Sunday, May 20, 2012

day 6 - in transit

highlight the low lights!

When traveling plans are always meant to change...

Vigan-Baguio-Sagada was the original plan. But when you don't know how to go about the original plan then better consult the blogs then change your plan and plan another plan, which is Vigan-Baguio-Banaue. The last minute decision made over an outdated and questionable blog entry at some internet cafe in Vigan. Laughing our uncertainties away but crossing our fingers for the what would hopefully be the right decision. Yey! adventure!

Shower wherever, whenever as long as it's free....

A true backpacker sometimes sacrifices hygiene over budget. However, there are ways to be hygienic and still save the budget. How? Ask my dear two friends Motha and Bally who couldn't resist taking a bath in a very public restroom at the Partas bus station. The faucet, pale and tumbler was all they needed to make it work. No joke! good thing there weren't many passengers... using the restroom. As for me, I got pretty shy and just had a half bath. Don't judge us. It's not easy to be sweaty, sticky and smelly. It would just ruin our picture perfect moments! Besides, we're just girls after all.... hahaha   

Ignorance is the best medicine for drunk lunatics...

Here's a tip on arriving at dawn when the town is still asleep. Always go to that store that is bright and with security guard, it's safer! Though not always. But when some disillusioned drunk lunatic claiming to be Gerald Anderson messes with you, ignore and pretend that you don't hear him, not even when you are shaking within. He's bound to back off knowing he can't get a reaction from you, but if he won't, you can always call on that guard to be your knight in shinning armor who in turn would call on the policeman to be his night in shinning armor, and together they will be on the lookout for you like a knight in shinning armor. 

Trust me, Baguio's self-proclaimed Gerald Anderson scared the wits out of us. The one and only person who gave us shivers on an already freezing dawn.
10 hour bus travel is always longer on day time.... 

Trust when I say that long distance land travel would always be best done at night. Not only are you just gonna sleep the hours away, but it would also save you accommodation. Unfortunately for us, since we didn't know the bus schedule we just took the chance and went with our guts and proceeded to the bus station bound for Banaue in hopes that they travel during the day. Lucky us there was one for the day. In fact, only one for the day. So if you plan to go to Banaue, catch the buses that's scheduled at night. There's a couple of them and it starts at 8pm.

Seriously Department of Tourism, hear me out and publish online bus schedules and fares for the key tourist spots in the country. If you do... then you're most welcome, coz I'm pretty sure you'll thank me for it. But I'd be shocked coz then it would mean you've read my blog.. or stalked it? hahahaha... oh, wishful thoughts be real! ;)

 Vigan to Baguio (Partas bus fare) : P324 each
10:45pm - 3:00 am
Taxi to KMS Bus Liner (Banaue bound bus station) : P 47
Andoks breakfast (where crazy Gerald approached us) : P 57
Baguio to Banaue (KMS bus fare) : P 415
8:00am - 6pm
Dinner at People's Lodge Inn : P 100

Rough Investment: P 943

Monday, May 14, 2012

day 5: vigan

Walk into the cobbled alleys of the past.

Now you know where the Vigan name came from.

The bus from Laoag to Vigan takes approximately about 2 hours more or less therefore we arrived late in the night. My body was too tired from all the adrenaline action at Paoay that I had to be a killjoy and slept the night away right away. I have to tell you that it was also the night we got acquainted with a real bed after nights of sleeping in bags. Sorry but I couldn't resist the little comforts budget packing could afford. But I still miss the sleeping bags though, haaanesly! 

The call time with our guide was 11am, so we woke up late, took our time with the real shower, hovered over the television then walked a bit at calle Crisologo.

True. It's really picture perfect.

 Even the most ordinary thing could be picturesque.

 Even when ice cream is all you have for the props.

There's actually more to Vigan than just the famed Calle Crisologo. There is Chavit Singson's very own backyard zoo @ Baluarte.
  A lot of imported animals running around. Camels, ponies, ostrich, sheeps, tigers etc. etc. Animals that only money could buy.
The main attraction has got to be the tiger though, Singson's very own personal pet. So snob and elegant it's scary. Though not as scary as that snake wrapped around motha's scared frozen smile. I have to give it to Singson for not collecting fees though, after all what does he need money for? It's very ideal for families and kids. Like my niece would surely go crazy here, especially when since she's so into those ponies... at the mall.

I lied. We really were in Australia...looks like. Wish it were true. ;)
At the Crisologo museum another museum where we just can't help but leave our breeding at the door step .

Crazy girls should be banned from museums! 
But from time to time we also know how to act uhmmmm normal...semi-normal.

But the crazy just really gets the better of us. 
I love us. I love museums. I love us in the museums. 

Seriously speaking, Crisologo museum is a house very well preserved. Family mementos and antiques are spread everywhere. What's inside speaks a lot about the family who resided in here, after all they were prominent political figures. But more than anything else it's really their library that impressed me, it speaks volumes of the patriarch. And I like what it speaks.

Next stop... getting our hands dirty @ Tagburnayan Pottery

Did you know that in order for the mud clay to be very fine, smooth and sticky, that carabao chilling in there had to step on it for a thousand times just to get that kind of consistent quality. Holy carabao! You deserve your chill. 

Pottery making... well it's not as easy at it seems. But if I were Demi Moore in Ghost with a Patrick Swayze body wrapped around me, I'd probably get the hang of getting my hands dirty. wink! ;)

And that's how they do it.

