subjects..door knocker..

Had been one of my favorite subjects..door knocker..

Framed Filipiniana costume..

Framed Filipiniana costume..

We hurriedly proceed to Crisologo street, took pictures of the famous heritage site. In all angles.

Island souvenirs...

Island souvenirs…

The siblings..2 of 10..

The siblings..2 of 10..

Fans!

Fans!

Awww..Sis, where do you wanna shop?

Awww..Sis, where do you wanna shop?

Tired?

Tired?

Eyeing some souvenirs!

Eyeing some souvenirs!

Uncle told me that this street is akin to some streets in Italy.

The famous street with a "caritela" (horse-drawn carriage) passing by..

The famous street with a “caritela” (horse-drawn carriage) passing by..

I took this..

I took this..

I actually searched for the street signage..

I actually searched for the street signage..

T'was like this a few years ago..

T’was like this a few years ago..

T'was different a few years ago..

I had this same angle before..=)

Souvenir shop!

Souvenir shop!

Had several shirts from Islands souvenirs (Vigan, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, etc.)

Had several shirts from Islands souvenirs (Vigan, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, etc.)

Souvenir from coconut husk..
Souvenir from coconut husk..
Out of Sinamay..

Out of Sinamay..

Preserved in time..

Preserved in time..

I specially like the smooching figurine!

I specially like the smooching figurine!

The street can never be empty..lots of visitors at that time..

The street can never be empty..lots of visitors at that time..

It looked like it rained right? It did not. They just showered the street to keep it's cleanliness..

It looked like it rained right? It did not. They just showered the street to keep it’s cleanliness..

Yey!

Yey!

I was like a kid in the street. I had my taho.

Manong isn't in the picture as he is busy counting his money, I asked how much is his quota? He said it's around P2,500-3,000. And it's only past 9am at that time.

Manong isn’t in the picture as he is busy counting his money, I asked how much is his quota? He said it’s around P2,500-3,000. And it’s only past 9am at that time.

I also had my DIC.

DIC!

DIC!

Manong, say cheese!

Manong, say cheese!

Yum yum yum!

Yum yum yum!

We bought shirts for mama and my son, for my friends’ friends. Uncle bought some stuff for the kitchen from one of the souvenir shops that I guess have been there for the longest time. Mama bought fruits (fruits?), yes fruits from an old lady, she just wanted to help the old lady. She even wanted to get everything that the old lady was selling if I hadn’t apprehend her. She bought raw bagnet and longganiza.

I specially liked the horse shoe..

I specially liked the horse shoe..and the colored purple cab..

Horse shoe for good luck!

Horse shoe for good luck!

Old discarded shoes..

Old discarded shoes..

Wooden chair accentuated by a cartwheel..

Wooden chair accentuated by a cartwheel..

Can't get enough of me pix..=p

Can’t get enough of me pix..=p

My favorite shot..

My favorite shot..

We dropped by shortly at the zoo. Jen tried the “empanada”.

Empanada!

Empanada!

Is this a colt or a filly?

Is this a colt or a filly?

It was meant for kids so we left right away.

We visited the “Pagburnayan”,

Streetsigns..=)

Streetsigns..=)

Pagburnayan!

Pagburnayan!

where a demonstration of how to create those clay pots is ongoing.

Pot making demo..

Pot making demo..

He enumerated the procedure..

He enumerated the procedure..

It was so interesting (reminds me of the movie: “Ghost”) messy but lovely. The guy doing it is also silly and full of jokes, he was very entertaining and he makes sure that the show is not just on him, it was interactive. I couldn’t get tired watching him as he plays with the clays.

I actually wanna try it!

I actually wanna try it!

After that, I found this very pretty hat in pink. And then I saw one of the same kind, this time in teal. I loved both instantly!

Pink!

Pink!

Aaaaw I met her again! (--,)

Aaaaw I met her again! (–,)

I wish to take them home!

I wish to take them home!

