Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ilocos Sur & Ilocos Norte: Road trip

Ilocos is a favorite destination for road trips. And I found myself driving up to Pagudpud again, the northwestern tip of Luzon. On the way up to Pagudpud, there are several interesting stops along the way. Tagudin, Sta. Lucia and Candon have interesting old churches. Candon City is known for its brown and white sweet calamay which is most definitely worth a short stop. Stalls are located in front of the city plaza along the National Highway.

Our first stop on the way was Sabangan Cove (also known as Santiago Cove) which is known for its weaving village. You'll get a chance to see how abel iloko is woven. You can also purchase on the spot but make sure to haggle since starting prices here are higher than Vigan (the good thing about Vigan is the local government ordered standard pricing even along Crisologo Street).

Another stop you should not miss is the Sta. Maria Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We skipped Vigan and Bantay since we planned on passing there on the way back. And we also missed Magsingal Church (a National Cultural Treasure) and the Sinait Church due to time constraints but if you have time, it's also worth the stop.

In Ilocos Norte, the first stop is usually the Juan Luna Shrine and Badoc Church. But we went straight to Batac to visit the Marcos Mausoleum and savor Batac's famous Ilocos empanada. From Batac, we proceeded to Paoay Church, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In front of the church, is Herencia Cafe where we had lunch. The best seller of course is the Pinakbet Pizza and the other Ilocano fusion pizzas. If you have time, you can also pass by the Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes, a National Geological Monument, Lake Paoay, and Fort Ilocandia. We even had to skip Laoag to get to Bangui Wind Farm before sunset.

We stopped by the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, a National Cultural Treasure, and were able to arrive in the nick of time at the Bangui Wind Farm to enjoy the magnificent South China Sea sunset. So with that down, we made our way to Mairaira Cove in Pagudpud where we stayed for the night.
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