Friday, November 16, 2018

Tai Kwun: Centre for Heritage and Arts

I visited HK (Oct. 17 - 29, 2018) for an unplanned, last-moment-decision for several reasons:
(1) I was turning 50 so I wanted to travel.
(2) My sister needed help with her chronic foot injury which limited her mobility.
(3) I wanted to experience that city state during the 10th month of the year.

The weather was pleasant: not too hot so no sweating, not too cold either to merit wearing a jacket. We dined at most of the restaurants on sister dearest's bucket list, went outlet stores shopping, went to Macau (will post about it, soon) and managed to sneak in a visit to a cultural & heritage site.

Tai Kwun is among the newest spots to visit as it incorporates a rich cultural heritage with modernism. It is located in the Central Police station compound which was restored and comprise s three monuments - the former Central Police station, the Central Magistracy and the Victoria Prison. There are also many restaurants within the complex and it has developed into a vibrant night life spot for locals and expats.

It is readily accessible through the mid-levels escalator which was how we reached the place, one early evening just before 7 P.M.

It was interesting to explore the Victoria Prison and learn about the different methods of torture and punishment for the criminals.

It took us almost two hours to fully appreciate this complex. A short show featuring giant Michelin boy like giants performing to music was amusing to witness as we were about to leave the premises. Good place to visit for everyone who wants to try a different experience.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Ilocano Cuisine

At 12 noon, we were back at our hotel after our Pagudpud tour.  I simply chose the attractions which were must-see sights as our time was limited. There were a few others like several waterfalls which we will reserve for our next trip, whenever that may be. We checked out from our hotel and were on the road by 30 minutes past noon time. It was so hectic, we barely had time for even a quick shower but we loaded all our pieces of luggage into the car and found the correct national highway to take us all the way, home.

The scenic road passed by several towns in Ilocandia and two hours later, we were in Laoag City. This was a planned stop as we wanted to buy some pasalubongs from the market like longganisa, bagnet and crunchy chicacorn.

I googled for suitable restaurants to have lunch and came up with three options. The first one did not have parking while we got lost looking for the second one. By then, we were hungry and cranky already so we gave up the search for the third one. hehehe. Luckily, I chanced upon a restaurant which looked presentable enough as it was located near a hotel named Balay da Blas.

On the outside, it looked quite ordinary but once you enter, it felt like you were transported into an old house with many artifacts. It exuded a museum-with-many-antiques vibe so it was a quaint little place to have lunch. I am glad we picked Saramsan Ylocano Restaurant in Laoag City.

We were 'tired' of eating longganisa, bagnet and pinakbet which are common fare in any restaurant in that region. So I decided to go vegetarian and ordered the Poque Pogue Salad (eggplant, tomatoes, and loads of onions) and Inabraw (seasoned vegetables cooked in fish sauce and tukmem broth). The food was okay, nothing special but the ambiance more than made up for it.

After lunch and buying pasalubongs, we shoved off.  Except for the few toilet breaks at gasoline stations and a 9 P.M. McDonald's dinner in San Fernando, La Union, the hubby drove 10 hours straight to our home in Quezon City, What a brave soul!  =)

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Another Pagudpud post

Indulge me with more posts about our Ilocos Norte trip last May 2018. I better finish them before this year ends or else it would be old news, much delayed as it is already by now. A vivid part of my blissful memory bank.

Our next stop was the Bantay Abot Caves located in Sitio Gaoa in the small town of Baloi. I believe it was a full 10 minutes drive from the Patapat Viaduct. Our driver dropped us off by the side of a road and told us to go down a steep flight of stairs. 

Bantay Abot Cave is a not really a cave, it was more like a mountain rock formation which has a hole in the middle which was caused by an earthquake. So when it is high tide, the waves come splashing into the 'cave'. 

The rocks, the waves from the deep blue sea and some green vegetation on top of the cave all combined for a formidable sight of nature. You can enter the cave and the view from the other side is equally stunning as the calm blue sea make its presence known in all its majesty. 

Just be extra careful as those rocks leading to the cave are covered with moss so they tend to be slippery.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Pagudpud: Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and Patapat Viaduct

The next stop was the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. We were dropped off at the parking area to take a tricycle for 20 pesos to get to the lighthouse. The road was winding, an uphill climb. in a deeply forested area. This National Historical Landmark (2004)  was built during the Spanish period and is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Philippines. The amazing thing is this lighthouse is still operational. Entrance fee is 30 pesos each. The lighthouse itself is not open to the public but you can climb to its surrounding area and catch a stunning view of the town. Be warned: there are many stairs to climb so be careful.

The Patapat Viaduct is the 5th longest bridge in the Philippines. This zigzag road stretches 1.3 kilometers long along the coast and is 31 meters above sea level. An architectural feat as it was carved out of the mountainous range and created to avoid landslides which would cut off travel between towns for days. It connects the tip of the Ilocos region to the Cagayan Valley area. When we were there though,  not a single vehicle passed through the bridge. So I wonder if it serves it purpose. Our pictures taken at eye level don't do it justice but I don't have a drone to capture it properly. LOL

Stunning view of Pasaleng Bay