It was in 2006 when I went to Batac, Ilocos Norte for a School Press Conference but didn’t have the opportunity to explore the place. Now that I’m earning for a living and wants to experience solo traveling, visiting the said places was a good idea.
Since I filed and granted a 12-day vacation leave from Dec 22 to Jan 2 and I’m in the province, I chose to travel after Christmas. I found myself in Bantay, Ilocos Sur early morning of December 27 busy taking pictures with the bell tower on top of a hill.
After I settled my things in an inn, I started walking around the vicinity of Vigan trusting my navigation skills checking landmarks and museums with memorabilia of famous people on my history class. History and culture are the main thing the city can offer: the heritage/old houses, the churches and arts of pottery. But I found myself enjoying the fresh air and the different varieties of plants in Hidden Garden and having a close encounter with the animals in Baluarte.
From Vigan, I hurdled a 2-hour minibus trip to Batac where I revisited the President Marcos’ era and witnessing his maintained cadaver. Your stop to Batac is incomplete without trying their famous Batac Empanada. Neighboring town is Paoay where the UNESCO World Heritage Paoay Church can be found. My wanderings led me to the Malacañan Ti Amianan, an official residence of then Pres. Marcos situated near the coastline of Paoay Lake to the dusty Paoay Sand Dunes.
Early morning of my third day started by taking pictures around Laoag City, entered the St. William Cathedral without knowing that a mass will be happening and I was dressed improperly. I left the church immediately. I’m planning to check Sarrat, the birthplace of Marcos when I overheard a couple asking a tricycle driver on how to get to Pagudpud. I approached them and ask if it is okay to join and share the tour with them. They agreed and I found myself on a bus going to Pagudpud, changing and adjusting my Ilocos itinerary.
I found new friend in them at the same time toured the spots in Pagudpud at a cheaper price. Greatest experience in Pagudpud? Check out the first photo on this post. The place has full of surprises and “WOW!” will be the most used word in your stay here. The 1-hour trek and slipping off along the way to Kabigan Falls were priceless compared to the beauty the spot offered, checking out the infinity pool in Agua Grande and the crystal clear water in Paraiso ni Anton. I also heard the folklore of the Timmangtang Rock Formation, Bantay Abot Cave and Dos Hermanos Islands. There is no bluer than the waters of Blue Lagoon and no hotel can ever beat my overnight beach front tent stay in Saud Beach.
Lord blessed me during the last day of my solo trip when a heavy rain poured during my walk from Bangui Windmills and continued until my departure from the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. Last attraction I checked was the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos followed by trying out the Crispy Dinuguan at Johnny Moon’s Café in Laoag which officially ended my first solo travel to Ilocandia.
I just want to oppose what most people say about traveling alone. Traveling solo is not boring because based on my experience, it’s the best way to know and set your goals in life, look at the other perspective of it, a time for self-reflection and to meet and talk to locals. Best way to end the year!