Lifestyle blog by Chelsea

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Wandering in: Ilocos Norte

Hello there! I'm finally in the midst of my summer vacation that will run from March up until August so this only means that I get more opportunities to go out and do more stuff this summer other than basking in my my usual k-drama marathons. Thankfully, my family made use of the Holy Week to get away from the busy streets of the Manila and do what most people in Manila do during the Holy Week, go on a vacation. 
This year, my family planned on going to the beautiful Ilocos Sur. 

DAY 1:

When I was told that we were going to leave by 2AM I told myself I should just sleep on the way there, and I did not regret my decision at all. I asked my dad who has been there a number of times how long it takes to get to Vigan, he said it usually takes about 8-12 hours depending on the traffic. However, because of the number of people going to the same place as us we spent a whooping 16 hours on the road. I got more sleep than I bargained for (not that I'm complaining), but in return I stepped out of our car with a sore butt. 

We arrived at our hotel late but that did not stop us from getting us some scrumptious Vigan empanada, longganisa, and Bagnet in the plaza.

Vigan Empanada

DAY 2:

We started our Good Friday right by going to the Bantay church and doing our Visita Iglesia.

Bantay Bell Tower
It was quite near the Vigan Plaza so we decided to have our fill there and we took our time walking around Calle Crisologo taking in all of the city's timeless beauty.

Kalesas everywhere!
Once we finished walking around we made our way to the Paoay church, the sun has already set and the church lights were on and I couldn't help but fall in love with the sight of it.

I fell in love with this beautiful church
We had our dinner and set off to Laoag where we will spend the night. 

DAY 3:

We started off the day after an early breakfast, we made our way to the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. We weren't able to spend much time there because there were so many people but I did get to look at this breathtaking view. 

We made our way to the Bangui Windmills in Paoay, it was such an amazing sight and did I mention the weather that day was actually colder than what we expected the weather to be when we were packing our bags, so I spent most of that day shivering and sulking over leaving my jacket.

After the windmills our next stop was...THE BEACH! We drove to Pagudpud and arrived there late in the afternoon. I was excited to finally get to take a dip on the way there but the weather was too cold. I was shivering and I swore I wouldn't be able to survive swimming with that kind of weather. As a result, the kids took a dip while the rest of us just gathered in the hut eating isaw, hotdogs, and pancit.

DAY 4:

Out of all the days in Ilocos, this was my favourite. Right before lunch time my family and I found ourselves screaming on a 4 x 4 and sliding down sand slopes in the Paoay Sand Dunes, some place I really recommend to whoever plans on heading over to Ilocos Norte. 

Out of all the 4x4's, we ended up with the Hello Kitty one. Not complaining though!
We had a little stopover just right in front of the beach. Hello overly windswept hair!
Sand Boarding
After this, we made our way to the MalacaƱang of the North a.k.a Former President Marcos' house. One of the thoughts I had was "Wow, this is a really big house."Although it was only 2 floors, it was so wide and so much space to move around in. The air was fresh and the view overlooking the lake was divine, I could tell why the former first family used it as an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, it felt so peaceful and calm.

Half of the GINORMOUS master's bedroom.
The next plan was to go back to Vigan, but my family decided to take a detour and go to the Baluarte Zoo. We arrived there at about 5 or 6 PM so it was already getting dark, but that didn't stop me from risking my life to take a picture with a tiger.

Doing my best to not get my hand bitten by a tiger.
We were told that there will be a fire dance at 7PM so we decided to stay and enjoy the show.

Fire dance, short drive, and a number of sprints around the Vigan plaza later, we enjoyed the beautiful dancing fountain in the middle of the plaza. Safe to say I took a shower earlier than I expected that night.

Following the show was dinner of course! This dinner was my favourite. Courtesy of Cafe Leona I got to taste the staple Vigan Longganisa and Bagnet along with..

Wait for it.

Vigan Longganisa Maki and Bagnet Maki. Yes, you read that right.

Vigan Longganisa Maki

Bagnet Maki
Vigan Longganisa and Bagnet!
Once the succulent works of art have been devoured, my little brother and I took this time to walk around the beautiful Vigan streets. It was the night of Easter Sunday, everyone already took off and have gone back to Manila which means we were able to take in and appreciate even more the beautiful streets of Vigan along with the relaxing 22 degree celsius air.

DAY 5:

Our last day in Vigan was well spent. We had the hotel all to ourselves so we enjoyed our breakfast without the hustle and bustle of everyone around us. After breakfast, my father and my brother rented bikes from the hotel and went all over the place with it. I got to borrow it for a while and I gotta say, it was fun biking around a tourist spot without hitting any people. I wasn't able to take any pictures as well because... I was biking. 

Right after we got off the bikes we hopped on to the Kalesa, only the most essential thing to experience when you go to Vigan.

The first stop was the Vigan Museum. On display were the military uniforms and weapons they used before, equipments used for cooking and other things you would normally see in the Vigan household back in the day.

The next stop was Former President Elpidio Quirino's house. This house was one of my favourites, it was spacious but it had a sense of comfort and home wherever I go and every turn I took, there was something new to see. My favourite parts of the house? The kitchen and the fountain (yes, the fountain)

He had a small replica of the Spolarium in the living room
Look at all the plates
Living Room
Look at this adorable kitchen!
The fountain in the middle of the house.
We went back to the Baluarte zoo for our last stop and since we were already running out of time, our kalesa tour was cut short (tears have been shed).

Once we checked out of the hotel, we hit the road straight back to Manila and bid the beautiful streets of Ilocos Norte goodbye.

Aside from the meals overflowing with vigan empanada, longganisa and bagnet, I would like to thank this trip for showing me just how much my beautiful country has to offer, and making me want to go back there and explore even more places in our country. 

How about you? Any places in the country you would like to visit? Tell me in the comments below!

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