Our accommodation at Isabel Suites in Laoag City was pleasant. It is along the national road but surprisingly, we had a peaceful sleep. We're so exhausted the other day that only my blaring alarm clock woke us up the next morning at 7:00 a.m. We went down to the hotel's restaurant and ordered our complimentary breakfast. The server was quite chatty, so he and my husband talked about the super typhoon that recently hit the Region. According to him, the flood almost entered the hotel and their generator broke down after few days of working. I heard that James Reid and Nadine Lustre stayed at their hotel as well as some PBA players when they had to appear during city's Pamulinawen Festival. I just realized that Isabel Suites is the newest hotel in Laoag. Well, we just booked the right hotel then.
The Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag
The attractions in Laoag are not far from each other. It was all a walk apart. We walked two blocks from our hotel to the sinking bell tower. This is hard to miss because your landmark would be the SM Hypermarket and from there, you will see the bell tower. The tower has sunk considerably and evenly, thus, its reputation as "Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag".
Ilocos Norte Capitol
Laoag, officially the City of Laoag, is a third-class city and capital of the province of Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. The northernmost city in the nation, it is the province's political, commercial, and industrial hub and the location of the Ilocos region's only commercial airport.
Museo Norte is beside Ilocos Norte Capitol and there's Php50 entrance fee. It housed the Ilocanos kind of living in the past from how they used to dress, their pieces of stuff inside the house, and much more. It was nice to immerse with their culture and history.
Beside the museum is this small complex where you can find restos. It's a delight to see a quaint and modern design building in Ilocos. We are supposed to eat dinner here the other night but I haven't figured yet where this complex was. And it's dark in this side at night if you're coming from the Capitol, that's why we didn't push through finding it. We ended at La Preciosa Restaurant instead.
Bacarra Bell Tower
Bacarra Bell Tower is famous for its centuries-old, domeless or "beheaded" belfry known as Torre ti Bacarra. The structure stands three stories and 50 meters (160 ft) high. The original bell tower, which is detached from the main church building and made of coral bricks, was erected in 1828. However, periodic earthquakes from 1931 to 1971 caused the dome to start leaning. The entire dome was toppled by a 7.8-magnitude temblor on August 17, 1983. Restoration of the church was completed in 1984 at a cost of Php 3 million.
The tower is also known as the "Acrobatic Bell Tower of Bacarra".
Just like we did from the other day, we bought a take-out lunch from Jollibee which is conveniently located across Isabel Suites. By 12:00 noon, we continued our road trip going to farthest part of Ilocos Norte. The sun was at its perpendicular, thus, the heat was unforgiving. But nothing will soothe you out but cold water and a rest under a tree. While my husband photographing the church, a local walked towards me. He's a tricycle driver and he offered a tour in Bacarra town. I declined in kindness saying we have a service. He shyly nodded and wished us a safe trip.
Cape Bojeador Lighthouse (Burgos Lighthouse)
After an hour drive from Bacarra town, we turn right from Maharlika Highway to a winding two-way concrete road that leads to the base of the lighthouse. There are ample parking and there are no other vehicles in sight. There are vendors selling refreshments and fresh buko juices. As soon as we climbed down from our car, I hurried near the cliff and took in the scenic view below and of West Philippine Sea.
Taken using iPhone
We climbed a flight of concrete stairs up to the perimeter wall of Cape Bojeador. There are no people in the courtyard but only us. We climbed to the Pavillion and we start taking photographs. Though it's so hot, we're so glad the wind favored its way to us to cool down the temperature. Inside the Pavillion were empty large rooms and the hallway lead us to other stairs to the lighthouse. The door of the lighthouse is locked. I'm sure a magnificent view awaits up there.
Burgos Wind Farm
Burgos Wind Farm is a wind farm in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It is the second wind farm built in the province of Ilocos Norte. The estimated cost for the construction of the wind farm was US$450 million. The wind farm was commissioned on November 9, 2014, and upon its completion it became the largest wind farm in the country and in Southeast Asia, covering 600 hectares and three barangays of Burgos, namely Saoit, Poblacion and Nagsurot. The project was the first one to be nominated by the Department of Energy as eligible for the department's feed-in tariff scheme.
