Saturday, May 9, 2009

Summer 2009: ILOCOS TRIP

The Ilocos Region or Region I (Ilokano: Deppaar ti Ilokos, Pangasinan: Rihiyon na Sagor na Baybay na Luzon) of the Philippines is located in the northwestern region portion of Luzon. It is bounded by the Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley to the east, Central Luzon to the south and by the South China Sea to the west.The province of Pangasinan composes 58% of the region's population, 42% of its area and 61% of its economy.The region is composed of four provinces, namely: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan. Its regional center is San Fernando City, La Union. The Ilocanos compose 66% of the region, the Pangasinan people compose 27%, and the Tagalogs compose 3%.

My friends and I left Manila, Thursday night around 9:00PM, while my previous co-workers left Cavite at around 8:30PM. The Cavite guys rode the coaster while my friends and I used the Van. We met in one of the gasoline stations along North Luzon Express Way (NLEX) then we hit the road in a convoy since then. We arrived in our first pit stop at around 7:45AM the next day.

Our First Stop: VIGAN

The City of Vigan [spanish: La Ciudad de Vigan / ilocano: Siyudad ti Vigan] is a third class city in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. It is the capital of the Province of Ilocos Sur. The city is located on the western coast of the large island of Luzon, facing the South China Sea.It is a World Heritage Site in that it is one of numerous Hispanic towns in the Philippines, and is well-known for its cobblestone streets, and a unique architecture that fuses Philippine building design, and construction with colonial European architecture.

Second Stop: BALUARTE

San Agustin Church in Paoay Ilocos Norteis one of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines. This is the official designation to a collection of four Spanish-era churches in the Philippines, upon its inscription to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.

Day 1's last stop: SAND DUNES

Before we went to San Agustin Church we dropped by the Marcos Museum. Then we headed to the Malacanan of the North, Sinking Bell Tower in Laoag and finally in Sand Dunes.

We arrived in pagudpud at around 9:00PM of Day 1. We were all exhausted on the 24 hour roadtrip that I didn't even notice that our room was right in front of the famous Saud Beach.

Pagudpud is a coastal resort town on the northernmost tip of Luzon in the Philippines. According to the latest census, Pagudpud has a population of 20,385 people in 3,804 households.The town is bounded to the south by the town of Bangui and to the east by the Cordillera Mountain Range, the town of Adams and the province of Cagayan. The South China Sea lies to the west and north. The town rolls over mountains, hills, valleys and flat coastal land. It lies 45 miles north of Laoag City, the provincial capital, and about 350 miles north of Manila. They reside in 3,804 homes that are spread across 83 square miles. Most make their living through farming, fishing and subsistence retailing. Tourism is a growing part of the economy.


2nd stop: Patapat Viaduct
Patapat National Park is a national park in the Philippines. It is located along the sheer coastal mountains of the town of Pagudpud the northnernmost town of the province of Ilocos Norte. The centerpiece of Patapat is a raised viaduct, the national highway, that allows travels wide vistas of the northern coast. The stark white concrete rails of the viaduct contrasts beautifully with the expanse of ocean and the lush greenery of the mountain cliffs.

Final stop of Day 2: Blue Lagoon
We ended day 2 with a party along Saud Beach Resort. The call time for our last day is around 5:00AM so we can go back in Manila as early as possible.
We left Saud Beach at around 6AM on our last day of the trip and headed directly to Bangui Wind Farm.
The Bangui Windmills are located in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The windmills, officially referred to as the NorthWind Bangui Bay Project, was built to use renewable energy sources, thus reducing the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The project is the first Wind Farm in the Philippines consisting of wind turbines on-shore facing the South China Sea and considered to be the biggest in Southeast Asia. The project sells electricity to the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) and provides 40% of the power requirements of Ilocos Norte via Transco Laoag.

2nd Stop: Cape Bojeador lighthouse
Burgos has a heritage structure called the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, also known as Burgos Lighthouse. It is the highest-elevated lighthouse in the Philippines and the northwesternmost in location (the northeasternmost being Cape EngaƱo Lighthouse in Palaui Island, Santa Ana, Cagayan). It was established on March 31, 1892 under the Spanish government on a high hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador, where galleons passed by. Its purpose is also to guide ships away from the rocky coasts of the town. It still continues to operate with new lenses run by solar panels. Originally the light was provided by pressurized kerosene lamps, very much like the current " Coleman lamp". In 2005 the old pressure vessels and wicks for the light could still be found in the shed.

Last Stop: Vigan again
We took our lunch in Vigan and bought a few souvenirs and pasalubongs and headed back in Manila. Of course we thanked God for the 3 sunny days that He gave us while Manila and southern part of Luzon was being battered by a typhoon.

We arrived in Manila at around 4am on Monday and I reported back to work 10am the same day. (detailed information about the place are from