March 12, 2008

Ilocos Norte road trip: the destinations

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

I don't know if I mentioned this before on my blog, so most of you may not know this but I have a thing for lighthouses. Back in 2002, an old friend of mine sent me a lighthouse calendar which I've kept because I love to look through the pictures every now and then. They are beacons yes, but also symbols of perseverance and self-sacrifice. But I think the attraction for me is it's connection to the sea and to travelers; guiding them to safe harbor, leading them home. And it reminds me that no matter how far or how often I may sail across that horizon, I can always follow my heart back home. No, the romance of lighthouses is not lost on me. :)

So anyway, I don't need to explain to you just how thrilled I was deep down to be visiting the Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Burgos, the tallest in the country. My first thought upon seeing it was that it very closely resembled the Punta Santiago Lighthouse in Calatagan with the whitewashed red brick. The lighthouse is perched high on a hill at the northwesternmost corner of Luzon, where it has been whipped by cruel storms for over a hundred years.

View from the lighthouse

I admired the decorative grillwork that adorned the balcony of the main house and the stairs leading up to the tower. We never made it up to the overhanging balcony by the lantern but the views from the second level are spectacular! The sea in these parts just seem bluer. One of the rooms which I assume to be one of the lighthouse keepers former living quarters has been turned into a mini museum.

Our next destination was the Bangui Bay Windmills. Before my friend had told me about the windmills, I didn't have much interest in seeing them because well, they're tall steel structures, how exciting can that be? If I wasn't wowed by the Eiffel Tower as much as I thought I would be, than surely 15 wind turbines could not move me.

Bangui Bay windmills


A Bangui windmill

Oh boy did it move me. It was already a beautiful sight from afar, from the viewing deck. There they were, like soldiers in a row, spaced perfectly apart. Stark in their whiteness against the turquoise sea and emerald green rice paddies. My friend told me to make sure we're taken down to get up close and personal with the windmills, and so we went.

Then it just seemed so surreal. There they were, calling them tall would be an understatement, like the windmills of the gods on a desolate stretch of beach. I felt tiny. I looked at my friends, they looked teeny tiny too. The photo below should give you some perspective. Look at the couple in the shadows. The turbines are 70 meters high and the blades are about 40 meteres long. The blades weren't picking up any winds just then, and I imagined how amazing it would be if they did. I imagined the "THOOG...THOOG" as it starts to pick up speed. Woah!

Bangui bay windmills 2

Just at the next cove is Saud Beach, Pagudpud's prime tourist destination. When people rave about the beaches of Pagudpud, it's the stretch of beach in Saud they speak of. And I understand clearly why. It's largely unspoilt, uncluttered, clean and devoid of any crowds.

Saud Beach, Pagudpud

I was fortunate enough to have an aunt who owned a beach house in Batangas and so I practically grew up on the beach and loved every minute of it. And because we spent so much time in that house and the beach houses of other relatives and friends, I have never gottten accustomed to over-crowded and commercialized beaches and resorts. Sure, they're great when I'm looking to party in a tropical setting and dance barefoot in the sand, and even groove to 'shtoog-shtoog' versions of Bob Marley hits, but most of the time I long for the beach in all it's natural glory. All the massive developments in the south are scaring me, which is why when I see beaches like this one in Saud I am soothed.

Saud Beach kayak

The energy of the sea here was different. I couldn't get enough of it, here was this tempestuous sea pounding the shores of a beach, that frankly my dear, didn't seem to give a damn. We walked around quite a bit before we settled into a little hut by the shore for some lunch. We ordered fresh seafood, had more bagnet, and drank the juice straight from the coconuts which had just been picked from a tree behind us by our waiter. It was all so perfect. There was a nice breeze, the food was fresh and satisfying, and the sound of the waves lulled us into a stupor. I wish we could have stayed the night. But maybe next time.


Saud Beach hammock

Snapping out of our daze, we reluctantly climbed back into the van to retrace our tracks back towards the resort. But not before we stopped at Batac for some of those famed empanadas. Stay tuned! :)

Up next: the final Ilocos post : Eating our way through Ilocos!

29 comments:

Nice said...

i've been to pagudpud and i missed to go to bangui wind mills. sad.

Anonymous said...

Wow you should send your pics to the DOT!

bertN said...

Didn't realize the beauty of the coastal area of Ilocos Norte until I saw your pics. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Anonymous said...

My god, look at that last picture! I want to be there now! Very lovely post, Christine!

- Mariel

Rasa Malaysia said...

You are very good in taking travel photography, I suck at that with my DLSR, my lens is only good for food, how frustrating. Gah.

christine said...