I read from an article that claypot making industry is dying, as the market is switching to plastic-made pots..=(

I read from an article that claypot making industry is dying, as the market is switching to plastic-made pots..=(

Lots lots of jars!

Lots lots of jars!

I noticed every time I travel, I encounter names close to my heart, like God's way to remind me of these people..

I noticed every time I travel, I encounter names close to my heart, like God’s way to remind me of these people..

Pots neatly arranged..

Pots neatly arranged..

Beach?

Beach? (–,)

On our way home, just as we passed by the Arch of Agoo, it’s not Agu (like I first read it), it’s Ago-o! Mama sighted these giant black tigers

Wow!

Black tigers!

And there’s no way I can’t stop her, as they’re my favorite too! 6 pieces of those shrimps is 1 kilo already, they must be really big! Mama got crabs too..

On our way home sweet home..(--,)

On our way home sweet home..(–,)

I guess she went home with a smile on her face. That trip is actually dedicated to her. I just hope she was happy, if she is, I’d be happy as well. I am grateful for his younger brother to accompany us. It was a very special trip particularly for my mom. My son didn’t go with us, since her other grandma is in the hospital. I need him more to be there. I’ve always knew that there’ll be more next times to tag him, hopefully with his 2 grandmas in a single trip. It’d be really fun for all of us.

So long Vigan. With pride – I’m glad to see you unchanging! (–,)

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Batanes…Beyond expectations

I am so fortunate to witnessed the unspoiled and undisturbed beauty of Batanes, if not for the Ivatan’s (True Insulares) uniformed goal to preserve mother nature, this will not be achieved. Thanks to my soul buddy, for this once in a lifetime experience. (–,) ♥♥♥

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Kapian Kamu pa nu Dios!

My travel buddy brought me this for our adventure in Batanes..(--,)

My travel buddy so sweet to buy me this for our adventure in Batanes..(–,)

I've been seeing "Blow your horn" for a couple of times from the other tourists. So this is it! I think there are almost a hundred "Blow your horn" signages on our way from Itbayan and Batan... there are actually 3 large islands in Batanes. The other one is Sabtang..
I’ve been hearing about “Blow your horn” for a couple of times from the other tourists. So this is it! I think there are almost a hundred “Blow your horn” signages on our way from Itbayan and Batan… there are actually 3 large islands in Batanes. The other one is Sabtang.. (more photos from there)

Entrance of Fundacion Pacita. She is a Filipino artist, known around the world for her gypsy art.

Entrance of Fundacion Pacita. The late Pacita Abad is a Filipino artist (a native of Batanes), known around the world for her gypsy art.

Her art is so colorful!

Her art is so colorful!

We loved the garden. its so heavenly!

We loved the garden. its so heavenly!

Meter thick lime stone walls and cogon roof - typhoon resistant...

Meter thick lime stone walls and cogon roof – typhoon resistant…

This is where a famous Filipino film was shot starring Dawn Zulueta and Richard Gomez. =)
This is where a famous Filipino film was shot starring Dawn Zulueta and Richard Gomez. =)

Another tourist spot in Sabtang.

Another tourist spot in Sabtang.

With my soul buddy (travel , shopping, dining, reading buddy)!!!

With my soul buddy (travel , shopping, dining, reading buddy)!!!

Almost zero crime rate in Batanes. Here's Honesty shop. All items exposed and you will just leave your payment in the counter.

Almost zero crime rate in Batanes. Here’s Honesty shop. All items exposed and you will just leave your payment in the counter.

It felt like we're not in the Philippines!

It felt like we’re not in the Philippines!

They call this place Boulderville.

They call this place Boulderville.

One of my favorite shots!

One of my favorite shots!

I survived Sagada…

Years ago, not only 2 close friends of mine asked me to visit Sagada. I am not that interested. I am perflexed by the thought of no more trips after dark? Why? I used to ask whats with Sagada? Ive been to Baguio anyway.

Guests will have to sign up here before beginning the adventure...

All visitors must register first in the Municipal hall..

The view from our room...

Windows – one of my favorite subjects..

