Friday, August 2, 2013

An Impromptu Ilocos Norte Trip


A sunny Tuesday morning greeted the group with a bad news that the coastguards didn’t allow any marine vessel to sail that day due to strong winds - same as yesterday. Our trip to Calayan Island was postponed again. We were sad for a few minutes but then someone initiated the yak about going somewhere like Kalinga, Apayao or Abra, just somewhere. 

And then someone said Ilocos Norte and everyone agreed. Why Ilocos Norte? It’s so accessible from Claveria, very tourist-friendly and I’ve never been there yet. I really wanted to explore this side of the country but everytime I plan a trip I tend to be lured by tawid-dagat places and take for granted the tawid-lupa ones (if you get what I mean).

Our spur-of-the-moment trip to Ilocos Norte started late. Just a quick brunch at the resort and our good old non-aircon van with our trusted driver (contact Kuya Walter - 0948.829.0573 van rental for 3,000 pesos) and his navigator went to pick the 10 of us and off we go to Ilocos Norte. We were so excited that everyone dozed off after a few kilometers (charging perhaps?), well not for me, if you were seated beside Chino you’ll never get the chance to snooze – believe me.


thanks LP
It took us an hour to finally reach the arch that says we were in the territory of the Ilocanos. First stop was the Patapat Viaduct – one of the most photographed landmarks in Ilocos Norte. The group went to their chosen “spots” and clicked those shutters. Playing patintero with the vehicles on the road was the most fun part for me.

me wanna throw myself into the clear blue waters
anyare Chino?
Christian, Kara, Chino and moi
Next stop was the Bantay Abot Cave and the Blue Lagoon/Maira-ira Beach. There’s an entrance fee that was collected by the Barangay officials when we entered the road leading to it. There were also some kids who offered to “tour” us around when we got to the cave – we declined. And then the cycle went on again, the group dispersed and went on their own ways to check out the place but me and Chino. I really wanted to have my own time and shoo away from Chino but he was like this slug who keeps on sticking with me which I really hate – nah, I really love being with Chino and his crazy antics, like a happy pill that you pop everytime you need to yank a bit.

I was expecting a “cave” cave but no, it was sort of a small rocky hill with an opening (like a hole) that leads to the other side of it. It revealed a lovely view of the sea. I just sat on one of the rocks and relished the sound of the waves crashing on the huge rocks and the breeze of salty air. And then Chino came. You know what happened next.

Carla, ganito ang pagkuha niyan...
I was on the verge of contemplation until Chino came...
the tour guide kids

Next stop was the Blue Lagoon/Maira-ira Beach. I didn’t set any expectations on this one (as always) but I was surprised when I saw the clear blue waters, ivory-whitish sand and the waves perfect for swimming. I didn’t get the chance to swim there but it definitely counts as a happy beach for me. Next time, I’d pack my stuff and go there just to swim all day. Nothing else. The view opposite the beach was depressing though. Several establishments were everywhere. Resorts, sari-sari stores, videoke machines, ziplines, bars, restaurants and everything that you could think of is there. Sad.

me wanna stay for the weekend and just do nothing but swim
happy waves

The Kabigan Falls was our next destination. We hired 2 guides for the trek and paid 100 pesos each afterwards (no standard rate for this). The trek was fun considering that I don’t enjoy trekking much, or maybe it was Chino again? We passed by children swimming along a stream, rice fields beaming with green crops, balance beam-ish makeshift bridges and a happy food stall in the middle of the trek that offers cariocas, banana cues, camote cues, fresh buko juice and ice candies – we grabbed our favorites of course.

We trekked for almost 40 minutes and when we saw the falls (as if there was a cue from the director), the cycle went on again. Individual spots were chosen. Tripods were set. Shutter speeds were adjusted. And remotes were battered. Me? I just took some good 3 or 4 shots, stripped off (bikinis on) and just swam across its basin - battling the strong current and flow gushing from the waterfalls. It was so relieving to finally be where I want to be – water therapy that is.

