Backpacking Confessions

To travel and discover new lands are great ways to enjoy life. Having said that, it made me realise to venture myself on a backpacking adventure and state the experiences I will have during such trip as backpacking confessions.

I had my backpacking journey just recently. I went to the northern part of the Philippines specifically in Ilocos Region. I brought with me only my backpack with some clothes, camera, phone, and a little money. In hand was my passport with my flight details and I flew to the capital of the country. I never made a plan on where I will stay, I never made a reservation as well. All I have in mind was to survive and continue to travel til where my feet will take me to.

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The Über-Famous Destinations in Ilocos Norte

If you have seen advertisements or pictures that were shot in Ilocos Norte, then you would have seen these über-famous destinations.

Coming from the south, I passed by a lot of towns in Ilocos Norte. Then something caught my attention when I was on the road, I saw a gleaming infrastructure standing tall on top of the mountain. The trike turned right and I was heading to Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos. I captured images of the lighthouse and the view on top seeing cliffs and the vast sea. Having seen those, I was pumped up to get to other tourist spots.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

View on top where Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is erected

View on top of where Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is standing

Closer view of the lighthouse

Closer view of the lighthouse

View of Burgos

View of Burgos

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cliff view

Burgos Cliff

I was still in the town of Burgos to see the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. From the main road going to Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, it took about 15-20 minutes ride. A fee for PhP15 for adult is needed to get inside. When I got there, there were store stalls selling food, souvenirs, hats, umbrellas and even horse ride. I thought that the rock formation was just close by but I was wrong. I still need to walk thru lush green little forest and a dirt pavement that led me to different amazing views such as;

Burgos Windmills

Burgos Windmills

Burgos Windmills and the  view

Burgos Windmills and the view

Burgos amazing views

Burgos amazing vista

Burgos sea view

Burgos Sea View

Burgos Sea View

Burgos Sea View

The Epic of Lam-ang

The Epic of Lam-ang

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and finally, there it was, the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. I would have loved to go near it but man, I’m all wet from sweat. It was very uncomfortable, scorching hot, and no place to find shade. Yet with those discomforts I felt, it was still a mesmerizing scene.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation from afar

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation from afar

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

 Next stop was in the town of Bangui where the most photographed place in Ilocos Norte can be seen, the Bangui Windmills. The travel time from Burgos to Bangui was about 30-45 minutes. When I got to this famous tourist destination, I was in awe with how ginormous these windmills are. They were close enough and they lined the beach making it more dramatic to look at. Just picture out the light blue sea, the sand, the blue skies mixed with these humungous wind turbines. It made my day. It would be great to visit these windmills early morning or late afternoon to fully enjoy it without getting sunburns.20150512_114106 20150512_114116 20150512_114145 20150512_114248

 After Bangui Windmills, I traveled my way to Pagudpud. It was exhausting traveling that far. I went to Maira-Ira Beach and the famous Blue Lagoon of Pagudpud. The traverse to get to Pagudpud took about 30-45 minutes. But the sight of the beach was a total treatment from the tiring journey. In Maira-Ira Beach or Blue Lagoon, there are a lot of resorts, inns, transient houses and even homestays. The biggest resort and the most famous is Hannah’s Beach Resort. It was wide and spacious and they even have zipline crossing the blue sea from the mountain going to the beach resort. There were a lot of people in Blue Lagoon. Every cottages, resorts and homestays were fully occupied. I was saddened hearing from the resort I planned to stay in that they were also fully booked. I only stayed in Blue Lagoon for an hour, taking pictures and enjoying summer breeze. After that, I went back to Laoag. I didn’t even get the chance to dip in the beach but it was OK. In Hannah’s, I felt like artificial sand or sand powders were placed there coz the surrounding beaches weren’t powdery sand like we used to have in Panglao and Anda, Bohol. But still, I love the view of the rocks, the sea, and the fresh air.

Pagudpud Welcomes You

Pagudpud Welcomes You

I could wake up to this view everyday

I could wake up to this scene everyday

Amazing view

Amazing view

Perfect

Picture perfect

Hannah's Beach Resort

Hannah’s Beach Resort

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

Traveling back to Laoag was another grueling ride for 4 hours via bus. I just slept with my sweat soaked shirt, my weary feet, and my skin and face full of dust. The lesson I learned was even though I am backpacking, I still need to make reservations for me not to encounter such issues along the way.

Anyway, I did enjoy and it was another tick on my bucket list. I can say that I have visited and conquered Ilocos Norte’s über-famous tourist destinations.

A Day in Paoay

Paoay is one of the towns in Ilocos Norte. It has been widely known due to its Spanish era and magnificent church, legendary lake, grandiose and luxurious Presidential home and more.

After I wandered in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, I headed up north. First town in Ilocos Norte that I really wanted to come and visit was the town of Paoay, so, I ended up spending a day in Paoay.

I love visiting churches. I have soft spot for churches and heritage sites. Without a doubt that this Spanish era and magnificent Paoay church gave me the urge to come and drop by. It was huge. The façade was stunning and awesomely ginormous. The belfry also was attractive and completes the whole church. Good that the people of Paoay have maintained the cleanliness and solemnity of this place. I saw notices telling to keep cameras off and since this is a religious site, better spent it praying than taking pictures inside the church. Paoay Church is also listed as one of UNESCO world heritage sites, hence, better preserve it for decades and millennia to come.

Paoay Church

Paoay Church


Store Stalls

Store Stalls


Church Grounds

Church Grounds


Closer View of Paoay Church

Closer View of Paoay Church


Paoay  Church

Paoay Church

After  I prayed and paid respect, I went to this historical lake. Paoay Lake has a great legend to tell. But, I don’t want to say it. It would be better for you to visit the place and hear it from them. All I can tell you was the view was relaxing. Food stalls were available, lake activities such as kayaking can be enjoyed for a fee, souvenir shops were also accessible. It would be great to spend your late afternoon snack in this location to keep away from the glaring heat of the sun while enjoying the lake view.

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake


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The Legend of Paoay Lake


Lake Activities

Lake Activities

Next stop was a grandiose and wealthy Presidential house. The Malacanan Palace of the North is what they called it since President Ferdinand Marcos who was the 10th president of the Philippines was from Ilocos Region. Upon entering here, a tourist need to pay an entrance fee of PhP30. When I got inside the palace, it was indeed luxurious. There were a lot of rooms, the staircase caught my attention, the paintings, library, as well. If I were to live here, I would love to just sit in the balcony on those chairs overlooking the lake. It would have been so relaxing. That was my perfect vacation spot. It may take like half an hour to see every room and know the details and story behind that room. But, I needed to go to my next destination.

Malacanan of the North

Malacanan Palace of the North


View of Paoay Lake from Malacanan Palace of the North

View of Paoay Lake from Malacanan Palace of the North


The Balcony

The Balcony


The Elegant Staircase

The Elegant Staircase


Dining Room

Dining Room


Old Sleeping Room

Old Sleeping Room


View Upstairs

View Upstairs


Paoay  Church Painting

Paoay Church Painting


View from the Balcony

View from the Balcony


Relaxing Chairs with the View at the Balcony

Relaxing Chairs with the View at the Balcony


Filipino dress

Filipino dress


Library

Library

If you are adventurous, you can go to Paoay Sand Dunes for surfing or ride a 4×4. There were still a lot of places to visit in Paoay yet I missed those coz those weren’t my cup of tea.

To wrap it up, a day has spent adding new knowledge and gaining more information about this town in Ilocos Norte. A day in Paoay was indeed one of the good experiences I had while backpacking in Ilocos Region.