Lemon pie house…

I’ve read several blogs about it, heard about the many interesting activities you could do there, spelunking, there are distinct falls, historical sites, sightseeing, breathtaking views, hospitality in all sense of the word, good weather, (you will hear an impetuous sound thinking that it’ll rain in a while only to find out, it was just a strong wind coming), and the rain itself will without any warning. Their local cuisine, not to forget their own locally grown coffee, the list might be endless. Honestly, I am awed with those blogs. I thought i would try writing mine…Sagada as they say were meant only for the adventurers as it is almost too difficult to reach, to get there, you will count hours (by land) you cant avoid crossing deep valleys, bumpy rides, ravines, creeks and cloud forests. It isn’t for those like me who got used to travelling by air than by land with those swelling buttocks, and suffer from dizzy spells due to too much sights and sounds (and varying smells from the aircon bus with a cubicle where you can pee while the bus is running). Trip schedules are actually limited due to the not so safe trail to reach Sagada. But after the loooong trip, Sagada is for everyone to enjoy the very essence of rural life in the highlands especially for us who’s accustomed (or maybe at times tired of the city life), the place exhibits the wonder of a rich culture and simple life.

Source of income is selling brooms.. this reaches Manila..

I wonder how it feels like being based in such a famous and well visited place yet simplicity can be seen in all their eyes. Not only simplicity, but bliss and an enduring hospitality which Filipinos are known for. I noticed that half of the passengers in our bus were foreigners. I then again got mystified with the common trait of travelers to discover something beautiful and be changed by it instantly. It was funny to find myself nibbling on Yogurt cake in Sagada.

Yogurt cake...

Yogurt cake..yum yum!

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The restaurant won’t look like one unless you go inside..thanks to the signage..

There’s this one foreigner who owns an Inn/ Resto – Masferre who was tagged to be the Father of Philippine Photography. I am astonished what took the likes of these foreigners to hold such love for a country other than their own (which reminds me of another photographer during People Power Revolution who was weeping while taking pictures of that event and claimed that most of them (Americans) were complacent of the freedom that they always have while these people (Filipinos) were defiantly willing to die fighting for their freedom. How i wish we can see our country through these foreigner’s eyes… Masferre boasts goodies (all kinds of fruit jams) which we bought for our loved ones. I wistfully yearned to describe Sagada like repercussions of my past experiences, good and bad.

Was I a soul during the 1920s?

I dropped the other activities and treated the “Hanging Coffins” as the highlight of this trip.

a1

I no longer fear the woods..

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And the spirits..

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With Jen..

Instead of being aghast with the sight of coffins literally hanging in the mountains, I felt admiration to their strong belief of an undying love when one has physically died already. The unyielding belief of being one with your loved ones and your Creator at the same time. An adulterated love.

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The wind is cold yet we were perspiring and catching our breaths..

ECHO valley!

One of my favorite shots!

As I sauntered to these valleys…heartstopping long walk

Enjoying the scent of biiiig trees! (–,)

to the unknown (we didn’t hire a tourist guide/ the fact that we can hear the other tourists voices destroyed our fears and made us continue trekking until finally we were inches away from the coffins), running out of words to describe Sagada, let me end this to claim that this is an adventure like no other…

ISABELA Road trip

Isabela is the second largest province in the Philippines, located in the Southern Luzon.

park

Isabela..

It boasts being one of the top 10 richest provinces in the country. One article from an in flight magazine of a local airline enumerated the beauty of Isabela. This was yet another chronicle for me as it is (again) my first time to set eyes on a very interesting part of the country. I was smiling to realize I have gone from end to end of the 7,101 islands.

From Tuguegarao to General Santos City except for Batanes and Tawi – Tawi which happens to occupy their own places in my list as well. A dream I promise to my papa to fulfill. Even if he is no longer here, each travel, i felt his contentment. I picture him from the heavens smiling proudly at me. I guess he’d always knew I was wishing to be with him and my mom every time I travel just like the old days, when he used to clasped me in his arms if i’m already tired walking.

