By the title itself, obviously, this post has been sitting in one corner, waiting to be dusted off.
While my mind was about to explode, trying to figure things out inside the corporate world, my mom told me about this trip she agreed to go to and told me to file a leave on particular dates. The only details she gave me was, 1. we are joining a tour in Ilocos and, 2. the trip will be from April 16-19. Nice, diba?
My friend, Mea, who was organizing the trip, told me that she booked the four of us for a 3D2N Ilocos tour hosted by DLC Travel & Tours. For a fee of Php 2,999 / pax for a group of 4, I found it reasonable.
I had to request for an early shift just so I can make it in time at McDonald’s in Quezon Ave., where everyone who’ll be joining the tour are supposed to meet up. I came from Eastwood and luckily, there was no traffic during that time so I still had the luxury to eat.
There were around 5 vans waiting in the parking lot for the participants. We left QC at 9PM and endured a 10-11 hour drive. We arrived in Vigan City at 6AM of April 17, Friday. First stop: Grandpa’s Inn & Restaurant.
Calle Crisologo is just about a block away from Grandpa’s. Before this trip, I thought that the whole of Vigan (well this place, at least), was preserved. It was when I got there that I discovered that only one street was actually preserved. Well, at least there’s one, right? Of course, we had to take the opportunity and take photos by the famous street.
From Calle Crisologo, we went straight to Baluarte.
“Baluarte” is a spanish term for “stronghold or fortress”. The owner of this place is Gov. Chavit Singson, who is also known to be fond of taking care of wild animals such as tigers. He is also a hunter, which explains the 2-storey infrastructure which is home to the preserved heads of his preys.
One thing I was excited about this place was his tigers. I have been fond of tigers and tiger cubs since I was a child and have always dreamt of having one. This may have been a result of my eternal love for Princess Jasmine. Heeee. :3
The place was huge and walking around felt like a full-day workout for someone who is very much unfit *ehem*. Some parts are still under construction for new attractions coming soon.
We were welcomed by a very sophisticated ostrich, who walked around the place with grace and elegance.
My expectations upon meeting the tigers was a bit high, to the point that I dreamt of touching or even hugging them. But I guess expectations never really meet reality because they were both lying down inside their own cages, looking unhappy. 😦
We walked around and ensured to check everything out before moving on to our next stop.
Third stop: Crisologo Musuem.
While my mom got bored at this place, I felt like I was home. LOL. Okay, I’m over reacting. But yeah, I enjoy going to museums especially like this one since a lot of vintage stuff was lying around. I don’t know where my fondness with vintage stuff came from but gets, I can’t help but see the beauty in each piece.
Fourth stop: Paburnayan (Pottery)
Aside from the afternoon activities, this one is also considered as a ‘one for the books’ experiences. It’s not everyday that you get to have pottery tutorial. The workers / people who run the place, assists the visitors, teaching them how to make your own jar or whatever. If you intend to keep your artwork, you’ll have to pay for it, of course, and come back for it after 3 weeks once they’re done baking your masterpiece. The tutorial is free, but of course, donations will be much appreciated.
I believe we had lunch after this activity. Our fifth stop was at Marcos Museum. There is an entrance fee of, if I remember correctly, less than a hundred pesos. The said amount entitles a visitor to explore the 2-storey museum. Unlike the other museums, this one was really crowded, probably due to the large number of participants of our tour, plus the other visitors who are also exploring Ilocos.
The highlight of the Marcos Museum tour was the quick trip at his Game of Thrones-ish mausoleum of the late former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Taking photos inside is strictly prohibited, as well as overstaying. I overheard that there are more or less 24 security personnel guarding the mausoleum, with 4 of them inside guiding the viewers/visitors and the other 20 are within the perimeter. I swear, that’s the coolest mausoleum I have seen (and been at) by far!
As we come close to the end of today’s itinerary, our next stop was Paoay church. For someone who loves ruins and old structures, most specially old churches, I was already giddy to check the place out and take pictures. Of course, some things are worth captured by heart. Honestly, I was not able to take a decent photo of the church. I have no photography skills at all. 😦
After taking photos and a well-deserved rest, we headed to Malacaniang of the North, where I believe the Paoay Lake could be seen as well. (If that’s not the Paoay Lake seen behind the palace, then I don’t know what that is. LOL.)
Basically, this is where the Marcoses lived for some time. It’s an old, well-preserved mansion-turned-into-a-museum. You’ll find photos of the Marcos family during the childhood of Marcos’ children. Some memorabilias are also sold inside the mansion. After going around the old mansion, we sat down outside and ate merienda while waiting to leave for our final destination.
Last, and definitely NOT the least, stop was the Paoay Sand Dunes.
This is my first time to 1. ride a 4X4 and, 2. do sand boarding. Of course, I was so thrilled! It was the best part of my Ilocos trip. Haha 🙂 We were asked to bring mineral water for the activity. There are small stores by the registration area so you need not to worry where to get refreshments.
For Php 2,500.00, you can avail of the 4X4 ride and sand boarding for 5 pax. They also offer ATV rentals, which I didn’t avail because I was already exhausted after all the shouting during the 4X4 experience and walking back up to the starting point of the sand boarding area.
Again, DO NOT MISS THIS PART. Even my mom who’s in her late 50’s tried sand boarding!
Here’s a short clip of my sand boarding experience.
We headed back to Laoag and checked in at our designated hotel after the sand dunes activity.
Here’s the complete list of the Day 1 Ilocos Tour:
Malacaniang of the North
Paoay Sand Dunes
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