12-14 June 2010. Ilocos Region.
Ilocos Region tops the list when one is in the mood for a road trip miles away from Manila. Ideally, the region is best toured on board one’s own vehicle. Being true to my creed when I proclaimed myself to be a backpacker, I circled the region by hopping on and hopping off those buses plying the route from Vigan to Pagudpud. There were tricycle rides in between. My appreciation of the region did not diminish by the fact that I rode public transportation. I bet my appreciation of the place would be just the same had I brought my own car. The point: backpacker or not, Ilocos Region can be toured through public commute. For those who think that it is not possible, I am now busting that myth.
My cousin arrived from Manila at Sinait on our second day of backpacking the region, 13th of June. The three of us then proceeded to the Sinait Church to hear mass, and since the service was in the native tongue, I happily snapped away. We waited for Derik who was to arrive from Laoag, and to while away our time, we toured the Sinait Church. According to the flyer given by the parish priest, who, incidentally, is my cousin-priest’s friend, Sinait is the northernmost town of the province of Ilocos Sur. It is the home of Santo Kristo, a life-sized black image of the crucified Christ, which is now enthroned in the church’s sanctuary. The image is believed to be miraculous.
Images of Sinait:
We boarded a bus from Sinait, and 10 minutes and Php10.00 later, we were in the first town of Ilocos Norte, Badoc. Badoc is home to the La Milagrosa Birhen de Badoc. The church, unfortunately, was closed when we arrived, so I caught sight of the impressive interior from a tiny hole on the church’s door. According to the marker, the Church of Badoc was constructed by the Augustinian friars in 1914. It was destroyed by an intensity 7.8 earthquake in 1983. Through the generous auspices of the German Catholic Friends, the church was reconstructed until it was finally inaugurated in 1985.
Badoc is also the hometown of Filipino revolutionary painter, Juan Luna. There is no admission fee for a guided tour of the house, but donations are encouraged. The house displays replicas of Luna’s famous paintings like The Death of Cleopatra, The Spolarium, and The Blood Compact. What fascinated us, however, was Luna’s Parisian Life. We were informed by the guide that the sitting position of the lady in the painting closely resembles the shape of the Philippine Archipelago.
As it was close to lunchtime, the group decided to have lunch in Badoc, and Derik recommended Mino’s Italian Pizza. I am a lover of anything Italian so I looked forward to a tasty Italian lunch, only to find out that the pizzeria was closed on Sundays. That was a major trip bummer.
Images of Badoc:
The game plan was to take the bus for Batac, and have lunch there. However, when we learned that we would still be visiting Currimao on our way to Batac, our stomachs protested, and we gave in. The end result: lunch was to be in Currimao; so we hopped on a bus and stopped at the first eatery we saw along the highways of Currimao, Betsy’s Carinderia.
I don’t expect much from the tastiness of eatery food, but lunch was surprisingly delicious. I thought the pleasant taste of the food was proportional to my hungriness but being the picky eater that I am, lunch was truly delectable, hungry or not. Properly fed and watered, we hired a tricycle for Php60.00 to take us to Pangil Beach Resort to see the rock formations. There weren’t that many public transportation that would bring us back to the highway, so for another Php60.00, we asked the tricycle drivers to wait for us as we admired the beauty Currimao offered. It was in the middle of a sweltering afternoon, so we took refuge under those huts lining the shore. The rocks, however, beckoned.
Images of Currimao: