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General Ilocos Sur

Baluarte ni Singson

Harry the friendly tiger

Harry the friendly tiger

A new attraction around the Vigan area in Ilocos Sur is Chavit Singson’s Baluarte. If Ilocos Norte is Marcos territory, Vigan is where the Singson’s rule. The Baluarte is a 20 hectare land with a mini zoo, shooting range, and a chapel. It is also known as Chavit’s Fortress. Access to the mini zoo, where Singson’s numerous pet tigers and other animals are found are free for the public, as he considers this as a gift to the people.

Even if the place is still being developed, the place does look good. Harry, the friendly tiger is found at the entrance. Unfortunately, the handler isn’t around because I’d really want to touch that tiger. Seems like a giant stuff toy. I must warn though that if you are going to bring children, watch them closely as the cages for the wild tigers aren’t safe. The cages are too accessible and a child can easily slip their hands as the bars are too wide apart.

Categories
General Ilocos Norte

Edge of the northern lands

Maira-ira Beach at Blue Lagoon

Maira-ira Beach at Blue Lagoon

My recent visit to the North finally gave us a chance to visit a more secluded beach beyond the Saud beach in Pagudpud. The scenic cove of Maira-ira beach also known as Blue Lagoon is a 20 minutes drive from Saud Beach. I don’t know why they coined the place as “Blue Lagoon” since it’s more of a cove than a lagoon. I guess the title has a more mysterious or romantic feel to it. Romantic may be a better term as this once secret beach has only one resort available and is perfectly tucked away from the crowds. There are exotic cottages there for rent for only Php 20 if you are not planning on staying by the nearby Kapuluan Vista Resort.

The beach has off-white grainy sand and really blue waters like a gigantic swimming pool. The depth could get deep short distance from the shore but the floor is all sand so it’s safe to swim on your bare feet. There’s a slight undertow as well. We really have fun at this beach since it’s not crowded and the water is enjoyable.

Categories
General Ilocos Norte

Fort Ilocandia

Fort Ilocandia Fountain

Fort Ilocandia Fountain

Spanning 77 hectares in area, Fort Ilocandia, the only five-star hotel resort in northern Luzon, is also considered as one of the largest resorts in Asia. This historical fort is adorned with terra-cotta brick walls highlighted by warm lightings in the hallways and numerous paintings on the walls. It will surely warp you back in the Grand Spanish era.

Categories
General Ilocos Norte

Sa dulo ng bahaghari

Bangui view deck

I’m glad to be home again. It didn’t take a week before I hopped on another plane, but this time its more of a travel assignment. I didn’t expect to be back soon in our proud heritage of the north in Ilocos. Little did I know that there are a lot – and I mean a lot of off-the-beaten path destinations in this area! It was a whirlwind trip but exciting covering places and taking shots of food (then eating them after)

The photo from above is from the Bangui View Deck, Ilocos Norte. It was, I think the first time I ever saw a full (180 degrees) arc of a rainbow (bahaghari) at that time. I would have taken a photo of the whole thing but it was just huge!

And I got a kick at Smart’s unlimited mobile GPRS. It’s 10 pesos unlimited kilobytes for 30 minutes was helpful in accessing important mails and some websites from the net on my reliable old mobile while on the move.

Anyways, gotta rest. Will be posting lotsa stuff soon. Now I wanna sleep…

Categories
General Ilocos Norte

Megastructures of the north

Bangui Windmills

The Windmills of Bangui, 15 of these structures stand on the Pebble Beach. (The orange speck on the right is a bulldozer, so imagine the height of this structure)

This would be the last entry for Northern Luzon adventure and would be a perfect climax for the series. When going to Pagudpod, you’ll never miss these spectacular windmills left-side of your view. It’s one of the most amazing view you’ll see up there on the north. When at the beach of Pagudpud you’ll still be able to see these afar.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse stands in Burgos, said to be the tallest lighthouse in the country.

On your right (coming from the south), amidst the mountain terrain, you’ll see the towering structure of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos. Both mega structures, the former a new construction, and the later a true historical monument.

Categories
General Ilocos Norte

Golden sands of the north

Pagudpud Hammock

A cozy hammock in the golden afternoon sun

It was around 3 in the afternoon when the bus departed from the Laoag plaza to head to the far north region of Pagudpud. Seems now we’re getting used to a lot of bus transfers and stop overs. But what we were looking forward to was the beach! The road was scenic, nonetheless, with the view of the sea at your left and the mountains at your right. But it was quite anoying to hear some old 80’s hits covered in a karaoke style by some low rate artist play again and again in the driver’s cassette radio. Good thing there’s portable mp3 players now to save the day or it owuld be a mental brainwash after this long ride. In about 2 hours, we reached the town center of Pagudpud.

Golden sands

Golden stretch of sands

From the town center, it’s another 10-15 minutes tricycle ride towards Saud Beach where a round of resorts line up the beach. We ended up at Jun and Carol lodge where we got a room for 4 at the top floor with a verandah facing the beach for. Really cool! The amenities were ok, but our cable was busted. It was ok though, since we didn’t go there to watch TV. Most of the resorts here are quite expensive. Even the food, so if you plan to go here on a budget, bring food. Which we forgot to do.

Categories
General Ilocos Norte Ilocos Sur

Stopovers from Vigan to Laoag

Bantay Belfry

Impressive gothic belfry in Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Will try to finish up the entries on our northern Luzon trip in the coming days. I will also have individual posts on some interesting objects along the way. The first couple of weeks has been very busy at work. Double deadlines as they say. Well to continue on…

The travel from Vigan to Laoag is only a couple of hours trip, but if you have time to spare there are lots of interesting stopovers on nearby provinces that would give your time and money enough its worth.

Bantay Belfry and church

Bantay belfry and crimson church, Ilocos Sur

First off from Vigan is the Bantay Belltower and church. Now this is a must and you wouldn’t miss it since it’s on the highway and near the bus stations at the entrance of Vigan. From first seeing the belfry at the distance from the church gate I was already in awe at it’s magnificent structure. For me it’s one of the most magnificent structures I have ever seen. It’s baroque-gothtic style and color truly impressed me. Too bad the gates was closed we couldn’t get up, they said that this belfry used to be a lookout tower during the war. Not to belittle it’s church which stands a few meters away, the church boast a crimson facade and amazing window arcs emphasized by its white shade.