Monday, June 28, 2010

A Traveller’s Seminar Side Trip (Discovering The North)

        It all started unexpectedly when BFAD (Bureau of Food and Drugs) called me and said that there will be an A.O (Administrative Order) 56 “The Regulation of Licensing of Drug Establishments” seminar that will be held on June 12, 2010 at Vigan City, Ilocos Sur where I will be issued a legal certificate of license. They said that it is mandatory for me to attend especially when I am working at a pharmacy. So I told it to the administration of PDH (Pangasinan Doctor’s Hospital) where I’m currently working as a Pharmacist. Right away they gave me a Travel Order. All of my expenses at Vigan were sponsored by the hospital. So I stayed at Grandpa’s Inn Vigan City where the seminar was held.

        It’s my first time to go to ILOCOS and I’m excited because all of this is a rush and unplanned. It was 5 hours travel from Baguio to Vigan city and it costs 237 Philippine Pesos via Partas Bus. When I arrived at VIGAN, it was almost midnight and raining but I still toured the place right away. I grabbed every opportunity and time to visit as much spots as I can. I went right away to the Heritage site called “CALLE CRISOLOGO” where old preserved Spanish houses are just everywhere.

        The next day, it was seminar day. It started at 9:30 AM and ended at 2:00 PM. Good thing, I saw my long time friend and college classmate since 1st semester of 1st year JOAN TAGORDA, I sat beside her and caught up to the times that we haven’t seen each other. So after the long seminar about the A.O 56, R.A (Republic Act) 5921 and other laws, I immediately packed my things and went right away to Laoag city, Ilocos Norte. It’s a 2 hours travel from Vigan to Laoag and it costs 121 Philippine Pesos via Partas Bus. From Laoag, I rode a non air-conditioned bus to Pagudpod, it’s another 2 hour travel via Marlon’s Bus and it costs 60 Philippine Pesos. I enjoyed the fresh breeze of the wind so much while on my way to the known “Boracay of The North” which is Pagudpod. The sceneries going there are so rich in green pastures.

       After arriving at Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte, I stayed at this Budgeted NORTHRIDGE Beach Resort located at SAUD Beach for only 1,000 Philippine Pesos per night and this time all of my expenses are already on my own, so I have to budget again like a Traveller. The second morning, I woke up early to tour what PAGUDPOD has to offer. I went to Blue Lagoon Beach which is a 40 minutes travel from Saud Beach. While on the way to Blue Lagoon Beach or what the locals call, the “Maira-Ira Beach”, you will pass by KAIBIGAN FALLS, it’s a 1 hour walk back and forth to this refreshing falls with an entrance fee of 10 pesos. While walking to Kaibigan Falls, you will encounter a lot of “BATIS” or Creek. Also while on the way to Blue Lagoon Beach, you will see the famous PATAPAT VIADUCT, a zigzag coastal bridge and AQUA GRANDE where the freshwater will meet the seawater. The last special spot that you will see before arriving at the famous Blue Lagoon is the BANTAY-ABOT CAVE. When I saw the BLUE LAGOON BEACH, it instantly became one of my favorites, it is truly a replica of the most popular getaway in the Philippines, Boracay. With blue water and white fine sand, you would want to run to the beach and dip your body right away… My Last stop to Pagudpod before going back to Laoag is another famous tourist spot, the BANGUI WINDMILLS, it is the project of Senator Bongbong Marcos, the son of our late President Ferdinand Marcos. And I salute him for that.

       After visiting the main tourist destinations in Pagudpod, it’s time to go back to LAOAG for me to discover its special offerings. I stayed at Hotel Tiffany for only 630 Philippines Pesos. After checking inn, right away I visited the UNESCO World Heritage site, the PAOAY CHURCH or also known as ST. AUGUSTINE CHURCH OF PAOAY, ILOCOS NORTE. From Laoag to Paoay, the travel time is 30 minutes. I also visited the famous Fort Ilocandia Beach Resort, the Ilocos Sand Dunes where Tom Cruise had a shoot for his “Born on the 4th of July” movie and the Philippine’s PANDAY movies starring FPJ and Bong Revilla. I also saw the Malacanang of the North, Marcos Museum, Sinking Bell Tower and Ilocos Norte Museum (30 PhP entrance fee) for educational purposes. Of course, why would I forget, I’m a number one Food Tripper, I tried all the famous Ilocano Dishes like Bagnet, Bagpet, Pinakbet, Lauya and Vigan Longanissa.

       All in all, thanks to the unplanned seminar, because of it, I was unexpectedly given a chance to discover ILOCOS and how beautiful the place was… I needed this for another break and truly God is so great and works in mysterious ways…

- Happy Loner Traveller

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