Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ilocos Trip Part 1: Manila to Laoag

March 26, 2014 12:15PM. Touchdown NAIA

There were supposed to be seven of us plus a one-year-old baby boy, but the other three couldn't come. I flew to Manila with two of my college classmates, and the husband and child of one of them. At the airport, Grace who works in Manila fetched us. We first went grocery shopping for our dinner and food to take on the trip, then stayed at Grace's apartment.

Manila buildings

The plan was to take a 9-9:30 PM bus to Laoag and it was still about 4 in the afternoon. There was still time to cook our meal and prepare for the long bus ride. By 9PM, a packed Partas bus terminal greeted us and it was only the middle of the week. And sure enough there was a problem. We were number 800+ on the queue and they are still serving 400s, which were given out 3 hours ago.

If you remember last February, a bus fell down a ravine in Bontoc, killing 14 people including actor Tado. Well that bus company, called Florida Transport, which is one of the biggest in Luzon, was suspended for six months. As a result, people now have to wait long hours just to get on a bus going to the provinces. We waited eight (8) hours for our number to be called. That means we left at 5AM. Just imagine what would happen when the Easter holiday comes. All they could do for now is purchase reservations this early.

Bulacan sunrise rice fields

The rice fields after Manila. This might be in Bulacan.

Bulacan sunrise rice fields

We reached Vigan by 3:30PM and Grace decided to purchase/reserve return tickets to Manila. By sunset, we were crossing the bridge to Laoag, Ilocos Norte.

Laoag sunset

At Partas' Laoag terminal, the van service was waiting when we arrived. We first had dinner (at La Preciosa) because we didn't have any proper meal the whole day. I had to try an Ilocano dinuguan (yum!), although my grandma's was still way better. She was from Pangasinan and knew how to speak Ilocano and Pangalatok.

Since it was already dark, the driver just took us to the capitol and the Sinking Bell Tower, then straight to the house we will be staying in.

Ilocos Norte Capitol

Ilocos Norte SM Laoag
Ilocos Norte Laoag Park

Ilocos Norte Sinking Bell Tower
The sinking bell tower

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