During our trip, each and every corner was picturesque, as if they’re waiting anytime to be captured. Which I lovingly did. As the saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Giant trees sandwiching the street..

Giant trees sandwiching the street..

Decided to pull-over and enjoy the cold wind, while resting, this tree boasted itself in front of us.

Decided to pull-over and enjoy the cold wind, while resting, this tree boasted itself in front of us.

Heroe's hill

Heroe’s hill

One of the heroes...

One of the heroes…

Continued on the road and visited a church...

Continued on the road and visited a church…

This is their version of 7-11 and Treats...passed by more than 3 stores of "Take 5" during our whole trip...

This is their version of 7-11 and Treats…passed by more than 3 stores of “Take 5” during our whole trip…

Our hotel in Isabela. It was said that the presidents daughter stayed here during their campaign.

They have this huge paintings in their hallway and in every room...

They have this huge paintings in their hallway and in every room…

A view from our room's entrance. why did I ever forget to take a photo of what's under?

A view from our room’s entrance. why did I ever forget to take a photo of what’s under?

Longganiza served for breakfast and we seem not to get tired of it.

Breakfast time!

Breakfast time!

I can almost taste the sweetness of being home. One town to go.
Three's a crowd! ahaha!

Three’s a crowd! ahaha!

Our chef...

Our chef…

And another on the road...

And another on the road…

 We had lunch in this homey place called Kusina Cagayana.
Kusina Cagayana..

Kusina Cagayana..

Waiting for our food...

Waiting for our food…

I am learning a few ilocano words for d past days. wow I’m bilingual. I learned some Cebuano words too! I hope to learn some Indian, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Turkish and Dutch words too. Who knows? Oh the dreamer in me! (–,)
Along the way, we spotted a rainbow…good omen. (–,)
Lovely! God is with us!

Lovely! God is with us!

Pottery has been one of their source of income...

Pottery has been one of their source of income…

Some native crafts...

Some native crafts…

I bought some bottles of Sukang Iloko (vinegar from Ilocos)...

I bought some bottles of Sukang Iloko (vinegar from Ilocos)…

Hit a mall too! ahaha!

Hit a mall too! ahaha!

Old feel...

Old feel…

Region 2!

Region 2!

Topping this off. Allan brought us to this popular cake shop down Cabanatuan, Nueva ecija.
Welcome arch of Nueva Ecija..

Welcome arch of Nueva Ecija..

Allan brought us to Edna’s cakeland. It’s like an envoi after a few days of tiring though exciting trip by land. All his claims came to life. the long queue line of shoppers. diners and the colorful yummy looking pastries to choose from. We had our bagful of goodies meant to be brought home for loved ones.
Croissants...

Croissants…

Brownies...

Brownies…

Flaky Danish pastry...

Flaky Danish pastry…

Cakeland...

Cakeland…

They also have buko pies, siopao, pastas, sandwiches and specialty cakes. Since I am confident to recommend this: I am posting their FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ednas-Cakeland/203958819640021

Edna's

Edna’s

What better way to keep memories from this awesome trip, after unpacking my stuff in my bedroom, I carefully prepared another page in my scrapbook.

Home sweet home! <3<3<3

Home sweet home! <3<3<3

While cutting and pasting, my mind was already wandering as to where my next travel will be. and with that thought. and the sweetness of being home. i fell into a deep slumber smiling. =)

La Union Road trip

La Union is the next town after Pangasinan.

pangasinan

Been a habit capturing the welcome arch..

I often remember as I passed by these towns, that I really never gave it a thought that going further I will realized how equally beautiful the northern part of the country is. I have ventured on the sweet mangoes and puto Calasiao of Pangasinan, had gone barefooted in their beaches, hopped on the hundred islands as a little girl, basked in the sun on a foggy morning in Baguio. I thought that was it. My focus was in the Vismin area. I am so enthralled by Vismin! This brought me to discover that I was somehow misled in a way. Both ends has a lot to offer and as I reached one place after another, my list keeps getting longer and longer. Going out of the country, which I have set aside first (due to budget constraints) and primarily due to to this itch to set foot first to places in the Philippines that are still unknown to me (Obsessive/ compulsive). I was even informed of a Santorini inspired resort in La Union (ongoing construction during the time we visited), a church inside a cave in Tuguegarao, the lighthouse in Capones, the beaches in Baler is also enticing though not a priority and pine trees of Zambales on queue among many others.

