Posted by: nastypen | October 21, 2008

Escape to the North (Part 1)

All I remember was I screamed, then 12 hours later I was in Ilocos Norte. I was still in my first job when I had this meltdown. I stood up in my cubicle, yelled that I shall be gone for three days and I stashed a few clothes then off I went. That was years ago.

I didn’t bring a camera. It was that bad.  I just wanted to get away from Manila…

I do want to return with a proper camera and with a better disposition.

So, recently, Addie was having such episodes with his work and said that he will be flying to Manila to escape. But you don’t fly to Manila to escape. If anything, Manila is mostly a cesspit of stressors. I suggested, why not go to Ilocos. Addie agreed. And that was that.

We flew. It would save us about 16 to 20 hours one normally gets from the bus ride to and from Ilocos region.  It was going to be Addie’s first time to visit Ilocandia and he was quite excited.

First destination was the capital of Ilocos Norte, Laoag. It was searing hot. It’s not the heat in Bohol or Cebu where it is sticky. This is being under a magnifying lens type of hot.

We went around Laoag….on foot! But Addie said it is not allowed to be scowling, complaining, whining, bitching during the trip, so I grit my teeth and increased my chances for heat stroke.

Despite the searing heat, I like it considering you can walk around still. After all, there is still that traveler streak in me as opposed to just being a tourist.

But still, we went to the requisite tourist attractions of the sinking bell tower and the Church of St. William. I like the facade with the ornamentation of tobacco leaves, one of Ilocos Norte’s produce.

Check out Addie with his jacket as a sun shield; I just tweaked the camera settings so that it does not look that harsh. Believe me, it was. I wish I had brought the apple green umbrella Blas gave me to shock the Ilocanos along with my ultra yellow sneakers and maroon pillow pants.

This is my most favorite fountain in the entire country!

The innocent tackiness! It’s something the country’s premiere parlorista Ricky Reyes would have on his lawn! I could just imagine my architect friend Carlo cringe from the kitsch, I love it!

I especially love the Museum. It is inside this refurbished tabacalera (tobacco factory) with old red bricks.

The collection was ok, nothing earth-shatteringly brilliant. It was a fit for the tourist on the go. I would have wanted to stay but the heat is really killing me. I had to get out. I couldn’t imagine how the people that worked here back in the 1800s.

Laoag was ok. I understand its importance to the region. It has an international airport, Wifi, an almost-finished convention center, the Presidential Palace of the North, and hell, even a 24-hour Jollibee. But, I’m sorry, it just cannot compete with the old towns nearby if you are a culture vulture like yours truly.

We went to the sand dunes where they shot Born on the Fourth of July. Dropped by Fort Ilocandia, pitied the animals at their zoo over there.

Check out Addie’s photos of Laoag.

….and here’s my photo album of Day 1 at Laoag…and here are my photos of the other sites we went to.

My apologies if this entry is a bit lackluster.  I badly need sleep.  Furthermore, I am more excited to share my brushes with history rather than blab about tourist spots.

Tomorrow, things get interesting as we ventured into Marcos country……


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