THE GREAT ILOCOS ADVENTURE PART 4: WET AND, UH, JUST REALLY WET

November 8, 2015



We woke up to the sound of rain after a night's rest in Pagudpud. The TV was going all on about the preparations against Bagyong Lando and we were anxious to see if the tour was still on.
And boy, was it ever.

After ravaging our complimentary breakfast of eggs and Ilocano longganisa at the Northridge Resort---which was more of a B&B than an actual resort, by the way--- we were on our way to start the day, albeit the rain.
So, this is the part where you get to know why the #stupidtourists are called as such.

Welcome to the Patapat Viaduct. :)



1.3 kilometers long, the viaduct snakes around the base of the Cordillera Mountain range.

So instead of getting turned off by the nasty weather, we only fell in love with it even more.
On good days, the Patapat Viaduct would have been a backdrop of cool, calm seas. When we went there, it was like nature was brewing up a storm.
We couldn't care less.

We were all for jumpshots in the middle of the road, giant delivery trucks be damned. Only #stupidtourists do that. Only stupid tourists would brave a storm and still have fun.

 In all fairness, it was such a sight to behold. I have never seen waves crash like this.




We would have stayed longer, but more crazy adventures beckoned. Looking back, this day involved so much water, in all forms. 
We stopped by at what the locals called Paraiso ni Anton.


According to our guide, this place used to be a resort with such name, until an earthquake struck and this spring appeared. People have thought it miraculous since. Some locals drink the water, believing it could heal sickness and grant them good health.


The storm brewed all around us. We were feeling Bagyong Lando more and more the farther we went into Pagudpud. But, as we were crazy and are tourists in need of something amazing to experience, we went right ahead.
Armed with our beanies and jackets, we soldiered forth to the Timmangtang Rock and Bantay-Abot Cave.

Basically our day looked like this. :) All fogged up glasses and water-specked lenses. Who cares? We were at the northern tip of the Philippines. This rock and the Batanes group of islands were the only things standing between us and Taiwan at this point.





Right up ahead is the Bantay Abot cave.

It's more of a rock formation, actually. It looks like a hole was cut out of the rock itself. Pagudpud has awesome rock formations.

Too bad for me, my lower back seriously hurt after our sandboarding adventure the day before and so I prefered to stay in the ledge rather than go down. I know, I missed a bit of my life. Stupid butt pains.

Kuya Richard looks on.


Watching the waves crash is surreal, though. It was quite enough for me.



Thank you Mark for some of the photos in this post :D

We made our way further up the cove to the so-called Boracay of the North, Blue Lagoon. How I wished the typhoon would stop so we could take a swim. The sea looked so beautiful from afar. Look at me, looking all profound.

Thanks, Mark!

Look at those waves. Would you want to zipline over that ocean? Sounds legit scary and beautiful at the same time to me. 

Thanks, Mark!
We saw something we've never seen before. And it wasn't the crashing waves this time. It was a legit Bayanihan.

As in the thing where people actually lift one's house. Talk about moving, right?

Thanks, Pearl!

I have never seen anything quite like it. Honestly, I thought Filipino values like this have long been dead. Thank you, Ilocos for showing us that Bayanihan still lives.

Lunch was in order. Although these Ice Gem cookies we found in Manila have been very good emergency food, it was finally time to try Ilocano food up close and personal.


We pulled up at some unassuming eatery at the side of the road.


They served dinakdakan:



And the ever-famous bagnet!


OMG bagnet at last! One would think bagnet is some kind of veggie or dessert, but it's basically the Ilocano version of lechon kawali. A big contender to our very own lechon belly. The only downside: high blood pressure. You really have to exercise if you continue ingesting this type of food.

And then there's this mad sinigang for only Php50. I come from the island but I haven't had shrimps this big and yummy and sinigang-y for only Php50. It was crazy good.




We thought that the next trip would be cancelled due to the fugly weather, but no, it was all on.

We began the trek to Kabigan falls.


I've been to a couple of falls here in the Visayas. But this was by far, the longest trek we've had to take.

There aren't any paved walkways, no Kawasan overcharging guides, no faux classic lamp posts lining the path.


Instead there were rice fields, some huts, little kids, and streams of water.


It was a quiet place, so rural.


We walked deeper into the woods. Sounds of civilization faded out to give way to bird calls and the silent murmur of the stream.


After about 20 minutes of climbing rickety stairs and bamboo bridges, we finally found it.

Kabigan falls.


Seeing this beauty of nature, you kind of understand why our ancestors worshiped waterfalls. It was a majestic sight to behold. Too bad the photos can't really compensate for the experience. The trek was so long, seeing the falls was a cool respite.

In the quiet of the forest, the sound of the water was music.

And then, there's us. Ha.


Soon it was time to leave Pagudpud. If this were another day, we would have left it sunburnt, with salty hair and ocean-tired bones. 


It was all good, though, right, Kuya Richard?


Before leaving for **cue drumroll** the amazing Vigan, we had to take one more stop.

Juan Luna's birthplace and museum.


It was closed for repairs. But to be this close to the great painter and hero was enough. 



My little fangirl heart was full.


We made it to Vigan late in the afternoon and found it to be in perfect shape. No sign of storm so far.

It seemed like the #stupidtourists get to live another day in Ilocandia. 

:)


Stay tuned for the last few parts of our epic Ilocos trip. It's all coming to a close now, and we can't end it with a bigger bang than a magical walk down Calle Crisologo.

Stay tuned for Part 5!


Love always,


K x








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