I also discovered the advantages of travelling by land, that you can pull-over and stop for a while to take souvenir photos or just enjoy some corners. Drop by some attractive spots here and there, say a prayer on some old churches, check out some stuff from ambulant vendors and those lined up in the street sides. And the bet part of which is try some enticing restaurants for the first time when our stomachs are aching for munch time.

Macho temple...

Macho temple…

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I so like this place..so serene..

We spotted a park and stopped for a while...

We spotted a park and stopped for a while…

Lunch time...

Lunch time…

A grotto...

A grotto…

And another grotto...

And another grotto…

After, La Union, since our goal is to comb region 1 and 2 by land. Of course we didn’t dare to skip enjoying the beauty of Vigan.

vigan

Beautiful place… heritage site…

and Laoag.

laoag

This is on top of a hill with a village..

We fancied the windmills with that innocuous puppy,

Puppy lookin' straight to the camera! (--,)

Puppy lookin’ straight to the camera! (–,)

Bangui bay...approaching dusk...

Bangui bay…approaching dusk…

the lighthouse,

I'm so in love! (--,)

I’m so in love! (–,)

Crisologo street,

The famous street...

That famous street..

Crisologo street...

That signage had been there for years..

and Patapat viaduct.

Patapat viaduct!

Patapat viaduct!

and Pagudpud.

Welcome to Pagudpud... a tale has it that the word originated from an American father and his son, it was the son who said

Welcome to Pagudpud… a tale has it that the word originated from an American father and his son, it was the son who said “Pa! Good food!” while they’re sailing and saw some fresh catch…

That one activity you must not miss. Is to try out the famous Vigan longaniza which we can’t get enough of. Longganiza for breakfast,

Cafe Leona...this restaurant since mostly frequented by tourists, they had to put up tables in front covered with a tent. We were lucky to find our table inside...

Cafe Leona…this restaurant since mostly frequented by tourists, they had to put up tables in front covered with a tent. We were lucky to find our table inside…

Longganiza at Cafe Leona is a must...

Longganiza at Cafe Leona is a must…

longganiza for lunch and longganiza for dinner. ahaha!

We had dinner (longaniza again) from Macy's diner..

We had dinner (longganiza again) from Macy’s diner.. Ahahaha!

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We spotted a diner too..

macys

Cool!

My pink & purple room from Tiffany hotel...

My pink & purple room from Tiffany hotel…(–,)

Well, we had “bagnet” in one of our dinners for a change. It’s an Ilocano specialty dish made of deep-fried pork belly, with its’ skin so crisp and tasty. Its’ flavor was due to the long process it had been cooked, after marinating the pork belly, it’ll be deep fried twice after letting it cool, refrigerate and deep – fry for the last time. And the empanada too..

Vigan empanada...

Vigan empanada…

Ilocos was such a gifted place. We haven’t visited the white rocks because as I’ve said before, the road there is a road less traveled unless you have planned it or if you have all the time in the world. Ours is very limited.

By the way the hotels in La Union was a riddle to me. As we hop from one hotel to another for an overnight stay, most of their names are with Bali hai, Aloha nui or some Hawaiian words in it. I found out from one of the staff that a number of Americans from Hawaii have settled for good in La Union finding it irresistible.

Hotel hopping in La Union...

Hotel hopping in La Union…

Witnessed a wedding when we visited one of their old churches...and took advantage to have a picture with this decorated cart...

Witnessed a wedding when we visited one of their old churches…and took advantage to have a picture with this decorated cart…

From this hill, we had this panoramic view in synch with the soft sound of the wind and leaves dancing in from of us...

