Friday, August 2, 2013

Ilocos Norte: On My Own

Laoag bound on a Saturday night.

I was dying to post something on facebook about this solo trip to Ilocos Norte. But I didn't want to jinx myself. So I didn't mention anything about it until I've bought my ticket and on board.

I took the 8pm trip to Laoag via Partas bus (Bus fare is @ 797Php). I was happy the bus was new, unlike the one I rode on the last time I went there in 2012.

Assuming that it would be a 12 hour trip with no one to talk with, I equipped myself with weapons against boredom and self-destruction. I've been reading and re-reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald for the past year. I kinda hated myself when I found out that a movie about it is now showing and I still haven't gotten around finishing it.                                                   
Weapons against boredom and self-destruction.

So I brought it with me, together with my 'gastos' notebook, Gizmon Half-D camera, new pair of eyeglasses, new cheap sunnies, and bangles I haven't worn for ages!

To my surprise Manila-Laoag trip was faster than usual! We left Manila at 8:15PM and was in Laoag at 5:00AM, Sunday! 9 hour bus ride, not bad at all!

There's a catch: as soon as people started leaving the terminal, heavy rain poured down! I started questioning my decision. Why did I go by myself? I had no umbrella and no place to stay yet.
5 AM and the rain's heavily pouring.
I waited at the terminal for 2 hours before I made a move. Heavy rain is now just drizzle. I started walking to the city center to feel a little better. Still the same, clean and peaceful on a Sunday morning. I thought to myself: 'Why burden yourself with gloom? Enjoy the city!'
Helpful Laoag map from La Preciosa.
Windows at the Museo Ilocos Norte.
I go back to the La Tabacalera for this beauty.
At Ilocos Norte Capitol.

After walking around the city for an hour and a half, I suddenly felt hungry. I treated myself to breakfast, something not so healthy but so delish for me: 
Dawang's crispy dinuguan!
Dawang's is along San Nicholas national highway, I think. Tricycle fare from Laoag is 50Php.

Didn't feel so hot after having crispy d for breakfast, so I decided to walk the long San Nicholas highway to Airport Road, where the transient home is. I kid you not when I tell you it's a verrrry loooong walk plus the heat almost knocked me out.

I thought that Casa de Fulgencia (contact Mimi at 0909 369 1201 for more info. Room rate's from 450-500 a night.) was not that far away, I was wrong. After almost giving up, I finally hailed a tricycle to the casa. Take note that short distance tricycle rides around Laoag is only 11Php. If it's super short distance they charge only 10Php.

Rest is for the weak, I know! But I just had to rest awhile after all the walking I did in the morning. Got back on my feet at 2PM to have a Dap-ayan ti Ilocos Norte empanada. (Tricycle fare from the casa to dap-ayan is 11Php)
dap-ayan ti ilocos norte from my 2012 trip.

Unlike my last trip to Laoag, getting food or anything at all is so much easier now. There's Puregold, SM Hypermarket and Savemore!

I also went back to check out if anything's changed at Museo Ilocos Norte. Nothing's changed inside, but entrance fee became less cheap. Entrance fee for regular people is now 50Php. Teachers get a discounted fee. I am a teacher but didn't have my school id with me so I was charged the regular fee instead of 20Php.
Museo Ilocos Norte
Mga banga at bilao.
Gulong ng kalesa.
Ang kisame.

I hung out at the park infront of the capitol the whole afternoon. If we only have nice parks here in Manila where there is shade and space, I'd be most glad.
Panoramic view of the Aurora Park
Quality time with F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Tobacco Monopoly Monument
After relaxing at the park, I walked a few blocks to have dinner at Saramsam. This is my first time to dine here so I ordered what my sister has been raving about, Saramsam pasta! I would have tried more dishes, but since I'm alone, I enjoyed my plate of delicious and fresh pasta instead.
Alley to Saramsam and the beautiful sun.
Delicious and fresh Saramsam pasta.
Day One's over. I made sure that I'm home by 7PM. The city's safe but I still didn't want to be outside on my own.

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