Monday, March 26, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: The Fun Begins In Saud Beach

Pagudpud has been referred to as the Boracay of the North, beautiful on the day we arrived yet perfect on the subsequent days of our stay. Saud Beach is undoubtedly one of Pagudpud’s best kept secret.

Saud Beach, one of Pagudpud's best kept secret

The white sand coastline of Saud Beach was acclaimed as one of the most beautiful beach in Asia and best of the beaches in the Philippines. Imagine a beach without too many tourists, no jet skis, no speeding banana boats nor rows of anchored boat blocking the magnificent views; no strip of sleazy bars, no noise in the nightlife, no blanket of lowly or high rise hotels, and not even a mall or fastfood, just you, the sun, and the beach!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Everyday I Love You

For My Wonderful Wife On Our Anniversary

If I asked would you say yes?
Together we're the very best...
I know that I am truly blessed,
Everyday I Love You...

Special Credit:YouTube uploaded by rovelinafd on Apr 14, 2009

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Pagudpud At Last....

"Pagudpud at last."

These were the very same words we uttered after arriving in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte on December 26, 2011 at 4:45 p.m. after a grueling 18.0-hour journey. But even if the trip is an agonizing one, we truly took pleasure with the scenery of the countryside.

Welcome Archway of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Laoag City to Pagudpud

After completing a 10.0-hour tour of Vigan City; we started our journey towards Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. Vigan City is a 2.0 hour drive to Laoag City while Laoag City is another 2.5 hours drive to Pagudpud.

While traveling, the kids are busy comparing souvenirs purchased from Baluarte while similarly chattering about their experience. Not a single member ever complained of thirst nor hunger even if it is almost lunchtime. Perhaps the endless supply of healthy chichiryas from our onboard food chest kept their hunger at bay. During the planning stage, Sweety made sure we have stocked and handy access to ensaymada, white bread, crackers, assorted nuts, jams, butter, low-carb electrolyte drinks and mineral water.

From Vigan City, we need to pass through the municipalities of Bantay, San Ildefonso, Sto. Domingo, Magsingal, San Juan, Cabugao, and Sinait.  The distance we need to cover is barely 40.0 kilometers but decrepit road condition and the sinister traffic, held back our pace.

Boundary marker - Sinait, Ilocos Sur and Badoc, Ilocos Norte

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Baluarte - The Fortress of Vigan

The Baluarte or fortress is a must-see attraction for first time visitors and even those who have visited Vigan before. It houses a zoo with animals extensive from other countries and other animals endemic in the Philippines. The zoo is a personal collection and continuously being improved by no less than the most popular and distinguished gentleman of Vigan, Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, well-known among the Filipinos and foreigners accustomed to Philippine political scene.

The Baluarte - official residence of the Governor 

File photo of the Honorable Luis "Chavit" Singson,
Governor of the Province of Ilocos Sur

Monday, March 12, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: The Crisologo Museum

The Crisologo Museum was established after Congressman Crisologo's death. It is located along De Los Reyes Street, Vigan and open for public viewing throughout the week. The museum does not charge any entrance fee but may appeal for modest donations to help keep and maintain the place. It houses the Crisologo family’s antiques, memorabilia and other prized possessions enhanced with history. It is personally managed by the Crisologo family. It is very well-maintained; evident is the polished floors of the second floor as well as the well-kept details of the various rooms.

The Crisologo Museum Signboard

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Exploring Vigan City

Vigan City is a very modern and clean city with plenty of restaurants, hotels, convenient shops and many tourist sights to visit. The climate in Vigan is ideal in the winter season with temperatures from 20 to 25°C but summer season is the best time to explore the city.

Visitors have choice options for mode of commuting when exploring the city. There are jeepneys and tricycles to transport them around the city. The tricycle transport system is color-coded according to the municipality they operate in. There are mini buses plying other places of interest which is a little off Metro Vigan. 

The most famous means of exploring Vigan is by the traditional Calesa or horse-drawn carriages. Exploring Vigan in a calesa is the most recommended as it give visitors chance to experience the nostalgic Spanish period. Calesas charge P150.00 ($3.50) per hour.

Vigan's renowned Calesas, a horse-drawn carriage

AJ with family in another Calesa

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Vigan, Heritage City of the North

The skies of that December night haughtily displayed his eloquence. The moon and stars collaborated too; they sneak-out of their concealment to compliment "Companion Sky" in accompanying the weary travelers on lonely midnight flight.

We steered our way safely from the province of La Union passing through the coastal towns and cities of Agoo, Caba, Bauang, San Fernando, San Juan, Bacnotan, Luna, Bangar & Sudipen towards Tagudin, the first municipality of Ilocos Sur. We only need to negotiate the towns of Sta. Cruz, Sta. Lucia, Candon City, Santiago, San Esteban, Sta. Maria, Narvacan, and Santa before calling it the day. We will be spending the rest of the day in Vigan City.

We arrived in Vigan City at 3:15 in the morning. We have covered a total of 340 kilometer (211 miles) distance from Pasig City. We drive towards Vigan Heritage Village in search of a modest hotel. The famous cobblestone street of the heritage village was an impressive sight. The faint amber street lamps supplemented the old-fashioned charisma of her nature.

Vigan Heritage Village

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: A Christmas House in Tarlac

One good thing about driving long distance at night is that traffic is less. Traffics like the hefty bulks, the rolling road blocks and the dormant thugs are examples of road obstructions that can give you a very bad day. Long time ago, driving in rural areas was a unique experience because of the enthralling stretches of rice paddies, the fresh breath of untainted air, the typical quaint barrio landscape and roadways that are well paved. Nowadays, it is quite difficult to drive the rural streets because the influx of roaring motorcycles had transformed the narrow streets into a maze-craze alley where these roaring hooligans unceremoniously weave in and out.

Panoramic shot of the Christmas house

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tara Na Sa Norte...

Hello Dear Readers

It's been quite sometime since my last entry. Let me apologize for such long delay. I just got back from a two-month vacation in my native Philippines. You see having spent Christmas Day, the New Year, Feast of the Ephiphany, Sweety's birthday, my Barangay's Fiesta Day, St. Valentines Day and the rest of the ordinary days; in my country and right at the comfort of my home is an ultimate high. It was a very memorable vacation with my loved ones; we shared the pleasure of our company, the pros and cons of our adventures, the seemingly endless roads of our journeys, the taste of delectable cuisine and an instance of an unexpected melancholy.

Overall, I will always savor every minute of my vacation and look forward to another ultimate high this year. Yup! you heard me right, "Looking forward this year...." This means as early as today, I'm drawing-out our itineraries. 

The journal I prepared will be presented in mini parts and series. It will narrate my family's memorable vacation in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, our tour to some of the most scenic and prominent tourist destinations and our delightful gastronomic encounters in the Ilocos Region.

So sit back and relax as we head North. "Tara Na Sa Norte."

Our Tara Na Sa Norte (Let's Head North) theme


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