Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Byaheng Norte Chronicles - Pagudpud

  It started with an idea to try travelling solo, but I guess that was too abrupt of a decision. So I dragged a willingly able friend/barkadude for a duo backpacking trip, and the Byaheng Norte "Ilocos Adventure" conspired. Booked tickets for Manila, applied and approved leaves, prepared the budget, and research, research, research. 
With full on excitement, we braved Manila for our side-trip.  We had the whole day to spare before heading on to Laoag, so we walked the streets of Intramuros, Rizal Park and Binondo. With our loaded backpacks we dared to commute Manila, and boy that was a challenge. Note to self: Travel Light! 
When the night came to board the bus to Laoag we were dead tired. Good thing we took the sleeper bus and was seated at the back. Amazing how they constructed the bus with double -decks and how you can recline your back up to 60 degrees. Of course being luckily seated at the back we got the luxury to recline it all the way. Jackpot!

Time check: 10 PM. I pulled my sleeping bag and off I went to Lala Land. It was a snooze feast indeed for me and my travel buddy. 

"semi-alive pa..."
Come morning I awoke with the rice fields of the North, it was such a sight to behold. I knew we're almost there, or so I think. I woke Pia (my travel bud) up, "malapit na tayo", I mumbled. With her half-awake-half-asleep self she took a quick peak at the window. "Batac pa 'to", and I raised the loser signed on my forehead.Haha 
I guess I was too excited to get off the bus and start the adventure. I waited for a few more minutes and we arrived our destination - Laoag. 

 From Laoag terminal we rode a tricycle to the nearest terminal for Pagudpud. I think we were too early since there was no bus yet. We waited for quite some time, as giddy as I was, Pia decided to call up Kuya Arnel (our tour guide in Pagudpud) for an alternative ride from Laoag, he then suggested to go for the van since it would save us some time waiting. Without hesitations we walked a few blocks from the bus to the van terminal. We hopped on to the van and quick enough (like 1 and 1/2+ hours) we arrived in Pagudpud. 

"On the way to Pagudpud" 
  We were greeted by Kuya Arnel. Deep inside I was ecstatic. Reading about him, and now finally meeting him in person was like meeting a celebrity. Fan girl lang ang peg?! 
Beforehand, we told him that we didn't have any reservations yet for Pagudpud. So he gave us options as to where to stay. We went to Saud beach and there were a lot of home stays and resorts to choose from. I then asked him about Cathy's Home stay (which I read from my research). He lead us to the said homestay, which was a few steps away from the first option.  We settled and got a room for 800 Php/day, fair and cheap enough, considering that the beach is just a few walk away. After a quick shower fix and stuffed ourselves with brunch we head on with our tour.  

"Hello from Pagudpud!"
 Kuya Arnel opted to start us with North bound destinations. First stop was Kabigan Falls. We had to get a guide for 100  Php and 10 Php entrance fee. Our guide gave us a heads up that before reaching the falls we need to trek. In my head I knew it was going to be a long walk considering the word TREK, true enough it was indeed a long walk but the sights on the way was amazing. A sea of clouds, blue skies, vast green, and mountains. It was a different scenery from the city, it came to me that I was really on vacation. Yeahbah!  After maybe a 25+ mins we reached the great Kabigan Falls. I am always in awe with falls and this was one of those moments where you can stare at its wonder. 

"pagod ka na teh?" 
 The urge to go for a swim was inevitable, we had to submit. Our guide said that the water is cold and it would relax us after the long walk. True enough, cool nga! We can stay there for a long period but since we need to see other places, so off we left. 

"Oh yeah baby!"

"Uhaw teh?"

"I'm sexy and I know right!" 

 Second stop was Patapat Viaduct. One of the highlights when you go north of Pagudpud. Curiosity hit me and I asked Kuya Arnel why it was called Patapat. He made kwento that before the viaduct was built they only had a one way road, to and fro, the road will accomodate 4 vehicles. "Apat, apat lang na sasakyan", he said. That's where they got the name Patapat. O diba? 

"Patapat Viaduct" 

"Kuya Arnel umeemo?" 

 Third stop was Paraiso ni Anton. There was a grotto and a flowing water located along the highway. I dared to drink from the flowing water, parang nasa ref ang lamig ng tubig. Pawi uhaw! Fortunately I didn't get any diarrhea, so it's either the water is clean/pure or I happened to have a stainless steel sikmura. LOL  

"Paraiso ni Anton" 

We made a quick fourth stop at the Agua Grande. Nothing much to see though but flowing water and tons of rocks. 

