Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pagudpud Northbound Tour (+ a bit of Laoag)

Kabigan Falls
It was a looooong trike ride away from our last southbound destination (Burgos lighthouse). We all fell asleep along the way, even when the trike ride was a little bumpy. :)) Finally, we reached the jump off to Kabigan Falls, where we paid Php130 (already for the whole group so around Php45 each) for the entrance and guide fees.

Our guide informed us that the trek would take a little over 30 minutes. We were, however. distrustful about our abilities and the locals' tendencies to underestimate trek times (in my POV, a 30 minute walk for a local is over an hour walk for me. Haha) so we pegged it at a little over an hour. I'm not sure, but I think we made it in 45 minutes.

It was a very easy trek and no uphill part. The way to the falls was pleasant and cool, as the towering trees (well-labeled, so you'll know what they are. Nice!) provided shade. The running brook in one side was a pleasant addition to the view, and the overall greenness of the scenery was very relaxing. I had to run a few times, though, as I was obsessed with taking pictures and Cere and Dar and our guide walked very fast. :))

There was a prenup shoot going on when we arrived at the falls. Cere was very surprised (and scared?) to spot a lady in a dress when we were quite a distance a way. It must have been a relief for her to find out that it was a person and not a nymph (diwata?). Haha. Our guide remarked that it was good then, that Cere did not see the bride, who was wearing a flowing white dress, or else she might have heart attack thinking that it was a white lady. :))

Despite the company, the place was very tranquil and serene. We planned to bathe in the falls, but changed our minds because the water was ice cold. Brrr. We just contented ourselves with dipping our feet and washing our faces.
After some time, we decided to head back to finish the rest of the tour. It took us a lot less time going back. We rode the trike again and headed to our next destination.

Patapat Viaduct
Patapat viaduct is a winding road with a rugged coastline as its background. It was constructed as a solution to the landslide problems that plague the old road (which was constructed at a higher elevation).

A nice background for jumpshots. Haha

I like the place -- it's spacious and wide and I can just imagine riding a bike through it while screaming Weeeeeeeee!~  Or I can just stand there for a loooong time, my elbows resting on the bridge, and my eyes following the waves as they break over the rocks. The sea air and the relaxing sound of the waves, plus the imposing mountain at the back all make up for the perfect Zen place.

But of course we could not stay, so after a few minutes or so, we head out to Agua Grande.

Agua Grande
This is where the fresh water meets with sea water. I believe the term is brackish water. We didn't go in, and just took pictures from the side.

Timmangtang Rock and Bantay-Abot Cave
A little farther from Agua Grande sits Timmangtang Rock. It doesn't look remarkable in itself, but with Bantay-Abot Cave in the background, it looks like a rock that has broken free from the larger rock and left behind a hole. There is legend involving these two that I cannot totally recall, although I'm pretty sure it was a tragic love story. Or wasn't it? XD
Timmangtang Rock

Bantay-abot Cave
 Bantay-abot cave, which sits a short distance away from Timmangtang, is not really a cave but rather a rock formation with a hole. I imagine the hole to be a portal to some fantastic dimension. :)) It was a little tricky to reach the hole, since the water had already risen and the waves were a little strong by then.

Blue Lagoon
With daylight fast receding, we headed to our last destination for the day. Finally, beach! I didn't bring any swimwear, but I could not resist the water. We brought towels, anyway.
Blue Lagoon is a white beach, although the sand was not very fine. We stayed in there until sundown.
Blue Lagoon with Bantay-abot in the distance.
It was already dark when we rode the trike back to the resort where we were staying (I saw fireflies along the way.Yay) We thanked Kuya Marlou for the wonderful tour (highly recommended as a tourguide. :D) and for making the one-day north and south tour possible.

I have to include this since it's noteworthy. Too bad I forgot the name of the resort beside John Ronald. They serve yummy dinner there. They were almost closed when we arrived, but they agreed to extend their hours and cooked dinner for us. We had bagnet (the kind that I was expecting: crunchy!), fish bagoong as dipping sauce, and pork sinigang. :9

Saud Beach
After a night of sound sleep brought about by tiredness, we packed our stuff and prepared to leave for Laoag. We originally wanted to visit Vigan, but we figured we didn't have much time (Dar had work and Cere had to go to Cagayan) and it's hourssss away from Pagudpud. Besides, we were still a little fatigued from yesterday's activities. So we decided to frolic a little at the beach, then eat  and roam a little at Laoag and then go home.
My bright tshirt contrasted nicely with the blue-ness of the sea. :D

Saud beach is just a few steps away from John Ronald and is a lot prettier than Blue Lagoon. It had finer sand, too. The azure water was very inviting, and we dived right in.

Around 10 am, we checked out of the hotel and headed to Laoag (but not before I bought a tshirt from Sarabo. :D). The bus fare was at Php70 and the ride through the scenic Ilocos Norte countryside took a little less than two hours.

It was lunch time when we arrived in Laoag. We've long decided to forego the tour and just see the museum and have lunch. I was ok with it since I'm coming back to Laoag on November. The museum was closed for lunch when arrived, however, so we decided to eat first at a nearby cafe (Johnny Moon, if i remember correctly). We were in luck since they serve native dishes such as the famous empanada special (at an affordable Php40). Cere chose our food, since she's the one familiar with them.
(T-B) Tupig con chocolate, baraniw tea and apple-mango fusion, 
seafood pasta, empanada, banna iced coffee and baraniw tea, pancit miki

I forgot how much we paid for everything, but I'm sure it's less than Php200 per person.

We also decided to look around for a bit, and took pictures of the plaza and the capitol. I envy their park; I sure wish Pasay has one. :))

And as for the museum, it had Php50 entrance fee. Its collection illustrates a typical Ilocano life, from the home to the livelihood. I specially liked the model house, although the bed room reminded me a lot of Pinoy horror movies. :)) The musuem also had a souvenir shop. They sell bagnet there for Php400/kilo, way cheaper than Johnny Moon's Php280/ half kilo.

Pagudpud Southbound tour
Important expenses:
Fare to Pagudpud (Florida bus with CR) : Php 750
Accommodation (aircon, overnight, with breakfast) : Php 1500/3 = Php 500
Trike Tour (Southbound) : Php 600/3 = Php 200
Trike Tour (Northbound) : Php 600/3 = Php 200
Entrance fee (Kabigan Falls) Php 10 each + Php 100/3 (guidefee) = Php 44
Entrance fee to Blue Lagoon: Php 0 (supposedly Php20, I think)
Fare to Laoag (ordinary bus) : Php 70
Entrance fee (Museum) : Php 50
Fare to Manila (Florida bus with CR): Php 630 (not sure)
A meal usually costs up to Php 150 (food trip level. Haha)

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