Last year’s first Lakbay Norte was a blast so I was thinking how would they top it again this year? Well this year’s magic number is 2 for Lakbay Norte 2 2011 is twice as big with two separate legs around northern Luzon. The first leg held January 23-27, 2011 explored the South Western part of North Luzon particularly Baguio, La Union, Tarlac, Subic and Pampanga. The second leg held March 2-7, 2011 focused on the Upper north portions of Cagayan and Ilocos. Here’s a chronicle recap of both legs with links to corresponding posts. It would be a good guide in case you want to do a somewhat similar itinerary.
While Imee Marcos was speaking about tourism and the Ilocos region during lunch at the Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center, I couldn’t help but feel the affinity I have with the Marcos Family. No, I’m not in any way related in blood nor do I glorify whatever late President Marcos did. But growing up with parents who were Marcos loyalists got to me, more so that I’m named after the president with the same birthday. That’s why Ilocos Norte has that soft spot. And visiting places where the Marcoses used to live was like visiting a distant relative.
For a moment, I thought I was lost in Bali as I stepped out of our hotel building. Having checked in past midnight coming from a night of entertainment at Balay Da Blas, our sleepy heads and droopy eyes were longing for a nights rest just gave our surroundings a passing glance. But now waking up, seeing the manicured garden, neat pathways and Bali inspired casitas and structures made me knock my head off why I didn’t take a moment to stop a moment in Currimao whenever I pass by the road from Vigan to Laoag or vice versa.
I thought I have seen most of the churches in Ilocos Norte but every time I go back here, more keeps adding to the list. After seeing the magnificent Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos, we head down back in south again to the municipality of Sarrat, the birthplace of the late president Ferdinand Marcos. Alongside the Pasdan River, which was overran by native cottages on the side stands the exquisite Sta Monica Parish Church, the largest church in the whole of Ilocos Region.
It seemed out-worldly this piece of landscape. It rises like a giant sphinx cutting through the deep blue sky with all its whiteness. Truly an extraordinary site first time to see up close at the rugged coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. They call it Kapurpurawan, which also means “Kaputian” or whiteness in the local Ilocano dialect. It’s fast becoming a favorite spot in Ilocos Norte in addition to its grand churches, delectable cuisines, and wonderful beaches. It was our next stop from Pasuquin during our Lakbay Norte 2 tour.
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.
Just hearing about a valley with 18 waterfalls, 10 hanging bridges, intersected by a flow of crystal clear waters from a river already gave me a sense of fascination about the place. Adams, at the northern edge of Ilocos Norte, mid forehead of Northern Luzon, is one of the destinations I was really looking forward to during the Lakbay Norte 2 tour. No somber weather could stop us from coming as we prepared ourselves for the rain by waterproofing out gears and donning raincoats. From Kapuluan Vista Resort, we took a 15minute coach ride to Panchan Junction, just past a bridge where the Bolo (Bolu) River flows and a dump truck was waiting for us to take us to Adams.