 Off to last stop of the day @ St. Augustine Church

and the Bantay Belfry

Like any other tower you'll have to climb a flight of twirling stairs before you reach the top. It's also from the top that you can see most of Vigan but more that it's where you can get great poses and shots.

Again and again excuse us and our affair with the camera. It's not vanity but the camera just can't help itself. It loves us and for that we love it back. Make love to camera dahlings! fakers! hahaha

Vigan at night has a different aura. Different ambiance. There's that romantic side to it that brings you back to the past. 

It may not be the city of lights but the lighting certainly does have its charm.

Just makes you wanna cozy it up with your chums.

By the end of the trip I can just say that yes, my butt had squatted in the middle of the UNESCO heritage, and for that it's happy ;)


empanada = P35
ice cream = P10
  Green R hotel (P950/4) = P240
kalesa tour ni kuya norbert (P700/4) = P175
  lunch Hidden Garden (P530/4) = P132.50
Tagburnayan pottery making (tip = P100/4) = P25
Mcdonalds for snacks : P55
Dinner at CAfe UNo = P90
Vigan to Baguio (Partas fare) = P324


Saturday, May 12, 2012

day 4: laoag & paoay.... sa hapon

Back to that afternoon of day 4. The afternoon that was probably the longest.. ever.

Left Bangui before lunch then hopped on an hour or so bus ride to Loag. So what can you do in Laoag? Not much, but you can kick off the tour of this side of Ilocos Norte with where else but the Malacanang of the North. 

I don't know if they really use it for official business or for tourism purposes only. But as history will tell you this house was originally the official residence of the Marcos family. Official in a way that the kids really had their own rooms, Imelda had her own... not closet.. but room for her clothes and of course shoes. They practically lived, slept and partied there. I have to say though that I am really in awe of the house. It's a very Spanish themed house wherein everything is just airy breezy, with huge salas and caidas. I like it. Somehow it reminded me of the ancestral home we grew up in, except for the grand part. My mom would love it for sure. I was even thinking that if I get really rich, I'd build my house around that airy breezy concept, the natural source of light, ventilation and greenery galore is just very eco. 

It was very smart of Marcos to build his house that way. Well if you're president/ dictator for 20 years you have got to be smart on a lot of ways. Anyway the house, I think, was really meant for entertaining guests and VIPs, and it still continues to entertain up to the present. Except now we can't use the chairs. So what do the VIP guests like us do?...
Get comfy on our very own floor meeting. Act Imelda-ish. Flirt with our Ferdinand mannequin of choice. Go run crazy on the grounds like we were the Marcos brats.   

 Even the presidential guards are not exempted from our bratty goofs. But seriously, we just really don't have the museum etiquette. We were absent on the day it was taught it school. Excuse us.


30 later minutes we were already at ... 

UNESCO hertiage baby! gotta be proud of that. Unfortunately it was under renovation so that explains the scaffolding galore. But the renovation was temporarily stopped by none other than Mdm. Imelda Marcos. Why? because the workmanship didn't pass her aesthetic judgement. You have to give it to her though coz when it comes to handling centuries old structure you have just got to be delicate with the details. After all, Imelda still got that beauty thing down to the T.

Also in Paoay is the ancestral home of Ferdinand Marcos turned museum. After all that's been said and done, you still can't help but be amazed by his brilliance. Despite how history books wrote him, he still did a lot of great things for the country, and very visibly in the north. It's just unfortunate how things turned out for him.

 Quite eloquent too.

Beside the ancestral home lies the late dictator's waxed remains. Got to see it finally! Oddly enough, I didn't find it weird, except for the fact that he didn't have any shoes on. I don't know but somehow it's just ironic that this was the same man whose wife was a Guinness holder for her shoe collection. 

 Speaking of Imelda, romantically, she also built a house beside the museum to be near her husband. Call it undying loyal devotion for the waxed love. Imelda wasn't there, but we got to see and touch her ride. That should account for something (losers! haha).

Oh the poses you could with the church. So tell me, who posed it best? 

waited for the sun's blazing heat to cool down before we kicked off for our PANDAY moves at.....

the SAND DUNES baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4x4 ride was SWELL!!!!!!! 
Probably the only time I was hanging on to my dear life with a big fat smile on my face! Gaaad I love that ride! was zeeee beeeest! ;)

In the hectares of endless sand and sand, sand boarding is a must. I got to admit this was my most looked forward to must do on the 10 day list. Giddy is me feeling...  

The first time was such a rush. The second time was a breeze. The third was a smug moment till.... 

The climb of shame was such an uphill battle. My lungs almost didn't make it. It's another story to be shameful and unhealthy by the way.

But all is well. Still got that happy memory stuck in my head.

Gotta pose with the big baby.
If only I could drive you baby, I'd take you on the adventure of my life.


10:00am - 11:00am Bus to LAoag = P50
Laoag trike tour with Kuya Jeremy (P600/trike x2) : P325 (with tip)
  malacanang of the north (marcos) : P30
lunch at Batac Turo2x
empanada: P35
lunch (P395/4) : P98
halo2x (P75/2) : P37.50
Sand duning and sand boarding (P2000/4): P500
  Marcos Museum: P50
6:45 pm - Bus to Vigan via cubao: P133