Harvey, Harold and Carlo (High School bagets) taught me to dive properly. All I knew before that was to dive feet first like what I did in Siquijor (ehem). They were so frustrated at first but thank goodness they were so patient with me that eventually I get to do what they were doing – head first. It was so liberating to finally do what you always wanted to do. I was always scared to try that because of my self-destructing nature. But when you’re with youngsters, you think and feel like them without any hesitations. Just pure fun.



1 of the 4 shots I took
nag-swim agad
Next was the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. The timing was perfect. We were chasing the sun as it turns into its radiant red, yellow and orange hues. Again, and I’d like to emphasize it over and over, the group scattered around and went on to their chosen spots and set up their equipment. Of course, it was me and Chino again. We chose to go to the most famous rock formation in the area and played tag took our chance in capturing it until the sun set on the other side. The sunset was amazing. Nature at its finest. Too romantic. 



just lovely
And when we all thought that the tour was over, we were brought to the Bangui Windmills and my dreams of ever seeing it came to life as we went down our service van and saw the majestic turbines having a breather from a day’s hard work. No people around - just us, the wind turbines and the moon shining above us. 

The cycle went on again, but this time it was me, Chino and Kara who were together in our chosen spot. As we didn’t have tripods, me and Kara devised a way to keep our cameras steady and practice our low lighting know-hows by getting a wood bench from a store somewhere and used it as our "camera stand". And then happiness. We captured the Bangui Windmills and its grandeur at night. I couldn’t ask for more. 



We starved to death after the whole tour. But we didn’t feel it on the course of our trip because it was so fun-filled. I love the group - a mixture of wholesome, artistic and crazy people. Just perfect.

We had a quick stop to an eatery somewhere to have dinner and headed back to Claveria. The night didn’t just end there. We had a couple of Red Horse beers over videoke until our 5-peso coins were depleted. Chino's fault again.




21 comments:

  1. Ganda ng night shot mo sa Banguid Wind Mills, pers taym ko makita. You're pictures are crisp and vibrant! AT Panalo and dream like waterfall photo mo! Me 500px account ka? Pwede mo balandra mga photos mo dun ang gaganda eh.

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    1. thanks naman guys... ano yung 500px account? hehe. teka i-google ko muna :)

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  2. ang ganda ng ilocos! good job Ms. Carla! :-)

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  3. Si Chino kung saan-saan nagsusuot. Hehehe. I miss you guys. :D

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    1. eh susko. si chino yan marx eh. alam na...

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    2. Parang may kulang sa post na 'to. Yung hinahanap kong shot. :D

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    3. ano ngang shot ulit yun marx? :P

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  4. haha bakit ko naman naging fault haha nakakamiss ang trip na to grabe remember hindi tayo happy nun kasi nga wala tayong magawa at stranded tayo haha

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    1. mas nakakamiss ka chino noh! after the trip ni hindi na kita nasilayan. ay sa choosephils pala. eh kasi naman busy lang ang peg mo eh noh! :P

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    2. ang cute ko pala matulog parang si Hello kitty :D

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    3. akala ko si red riding hood eh. hehe

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  5. Replies
    1. uhm... si Christian ng Lakad Pilipinas ba yun?

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  6. hindi talaga ako magsasawang balik-balikan ang Ilocandia..

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    1. it was my first time and i just have to agree with you. pero fi first time muna ako sa ilocos sur pag nakahanap ng oras :)

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  7. ganda talaga ng blue lagoon! kakamiss! at ang kulit lang ni chino ha lumalakad pilipinas na din!

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    1. ibang level na si chino di ba ca? iba eh... lam mo yun... hehe

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  8. Three shots caught my eye: The Kabigan water falls. Blue Lagoon with the kids happily swimming. And first time to see the Bangui wind mills photos taken at night. Great!

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