From this hill, we had this panoramic view in synch with the soft sound of the wind and leaves dancing in from of us…

Had I not visited La Union, I am still innocent of that story maybe until this very day. It was such a fulfilling discovery. The long hours of travel from region 1 and 2 had been more exciting even if it’s so exhausting. Not only because I captured a rainbow along the way but because of the beautiful sceneries that we encountered and the people we’ve met in each town. I am topping this off with this restaurant that we found serving my all time favorite. A slice of blueberry cheesecake. (–,)

We spotted La Preciosa and we took our slice of blueberry cheesecake...(--,)

We spotted La Preciosa and we took our slice of blueberry cheesecake…(–,)

Next…. Isabela…

Ilocos Sur…

The night we spent in Laoag was a night filled with excitement as to where we gonna go first once we reached Vigan.

We woke up early not seeing the sun shining yet and readied ourselves to hit the bus station and hopped on the first one bound to Vigan. We reached the historical city early morning and we opted to literally walk the whole city.

Said some prayers here..(--,)

Said some prayers here..(–,)

We opted to walk than ride on them...

We opted to walk than ride on them…

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I truly love Vigan!<3

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Grandpa’s Inn..

We got our hotel, immediately unpacked, and went around the famous blocks. Every corner was a sight to behold.

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Very vintage..

Calle Crisologo..

Calle Crisologo..

But first we have to get our breakfast. We found a cozy resto with an old feel that serves the best hot choco in town. I must admit. We had Vigan longaniza for the ___th time. ahaha!

A painting of Crisologo street at Cafe Uno...

A painting of Crisologo street at Cafe Uno…

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With my soul buddy..

Cups and cups and cups...

Cups and cups and cups…

cafe uno

Cafe Uno..

cafe uno

It’s vintage everywhere..

I especially enjoyed the museum. It felt like we’re back in time. So many beautiful things feeding our soul with so much appreciation.

Vintage carousel...

Vintage carousel…

Antique tiles..

Antique tiles..

And another...with touches of colonial patterns..

And another…with touches of colonial patterns..

Tey bake in their "pugon"...Oven in English.

They bake in their “pugon”…Oven in English.

Receiving area of an old mansion turned museum..

Receiving area of an old mansion turned museum..

I'm scared to look at the mirror, paranoid to see someone else behind me. ehehehe..

I’m scared to look at the mirror, paranoid to see someone else behind me. ehehehe..

Multiple arch..

Multiple arch..

Luna's Spolaruim.. a reproduction, the original I guess is in a museum in Manila...

Luna’s Spolaruim.. a reproduction, the original I guess is in a museum in Manila…

Souvenir shops..

Souvenir shops..

Even Mcdonalds architecture is themed.

mcdo

Themed!

How can we forget to buy some shirts and ref magnets from one of the Souvenir shops.

Time flew so fast. It’s lunch time at Leona’s. This is the famous restaurant just beside the church. And the first one you will notice like a focal point with a promise that there’s more to see.

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Buddy’s turf in taking photos! I’m so lucky!

We then proceed to the Bell tower. The last in our itinerary.

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Vintage bell tower..

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Loved it, though was saddened by the many vandalism that ruined it..

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Very steep. and wooden. old woods. be careful..

Much as we wanna stay longer to explore more, realizing how Vigan is as lovely as Laoag, we need to rush to the airport.

Ilocos Sur gone green! (--,)

Ilocos Sur gone green! (–,)

And while waiting for our plane. We spent it taking pictures since the airport is also themed like a requisite fad to preserve its’ rich history.

airport

Themed airport..

Sitted on a bench, we chatted like kids about this experience as if we weren’t together for the whole time.

Oh, that’s while munching the famous Vigan empanada.

...That we got from here...

…That we got from here…

It dawned on me that such simple pleasure can turn out so great if spent with special people whom you’ve known for the longest time and who knows you just the same. Looking forward to more beautiful places with my soul buddy! Dolce vita!