On our Fifth and sixth stop we went to Timangtang Rock and Bantay Abot Cave. Because I was curious (for crying out loud, I am always), I asked Kuya Arnel why it was called Timangtang (because I was thinking that the rock was timang? LOL). It's because the old people saw the rock shaped like a bell, bells that sounded like "ting-tang". Basta ganun yung pagka explain nya. Hehe 

"Timangtang Rock" 

"We climbed Timangtang para konting exercise"  

"Bantay Abot Cave" 

For our seventh and final stop was Blue Lagoon and Dos Hermanos Island. Pia and I were all hyped up since base on our research, on a good weather you can surf at Blue Lagoon. When we arrived there, unfortunately the waves were not enough for long neither short rides. Big sighs from the both of us, but to no avail we are beach bums, make use of what is there. Bira! We played with the waves, sun bathed and chilled. 

"Blue Lagoon" 

"Dos Hermanos" 
Time Check: 6 PM. After we had our fill with the sun, sand and sea, we went back to Saud and call it a day. 

"A sight of Bangui windmills from Saud"


And To cap off, we were greeted by Saud Beach's sunset.  Hamazement! 


"Next stop..."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Byaheng Norte Chronicles - Manila

       Ohayou prens! Sana kayong lahat ay super Yakult...everyday OK! Henyways high waist, may utang na naman akong kwento sa inyo. Kaya here we go sago!
    Last Sept 6 eh gumala na naman ang Tabian, this time byaheng Norte, Sibika at Kultura ang peg namin for a change. At dahil may spare kaming mahaba-habang oras sa Manila (insert Maynila theme song here) bago ang aming "The Great Ilocos Adventure", eh nag tour chuvaness muna kami. 


"Baluarte de San Diego" 
"Hole in the wall"

"Coin maker daw sabi ni kuyang tour guide...not sure kung legit..hehe " 
Natesting ang mga tagalog na iniingat-ingatan ko sa baul, kelangan chumika for directions teh. Epistaxis to the nth level. In fairview naabot naman namin ang Intramuros. Nakalibre pa kami sa bus, ang lagay eh hindi kami siningil ni manong konduktor, kaya yun laki ng ngiti pagbaba sa may City Hall. Wehehe 

"spell L-U-M-O-T?" 


"Cretty (Creepy + Pretty)" 

"Plazuela de Sta. Isabel" 

Nagikot-ikot kami ng bongga sa Intramuros. Kumuha ng maraming pictures at bumalik sa pagka estudyante blues. Maraming mga kwento si kuyang tour guide mga history ng building, kalsada at kung anik-anik. Pero ang pinakagusto ko sa lahat eh kung gaano katibay ng mga gusali na hanggang ngayon ay nakatayo parin. Siguro wala masyadong kurakot noong unang panahon noh? 

"Fort Santiago"
Pag may gala, kung minsan may sapi kami ng kung anik-anik din. 

"Seryoso po kami...minsan!"
"Our super high-tech ride at si kuyang tour guide alyas Palos"  
Matapos kaming umikot-ikot ng pagkabongga sa Intramuros eh sumide trip kami kay pareng pepe sa may kanto. 

Rizal Park - Luneta 

" Sun bathing pre?" 

"gusto ko sana mag gangnam style nahihiya lang me ng slight..LOL" 
"kaya swabe nalang akong nag nailcutter..wehehe" 
Nang magutom kami eh pumunta kaming Binondo para sa lafang hunt. 

Binondo, Chinatown 

"Ma Mon Luk/ Masuki" 
Hindi kami na warningan na ang mga pagkain nila dito eh may puot, galit at nagkukumahog sa laki. Talk about siopao at siomai on Steroids! Walang joke men super laki, kaya super bundat din kami. Tapos naming pagurin ang aming mga twinkly toes eh pumunta na kaming SM Manila para magpalipas oras bago umalis for Ilocos. Nameet ko si Khanto at chumika kami ng chumika, bait-bait nya kasi kahit taga Pasig sya eh nagpunta talaga sya ng Manila (insert Maynila theme sone here) para sa simpleng meet 'n greet. Sayang hindi man lang kami nakapag pictorials dalawa at nahiya naman me kasi wala me dalang pasalubong, baka next time Khanto! Or better yet, next year aabangan ko ang gala nyo dito...^___^ 

Unang bahagi itey ng aming adventure and take note side trip lang ito.