We reached Laoag in the evening, that’s a couple of hours drive with a few stops coming from Adams. For dinner in Laoag, we were honored to join Mayor Farinas at the Laoag City Hall. It was my first time to enter that nice looking terracotta building which I used to admire outside. Presentation while dinner over tasty langonisa, chicken and bagnet was about the Tourism in Laoag and a short presentation from Cebu Pacific which is one of the sponsors of the Lakbay Norte 2 tour. We took an empanada each on our way to our hotel after dinner.
Our host for the evening is the relatively new Ilocos Norte Hotel Convention Center (INHCC), it’s an immaculate looking hotel with all its white colored walls, and bed sheets. Everything is spic-and-span. There’s a nice large pool and the reception opens up to the dining area. A wedding was being held when we came. The rooms are not sound proof as noise from the ceremonies seeps in but it’s a good thing events like these are only allowed to linger only until 10 in the evening.
A longer night’s rest was a welcome comfort at INHCC. Breakfast was at an easy pace before we move to our next destination at Pasuquin. For a fairly new hotel, INHCC is a very good option when staying in Ilocos Norte. It’s twin room , like the one we stayed is the lowest at P2200 with the Suite Room at the most expensive at P3000. They also have dormitories good for 8 pax at P750 per person.
Everybody’s disposition was as bright and sunny as the weather that day. We rolled off to our first destination in Pasuquin which is the famous Pasuquin Biscocho House. I’m mostly familiar with this pastry on it’s toasted and crunchy form. The Biscocho here is famous for its soft and tasty bread. It has a well guarded family recipe that made it famous throughout Ilocos Norte.
We got behind the scenes at the bakery and met Mary (not her real name) who was currently packing some toasted Biscocho. She has been doing this for years and have raised her family by working in this bakery. We also got to taste some freshly made Biscocho soft bread, which they also use to make the toasted ones. It was a really filling stop.
Pasuquin Salt Making was our next stop. Under the morning sun, we observed the steamy process of how salt were made here. The proper stages were mixed up from the numerous people I’m listening to at that time but this is how I understood them. First, raw sea salt are mixed with sea water and liquid is filtered out through this passageway. Then the filtered water is placed on a container over a burning furnace. The saltwater is cooked up until the the liquid is gone with only the salt crystals left.
Salt making is a cottage industry here since the salt beds along the seashore is ideal for salt making because of presence of good corals and sands there. So aside from using them as seasoning, it is also part of their livelihood. We saw a lot of the vendors selling salt on the road on our way to our next destination.
Ilocos Norte Hotel and Conventions Center
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Pasuquin Bakery Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.