Tuesday, March 29, 2005
i love ilocos!
I spent Holy Week in our wonderful province of Ilocos Norte. Yep. And there are so many reasons why I still love going there, even if it takes 12-hours of butt-numbing cruising. I will attempt to crunch them into a non-boring post, and intersperse it with snippets of my blogless vaca...
On a trip to Ilocos, you cannot miss the empanada of Batac. Order a double special - that has two longganisas and an egg with the veggies. Or, you could be like Chips, who ordered a double-double (two longganisas and two eggs). You likewise need to try the bibingka or rice cake from The Sisters (yes, that's the name of the store) in the town of Baay. It's just around 15 minutes from the big bridge connecting two mountains in the town of Santa. There's also the special chichacorn or crunchy corn in Paoay (try that of Nana Rosa's). Then you can go on and try dipping all sorts of fruits into sukang iloko. And then there's Chips' favorite, Igado. I honestly don't know how they prepare it, but it's basically meat and liver with pepper, peas, soy sauce (i think) and a whole lot of oil. Yummy.
Just the drive to Ilocos already pushes the vacation-mode button. Utter relaxation and stress release. Cruising through La Union and Ilocos Sur will already give you a great view of the ocean, may it be sandy beaches or coral formations. Speaking of corals, do make a short stop in Currimao. It's not exactly a glamorous beach, there are just nipa huts and you can just park your car by the side of the road. But the sight to see here is of the dead corals now above sea level. You can climb up a high mound of them and dive into a deep trench below. Sans the trenches, you have a seemingly endless floor of corals to step on (water would only be up to your ankles) and from afar you'd look like you were walking on water. And of course, there's Pagudpud. When we were kids, we'd have a Foz Family trip to this beach. No resorts, no nothing. It was just us, a couple of other families, good food and the sea. We regret not having bought land there. Who would've thought that it would boom into what it is now. There's also a lighthouse on the way to the beach, where you can take in the complete view of the ocean. If you're going for a naked beach effect, drive around 30 minutes more from Pagudpud. Several towns up and down the winding road, make a left turn when you see a little sign that says Maira-ira. A hidden cove amidst the mountains. Absolutely beautiful. No major resorts yet, and you just need to pay 20 bucks entrance fee per person then just pitch your tent on the sand. On this trip, be sure that you've got a patient driver and a trusty car (SUV or AUV preferably). Drive beyond Maira-ira, you end up on the hanging bridge that goes into the province of Cagayan. You'll see big waves crashing as the South China Sea meets the Pacific. Magnificent.
Now let's go to the churches. We did the bisita iglesia on Holy Thursday and took Chips around the old churches of Ilocos. During the trip up north, you'd come across of course Agoo and Manaoag. Then you've also got Vigan. I'd recommend stopping by Vigan on the way back, so you don't have to lug around all the beautiful wooden items when you travel farther north. In Ilocos Norte, make the Paoay Church a must. From there you can also stop by Malacanang of the North to get a great view of the lake and Fort Ilocandia. Also stop by the one in Laoag and behold the church's sinking bell tower. Another must? Our town, Dingras. The old church there is documented to be the longest church in the Philippines. Drive past Dingras and into the town of Solsona to find the church of St. Anne and Sarrat, another beautiful church where Irene Marcos was actually wed.
I love being a Foz. Chips finally got a taste of (almost) the whole family in our natural habitat. Boisterous and absolutely carefree. We tease each other like crazy. Everyone knows what's happening with everyone. If you have a boyfriend, the whole family wants in on the hows and whens. The girls are domineering but sweet, and the boys are just as malambing (affectionate). We're also a very, very talkative and noisy bunch. My grandma was telling him: if you wanna back out, back out now. Hahaha. She also says (and I think this aptly describes us)... "hindi kami mayaman pero mayaman kami sa puso" (we're not rich but we're rich with love).
Ilocos will surely be a place my kids will also grow up in.
me and my man (yeaaahh)
dezphaire strapped in @ 12:22 PM
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