From our last church stop in Cagayan Valley, it was a smooth ride going along the coastline heading to Ilocos Norte. It did help that we had a police escort vehicle on our way there but even with that we were behind schedule already. There were unexpected long stops and even the pull of local food was hard to resist further delaying us. Its Filipino hospitality at its best, it’s just hard to leave.
It was still dark when we left Hotel Kimikarlai hopped in our Lakbay Norte Bus at St Peters and St Paul Cathedral grounds. We’re on our way up threading the north-west route of Luzon to Ilocos Norte. Our bus rolled on and I could hear sirens right in front of us. At first I didn’t mind hearing the repeated “weng-weng” sound but realized sooner that we have a police escort with us. Our first stop was the house of Region 2 Director of Tourism, Bless Diwa for our much needed breakfast.
It’s the time we get down and dirty, for caving that is. We now visit Penablanca after at least an hour’s drive from Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat. Penablanca is the caving capital of Cagayan Valley. With more than 300 caves in the vicinity, 75 documented and more than 30 being mapped, it’s a spelunker’s haven. Out of the many caves, there are only 2 caves which tourist are allowed to visit for safety and preservation reasons. These are the Callao and Sierra Cave.
North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) gathered around a number of people from different publications like Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, Mabuhay, Cebu Smile, Seair, Seair Inflight, Zest Air, Asian Traveler, Sidetrip then mix in a good number of bloggers in one Victory Liner Bus. While everyone doesn’t really know everybody at first except for the names on the media list which we may or may not have googled on, we all have one thing in common – Travel. And for 7 days on the road in one bus this could be one heck of an adventure. Lakbay Norte NPVB Media Tour starts.
Pardon the lack of updates for the past few days as I was too busy to do advance post. I just got home from sweep tour of 4 regions, 8 key province stops and 1798Km road trip up North Luzon Philippines with 26 travel-hungry people aboard a Victory Liner Bus. It was packed, tiring but also fun. It was the Lakbay Norte NPVB (North Luzon Visitors Bureau) Media Tour with the aim to rediscover the north. I’ve always wanted to do this up-north horseshoe route and now here it is. Here’s a quick look of our 7-day sojourn up-north from January 24-31, 2010.