June is always an exciting time as I get to join and become a part-time guide to a Jim Cline Photography Tour in the Philippines conducted by international photographer Karl Grobl. It’s nice to know that the Philippines is gaining ground as an international photo tour destination. They were telling me it was unexpected that the Philippines Tour was filling up fast. And this year we had a full house so it was an exciting 6-day North Luzon leg from Vigan to Sagada (via Cervantes) then to Baguio and Manila. It’s great to be with different photographers and see their photographic styles and vision.
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.
The afternoon was easing down from the height of activity early morning. From the Patupat factory at Pozorrubio, we drove to neighboring town of Manaoag to visit its famous church. I’ve heard about the Manoaog Church ever since I was little since it is one of the most visited churches in the country due to its many miracles. It’s about 400 years old since the arrival of the original Ivory Image of Our Lady of Manaoag which was brought in from Spain via Acapulco. We were given at least 15 minutes to go around the church.
While I found the first Lakbay Norte in 2010 a bit cramped and rushed, it was still a fun trip going through the 8 provinces in 4 regions in 7 days that’s why when an invitation came for Lakbay Norte 2, I decided to join again. I checked the itinerary and there are new places I haven’t been to that caught my interest. And this time around there are two separate legs where media participants can choose which one to join or both. Let’s see where this year’s Lakbay Norte 2 will take us.
It was 7 days, 1798 kilometers, 9 Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVBs), 8 provinces in 4 regions, 26 people on one bus on a trip around Northern Luzon. This is the Lakbay Norte Familiarization tour held January 24-31, 2010. I’ve always wanted to do a horseshoe loop of north Luzon and I was glad I was able to do it with the help of North Philippines Visitors Bureau. It was packed, tiring but also fun and exciting. For those who would like to try the similar route, this would be a great reference on what to expect.
It is Sunday, the last day of our 7-day Lakbay Norte tour. It seems most of us have exhausted our wardrobes that we started wearing some of the shirt giveaways we got throughout the trip. I get to curl up more on Holiday Inn’s comfy beds longer as our call time isn’t that early. We still have a few activities for the day and as soon as we finished breakfast. The group was once again split into half to do some horseback riding and a jeepney tour.
5:00am I came down at White Rock’s lobby and joined a table that turned into some sort of internet café. I think I only had at two and a half hours of sleep and opening my laptop seems like a heavy task. Its day 6 of Lakbay Norte tour and I still wish I could have tried those other rides at Treetop yesterday. But I already got used to having only portions and a taste here and there. Besides this is a familiarization tour. The point is to get “familiar”.