Friday, March 19, 2010

i heart ilocos DAY 1: tour of the north


Arrived at Pagudpud around 0800 and proceeded to check in at Polaris. The deep blue beach water and fine white sands greeted us. after settling in our room. Bogart, Vina and I, explored the surroundings, the water was calm and inviting. I wanted to swim but decided against it.

polaris beach resort

@1300, our guide fetched us for our Tour of the North.

Kaibigan Falls

admission: free; but you're expected (not obliged) to give a donation to the tour guide cooperatives.

a local guide must accompany you to get to the falls. again, there's no fee but you can give a donation to the guide. although we have Kuya Nath as our guide, the cooperative requires separate guide for the trek.

the trek took us about an hour (30 minutes going there and another 30 going back). our guide said that a couple of days back, he accompanied a group of yuppies and their trek was about 2 hour (1 hr per way) so it really depends on your group's pace. we crossed 2 streams and walk under the heat of the sun. but when we reached the falls, it was worth it! as per our guide, when its peak season, there's sort of time limit in your stay in the falls, around 30 mins, i think. but since it's off peak, we can stay as much as we want. The water was clean and cold, one can actually swim it you want, but it was only Steph, who braved the inviting water.

Patapat via duct

The Patapat Viaduct was built on slope of the mountains, it's the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines. From the bridge you have a clear view the South China Sea. You just have to find a good location to park and be alert because buses pass by this route. If you look closely the Via duct looks like a white snake winding through the mountains.

Paraiso ni Anton

Continuing through the bridge... we stopped by Paraiso ni Anton.

The water that runs through the side of the stairs claims to have miraculous healing power. And just across the street is some shops.

miraculous water

wanna buy?

Agua Grande Picnic Park

A few block across the Paraiso ni Anton was Agua Grande Picnic Park. We stopped here for a few minutes to take some photos. There's an entrance fee to the park but since we didn't make use of the park, we just gave a donation (again).

Bantay Abot/ Timmangtang Rock

'bantay' in Ilocano literally means mountains and 'abot' in Tagalog means reach; mountains reached the sea hence the name Bantay-Abot.

Bantay-Abot is a mountain with a hole , in which the hole is found right smack at the middle of it. Kuya Nath told us to climb through the hole, it was a steep and slippery climb. You have to be extra careful when climbing. Upon reaching the top, we had an awesome view of the South China Sea and the waters crashing through the mountain. If the waves are strong enough, you can get wet.

Timmangtang Rock; a bell-shaped rock, just nearby Bantay-Abot Cave.

Maira-Ira / Blue Lagoon

This is our last stop. We didn't go for a swim because the sun is about to set and we don't want to swim in the dark. Kuya Nath brought us to one of the resorts being developed near Blue Lagoon. The Kapuluan Vista, the place was nice and they offer reasonable prices during off-peak season. (maybe I'll stay there in case my family would want to visit Ilocos).

cottage infront of Kapuluan Vista

By 630pm, we we're back at the resort.


So, it's time for dinner. Polaris' food are a bit expensive that's why venture out to the shore in search of restaurants. The walk along the shore was scary and tiring, scary because we were walking in the dark, we couldn't see anything. since all of us are hungry, and being 'kuripot', we bravely embarked the pitch black shore. Ever the girl scout, Bogart had a flashlight with her; while the rest of us use our cellphones to the light our path. We continued walking in the dark, the sand was kinda wet because of low tide, so our feet sank easily which makes it even difficult to walk. Finally, after 15-20 minutes of walking, laughing and screaming ('coz we try to scare each other).


Finally, we had our dinner at TerraRika. The food was okay, the price was just right. now, after filling our stomach and satisfying our hunger, we have another problem. How do we go back to the resort?! We don't want to go back where we walked, all that food will go to waste, we'll be hungry again when reached the resort if decide to walk on the shore again.
Sharmaine, the one in-charge at TerraRika was kind enough to help to text her trike friends. Out of 4 that she texted, only 1 responded because some are already asleep at 8pm. They sleep that early in the province. 20 minutes later, our trike arrived. The 5 of us fit in 1 trike, as we were driving i can't helped but notice there are no street lamps. The only light we see comes from the trike's headlight.

Imagine: the trike has 'open' back so if you turn around you'll never know what you might see. scary! we asked Manong Trike if he's not scared driving in the dark. He said, he's used to driving at this condition, and the townspeople are generally nice. it's a small town, so everyone know each other. We asked him had seen ghosts while driving through these dark streets, and he just gave us a silent smile. I wonder what was going through his mind.

The 5-minute scary dark trike ride is over. Paid Kuya, 70php. not bad considering we woke him up from sleep. Home at last. Thank God for the safe ride. End of very tiring DAY 1!

ready for next (mis) adventure tomorrow!