Hi Nice, then that just gives you a reason to go back! :)

Wow, thanks, anon, that's a nice compliment. :)

Bertn, you're welcome, I'm only too happy to show off the beauty of the Philippine Islands. :)

Thank you, Mariel. I want to be there now too! :)

Bee, thank you :) but I have to disagree, I've seen your travel photos (china, malaysia etc) and they're beautiful! :)

Marvin said...

As usual, very beautiful photos. I'm looking forward to the next post about the food!

Sidney said...

Your pictures are awesome... you are really a talented photographer.
Clever compositions, interesting topics, colorful and vibrant!
I start to find my pictures dull in comparaison!

canDIshhh said...

I read somewhere (blog) that this lighthouse is haunted and when visited, you should be alone! DId you experience any freaky stuffs? I would love to visit this place! Panget went here twice already.. and I'm so green with envy!!

Nice pics! What camera do you use?! :) Love your shots.. :)

christine said...

Thanks Marvin! The next post will be up very soon. :)

Sidney, you really know how to flatter a person! Thank you so so much, I am super flattered! But you're photos are anything but dull! :) They're so real and so compelling.

Didi, I read that too! But no, thankfully we didn't have any paranormal experiences up there. :) I use a NikonD40, thanks! :)

joey said...

Oh! This is such a wonderful way to relive our Ilocos trip :) I am having a ball just reading your posts! Love those windmills :)

Wait one darned second! What's this about the lighthouse being haunted Didi??? And Nens, you knew??? Oh my garsh! It's a good thing I didn't know!!!

oggi said...

I love the fourth photo, the white giant steel and clear blue sea and sky is spectacular!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Ooh, that second photo is magnificent.

christine said...

Haha I read about it being haunted before we went, Jo. But I didn't wanna tell you cos then that would mean I'd know you know so it would be harder for me to push it out of my mind. Besides it couldn't have been a brighter , sunnier day for us to go , it wasn't scary in the least. :)

Thanks Oggi! I really love that one too. :)

Thank you, Susan! The whole place was just so photogenic, it seemed you couldn't take a bad picture. :)

jengkie said...

aww, I miss pagudpud! I hope I can go back there soon!

great pics, christine!

Coriander Dreams said...

I'm in awe! Your pictures are Perfect!!

-Marie

mtan said...

There's another lighthouse for you to check out Nena - the lighthouse in Bolinao, Pangasinan!

Did you get to climb the lighthouse in Laoag? We got to go up and look out, I must say I wish I could be a lighthouse keeper. I love the romantic, gothic, wuthering-heights effect.

I agree with you on the quiet undeveloped beach feel. All those developments in Visayas are scary and downright dangerous. Plus who's going to go to them all the time? I do pray that Saud and the rest of pagudpud stays empty.

christine said...

Thanks Jengkie! Hope you get to go soon too. :)

Wow thanks for the super compliment Marie!! :) I love your blog name!

No we didn't climb it. I don't think I could be a lighthouse keeper, I'm too much of a scaredy cat. But I'd love to date one for a while! heehee I'll have to check out that lighthouse in Bolinao. :)

Yam said...

hey..you read my blog, haha..

http://wrmanuel.blogspot.com/2007/12/rumors-are-true-after-all.html


Yes, it is haunted..
Don't go there alone.. ;)

christine said...

Hi Yam! I haven't read your blog yet, but will now. Hehe thanks for the warning, I won't even think of going there alone! :)

Toni Jimeno said...

Hello, fellow libran... great pictures you have... I copied one and posted it to "http://beaches.travelandtoursdirectory.com/pagudpud-top-10-ten-beaches-philippines-travel-tours-directory-portal.html" with acknowledgment to you as source and a link to your blog site. Is it okay? Otherwise, i will have to remove it...

- Toni

christine said...

Hi Toni! Sure, it'll be my pleasure. Anything to promote our beautiful country. :) Thanks too!

djmaculet said...

wow, awesome, ive been to solsona, ilocos norte but missed to go those places. I'll try this time Jan-2009. More power...i love it!

christine said...

Thanks dj! I hope you get to visit all the places you want to in 2009. :)

Sydney Hotels said...

Pagudpud is really the best part of Ilocos Norte. It is like Paraside. The wind mills(source of electricity in the north) are great! My family enjoyed our travel there even if it is very far. It's worth visiting.

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Nina @ Sustain Design said...

Your post makes me want to board a plane to Ilocos right now. I love the hammock photo.

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Cialis said...

This place looks so beautiful!