In the closing days of summer, we hit the Pan-Philippine Highway for a journey across Ilocos Region — home to “G.Is“, pinakbet, and baking hot sand dunes.
The idea is to drive all the way up north to the Patapat viaduct in Pagudpud, then ride back down to Vigan, sweeping every points of interest, one after another. The road is a long stretch of rocky beaches on one side, and tobacco fields the other.
We met this band of young ladies at the Bantay-Abot Cave who could make good tourism executives. Soiled and barefooted, they cared enough to remind visitors: “ingat sa pagbaba” or “ingat sa pagakyat!” Even offered to shoot for us. And how they handle the camera is amazing.
We left the place with their friendly bid, “ingat sa pagmamaneho!”
On the other side of the hill is the Maira-ira Beach, cove to the Blue Lagoon. The zip line — to which the other end fades into yonder — is my only shot of the place. The Lagoon is so inviting I had to settle the camera down and surrender to the sea.
The Bangui windmills. Every town seems to have something to brag about. God made the country and man made the town.
I have never seen a formation of behemoths in this magnitude.
Or a beach, lonely as space.
Why do you come here
why do you hang around
Nightfall in Cape Bojeador
Time flies fast as the Ilocos wind. Halfway through this expedition I realized we’re nearing the beginning of a journey’s end. The conceptualization and the planning stage are actually the most breathtaking part of every adventure, I never wanted it to end. Once you set foot on the road, time erodes like earth on torrents.
We found this comfy joint somewhere in the nooks of Laoag City and — undoubtedly — heaven is a hoisted tired feet and an ice cold beer. In the morning, we were back on the road for Vigan — Ilocos’ Old World City.
What really knocked me out in this journey is how motorists in Vigan would come to a halt, courteously keeping themselves off from the photographer’s shooting path.
Before heading back to Manila, we were treated to a ringside view of the mesmerizing Dancing Fountain at the Plaza Salcedo, courtesy of the Governor himself. The night became more richly colored than the day.
We may have failed to see everything there is here in Ilocos. We have seen not even half of it. But I think it’s a good point to let some of those mysteries remain as they are. And leave having a good reason for a return.
We fade into the darkness with a last-song-syndrome from the fountain show ringing in my head — Andrea Bocelli’s Con Te Partiro.
(Let me extend my acknowledgments to Joe America for having Malate in the Library of The Society of Honor. Pleasure con pressure. Thank you sir, now say something pls)