Monday, June 2, 2014

My Ilocos Tour Adventure Part 1

Here's another place in the Philippines that I've finally been able to visit: Ilocos!

I went with a gal pal of mine who also hasn't been there and we signed up for a tour at St. Michael Explorer Travel and Tours, they offer tour packages and travel deals to various lovely sceneries featuring historic places, island hotels, beach resorts and flights within the 7,107 islands of the Philippine Peninsula on a very affordable cost.

Our tour package for two people cost Php4,400/pax (it's cheaper when you're a bigger group of people availing of the tour) including accommodations. It was a three day trip that allowed us to visit a number of tourists spots in both Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte which I thought was absolutely fantastic considering the affordable package price!

Day 1

We arrived in Ilocos Sur at the break of dawn.



Before we went anywhere else, our tour van took us all to have breakfast at Hidden Garden. A lot of other tourists stops there to eat too. But I could understand why. It's a cute place.
My rugged outfit details: Mesh blouse from Ezra (Zalora), Bench pants (pants I finally got to wear again after not being able to do so for so long because I got fat!), red Keds sneakers and my new Avon summer bag    

Aside from food, tourists can shop for souvenir items here.



 A visit at Crisologo Museum (one of my favorite stops in the tour!). This was the century-old family mansion of the Crisologos which they turned into a museum after Floro S. Crisologo, the clan's patriarch and also congressman known for being responsible for landmark legislations that not only benefited his constituents but the whole country as well. He was shot in the head on a Sunday in October 1970 while he was inside the St. Paul's Cathedral. (source: www.vigan.ph/crisologo_museum.html)

These are some of the things you'd see inside the museum:

A library and study of Floro Crisologo.





An old beetle that then Governor Carmeling Crisologo rode and got ambushed in but she survived while she was pregnant no less! She named her child Bullet because of it.



Bingbong is honestly the only member of the Crisologo family I was familiar with because I saw a movie of him once on cable TV played by Rudy Fernandez.


Next stop was Laoag in Ilocos Norte. 

We visited the controversial Marcos Mausoleum there. Have no pictures though because it wasn't allowed but honestly, in Ilocos, that's the one I wanted to visit the most! I actually saw former President Marcos' well preserved body! He looked like he just died yesterday, honestly! Some people say that's just wax figure and that the real body of Marcos is already secretly buried somewhere. I believe that's him in the flesh. Why would Imelda Marcos go through all the trouble of saying she will never bury the remains of Marcos until the government allows them to bury him at Libingan ng Bayani? 

We went to Paoay Church too - the famed Ilocos church featured in the movie of Erich Gonzales and Mario Maurer, Suddenly It's Magic. What a beautiful church this is (on the outside I mean. Inside not so much.).   

This is Bonsch and me with the rest of the tour group 

We asked one of the female tourists as well who climbed up the tower to take a photo of us two. 








We also went to La Paz Sand Dunes on our first day of tour. We only took pictures around the place because we were quite tired already from the long drive. But you can go sandboarding there for Php2, 500 good for 4-5pax, minimum of 1 hour. Next time, perhaps I'll try that!




  
Last stop for the 1st day of tour was at Malakanyang ti Amianan (the Malacanang of the North). This served as the official residence of the Marcoses in Ilocos Norte. Elegant place with a very nice view from the veranda.




A few things you'll see inside:

 









Perhaps this is where Bongbong Marcos used to stay? Just a guess since he had his photo hanging in this bedroom.


Imelda sure was a beautiful woman back in her younger days

 
After our visit there, we checked in to the hotel already for rest. But if you think we stayed cooped up in our room for the night, you're wrong! After taking a nice shower, resting a bit on our comfy bed and watching a bit of TV, we went out again to explore the town.


A shot of the Ilocos Norte Capitol building at night 

We wanted to eat at a local restaurant nearby but we couldn't find it so we ended up at Chowking instead. I know. I know. Not a good thing to do when you're in a new place. Well anyway, that wraps up the first day of our tour. 

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