12-14 June 2010. Ilocos Region.
If without a car, Ilocos may be toured by hiring a tricycle. We did just that when we backpacked the region. For our trip to Laoag, we hired two tricycles from Batac for Php600.00 per tricycle. Along the way to Laoag, we were treated to the awesome sights of Paoay and its neighboring towns.
The Church of Paoay, according to the marker, was founded by the Augustinian missionaries in 1953. Derik informed us that the walls of the church were made of corals and that totally flipped me out. When we visited, the church was undergoing preservation but considering the extensive study that has to be undertaken in preserving the church as it was built, I think the preserving will take a long time. The church is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The tricycle brought us next to another Paoay attraction, the placid Paoay Lake. Legend has it that the village was once a prosperous village, inhabited by rich villagers. Due to their wickedness, the gods got angry at them and sent a terrible earthquake, subsequently flooding the place, and burying the entire village underneath the waters. It is said that when you look closely, you can see the remnants of a village. It was much too creepy for me to dare a peek. A mansion belonging to the Marcoses can be seen on the shores of the lake.
Closing time was at 4.30 in the afternoon so we were not able to view the insides of the Malacanang of the North. No amount of begging or charm could sway the guard from his resolve to deny us entrance. Instead of wasting time and saliva on the unmoving guard, the tricycle whisked us off to the Sand Dunes of La Paz. The sand dunes is a wide expanse of, well, sand. Next to the dunes, however, is a wide expanse of sea. To get to the center of the dunes, one can either walk or ride. For Php2,500.00, a 4x4 ride will be provided you, and upon reaching the center, sandboarding will take place. For lack of funds and time, we just walked the wide stretch of sand until our feet could no longer take us further. After resting our weary feet, and enjoying the sunset, we walked back to the tricycle’s drop-off point. We passed by Fort Ilocandia but I was too tired to alight from the tricycle and catch a glimpse of the famed hotel.
Images of the tricycle tour:
We arrived at Laoag City at around 7.15 in the evening. Since we would fly back to Manila from Laoag, we forwent the tour of Laoag for the last day, and decided to visit Pagudpud first. From Laoag therefore, we waited for the 8.30 GMW bus bound for Cagayan Valley. Since the bus liner does not accept reservations, we waited for our trip at the bus terminal so we could be the first ones in line when it was time to board. We dined on crackers and bottled water. The game plan was this: if the four of us could not be accommodated on this last trip, we would spend the night in Laoag, and take the first trip for Pagudpud the following day. Fortunately, we were accommodated, despite the bus giving priority to those passengers bound for farther destinations. Pagudpud, by the way, is just about two hours from Laoag. We reached Pagudpud at around 10 o’clock in the evening, and as we arrived at such an ungodly hour, as far as provinces are concerned anyway, there was no tricycle in sight which would bring us to Saud, the beach front. The locals bound for Pagudpud who were in the bus with us were kind enough to offer us a ride on board their tricycles to our destination, Jun and Carol Beach Cottages.
I did not make reservations for Pagudpud prior to the trip because I honestly and confidently thought that we could get a room once we were there. I was so wrong. All rooms, apparently, were fully booked. It was Divine Providence that a room was available at Jun and Carol Beach Cottages for Php1,500.00/night. I will be eternally grateful to Derik for this because while we were still in Laoag, he called everybody in his phonebook who had connections with the resorts in Pagudpud. Once an available room was found, my cousin, through phone, ordered dinner with the special request that it be served as soon as we arrive. When we thus arrived in Pagudpud, tired and hungry, the most wonderful sight greeted us: dinner was served!
After dinner, I headed straight to bed. I was that tired.