The Tour of Ilocos

The Summer of 2012 is one full of firsts for me and my wife. First and foremost, this is the first summer for us as husband and wife. Next, this was one great summer packed with a lot of adventure and travelling to near, far and VERY far places. Last but not the least, it was on this summer that our budding Blog Site came to be.

Moss Pools of Kapurpurawan.

Our 2012 summer began with the trip to Ilocos. It was one trip that was never short of expectations and to our delight it was actually beyond what we expected. The preparations for this trip was not much as we just relied on plain luck.

The famed Calle Crisologo a UNESCO Heritage Site for its well preserved houses constructed since the Spanish colonial Period

Unlike other travellers, me and my wife choose to have a definite place to stay and at least a clear grasp of the itineraries. Adding to that, we are also keen on getting the most practical (but not necessarily the cheapest) deal we can find to assure our safety and security as well. On the contrary, this trip was actually pieced together from a string of phone calls made to various agents or individuals we stumbled across in the internet. In this case it was actually in Sulit.com.ph that we found this individual who could provide us the tour together with a bunch of itineraries and a hotel to stay. It sounded too good to be true because our previous inquiries gave us the impression that going around Ilocos is not for someone on a tight budget. The deal was not exactly a steal but was to a certain degree less than what you’d end up with if you try to book a hotel, and a transport altogether.

Excited but apprehensive at the same time, we decided to give this trip a go. Having deposited 50% of the package amount before the trip as a requirement made the apprehension worse and for the rest of the trip me and my wife discussed all the possible Plan B’s we can do suppose the whole deal turns out to be a fake. By the way, to decrease our risk or should we say potential losses, we decided to travel to Ilocos by bus instead of by plane as originally planned.

And we arrived in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. After a few minutes of nervous waiting, our tour guide met us up, exchanged pleasantries and dropped us off to our hotel so we could rest for a few hours before starting our tour. Our hotel was average which is understandable considering the amount we paid for the package but the staff were friendly and very accomodating in a very natural way which made us feel less like strangers to the place.

When our tour guide fetched us a few hours later, we were very impressed to see him suited up in a neatly pressed “Barong” (Traditional Filipino upper garment) paired with an “Salakot” (traditional Filipino hat). At that point me and my wife knew that the risk we took was all worth it.

A Short trek to the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. The fields dotted with grass and pools of clear water remind you somewhat of the Dead Marshes Frodo passed through on the way to Mordor.

The Inspiring Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. With all its grace and form, the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is a fragile landmark damaged by the normal course of weathering. Locals believe that soon this formation may become a mere memory.

Kabigan Falls. A significant trek through the beautiful fields farther north of Pagudpod, one realizes the diversity of sights in Ilocos.

And so for the rest of the three days, we scoured the entire Ilocos (North and South) visiting all of its famous landmarks. Since we paid for the entire tour, it was only me and my wife inside the van and we had the entire attention of our tour guide to ourselves. One thing I realized that when you get into these private tour packages, you don’t have to deal with different strangers in your tour and most importantly, you never have to worry about getting left by the group because YOU are the GROUP! 🙂

Paoay Church. Earning a spot among the UNESCO Heritage List, the famous church gets a well desrved makeover.

The whole Ilocos trip was anything but amazing as we saw diverse sights and sceneries ranging from the Colonial Spanish Heritage houses of Vigan to the surreal rock formations and landscapes of Kapurpurawan. To top that, our guide never failed to show us the best places around the City to enjoy the rich Ilokano cuisine which we enjoyed.

Usually, I can tell how amazing a trip is by looking at how many photos I took at the end of it. By the end of our Ilocos trip, I totalled a staggering 12+ GB worth of photos and I’m not even on recording in RAW most of the time!

Hope you enjoyed the photos and by the way, this was only our first trip for the summer…

St. Paul Cathedral of Vigan

Our contact for the tour package in Ilocos was Mr. Jan Carlo Caldito (+639198884849
,+639174396759). You may view his Facebook page – IlocosHeritageGuide and you can also view his posts at Sulit.com.ph using Ilocos Tour 2012 as keyword.

Our itineraries for the 4 day – 3 night stay were:

MUSEO ILOCOS
STA.MONICA CHURCH AND MUSEO DIOCESANO
MARCOS MUSEUM (SARRAT)
CAFE BOJEUDOR LIGHT HOUSE (BURGOS)
KAPURPURAWAN ROCK FORMATION (BURGOS)
BANGUI WINDMILLS (BANGUI)
KABIGAN FALLS
PATPAT VIA DUCT
AGUA GRANDE
PARAISO NI ANTON
BLUE LAGOON
DOS HERMANOS ISLAND
PAOAY CHURCH
ST.AUGUSTINE CHURCH (PAOAY)
MARCOS MAUSELEUM (BATAC)
JUAN LUNA SHRINE(BADOC)
BALUARTE (VIGAN)
BURGOS MUSEUM (VIGAN)
BANTAY CHURCH AND BELL TOWER
CRISOLOGO MUSEUM
JAR MAKING
HIDDEN GARDEN
SYQUIA MANSION
CALLE CRISOLOGO – HERITAGE VILLAGE
LA PAZ SAND DUNES

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6 responses

  1. jing

    the church you mentioned above as st. Augustine is actually St. Paul Cathedral in Vigan

    June 10, 2012 at 6:30 am

  2. Correction made! Thank you very much for that and Apologies for any confusion. 🙂

    June 10, 2012 at 7:23 am

  3. I like your shot in church with blue sky. Great tone and lighting. I’ve read your blog and i’m sure it was a priceless moment for both of you. Great blog and photos. 🙂

    June 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

  4. Janice

    tnx for dropping by in our province. Glad you enjoyed your stay.As i usually say, we appreciate our province more when we look them in the eyes of the tourists.Anyway, Carlo is an acquaintance, coz i’m also a tour guide here in Ilocos. Hope you’ll come back again.

    July 8, 2012 at 10:02 am

  5. I’ve been browsing online greater than three hours nowadays, yet I never discovered any fascinating article like yours. It is lovely worth sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made excellent content material as you did, the net will probably be much more helpful than ever before.

    May 2, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    • Thank you very much that is an inspiring comment.

      May 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm

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