Warning: very long post 😛
10 Bloggers, 4 Destinations, 10 SLRs and a whole lot of fun!
Featuring the 10 bloggers from Malaysia who travelled Northern Luzon, Philippines.Â Backpacking, with style!
*click on the thumbnails to get directed to their blogs 😀
profile pics just taken from your facebooks 😛
*all of my photos from Manila to Laoag were deleted because my memory card crashedâ€¦ It was painful 🙁 This was the first time it happened to meâ€¦ so sadâ€¦ So all of the photos that I have are from Pagudpod only 🙁 although, my Blackberry captured some photos along the way because I was live blogging 😛 so, some pictures are taken by my BB Curve 🙂
Sorry guys, I donâ€™t have any photos to show youâ€¦ but theirs.Â So follow them and check out their awesome photography and what they have to say about the Philippines.
When in Manila, they booked at Go Hotels.Â Go Hotels is a great choice to stay when in Manila.Â It is a few steps away from Robinsons Pioneer mall, a walking distance to bus stop and MRT.Â So for tourists, this is a great pitstop with the rooms so neat, so clean, but very affordable.Â Remember when typhoon Basyang came along and there was a blackout in the metro?Â We couldnâ€™t sleep because it was hot in our own homes so we looked for a place to stay for the nightâ€¦ Go Hotels was packed at that time lol.Â So donâ€™t forget to book with Go Hotels when in Manila okay? 😀
photo credit: Angeline
What we did in Manila:
1. Rode the MRT and LRT â€“ it wasnâ€™t a good experience for them as we rode the trains rush hourâ€¦ T_T One MRT/LRT varies from Php 11
2. Rode the pedicab â€“ manual bicycle with three wheels 😛 we took this from Central LRT Station to Fort Santiago in Intramuros
3. Fort Santiago, Intramuros â€“ like I said, I lost all my photos :(Â I havenâ€™t been here since our field trip in high school.Â I told them about our National Hero Jose Rizal and how he thought the â€œPen is mightier than the sword.â€Â But now that weâ€™re in the digital era, and they are all bloggers, I think itâ€™s safe to say, â€œThe blog is mightier than the swordâ€.Â Kapish? 😛
If youâ€™re visiting Manila, this is definitely one of the places you should go to.
Fort Santiago tickets:
P 50 â€“ Children, Teachers and Students, Senior Citizens and PWD
P 75 â€“ Adults and tourists
1.Â Breakfast at Hotel Salcedo de Vigan.Â I had them try the Vigan Longanisaâ€¦ yum! I miss eating the longanisa now.
2. Rode the Kalesa.Â It was a nice experience butÂ I feel sad for the horsies though :(Â It was extremely hot and I could barely walk under the heat of the sun, let alone have a horse carry us, and run around the cityâ€¦ for an hour 🙁
3. Bantay Church â€“ This church was breathtaking!Â I really hate that my memory card got busted because it was my first time here and I took nice photos.Â Well, lucky enough I had my blackberry with meâ€¦ I was live blogging and uploading all photos directly using Smartâ€™s GPRS.Â Anyway, this is the Bell Tower of the Bantay Chruch.Â This church was built during the Spanish period (1530s) and itâ€™s really really old.Â Itâ€™s three centuries oldâ€¦ and itâ€™s still standing strong atop a hill.Â We went up to see a very nice view of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Abra Mountain, The South China sea and the city of Vigan.
4.Â St. Paulâ€™s Cathedral and Plaza Burgos â€“ We dropped by these two places just to get some photos :)Â I also told them about the story of Padre Jose Burgos on whom they named the Plaza after.Â Padre Jose Burgos is one of the three martyr priests who became a very important part of the Philippine History.Â Three priests were executed by cutting their heads of during the Spanish Regime in 1872.Â The three priests are popularly known as Gom-Bur-Za (Padre Gomez, Burgos and Zamora).Â While riding the kalesa, we also passed by the Padre Burgos Museum.
5.Â Calle Crisologo â€“ I always feel like Iâ€™m in a time capsule dated a few hundred years back when Iâ€™m in this place.Â Vigan City is actually one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.Â Vigan City is known to be the â€œthe best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia.â€Â The Calle Crisologo strip of preserved and maintained houses, cobblestoned street, and antiquities contributed a lot to this title.
6. Dirty Ice Cream â€“ This was the first time they tried dirty ice cream :PÂ I explained that itâ€™s clean but thatâ€™s just what we call it :PÂ Satkuru
*photo taken by BlackBerry Curve 8520
From Vigan to Laoag, we hired 2 SUVs worth 2,500 each (I thinkâ€¦ I forgotâ€¦ but price is around that much).Â We asked for them to make a pitstop to Paoay Church 🙂
1.Â Paoay Church â€“ This church is once again a part of UNESCO World Heritage site for Philippineâ€™s Baroque Churgues.Â Lucky you guys, you stepped on 2 out of 5 World Heritage sites 😛
I explained how the Paoay Church was built.Â They didnâ€™t believe me at first lol.Â Most of the old churches here in the Philippines are built using egg yokes.Â People used to offer eggs for the church to be built.Â The egg yokes were put in between the rocks and corrals that make up the church.Â The church is also known for its huge buttress on the side as support.
