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Discovering Ilocos Part One

bangui windmills

 

 

The Philippines has a lot of awesome travel destinations and one place not to miss  out starts from the place I  refer to as “Up North” being based here in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.  Being married to an Ilokano who is presently based In Dingras, a town which is approximately a 45-minute ride from Laoag City,  I would frequent the place and every visit, I still get the same impact: loving the place for its quiet, antiquated charm.

I may seem biased but since I would spend most of my time in Dingras, let me tell you a few things about the town   Founded in 1598, Dingras is one of the oldest towns in Ilocos Norte. popularly known as the “ Rice Granary of Ilocos Norte.”

mainly because it has been blessed with fertile fields, vast plains, and substantial water sources. One significant site in this town is the church, or the  Saint Joseph Church which is strategically located right across the municipal hall and this church  dates back to the 1680s.  History has it that the Augustinians built the church. In 1707, a strong earthquake destroyed it and it was rebuilt this time, a more massive and spacious structure replaced it and later in 1838, the church was again remodeled impressively. But  unfortunately, fire later gutted the edifice. The ruins are still  an evidence of a once splendid structure, regarded by historians as one of the three earthquake baroque churches.  This is probably one of the most picturesque churches in the county, for its ornate splendor ,beautifully perfect proportions and for its massive, haunting yet lovely red bricked walls ,  wordlessly, the imposing church remains as a strong evidence of the grandeur of our colonial past.  I am always amazed at the awe-inspiring well-preserved colonial houses as I walk around the town, a reverie of the Spanish Colonial period seems to flash.

 

dingras church before renovation 2007

Every time I visit Ilocos Norte, I feel like a tourist.  I never get bored revisiting the sites and tourist attractions.  Let me try to share with you my awesome experiences around the province.  Let us start in Laoag City, the capital of Ilocos Norte  and the core  of everything Ilocano.  In the city, try to wander inside the Museo Ilocos Norte to get to know more about the province.

In this article, I would like to share with you our trip to Pagudpud, along with some other fascinating sites along the drive there.  From Laoag, it is less  than an hour’s expedition away, considered as one of the most famous sites in the country. Pagudpud boasts of sandy  white beaches although in some areas, Pagudpud is also lined with a rocky shore : one thing is sure though- in Pagudpud, the beaches are amazing  .  With long stretches of white sand lined with palm tress and very inviting crystal blue waters, one would surely enjoy.  Presently, Pagudpud is not yet swarmed with tourists, thus it is the perfect get-away, but eventually, I am pretty sure it is about to be discovered by a many.  To get to Pagudpud, travel along the Maharlika Highway.  It goes up the coast with rolling tropical hills on one side and the blue water on the other.  Traveling with your own car or vehicle rental will let you stop by the charming towns and take as many selfies and pictures of the fascinating views.

 

kapurpurawan
kapurpurawan

For our trip to Pagudpud, our group  dropped by  the Kapurpurawan rock formation which is located on the rocky coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. It is known for its creamy white and streamlined limestone formations, which have been sculpted by different oceanic and weather forces.  Another stop over we made was at the Bangui  windmills  which are considered as Southeast Asia’s biggest wind turbines. The windmills or wind farm is part of the Ilocos Norte wind power project which erected the turbines in a single row, 326 meters apart. Everyone is welcome to see and go near the windmills so as to closely appreciate the beauty of the wind turbines and the  beach.  Our last stop was at the Cape  Bojeador  Lighthouse. Faro de Cabo Bojeador is majestically perched on top of  a hill with an impressive view of the South China Sea and considered as the most  accessible lighthouses in entire Luzon.

The day was spent swimming, eating and lazing on the beach and during the drive home, everyone slept in the van, with happy contented faces, dreaming of the white sandy beaches of Pagudud.

 

pagudpud
Pagudpud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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