Enjoying Paoay and Laoag Tour Destinations and Adventures
13.12.2013 - 13.12.2013 30 °C
There were plenty of attempts to reach Ilocos Norte province. This is the only point in the country that is not covered in the previous projects I've worked with. So I cannot make a tour in this particular tourist destination for free. Sept 30 was supposedly my chance to make a personal tour there. That was when I find a new job with another project, which necessitated me to cancel the trip ticket.
My new project has put that plan into reality though. It in fact gave me two opportunities to reach llocos Norte and the chance to explore its tourist destinations. This was my second time. The first visit on November 9 featured in another blog, Journeying the Northest. This maybe the second time, with same company, but the experience is new, the route is new, and the itinerary is new.
I arrived here via Tuguegarao City. Thus to circumnavigate Cagayan Valley to Ilocos Norte by a bus was once in a lifetime experience and a fun already.
I was invited to grace a training in Laoag City sponsored by the DepEd DO of Ilocos Norte. It was held in Java Hotel, which is known to be owned by the Farinas family. It does have the Indonesian feel in it, in as far as physical structure and aesthetic design are concerned.
It was after the two-day official activity that the fun part began. Led by Sandra and Mayo again, Marisa and I were treated to a wonderful tour. This time though, we were accompanied by Ms. Che, the Accountant, and our car driver in this quest.
Paoay Church was the first stop. I may have been here during my first visit, but I still consider this my first, because it was only this time that I got to really marvel its baroqueness, scan its intricacy, and behold its beauty. I finally got the third in my 4 collections of Baroque Churches in the Philppines, after San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila and Miag-ao Church in Iloilo. The fourth, which will be covered in the future tours, is in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur.
Batac, Ilocos Norte was the next destination. This is the hometown of the then President, Ferdinand Marcos. Fortunately, the former president's tomb was opened for our viewing, along with other local and foreign tourists. So I got to see with my naked eye his preserved body inside a coffin made of clear glass.
From Marcos' tomb, we entered the Marcos Museum. It was known to be the residential house of the Marcoses which was now transformed into a museum. The interior design and the organization of memorabilia are creative and at par with other museums I saw in other countries. The life of the former president is depicted in them.
The first two sights were all indoors because the afternoon sun was yet hot when we started our tour. After Batac experience, the heat of sun mellowed and signaled our journey to the next destination, which was Laoag; not the downtown but in barangay La Paz, where the large stretch of San Dunes can be found.
Reasonably distant from the prior point, it was really sundown when we arrived at the sand dunes site. Having previously arranged by the hosts, we immediately proceeded to the fun and wild rides in the area. Divided into 2 batches, and while waiting for the 4x4 ride up, down and around the somewhat desert field, I tried the sand boarding, and then the sand skiing.
Both the sand boarding and skiing, coupled with the steep routes, were heart-pumping, adrenaline-rushing fun. The fact that we are all inexperienced, the sliding was enjoyed more by screaming and shouting. So much so, when one fell off the wooden board, then blinded by the scattered and flying sands.
The wild ride with 4x4 wheels was definitely the closing activity. After enduring the leaps and bounds, plus the fear of having the car break down mid-field, we were all exhausted and hungry. Had it been in the midday, the other trips will no longer be worthy.
What was fitting to reward ourselves after having survived the wild rides was to feast with the Ilokano cuisine at Saramsam restaurant. The recipes we gorged that night were the following:
a taste of puque-puque
a lick of utong
one of a kind binagoongang pasta
malunggay ice cream as dessert
No matter my body ached that night, while waiting for the boarding call, much more while relaxing the whole duration of the flight, the wild ride was funnier, much more enjoyable, and memorable.