Archive for June, 2011

Somewhere in Ilocos Norte [Day 1]

I didn’t imagined that  my long yearning of a whole day roadtrip will bring so much relaxation. Even I wasn’t able to take a nap, I enjoyed watching the fast pace of people and places along the road. Having two of my college pals made it more interesting, and I proved to myself that 12+ hours of roadtrip is not enough to catch up and talk about anything. Ika nga nila, May baon pa kaming topic hanggang sa pag uwi.

Anyway, we planned the trip last year, started with our Holyweek escapade in Lobo Batangas last 2009, and since Jonathan invited us to their humble abode in Ilocos Norte, we didn’t hesitate and pretty much excited because we will explore a new place and the number of those who confirmed. but to make it short, I ended up with Jonathan and Neil. Well, I’m still pretty much excited and I didn’t mind at all.

We arrived at  Dingras, Ilocos Norte around 12 midnight, tired. we just grabbed a light hearty dinner and made our way to our own dreamlands. I woke up around 5 am, namamhay kasi ako, but even though i’m still relaxed dahil tahimik. nasa probinsya na nga ako.

Syempre as expected, like my relatives in Tarlac, they served veggies and fish for breakfast. it’s so heartly, for some obvious reason,  I missed Dad’s cooking, especially binagoongan.

Interesting that Jonathan’s house is just a 10-20 steps away from the welcome Arc of Dingras and a town cemetery. Jonathan tried to scare me but I’m eager to go and take some pictures, but I think I’ll do it later.

Wo after some cam whoring, we finally decided to hit the road. Since it’s Good Friday that time, it’s so apt to decide visit some churches. I’ve never seen an old church before other than San Agustin Church in Intramuros.

First stop : THE Dingras Church

Also known as The Church of San José de Dingras, built in the late 15th century, has been described as having one of the most picturesque church facades in the country owing to its Baroque style.Unfortunately, the Church is the middle of restoration when we got there. too sad that I wasnt able to see the chcurch on it known full glory [some says that the real facade was demolished around 2009 and they’re planning to build a new one..too bad].

after that we went to Solsona to visit Solsona Church.  The facade is quite modern yet artfully designed by it’s townsmen.

the Church is too busy that time, they’re preparing the images for procession.

Btw,  “Solsona”, came from the word “Sonsona” means “Place of pushing” because tribes were forcibly pushed back to the mountains.  and when a team of surveyors arrived and  asked the name of the place, they received the answer, “Solsona,” because that was how the word sounded to them. They thought that the name was appropriate, because the place seemed to be where the sun rises. Thus, the term Sonsona was corrupted and hispanized into Solsona which sounded better and was more appropriate.

after some prayers, we moved on to our next destination , the town of Piddig. we checked St. Anne Cathedral, also known as Church of Piddig.

 Honestly, this church got this Mexico-like ambiance, I don’t know why, but the church’s facade reminds me of the film “Los Muertos” and some random pics i saw from a “feast of the dead” celebration from Mexican friend in flickr.

Beside the church is an old belltower as well, it looks like it’s going to crumble down.  hopefully, the town have a time to restore it. by the way, the church’s location is elevated, you can almost see the whole town when your at the gates of the church, felt like it’s the guardian angel of the whole town.

Then off to town of Sarrat to visit Sta. Monica Parish Church.

Sta. Monica Parish Church [originally known as San Miguel church] is a red-brick church built in 1779 in a  neo-classical style.

I looove the interior as well, anybody who enters the church will not miss the magnificent framework of wooden roof trusses. I also like the idea  that they didn’t turned on the lights despite of huge number of tourist visiting that time, natural light made us see the beauty of the church stained glass windows.

Sta Monica Church has it’s own convent, which is connected to the church with an elevated 3-level brick stairway, forms part of the Sta. Monica Church Complex. the red brick wall invited us to some photo ops 😀

it’s our fourth church of the day and I was able to stick to my promise, I prayer per church. I heard somewhere that when visiting a a site for the first time, you need to kiss the ground, well, how about devoting a prayer per church?

So we packed after taking some pictures and it’s time to check Laoag. we’re about to check St. William cathedral [also known as Laoag City Church and Belltower] when we’re suprised by an old and crumbling piece of history, the church’s sinking belltower.

it’s evident that the church is sinking an inch per year. because the door seems like a windows already, it’s closed to the public due to restoration. it’s odds that the belltower is 2-3 streets away from the church.

so there was St. William Cathedral, filled with all types of people, from those whose trying to complete their novenas, people organizing for the processionup to those vendors trying to make their keep during the holy week.