Northbound—–> Ilocos Norte…

The Ilocos region for me (and for a lot I’m sure) is such a lovely site to behold. I became a witness that the Northern part of the Philippines is as interesting as the Southern part of it. This side of the country boasts their own list of “must see” travel destinations. The most heard of which is the Ilocos region.
We can’t wait for this trip. As usual, my travel buddy is in charge of the itinerary. I trust her with all my heart, besides, travelling is her turf.  She can never go wrong when it comes to planning a trip. The day before our flight was my flight to Manila from General Santos City. I just came from an assignment. I’m still tired though I don’t mind since my boss got me used to airport hopping specifically in the Vismin area wherein there are times we’ve had three flights in a day. Yet I am particularly excited with this trip since it is my first time to set foot in the Ilocos region.
This is one part of the Philippines that I seldom visit. The last one was Baguio, and I was still a college student then. I’ve been looking forward to this for the last few months and I can’t believe this is it.  I’ll be touring around the Ilocos region. Yipeee!
The airport of Laoag has an “old feel” already. It is themed, with orange brick walls, floors are of Vigan tiles and handcrafted  stuff you will find in all corners.
Airport

Touch down!

Asked the driver to pull-over so we can capture a photo of the welcome arch. (--,)

Asked the driver to pull-over so we can capture a photo of the welcome arch. (–,)

Our first stop in Laoag was in Saramsam. It’s a very famous restaurant in Laoag and we had our lunch there. Something came up then and still like I always say, my soul buddy is as good in handling tough times.
saramsam

At a local resto…

We decided to proceed to our next stop. The Ilocos museum. Its like visiting the past, their way of life and allowed us to compare them with the present.
ilocos museum

Ilocos Norte museum..

ilocos museum 1

Museo…

Or what was carried on. Philippine history is one of the most interesting subjects there could ever be. Not because I am a Filipino. The country is rich in interesting details from it’s past.  I had goosebumps while climbing up the stairs. With the squeaking sound beneath the tongue and groove steps. As a Filipino, it is but imperative that aside from the teachings we learn from the schools, we have to go out of our way to learn some on our own and discover things by ourselves.
bed

Looked like my lola’s bed (father’s side)…

We have the whole day to conquer Laoag, out of excitement, we even asked the driver to pull over so we can take a picture of the arch that welcomes visitors
like us setting our feet to their grounds for the first time. There is a certain pride
with the place. I don’t know if it’s because the hometown of our former president which is one of the most stalwart leader of our country. or it could come from the innate beauty of the place or perhaps the friendliness of the people not to be excluded. There’s so much to see.
We were then brought to Paoay church. From afar, you will already admire its architecture and upon getting near, you will admire more the details and the way it was being preserved or taken cared of.
paoay

Heritage site… Paoay church…

A work of art...

A work of art…

The tiled floor reflecting the many centuries and I imagine people going in n out, weddings dancing in my mind, families hearing Sunday mass, then like a click, I got back to present in admiring the beauty of the church’s interior and exterior as well. No doubt why this church in particular is very famous and had been a heritage site.
Century old tiles...

Century old tiles…

paoay 3

Archaic angel…

I especially like the swirls. Telling me that even in those times, this specific symbol has been utilized for aesthetic purposes.

I especially like the swirls. Telling me that even in those times, this specific symbol has been utilized for aesthetic purposes.

Doors are great subjects for photography...=)

Doors are great subjects for photography…=)

We also visited the Ilocandia.
Hallways too...

Hallways too…

And some unique art pieces like this huge chime...

And some unique art pieces like this huge chime…

After which, is something different. Something more adventurous. We were brought to the Sand dunes.
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(–,)

Strike a pose! (--,)

Strike a pose! (–,)

Some movies were shot here actually. Much as we want to stay longer, and rever on the beauty of sun setting before us, which left us awestruck. As I haven’t reveled in the sunsets wonder in a long while, and like a finale, we had to call it a day. Tomorrow is another.
Feels good to be like kids again especially with my soul sis!

