12-14 June 2010. Laoag. Ilocos Norte.
Our flight back to Manila from Laoag City was at 9 o’clock in the evening. From the highways of Burgos, we boarded a bus bound for the city at Php40.00 per person. Since it was hours after our hearty breakfast at Jun and Carol Beach Cottages in Pagudpud, as soon as we arrived in Laoag, we immediately looked for a place to have our lunch. Derik recommended La Preciosa where we sampled Ilocano delicacies, one of which was the gamet, a dish consisting of sundried, toasted, and submerged in hot water seaweed. Properly fed and watered, we started hitting the busy streets of Laoag for some sight seeing before our flight back to Manila.
In contrast to the somewhat relaxing atmosphere of Vigan, Laoag was bustling with local activity, mostly commercial, when we arrived. Tricycle is the main form of transportation, but the sights of Laoag were within a walking distance of each other, so we just decided to go on foot. Besides, I got to see more of the place by walking its streets.
Our first stop was the Museo Ilocos Norte, which showcased everything Ilocano: from the history of, to the tools used by, the locals. There is an admission fee of Php30.00 per person. Next was the Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag, a prominent Laoag attraction right in the middle of its busy streets. According to the marker, the vaulted entrance of the tower could be entered by a person on horseback. Now, a person of ordinary height has to stoop to be able to enter the bell tower because the tower has sunk considerably and evenly; hence, the name “sinking” bell tower. Just a few meters away is the Tobacco Monopoly Monument, erected by the locals as a thanksgiving to the Crown of Spain for recognizing the struggles of the Ilocanos against the tobacco monopoly. We took a tricycle ride to the Church of Laoag, which is an impressive church of Italian Renaissance. According to the marker, the church was merely a chapel of wood and thatch when the Augustinian friars founded the parish in 1580. Now, it has a vast and grand interior. After saying our prayers, we proceeded to the market for stuffs to bring home. There was still a lot of time to spare for us to be able to sample the pinakbet pizza at Saramsam Café.
Images of Laoag:
I bade goodbye to Derik and the wonderful and unforgettable experience I had backpacking Ilocos Region. It was tiring, yes, but it was worth all the running after buses, and haggling with tricycle drivers, and crossing fingers for available rooms.
At around 10.30 in the evening of the 14th of June, I was back to the stress and the city.