It’s the fifth church but still wala kaming matyempohang misa. Halos lahat ng simbahang napuntahan namin ay puro turista. So yun, Paglabas namin ng St. Williams, may dalagitang nagaalok ng rosaryo, prayer booklet at medalyon. Libre daw. tinanggihan ko, pero nagpupumilit na libre lang. Nung hinawakan ko na, sabay sabing “trenta pesos”. Nagulat ako at ibinalik muli ang mga iyon sa ale. “Wag niyo nang tanggihan sir, mahal na araw naman, may basbas po yan.” ayaw ko makipagaway so nilabas ko ang trenta pesos nang may biglang pahabol si ate “trenta pesos po ang isa, 90 po lahat.” Nainis na ako at di na nagsalita, inabot ko ang trenta at sinauli ang rosaryo at booklet, kinuha ko nalang ang medalyon.

nakakalungkot isipin na kailangan matutong manloko at mang-uto ni Nene sa ganung edad para lang kumita.

but I decided not to ruin the whole trip for 30 pesos only. i decided to forget it then. We took a quick bite in nearby Mang Inasal and off to our next destination : the town of Bacarra

St Andrew’s Church or locals called Bacarra Church was built around 1590’s. Made from corals, salt water soaked tree trunks  and more molasses, it is considered as the one of the town’s cultural and heritage sites.

Originally Baroque in design, I was surprised how it  resembles some modern churches here in Manila. I even imagined having my wedding vows her because of the ambient of the whole church

nearby the church is it’s most prized heritage, Its bell tower, more popularly known as “Torre Ti Bacarra” or “torre”.

according to my research [ehem, yes. research. hehe] , the belltower was constructed  in 1828. It stood 50 meters high with three storeys. It has a 16 x 16 meter base that gradually narrows at the top. Topping it is a heavy bronze bell.

On 1931, the bell tower suffered its first major destruction. An earthquake caused the tower to have a leaning posture from the earthquake for more than half a century. The locals called it the “Bowing Belltower of Bacarra” while the tourists referred to it as the “Leaning Tower of the North.” In 1971, another earthquake further deformed the tower, yet the ruins attracted even more tourists. After the earthquake, the tower was preserved by placing support on the walls of the remaining structure. In 1981 and  1983, another earthquake occurred and the tower finally gave way and was left with its present flattened top.

In 1973, the tower became a national cultural treasure according to Presidential Decree 260.


after some camwhoring, we decided to check Fort Ilocandia and the infamous Sand Dunes. It’s almost an hour away fro Bacarra but we didn’t mind as long as our AC’s are full blast.

Before reaching Fort Ilocandia, you’ll be greeted by a vast desert-like sand dunes. Jonathan told us that this where the Panday movies are shot. Our driver even added the movies “Mad Max” and “Born in the fourth of July” and our very own “Himala”.

It’s weird. I even shouted, “nasa Saudi na ba tayo?!”—Saudi? really, nice remark. anyway, I imagined doing a pinoy cowboy film here, complete with sets and a steam train. hehe, whatever.

After Sand Dunes is the 5 star hotel Fort Ilocandia. We decided to stroll around, chill and  syempre, our favorite deed : camwhoring :D, In fairness, fully booked sila that time, dami [hot] “Poren-gers” haha, in short kumpleto ang site seeing 😀

 siyempre, di mawawala ang jumshots. Kami lang ata ang nagtatalon sa harap ng hotel sa tanghaling tapat.

After some hours, we decided to call it a day.But we need to attend Siete Palabras [Seven last Words] mass.  And for that we went to San Nicolas for well,  San Nicolas Church. Sa lahat ng simbahang napuntahan namain,  yun lang ata ang simbahang jampacked dahil sa misa.  There, I finished all my prayers and wishes.

Pagod man, nag enjoy ako sa buong trip. Alam ko na iyon ang uan’t huling pagkakataong mabisita ang mga lugar na iyon that’s why I took many photos as souvenirs. Well, it’s only day one, and I’m excited about the places we will check the next day.

So that’s for now guys.

So Till Then and Godbless 😀

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