Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ilocos Tour Part 1: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

I have never ridden so many buses in a span of 3 days. I love long road trips, the view relaxes me despite the growing pain in my butt and legs. To those who were able to read my teaser blog, yes it was a long bus trip to Ilocos - land of the bagnet, longganisa, the Marcoses, Crisologos and Singsons.

We left Manila for Pagudpud, Thursday, 11PM. We took a bus (Partas in Cubao) up to Laoag, Ilocos Norte. We arrived in Laoag a little past 7.45AM, then we had to take a trike to get to the station of the mini-buses that go to Pagudpud. We finally got to Pagudpud at around 10.30AM. We were all happy our trip took less than 12 hours!

After enduring an almost-12 hour trip, 2 bus rides, and 2 trike rides, we were more than happy to plop down on the bed in Polaris Beach House in Barangay Saud. Owner, Ate Mhe-Ann still remembers me (I've been here THRICE and feel very much at home here, plus there's FREE WIFI NOW! :D) and had been of great help during our trip.

This was our room, the room we also slept in when we were in Pagudpud in 2008. It's a small room with one queen-sized bed and one single bed. But what I love about this room is the balcony, great place to hang out in and look out in to the ocean.

After a brief rest, we all went down to have late brunch. The food in Polaris is good for sharing, they're used to having huge families staying here.

I suggested we order Sinigang na Baboy. I remember the first time we went to Pagudpud, we were 3rd year college students in DLSU, we had the sinigang every single meal!

It's been almost 5 years, their sinigang still tastes the same. Still yummy and generous with the servings.

We also had Adobong Manok.

I liked this dish, it's not exactly our helper's adobo (she makes great adobo by the way), but it'll do. The chicken was tender, and when you mix the sauce with rice it was a big WOW! :)

Our trip was short, so we decided to go on the tour right away. We just waited for the rains to stop (yes, it was raining and it was COLD) before asking our tricycle driver to pick us up. Funny cos after lunch we all lounged around and FELL ASLEEP. We asked our trike driver to pick us up at 1PM, but we woke up at 1.30PM! It was a good thing he really waited for us! :)

We couldn't do the North Tour because it was raining. So we had to make do with the South Tour which covers the towns of Burgos and Bangui.

So first stop, is the famous Bangui Windmills. Seen in postcards and even in the Magic Sing, the windmills have become an iconic landmark in Ilocos Norte.

Completed in June of 2008 and spearheaded by then Gov. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the 20 wind turbines powers the electricity for the towns of Burgos, Bangui, and Pagudpud.

The winds are so strong it made really cool ripples in the sand. Check this out! It's like the Sahara Desert out there!

After fighting to not get blown away, we then trudged on our little trike to go to the Bangui Viewdeck. Nothing really great here except that you get to have a bird's eye view of the town of Bangui.

There are also vendors here who sell wooden replicas of the wind turbines. They're actually really cute, and I couldn't resist buying one of them for P60. And they actually work!

From the viewdeck, we chugged on further south to the town of Burgos to get to the famed Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.

Built in 1890, the lighthouse has served as a guide for boats since 1892. Despite it looking like it's about to collapse, the lighthouse is actually beautiful! Plus it provides a great view of the town of Burgos and the South China Sea.

After the Lighthouse, it was time to go back to Pagudpud. But we just had to make a short stop at this beach. It was low tide, and the coral formations were jutting out of the water. It was stunning.

And just like in Baler, we used a trike to go around. Unfortunately, comfort wasn't part of this trip hahaha! Here's Milds and Kim cramped in that tiny space of a trike!

We got back to Pagudpud after a short sight seeing trip care of Kuya Mark our trike driver. Thanks to him, we got our group pictures!

We got back to Polaris in time for the sunset. Good thing the rains stopped, and we had one beautiful bright orange sunset. We just hung out at Saud beach, savoring the fact that we were the only ones there. Too bad it was too damn cold to swim!

The next day, we once again woke up to gloomy, rainy morning. We packed our bags and went down for breakfast, all set to get on a bus that'll take us to Laoag, then to Vigan.

We made a promise to return to Pagudpud when the sun is actually high up in the sky. Kim and Milds still have to see the Northern part of Pagudpud which we had to miss out on due to bad weather. There's still so much to see!

Tips for your trip to Pagudpud via bus:
1. Take a bus from Manila. We took Partas in their Cubao station. The trip costs P701.
2. When you get to Laoag, take a trike and tell the drivers to take you to the mini-bus station that goes to Pagudpud. The short trike ride costs P70. DO NOT TAKE THE DRIVER'S OFFER TO TAKE YOU ALL THE WAY TO PAGUDPUD! THEY'LL CHARGE YOU P1500 AND THAT'S REALLY WAY TOO MUCH!
3. Take the mini-bus that goes to Pagudpud, it costs P60. When you reach Pagudpud get down in front of the municipal hall and hire a trike to take you to your resort. Our driver asked for P40 for the ride from the municipal hall to Polaris.
4. For the tour, they already have an organized thing going on. Both the North and South tours costs P600 each.

Here are the numbers for our resort, bus, and trike driver:
1. Partas -> 727-8278
2. Ate Mhe-Ann (owner of Polaris Beach House) -> (0919)3078803
3. Kuya Mark (trike driver) -> (0929)5962524

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