Feels good to be like kids again especially with my soul sis!

Capturing the sun is heavenly...

Capturing the sun is heavenly…

The following day, after dipping in Pagudpud, which is tagged as the Boracay of the north. It’s an artist’s landscape because the beach’s background are the windmills of Bangui.
pag 1

I make it a point to get a picture of all the arcs I passed by.

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I can see the windmills afar..

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The sun is smiling, the waters are tickling me…

We began combing the town starting from the rock formations, the windmills and the lighthouse. All things that fascinates me. I am so high above the clouds. Here’s Bantay Abot cave.
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At last, some shade from the sun!

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So near and yet so far…

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I’m too dark! ahaha

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My soul sis capturing an angle she eyed!

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I forgot I brought my sunglasses!

I thought the highlight of the day is me choosing between the windmills and the lighthouse. With my travel buddy? There’s more.
I palpitated seeing them. This is the only place which I wanted to see here in Ilocos. And the lighthouse...

I palpitated seeing them. This is the only place which I wanted to see here in Ilocos. And the lighthouse…

But then, just like I've mentioned, my soul buddy was able to track all the beautiful places Ilocos has to offer...

But then, just like I’ve mentioned, my soul buddy was able to track all the beautiful places Ilocos has to offer…

The windmills at Bangui bay standing proud and mighty...

The windmills at Bangui bay standing proud and mighty…

There’s Kapurpuruwan… The immaculately white rock formation which took us an hour to trek its rocky road.
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Breathtakingly beautiful!

Too much sun, too much fun. We weren't able to keep up with the heat...we borrowed that red umbrella...(--,)

Too much sun, too much fun. We weren’t able to keep up with the heat…we borrowed that red umbrella…(–,)

I have one shot of this with my buddy on it. It was one of my favorite picture of hers. I have to ask permission from her first, if I could post it here. (--,)

I have one shot of this with my buddy on it. It was one of my favorite picture of hers. I have to ask permission from her first, if I could post it here. (–,)

While watching her on top, I was resting here, and she took this shot.

While watching her on top, I was resting here, and she took this shot.

At that time, it was a spot that can be referred to as the “Road less traveled” . As I’ve seen a lot of visits done in Ilocos, none of them showed this place. I told you my soul sis is best at itineraries. She’s full of surprises! I am already happy with the spots we’re eyeing but then I didn’t know she discovered more places which made this travel extra special.
We stopped over at Patapat viaduct for a souvenir shot. This was a project of the former President Marcos.
Patapat via-duct -Elevated 31 meters over sea level, concrete coastal bridge connecting the Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to the Cagayan Valley Region. It rises along the town's coastal mountains, which is the starting point of the Cordillera Mountain Range that snakes through Northern Luzon. It is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines.

Patapat via-duct -Elevated 31 meters over sea level, concrete coastal bridge connecting the Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to the Cagayan Valley Region. It rises along the town’s coastal mountains, which is the starting point of the Cordillera Mountain Range that snakes through Northern Luzon. It is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines.

Crystal clear and clean water. This is where we saw the prancing flying fishes. We stayed there for a while, and God was so sweet to show us flying fish frolicking in front of us. We were even wondering what are those things and when we checked, they are Flying fishes! Brilliantly moving under the sun. We had our tans already and we didn’t mind, we waited long for this trip, we might as well get the most out of it.

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One of former President’s projects…

Our last stop was the lighthouse. I am breathless.
There are two staircase to reach the lighthouse. It was half past 6pm when we came. The door to go inside the lighthouse was closed already. =(

There are two staircase to reach the lighthouse. It was half past 6pm when we came. The door to go inside the lighthouse was closed already. =(

T'was windy at that time..(--,)

T’was windy at that time..(–,)

bojador 3

Cape… 1887

bojador 4

I think I can’t embrace it!

After tasting the sweetness of history recalled in each corner, we ready ourselves on our way to Ilocos Sur.
Vigan-here we come…. (–,)