Ilocos Norte

Bangui Wind Mills
Bangui Wind Mills

This was the second part of our Ilocandia Escapade back in 2014.

On our second day in Vigan, we decided to pack up at 6:00 am to start the day early. We didn’t want to waste time because there are so many places that we wanted to explore. We checked out at around 7:00 am, walked a little bit and decided to have breakfast at Cordillera Family Inn. After a sumptuous breakfast, we rode a tricycle going to the Partas Terminal and boarded the bus going to Laoag. It was a very comfortable 2-hour ride. There weren’t many passengers on board. We actually had two seats each so we could stretch our legs. We arrived at our destination at exactly 10:00 am.

Haggling

We really didn’t have any itinerary planned. We had several places in mind that we wanted to visit, we just do not know how to get there on our own. But, we are brave girls and we were actually prepared to do it ourselves instead of booking a tour. However, as soon as we got off from the bus, there were a lot of people offering tours. There was one tricycle driver who offered to tour us around Laoag, Paoay, Burgos, and Bangui, and would even drop us off in our chosen resort in Pagudpud for Php2500. Being the tightwad people that we are, we thought it was expensive, so, of course, we haggled.

We were prepared to just take the tour if the driver agrees to drop the price to Php2000, which is actually our budget if we decide to do the tour ourselves. A combination of both our charms and excellent haggling skills made the driver drop the price to Php1500, (which we actually felt bad about at the end of the tour, you’ll find out why in the latter part of this entry.) I was actually trying to act apprehensive but, I really could not suppress my laugh anymore, so we agreed. Who would’ve thought that we really had haggling skills?



Tricycle Tour

We went to the Malacanang of the North, then the Paoay Church, then to the Sand Dunes. It took some convincing to do to make Babes agree to try the 4×4 ride because she has already tried it somewhere better. But since I haven’t yet, she agreed. It actually did not disappoint (well, your firsts are usually your best until you try another that is better, right?) We paid Php1500 for a 30-minute exhilarating ride around the sand dunes. After the sand dunes experience, we proceeded to the Marcos Museum in Batac and unfortunately arrived at lunch time, so it was closed. We decided to eat lunch at the nearest Jollibee (the cheapest one we found! 39ers – meals that only cost 39 pesos – the best! haha!) while waiting.

(Note that for the entire trip, we had used our student IDs to get discounts in museums. Good thing we’re both enrolled in the graduate program… and we somehow still look like high school kids.. ahemm! haha!)

The museum was the last stop in the city. The driver kindly informed us that there were no ATMs in any city after that, so we might as well pack our bags with enough cash to survive the next day. Oh, most, if not all, resorts (the cheap ones especially!) in Pagudpud do not accept credit/debit cards. I actually knew I had enough, but just in case, we did stop by an ATM and I withdrew an extra. (well, actually, good thing I did! haha!)

Then, we started the long travel to Pagudpud. I think it took two hours to reach Cape Bojeador in Burgos, then Kapurpurawan. We hiked for a few minutes going to the rock formation, took lots of pictures, then left for Bangui. We reached the Windmills at around 4:00 pm. At that time, we saw that there were windmills being constructed in Burgos, too. We didn’t stay there long because we really were longing to be at the beach before sunset. We arrived at Saud, Pagudpud at around 5:30 pm.

We actually feel bad to give only what we have agreed to pay the driver, because really, that was a long arduous drive. Imagine driving a tricycle from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, on a bumpy road, and then go back without a passenger. So, we actually did give him extra.

Relaxed

We checked in at Polaris Beach Resort. It was the cheapest we could find, around Php1500 a night (I heard it could go as low as Php800 during off-peak season). We settled in, changed to our swimsuits and walked towards the beach, but we weren’t able to swim since it was too dark and there were no other people at the resort (or if there were, they slept early). We just shared stories and some crackers for dinner, because we really don’t wanna spend too much, then went back to our room to sleep. Anyway, it was a very long trip that we really needed to rest.

I woke up as early as 5:45 am, to catch the sunrise. Watching the sunrise at the beach is one of my favorite things in the world. After having absorbed that brief happy moment, I decided to go back to our room and change into my swim suit. We actually had an arrangement with another tricycle driver the previous day to tour us around the north of Pagudpud for Php600, but we decided to cancel, because; 1. The beach looks so amazing – clear water, polvoron-like sand, and very few people (it’s like we have the resort to ourselves!), 2. We wanted to enjoy our swim, and 3. We were actually running short on budget. After canceling the tour with the driver, we went out for breakfast then proceeded to swim. We saw and helped some fishermen haul their catch for the day. It was fun!

Going home

We checked out at 12:00 pm and had our supposed-to-be-tour-driver pick us up and bring us to the bus station. He urged us to add a few extra so he could bring us to Patapat Viaduct. We went there, took pictures, then proceed to the bus terminal. We boarded a non-airconditioned bus going to Laoag around 1:30 pm and arrived there two hours after. We had Laoag empanada (which is so much different from Vigan empanada, but both super delicious, believe me! you ought to try both.) and Miki for lunch at Johnny Moon Cafe. We bought ‘pasalubong’ (souvenirs), then took a tricycle going to the bus station. We boarded the bus to Cubao at 5pm, which left the station at 5:30 pm. We reached our destination around 4:30 am the next day.

It was a long, tiring trip. It was actually the longest trip I made without the family, the people who I am usually with when I travel. But, it was really worthwhile. I actually wanna go back to Pagudpud and stay longer at the beach. Maybe next time…



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