I feel so pandai (smart) now knowing our Philippine history woot!
2. Balay da Blas Pension House â€“ This is where we stayed in Laoag.Â Affordable rooms (with breakfast) yet large space.Â It was very relaxing here and it was the first time all of us had a good rest :)Â We also met the owner of the place and is really very helpful in guiding us on our needs like transportation and food.Â To check out their official website and for bookings, click here. :DÂ Their tag line is â€œChampaigne and Luxury on a Beer Budgetâ€
3. Dinner at Saramsam â€“ This was one enjoyable dinner as they discovered the scrumptious delight the â€œpoque poqueâ€ (poki-poki) givesâ€¦ and yes, itâ€™s not a bad word 😛 Itâ€™s a yummyliscious local food in Ilocos made of Eggpant with tomatoes, onions and egg.Â We also ordered Native Tinolang Manok and Pork Adobo.
Morning arrives, we headed to Sand Dunes
4. La Paz Sand Dunes â€“ 52 square miles of pure sandâ€¦ Did you know that Tom Cruise shot a movie here?Â They shot â€œBorn on the Fourth of Julyâ€ in this beach :PÂ woot!
screen cap from the movie
woot! this time, bloggers invade!
photo credit to Daniel of http://danielctw.com
5.Â St. Andrewâ€™s church / Bacarra Church â€“ another gorgeous church in the town of Bacarra.Â You will pass by this town if you head from Laoag to Pagudpod.
On our way to Pagudpod, we had 2 pitstops.
1.Â Faro Cabo Cape Bojeador â€“ built on top of a hill overlooking the South China Sea.Â This lighthouse is still fully functional and is still working as of date.Â Itâ€™s more than a year old as it was built in 1887.Â Itâ€™s the highest lighthouse above sea level in the whole of Philippines.Â The hillâ€™s name is Vigia de Nagparitan.
I sound really smartâ€¦ but they had that info outside the lighthouse 😛
2. Bangui Windmills â€“ always my favorite part of the Northern Luzon trip.Â I am an environmentalist and I promote taking care of the environment in my blog.Â The windmills are definitely a geeky cool way of keeping Philippines green.Â It supplies 50% of energy of the whole Ilocos, which is also the same power requirement of SM Megamall.Â Amazing isnâ€™t it!?
3. Patapat Bridge / Patapat Road â€“ Itâ€™s the highwayâ€¦ the view is spectacular!Â First time I passed by this road, I didnâ€™t know this was an attractionâ€¦ It was just breathtaking that I didnâ€™t feel like I was in the Philippines or something.
Anyway, we stopped by the middle of the road to take pictures lol.
4. Blue Lagoon â€“ You just need to come here to feel what we feltâ€¦ The most relaxing trip ever, we ended our Northern Luzon trip on the beautiful beach of Blue Lagoon.
*photo credits to Jeck Simbulan
5. More random stops.Â We didnâ€™t stop at highwaysâ€¦ We stopped on some areas where we think are beautiful for our cameras.Â I donâ€™t know what this place is called (I forgot) but it has a big stone with a whole in the middle.Â I wasnâ€™t able to take photos of it thoughâ€¦ Just wait for the photos to be uploaded by the other 10 bloggers, or just follow them on their blogs 😀
I have taken photos of the ladies resting on the rocks though 😀
6. Kapuluan Vista Resort â€“ This is where we stayed for the night.Â It was really relaxing.Â We also strolled along the shoreline of this resort.Â We saw many beautiful things.Â I saw things Iâ€™ve never seen before like Sea Cucumber, weird looking Octopus starfish, Sea Worms, Hermit Crabs having an orgy lolâ€¦ I also saw Spongebob squarepants!!! First time I ever saw a sea sponge 😛
7. Kabigan Falls â€“ Mountains, Beaches, old towns and cities, whatâ€™s next? Waterfalls!
From our hotel, we asked to have us brought to the Kabigan waterfalls.Â From Kapuluan resort to the Kabigan waterfalls and back, we only paid 500.Â Cheap if you divide it by 11 😛 Itâ€™s about a 15 minute drive to the drop off point.Â Then we needed to pay 20 pesos each for the falls and 10 pesos each for the tour guides.Â Tip is not yet included so if you did enjoy your trek, be generous to the really pleasant tour guides 🙂
We had to trek for 20-30 minutes to the waterfalls and back.Â We had a really lovely view on the way, rice crops were everywhere.Â You see grasshoppers, dragonflies and many more.Â The only thing you need to worry about is the heat of the sun.Â Make sure you wear proper sun protection while trekking.Â You can spot me using Vaselineâ€™s sunblock in the pictures.
Also, make sure to be hydrated.Â Bring your own water or buy buko juice which is being sold on the way.Â Bring umbrella if you want because the noon sun is really burning.Â So, the tour guides suggest that the earlier you trek here, the less hot it is.Â But let me tell you, once you take a dip on the waterfalls, itâ€™s all worth it!!! la la la!
Apologies for the very long post :PÂ But I hope you liked the photos and the descriptions :DÂ I also hope it might help you plan your future trips to Northern Luzon :DÂ If you have any comments or questions, feel free to write on the comment section belowâ€¦ 😀
Maraming Salamat at mabuhay kayong lahat!
Come again soon you guys!
â€˜till the next adventure,