According to my itinerary, the next attraction to visit was the Kapurpurawan (White Rock Formation). It's merely 10 minutes drive from Cape Bojeador and then, we took a left turn to a small road. There's an outpost and we paid an entrance fee of Php15 each. And then, we got surprised at what we saw - wind turbines! I couldn't believe it. I have no idea there's a wind farm in Burgos. I was expecting to see the windmills later that afternoon in Bangui (not in Burgos!) as it is the last attraction to visit before we head to Pagudpud. Anyway, we enjoyed the moments seeing these giant turbines. I can't contain my happiness! Don't ask my husband; he restlessly says how beautiful these things are. He didn't know where to pull over; he was completely nonplussed. And as we continue driving down to Kapurpurawan, there are more turbines erected near the road. Honestly, I felt like the Burgos got invaded by aliens. The giant turbines looked aliens. I hadn't seen any huge, huge thing in my life except a plane. And the sound it makes is creepy but oh, what a sight to behold!
Kapurpurawan (White Rock Formation)
From the parking lot, we trekked down into a path of relatively dense woods. I was imagining a snake lurking somewhere from my side or up my head but we arrived safely in the formation area where there are few vendors of souvenirs and selling refreshments. You can either take horseback ride for Php50 each way or walk going to White Rock; we chose the latter. After 15 minutes of walking, we reached the view deck. But we aren't satisfied because the white rock sits far. My husband was so eager to get up close with the white rock for better photographs, so he went down and trek the rocky path near to it. I followed suit. He was able to take a close-up photo using his iPhone.
The white rock looks amazing up-close. It's a wonder of nature. Since climbing the unique-shaped white rock isn't allowed anymore, we explored more at the back instead. When I saw the way to get through at the back, I hesitated. But I thought of my husband going through alone, so we both went through the slippery rocky path for the sake of photographs.
The view from the back was amazing, too. The white rock sits along the rocky Burgos shoreline. The color of the rock is milky-white and the texture is oh-so-fine. We take the horseback ride on going back because we felt very tired already and we saved the little energy left for trekking up again to the parking lot. We felt dehydrated. I feel a headache started to build-up. As soon as our ordered refreshments and hot instant noodles arrived, we munched on it like we hadn't eaten in a day.
So the last attraction to visit was Bangui Windmills and we were hours behind already at the intended time. I anticipated that the visit in Kapurpurawan will take a most of 45 minutes but we ended up spending 1.5 hours because we took a break and filled-up our tummy for energy. We aimed to settle in one of the resorts in Pagudpud before dusk. Anyway, we still pushed through to Bangui and we took the left side turn to a narrow road and we haven't spent half of the journey yet when we saw that a backhoe is working ahead leading to Bangui Bay. It was temporarily impassable and so, we find another way. Luckily, there's another road. The road was smooth at the first 50 meters. Then, it went roughly it made my husband cursed the road so bad. He drives, I navigate (using Google maps). See the picture? He always says that I never drive, hence, I never know how it feels (oh I'd love to learn!). I promised him a very good massage later at bedtime but he didn't buy it. He's pissed, so I shut my mouth and wished for the concrete road to appear any moment.
The rough road wasn't all the way to the Bangui Bay, though. It was actually just a short entertainment. As soon as we climbed out of the car, my husband thoroughly checked the car tires. He can't bear the thought of having mishap even it just involve flat tires in a strange place far from where we can ask for help and not to mention it will get dark in another hour. Anyway, we realized that we were in the Tower 18 of the windmills; it's the second to the last. My excitement wasn't like the first time I saw the windmills in Burgos Wind Farm. I guessed it has something to do with the cloudy sky that it made the weather looks gloomy. And we are so tired to walk to the other towers to take a good shot; you have no idea how far these towers erected from each other. I thought of squeezing Bangui Windmills to other days. Then I realized I was breaking my own rules.
We arrived in Pagudpud before 6:00 p.m. My husband's face lighted up when we arrived at Casa Consuelo (Island Reef Resort). My husband was so tired that he has fallen asleep as soon as his back hit the bed. I ordered dinner in advance and had its set-up on the porch of our Cabana at 8:30 p.m. I woke him up before dinner arrives and he hurried to shower. We had a sumptuous Ilocano dinner. Later that night, I gave him a quick massage though he didn't want me to but I insisted. It was quick only because he didn't want to wear me out any longer. One gets tired driving and one gets tired sitting so long but we survived the long drive. At the end of the day, this is what it boils down to, isn't it? We slept soundly that night.
BIYAHENG ILOCOS 2015
[Cont...] Day 02: PAOAY, ILOCOS NORTE [Paoay Church, Culili Point Sand Dunes, Malacanang of the North]
Day 03: ILOCOS NORTE [Laoag Museo Norte, Bacarra Bell Tower, Cape Bojeador, Burgos Wind Farm, Kapurpurawan, Bangui Bay]
Day 04: PAGUDPUD [Casa Consuelo, Timmangtang Rock, Saud Beach, Bantay Abot Cave, Maira-ira Beach, Dos Hermanos Islands]