Life is known only by those who have found a way
to be comfortable with change and the unknown.
Given the nature of life, there may be no security,
but only adventure.
~Rachel Naomi Remen

I have long been waiting to get out of my couch, and do a full swing to beat our lazy summer solstice. Another successful getaway with a new set of weekend travelers, from sampling authentic Ilocano delicacies, to souvenir hunting, Visita Iglesia, R&R at Blue Lagoon, learning more about Ilocos History and Marcos Regime, to our super long, bumpy road trip. Not my first time, but exploring Ilocos still excites me.

Refer to our Vigan – Laoag – Pagudpud – Ilocos Itinerary here.

The late holiday declaration left almost everyone a vague plan for a getaway. I was a bit confident though that it will be another long weekend, so we planned it out early this year. All 13 participants were eager to escape Manila’s hot weather and busy days. We have guests from as far as Zamboanga, to a new Nursing graduate, to professional landscape photographer based in Seoul, quite an interesting mix of personalities.

We left at 10 PM in Manila, hoping to get an early start for our Ilocos Sur to Ilocos Norte Tour the following day.

Day 1

Bong, our super driver cum Sexy Model, transported us safely to Narvacan, Ilocos Sur by 7 in the Morning. We had our first breath of Ilocos air at the shoreline of Paraiso ni Juan Grotto, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur.

After having breakfast, quick stretching and a photo op, we continued our journey to Vigan City. An hour later and 407 km away from Manila, we invaded Calle Crisologo’s tranquil Saturday morning.

Our first stop is Vigan Cathedral or also known as St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral. This church is a testament to Vigan’s strong Chinese heritage.

Behind the Church is Calle Crisologo. A leisure walk at this exceptionally intact and well-preserved cobblestone street takes us back to yesteryear. Vigan is declared as Unesco World Heritage Site for its fusion of Asian and European architecture and cultural elements. This makes it unique to the rest of the world.

Further ahead, we reached Bantay Church and Bell Tower. A popular tourist destination, where guests can climb the tower on top of the hill. No one from our group dared to take the stairs, as everyone seemed already exhausted with the hot weather.

There is an ongoing fair at Marcos Museum, so we skipped that part and rescheduled it for our 3rd day. We then headed to Paoay Church or also known as St. Augustine Church in Paoay. It is another Unesco World Heritage Site. The church architecture is a blend of Baroque, Gothic and Oriental designs.

By the time we finished wandering around Paoay Church, we were already craving for lunch. Ah, we savored the best bulalo in town, enough to energize us for the rest of the day.

We paid a short visit at Museo Ilocos Norte. This museum is a tribute to the cultural heritage of Ilocano people.

Our next stop is Malacanang Ti Amianan, or Malacanang of the North. It is the residence of former President Ferdinand Marcos in Ilocos Norte. It’s quite bizarre how similar it looks like from the Malacanang Palace along the North bank of Pasig River in Manila.

The palace is uninhabited now and restored as museum to let visitors take a glimpse of this Marcos property. From the veranda, it overlooks the scenic Paoay Lake.

We can’t miss Fort Ilocandia Resort of course and lust over it’s first class interior. Apart from being the only 5-star deluxe resort hotel in Northern Philippines, a showcase of Spanish colonial inspired villas, an addition of mini zoo kept the guests entertained.

Nearing the end of our 1st day journey, we visited St. William Cathedral in Laoag City. The church is built by Augustinian Friars and is unique for its Italian Renaissance architecture. The Sinking Bell Tower across the street is popular for sinking to the ground an inch every year.

Our day ended with a feast prepared by Mr. Haven Hunter’s relatives. We settled in at Vintar and called it an early night.

More Photos :

Weekend Haven Album
Group Shots by Charlone Ibanez
Lakbay Nikkitaa  by Ferdinand Teves
Northern Escape by RL Bernardo

Our 2nd day Ilocos Invasion soon!

Ilocos Photowalk !

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