Wednesday, February 29, 2012

En Route - Vigan | Laoag | Pagudpud

After that merry making in Baguio, I found myself riding a bus bound for Vigan. A little anxious about traveling solo but this will not stop me.  Its now or never. My first ever solo travel in northern Luzon.

My friends will go back to Manila and I will go seperate way and will head all the way to the North. They drop me off at Baguio Terminal Bound for Laoag aound 2 in the morning. First stop is Vigan City, the Capital of Ilocos Sur. I paid Php 275.00 for this trip. Its Spanish colonial influence in local architecture and old-world charm make it a unique city in the Philippines

Planning Your Trip

The Ilocos can be reached by land and air travel from Manila, the country's main international gateway.

There are air-conditioned buses that leave their Manila stations for Vigan. Travel time is approximately 8-9 hours. The buses, which leave on scheduled runs, do stopovers at designated points along the route for refreshments and other necessities. Reservations are needed before boarding the buses.

By bus:
DOMINION BUS LINESEDSA cor New York St., Quezon City
Telephone (632) 7414146/7314180

Laon-laan cor M. dela Fuente Sts.
Sampaloc, Manila
Telephone (632) 7238580 loc. 103-105

Aurora Blvd. cor Bernardino St., Quezon City
Telephone (632) 7257251740/7251256

EDSA, Balintawak, Quezon City
Telephone (632) 3643477

Blumentritt cor. Laong-Laan St.
Sampaloc, Manila
Telephone (632) 7414146/7314180

By Plane:
Three major airlines have routes to either Vigan or Laoag - Gateway of the Northern Luzon.  More than an hour plane ride to reach the destination.

My Phone almost gave up because I keep on tracking my way via its GPS, i am riding a Laoag Bus and if I will doze off, I may end up in Laoag instead of Vigan.  To keep myself awake, I keep on checking status online, listening to music and reading road signs and how far is my destination from where the bus was.  After 2 hours of sitting and wandering and sight seeing? (hehehe!) I finally touched down Vigan Bus Terminal.  I took a tricycle and ask the driver to find me a cheap hostel where i can take a nap, rest and prepare for my tour when the sun rises.  We checked most of the hotels along the way but they're all full. So we ended in a bit remote place, but not as bad as I expected it. Casa Teofila is the place to be. 

Places to Stay >>> Cheap Accomadations in Vigan
Places to Check >>> Vigan Destinations

After 3 hours of roving Vigan, I found myself riding another bus route to Laoag and paid Php 105.00.After 2 hours of bus ride, I touched down Laoag city. You will know that you are entering the city of Laoag because a huge I dont know what to do next. As I approach the tourism center in Laoag, a lot of tricyle drivers offering a tour package for Php 600.00. I think its a good idea and a bit cheaper than what I saw online. So after the driver told me the places thats included in the package, off we go to our first destination.

Places to Stay >>>> Accomodations in Laoag
Places to Check >>>> Laoag Destinations

I cant really recommend a good place to stay in Laoag coz I didn't spend overnight in the place, but you can check out the link posted for accomodations that suites your preference. Just in time for the next bus to depart for Pagudpud. Paid Php 50.00.

There are no air conditioned buses bound for Pagudpud so better prepare yourself or you may want to rent a van at Php 700.00 - Php 1000.00 if you want a bit of comfort along the way.

Pagudpud tour is divided into North and South and regulated rates would be Php 600.00/division. In my case, since I am on a solo trip, I got it for Php1000.00. The best part, I took a motorcycle :)

Places to Stay >>>> There are few hotels in Pagudpud and can be a bit expensive. For budget travelers, there are homestays at Php 150.00/night.
Places to Check >>>> Pagudpud Et Al Destinations

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Celebrating Life with Colors and Beauty

Flower 01The Panagbenga Festival is held yearly during the month of February. The celebrations are held for over a month and peak periods are the weekends. The Panagbenga Festival showcases the many floral floats and native dances. The fragrant smells that could be presently teasing olfactory senses are probably less from the now-dried flowers from Valentine's Day than air floating all the way from Baguio City.
At this time of year, the City of Pines is almost surely in flower fury over Panagbenga festival, the city's biggest festival.
Panagbenga is a kankanaey term for "a season of blooming." It is also known as the Baguio Flower Festival, a homage to the beautiful flowers the city is famous for as well as a celebration of Baguio's re-establishment.
I had the chance to experience how the Summer Capital celebrated this Colorful feast, and it was awesome but I just don’t like the marathon walk in and out of the city. 
It was an awesome experience to see floral floats parading and standing proud a midst the crowd. Till next year! Party, Party!