Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ilocos Norte

My fascination for old houses can be traced from college. It probably came to be because I was studying at Manila and was surrounded by a quaint, rustic community. A trip to Intramuros then made me tremendously happy. Fast forward to where I am now, the busy and fast-paced lifestyle at Makati makes me long for a place of tranquility. My daily digest of real-life architecture now involves rising buildings and fast food chains surrounding Paseo de Roxas and Ayala. Sigh. How I badly need a break.

My recent Ilocos trip did just that. To be honest, it wasn’t that recent. We went there on the last weekend of July, got caught in the storm and my busy sched at work got me to blog about it only now. I’m happy I can finally cross Ilocos on my my must-see-places list .But then again, I want to go back. I want to repeat my northern adventure!

I went there with my officemate friends and we traveled by land. We left Makati at 11:30 pm and I saw the Ilocos Sur welcome arch exactly six hours after. It was only then that I realized that Ilocos was a long stretch. After about another hour and 30 minutes, we passed the town of Vigan. We didn’t stop over there yet because our first itinerary was the city of Laoag. After traveling for about 8 hours, we finally reached the town of Laoag. Luck seemed to have played a trick on us as the weather was quite gloomy. The sun was not on sight yet it did not stop us from exploring the then overcast city.

We stayed at the famed Fort Ilocandia Resort – the only five-star hotel. It was a fine-looking hotel and the staff was very cordial. The hotel’s design was patterned from old architecture and somehow, the smell of the hallways reminded me of museums. We only stayed here for one night but we enjoyed it. Our package included a buffet breakfast which served really yummy food.

Day 1 Destinations

Malacanang Ti Amianan

(L: Fedinand's room, R: Imelda's bed)

This used to be the rest house of the Marcos family and now owned by the government. The care taker narrated to us some facts about the house. Fronting the house is the vast Paoay Lake where the late president used to play water sports. The Marcos family often had ballroom sessions in this house.

I noticed that Ferdinand Marcos had the bigger bed but Imelda had the bigger room and a spacious dressing area.

Paoay Church

This was exactly how I saw it at various images and postcard.

Marcos Mausoleum

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the area where the late president’s body rest. We were ushered to a dark room where the only light was surrounding the body of Ferdinand Marcos. The experience was kind of eerie as a peculiar music was playing in the background (like that of the Gregorian chant).

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