The Ilocos region lies in the northern part of the Philippines. It is divided into two provinces: Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. This region would be a good starting point of my journey since this is partly somewhat where my roots are from. My relatives from my maternal side are some of the few Ilocanos in Nueva Ecija (which is a majorly Tagalog province), whose ancestors were settlers from Ilocos. Therefore, there would be a lot of similarity in the culture, especially the fact that we speak the same dialect, Ilocano.
The city of Laoag is in Ilocos Norte. From Metro Manila, it is atleast about 10 hours by land transportation.
woohoo! beer on the flight! cheers!
But to save time, we opted to take a flight via Cebupacificair, where travel time would only be around 1 hour. I was expecting this trip to be extraordinary, as I had a feeling that this trip would bring about a lot of firsts for me. And indeed, even just during the flight I had already done something I have not done before during a flight: I had a beer! Cheers! :P
We arrived in Laoag International Airport at around 7:30pm. No hassle in going out of the airport, and outside there would be tricycle drivers that would be offering to take you to your hotel for 50 pesos each person. Tricycles are the main mode of public transportation in Laoag, moreover, in the provinces around the Philippines, so don't expect for a taxi. After checking in to La Elliana Hotel, we had a feast of some local dishes in La Preciosa restaurant.
the Sinking Bell tower is 85 meters away from the church
This was where I first attempted to try my rusting Ilocano. Unfortunately, as I have expected, while I do still understand most of the dialect, over the years, my comprehension is getting less and less since I do not hear nor practice it anymore unlike during my childhood where I grew up hearing Ilocano everday. Nevertheless, it was still fun, as this was the first time I actually wanted to try to speak the dialect (never attempted before because I was too shy to speak Ilocano without the accent). Anyways, after finishing up with yummy desserts, we decided to take a quick walk to see the Sinking Bell Tower, then back to the hotel.
We spent the morning of the following day to do some quick sight seeing. We went to see St. William's Cathedral and then we went to see the Sinking Bell Tower again for a better view and hopefully a better picture.
La Preciosa restaurant
This Bell Tower has been a point of interest because it has been sinking one inch every year, due to its massive weight built on a sand foundation, that now a man would have to stoop to enter it while centuries ago, a man seated on a horse could actually go through this same entrance. However, it was impossible to take a good picture, as broad daylight made it even more obvious how its supposed magnificence was spoilt by commercialization: sad to say, this 17th century structure has become the wall of some stores around it and the incredible electric wires on the posts made it even worse. I don't know why they allowed this to happen, I was expecting that at least they would secure even a foot around the perimeter, to isolate and preserve it. But well, maybe they thought since it would totally be sunk someday anyway that it is not worth investing to for the next centuries... hehehe, not funny :P
Anyhow, after doing some last minute shopping, we were ready to go to our main destination, for some sun, sand and relaxation.
Laoag Hotels & Accommodations review
Good facilities and great service for a very affordable price
Their customer service is very good, the staff greeted us and they were polite, warm and courteous.
For a triple sharing room of 900 pesos per night… read entire review