Monday, September 2, 2013

The Treasures of Ilocos Norte (Part 1)

Pagudpud, Bangui & Burgos, ILOCOS NORTE
Date: AUG 30, 2013

After having a good time at the lovely beach in Blue Lagoon, we hired a tricycle driver that will be taking us today on a tour. We will be visiting some other tourist spots around Pagudpud and the neighboring towns of Bangui and Burgos. Riding a tricycle, we will try to discover the treasures Ilocos Norte has to offer.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

The view outside Bantay Abot Cave
We scheduled a tour around Pagudpud today, and the one who will be taking us around was the same tricycle driver who brought us to our hotel. We asked for his phone number yesterday and contacted him early today to start the tour.

He came in moments later, and we immediately left. The first destination where he took us was at Bantay Abot Cave. This cave is located along the highway, and we had to go down from the highway and get through the rocky coast before we could reach the cave. It looked like a short tunnel, and we were able to see Blue Lagoon and Dos Hermanos Islands when we arrived at the cave’s end.

Trying to do rock climbing - too fake :)
Crossing the Patapat Viaduct (Luckily, there were no vehicles that time)
Next on the list was the famous Patapat Viaduct, which was built by President Marcos during his reign. Our driver showed us the former road that vehicles bound for Cagayan took in the past, and it’s now covered in moss. According to him, the former President wanted a safer alternate route, and that’s why Patapat Viaduct was built. Only a handful of vehicles passed by that time, and we managed to get tons of photos.

Not far from Patapat Viaduct was a natural park called Paraiso ni, Anton. No one knows who Anton was, but this park offers a refreshing stop for tourists. There was a spring near the road, and the water coming out of it was clean and drinkable. The breeze coming out from the forest was cold, and there were lots of trees around. Stalls that sell souvenirs can also be found on the other side of the road, so I hurriedly went there and bought ref magnets and other stuff. After purchasing some souvenirs, our driver approached us, and he told us that we would also be visiting another landmark not far from here – the ruins of an old mansion owned by President Marcos. When we got there, I saw that the mansion was damaged, but the view of the sea from the veranda was superb.

The breath-taking view from the balcony
Agua Grande Park
After visiting the ruins, we stopped at this place called Agua Granda. This was another park situated along the highway where people could go swimming or stay there while having picnics. We just took some photos and left for Kabigan Falls. The road going to the falls can be found on the left side of the highway if you’ll be coming from Agua Seda. When we reached the jump-off point, they handed us the registration book, and we wrote our names and hired a tour guide.

We walked through the fields and then went straight to the lower part of the mountains. We trekked for a couple of minutes and went inside the woods. We also crossed a small number of streams before we reached Kabigan Falls. The water was very cold, and it was crystal clear. Because the pool was deep, I just opted to sit on the corner and dipped my feet on its cold waters. There were few tourists that time, and it was a good thing because it felt more relaxing. I just loved how the refreshing water from the pool cooled me down while I bathe under the heat from the sun.

Kabigan Falls -the first waterfall I've seen in real life!
There were lots of places for us to visit, so we didn’t stay for too long and left Kabigan Falls. Our next destination will be the windmills of Bangui, and as we were traversing the highway, we passed by Pagudpud Welcome Arch, so we had a quick stop to take some pictures.

Welcome to Pagudpud!
Windmills line up the beach in Bangui
It was almost one in the afternoon when we reached the town of Bangui. We looked for a place to eat, and we managed to find this carinderia near the town proper. We ordered Ilocano dishes for lunch and then continued on our journey after we filled ourselves up. I managed to take a glimpse of the windmills while we were still on the highway. We turned right when we reached a junction with the signs “Windmills,” and after passing through a dirt road, we managed to reach the beach where the windmills are.

I was awestruck when I saw the windmills face to face. I could not believe my eyes! The windmills were really in front of me. There were at least twenty of them, and it seemed like the turbines would fall off if I look at it from the ground. The wind here at this beach was powerful, and I thought that it might be the reason why they built the windmills here.

Souvenirs anyone?
The beach was huge, and what I did next was to walk near the vehicle parking area. There were lots of stalls that sell souvenir, and I bought two shirts, keychains and windmill miniatures. We went back to the tricycle later on and went to the last town that we will be visiting today - the town of Burgos. We had to transfer to another tricycle when we reached the town of Burgos, and our tricycle driver told us that it was necessary because Burgos prohibits tricycle drivers from other towns to take tourists to Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. He told us that he'd wait for us at the tourist center.

The view from Cape Bojeador
Climbing stairs to reach the lighthouse
From the tourist center, the second tricycle took us to the lighthouse. We had to drive through a steep road full of zigzags before we reached the top, and when we arrived at the top, we saw the lighthouse glimmering as it reflects the sun’s light. I have also seen the sparkling blue sea in the distance.

My officemates and I went inside the lighthouse complex, and I’ve seen that that lighthouse was made from old red bricks. Not far from the lighthouse were the ruins that were entirely covered with plants.

After touring the lighthouse complex, we went back to the tricycle so that we could reach the last destination on our list before the sun sets. We headed to the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation which was not far from the lighthouse. We had to drive onto another dirt road that was being constructed into a highway. That was indeed a very rocky ride, and minutes later, we reached the jump off going to the rocks.

There was an option to go horseback riding, but we chose to walk because the rock formation was not that far. We passed by large white stones that have different shapes, and I’ve also seen Kam-Ang monument that depicted him battling a giant crocodile. We didn’t spend that much time in Kapurpurawan and left before night time falls. We asked the tricycle driver to take us back to the tourist center.

White rocks in Kapurpurawan
Reunited with our original tricycle driver, we hurried back to our hotel before the dark finally set in. He drove fast, and we managed to get back at 6 PM. We asked the hotel crew to cook our dinner and the menu that night was grilled fish. I went to bed early after we ate, while my officemates went back to Blue Bar to have fun. I was very exhausted that night, and too bad I didn’t have the chance to go with them. This will be our last day here in Pagudpud. Tomorrow, we’ll be heading back to Laoag.

This post is part of my Ilocandia Trip that took place between August 28 - September 01, 2013. Read the first entry here. Proceed to the next destination here.

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