This is the third part of my Ilocos travel series. Follow the wonders of Pagudpud in this link, and the marvels of Bangui and Burgos in this link.
Day 2 - January 21, 2014
After seeing and experiencing so much of Bangui and Burgos (you better check out my blog about our trip in those places, see this link), we decided to travel south to Laoag, the province's capital city. I've been to this place maybe a couple of times already, in fact my grandma (mother's side) is from this side of the planet, but honestly, I still haven't seen or toured around the place.
Unlike the bustling Metro Manila, Laoag is still pretty much a laid back city. Not a hint of a hectic life can be observed from the locals. The atmosphere was friendly, and most people would smile, especially to us who obviously look like outsiders. There was no language barrier as well since the people here speak Tagalog fluently.
I must mention too that people from Laoag are honest and trustworthy. When I, without knowing, dropped my camera inside a tricycle en route to Isabel Suites, where we would be staying for the night, the tricycle driver turned back and looked for us just to give back the camera. wow! nawalan na pala ako ng camera, hindi ko pa alam. I was so touched and shocked by the incident. Thank you very much kuya manong driver, I regret not giving anything to return the favor.
|Happy Birthday to me. So glad to be celebrating my 21st year in Laoag City. There is just so much to be thankful for this wonderful year.|
Day 3 - January 22, 2014
The following morning, Dawn and I agreed on strolling around the city. We saw a few old buildings illuminated with colorful lights when we went out for dinner last night, so we got curious how these buildings look like during the day.
|the Provincial Capitol of Ilocos Norte. Nakita din namin ito kagabe, makulay at maraming ilaw.|
Morning stroll in Laoag City
Just beside the Capitol, we saw an old brick building that appears to be a museum. We approached it and discovered that it's Museo Ilocos Norte pala! Naturally, it houses the province's cultural and historical treasures.
Interestingly, the museum building was actually an old brick warehouse used for storing tobaccos back in the Spanish colonial period. If you would remember, a monopoly on tobacco was in full effect throughout the province for a certain period of time during that era. Meaning, no other plant can be cultivated in Ilocos soil but tobacco.
|brick wall from the olden times.|
|Tobacco warehouse noon, Museo Ilocos Norte na ngayon|
|inside the museum|
|there's a house inside the museum|
|if you wish to buy souvenirs, there's a shop in the museum too.|
|Laoag City's Hall of Justice|
|A monument was erected at the central plaza to commemorate the abolition of tobacco monopoly in the year 1882|
|the Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag City. The massive structure was built on top of a sandy unstable ground, thus it sinks every year.|
|St. William's Cathedral. There was a sort of a school event when we got there, so sarado ang simbahan at hindi kami nakapasok|
|yep, playing with the fountain at the central plaza is quite a nice idea to kill time in Laoag City.|
At first, we were clueless where we can find jeepneys that go to Paoay, but with the help Mamang Pulis, we easily located the loading bay for jeepneys plying the route (Travel tip: capital towns or cities in each province usually have public transport terminal where we can take a ride to almost every town in that province. Just ask a local where to find these.) (fare to Paoay - P34).
If you're taking Manila's MRT/LRT on a daily basis, then probably you've seen this "Paoay, Kumakaway" tourism advertisement already. It features destinations from the town with weird people wearing weird mustaches. Weird talaga, but effective! Wala lang, naalala ko lang bigla.
Anyway, we reached Paoay in a matter of 20 to 30 mins jeepney ride from Laoag City. You'll know you're already in Paoay once the massive Paoay Church appears on the horizon. It's just impossible to miss the towns gigantic and iconic centerpiece.
|Ladies and gents, Paoay's very own fortress church—Saint Augustine Church, or simply Paoay Church|
|just look how huge the buttresses this church has.|
|inside the church|
|details of those massive buttresses won't go unnoticed.|
Going around the massive Paoay church surely made us hungry. Gugutumin ka talaga sa laki ng simbahan, and besides, lunch time na rin naman. Good thing, there's Herencia Cafe just in front of the church.
|Herencia Cafe. I've tried eating here once, and I yearn to eat here once more.|
|Did you notice the bagoong? To replicate the real dish, you consume this pizza with bagoong (fish sauce).|
|Haluhalo to complete our day.|
Malacañang of the North was once a presidential house in this part of the country. Spacious rooms, lavish furniture, and executive atmosphere define this classy Filipino mansion. I am pretty sure, Imelda is behind the luxury of the place.
|Welcome to Malacanang. Entrance to the palace cost P30 per head.|
|Furnished with fine muebles, mostly woodwork|
|President Marcos, of course, held office in this house.|
|A nice view of lake Paoay can be seen from the veranda of the mansion.|
Moving on, there is still one more destination in our checklist that we wanted to visit before leaving the town but no longer possible due to constricted time. We had to skip Paoay Sand Dunes, and I regret it big time.
Back in Paoay Church, we took a jeepney ride to Batac City. Well, the only reason why we decided to make a stop in Batac City is so we can visit Marcos Museum.
A Presidential Crypt in Batac City
Marcos Museum in Batac City was the ancestral home of president Marcos. It shelters not only the important mementos of the Marcoses, but also the body of the late dictator, himself. Yup, you read it right. The cold dead body of President Marcos is kept in a crypt in this museum.
|This museum closes at 4 PM, we arrived at 3:45 PM. Muntik na kaming hindi papasukin, buti na lang nagmakaawa kami.|
President Marcos still remains unburried decades after his death. That's what happens when you became enemies with the majority of the Filipino people. It would remain this way until the government yields to Imelda Marcos' request to bury the president in the Libingan ng mga Bayani with full military honors.
We finished touring the Marcos Museum at around 4 in the afternoon. This in turn marks the end of Ilocos Norte leg of our trip as we're now heading towards Vigan, capital city of Ilocos Norte's southern counterpart.
Up next: Heritage Sites in Vigan and Sta. Maria