The Swag of Laoag*


I have fallen in love with Laoag the first time I went there six years ago. We had to finish a webmagazine for an international competition sponsored by the SEAMEO- RELC. To be honest, I wasn’t much giddy to begin with because going there by land means 12 loooong hours sitting inside the bus plus I have motion sickness so anytime I feel nauseous, I’ll throw up. Yuck. But anyway, when we got there, I thought it was one of the places to be. This year, because of work, I had to go back to Laoag but this time, we’re going to use the office van so it’s more comfortable plus I was able to overcome my motion sickness, so I’m good to go. Hahaha.

Roadtrip
By 4pm, our team left Manila. In prep for one long, arduous land travel, I had my phone fully charged and my playlists updated so I won’t be bored. Well, it turned out, I won’t need my playlist sa dame ng kwento ni Ate Fina at Ate Ann. Plus, we’re too addicted with Temple Run *game face on*. Hahaha. By the time the sun set and we’re still on the road, everyone’s asleep except Ate Fins who kept Kuya Ariel company. She’s singing Whitney songs, by the way. What a tribute, I say. Hahaha.

Around 10pm, we stopped over Urdaneta City for a late dinner—Matutina’s! Yey. Food’s great—we had sisig and bangus belly plus rice overload. Then we’re off the road again.

Fast forward. At exactly 4am we arrived at Java Hotel in Laoag City. I thought we’re just getting some gas for the car, yun pala yung front talaga ng hotel. Fail. Hahaha. After checking in, we went ahead to our rooms and got ourselves some sleep. I even set an alarm ng 7am so we could eat breakfast but we failed to wake up. It’s already 10am when we got out of our beds and everyone’s preparing to head off lunch at the City Hall. Hahaha. Anyways, we helped ourselves to some nice lunch and then went on with the coordination meetings with Mayor Mike. After that, we went back to Java to get our stuff because we had to transfer to another hotel to give way to the mayors coming for the meeting. Then, free time!

Lost in Laoag
Ate Fely and Ate Joy went to the market, Ate Fina took a nap and Ate Ann and I explored the streets of Laoag. We decided to ditch the tryke and allowed our feet to take us where it wants us to go. Hahaha. Our feet did not fail us, we found ourselves in front of the Provincial Capitol counting fountains and then we glanced inside the Pamulinawen Trade Fair. We also explored the city plaza where they hold concerts and other city activities. Finally, while looking for a place to eat, we found the Museo Ilocos Norte, a bricked building just beside the Provincial Capitol. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go inside because it’s already closed. 5pm na kase. Hahaha. Oh, we also stopped by to admire the beauty of the Laoag Sinking Bell Tower. 


Luckily, we found a bookstore called Samtoy beside it too. We went inside to take a peak and wow, it is a very nice bookshop! We looked into their collection and I was just like, wow. I even sat down the floor to flick through several titles and tomes. They have books from UP Printing Press, ADMU Press and other cool titles I don’t usually get to see in “mainstream” bookstores. They even have a reading area where one can rent a book for 5 pesos per hour. The saleslady, a friendly, geeky girl invited us to their Sine Sabado, one of their store’s activities. She was speaking to us in Ilocano and we’re like black faced. And then she realized we’re “dayo” so she spoke in Tagalog. I forgot the movie they’ll screen but I remember telling her, “Sayang, kaso po pabalik na po kami nun ng Manila.” Well, saying talaga. Mukha pa namang maganda yung movie. 

Anyway’s Ate (I wasn’t able to ask her name) recommended that I buy UP Press’ Ultraviolins—it was a collection of short stories and poems translated in Tagalog by up and coming writers like Lourd de Veyra. Cool. I bought the book for only 250 pesos. I thought it was a good find since I wasn’t able to see it in local bookstands. Ate Ann bought a Freud book for 200 din ata. We learned that Ate saleslady was a LegMa grad from USTe—sabe nya kase she thought she knew Ate Ann—classmates pala sila on one class whatever. Small world, I say.


Stomach rumbled. Grrrrrowl. Hahaha. We went down the stairs and found Johnny Moon Café which serves local favorites like the famous Ilocano Empanada. Since it’s already 5.30pm and we have to get back to the City Hall for dinner ng 6.30pm, we just ordered something for takeout. I had the Special Longganisa Empanada and Ate Ann had Tupig con Chocolate. We ordered Special Bagnet Empanada for Ate Fina because we’re kind friends. HAHAHA. Then we saw they have ice cream cups so I bought for the three of us. I had papaya and Ate Ann chose Saniata or Dragon Fruit flavor for them ni Ate Fina.

We walked the streets of Laoag again on our way to the hotel. We ate our takeouts inside the room—the empanada’s a winner. And also the ice creams. Yum yum!

Extra Challenge/ Amazing Race Day
The next day, the mayors and other guests were toured around Ilocos Norte. Since we have to facilitate the preparations for tomorrow’s meeting, we’re left at Java. But that doesn’t mean we’re losers.

We went back to the museum and had tons of concept pictures. Then we also rode the calesa because, why not. Haha, fun ride that is. Horses enjoy the King of the Road status in Laoag—motorists are banned from beeping when calesas are ahead of them because they’ll get startled and might run amok so they had to slow down. Astig!

When we arrived at the hotel, we tried biking but the bike’s too high for a “petite” girl like me so after 30 minutes we went wall climbing. I never thought it’s an easy feat but I guess I have to try for my Bucket List. Yun. Ate Ann passed because she’s wearing a dress so ako nalang and Ate Fina. She went ahead because she was able to try it before. Cool! She was able to reach the top part. On my part, I wasn’t able to do so. While climbing, I have to exert every effort to carry my body to reach the next stone. I tried my best to get on the top stone but my arms are already aching I had to rappel down. We tried for a second round and I still wasn’t able to reach it. Ambigat ko talaga. Hahaha. Because of that, I plan to lose weight. Hahaha.

Dinner that night was sponsored by Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos at the Malacanang of the North. Again, as part of our duty to facilitate the whole event, the three of us went ahead to the venue with some staff from the city hall. That was a good thing din because we had the chance to see the sunset at the Paoay Lake plus we toured ourselves inside the mansion. Tons of concept pictures nanaman. Also, we had the chance to shake hands with Gov Imee and listen to her speak. Galing lang. Haha.

Whole Day Meeting. Blast by the Evening.
Friday’s meeting day so no adventure stories for that. I just sat down and took the minutes of the meeting. Hahaha. Dinner was at the City Hall again, it was some sort of a fellowship night. We watched in awe as the Laoag City Gymnasts danced acrobatic moves in front of us. They were last season’s grand winners of ABS-CBN’s Showtime. We’re equally entertained with the vocal prowess of the high school choir from Ilocos Norte National HS. Mayor Mike proudly told the audience they’ve won competitions internationally. I really loved their funky rendition of Lady Gaga’s Edge of Glory. Dub du pop pop. Dub du pop pop. A local band called The Edralins also gave their best covers of alternative rock anthems. They even had mayors singing onstage and the guests dancing merrily to Buttercup. Hahaha. The night’s a blast.

We Found Fun in a Hopeless Place
A barren region is considered a bleak place to be in. Sun’s scorching hot and there’s no water everywhere. But, but, but. Ibahin ang La Paz Sand Dunes ng Laoag. The place boasts of a nice landscape perfect for “concept” desert photos. It is also a good place to do adventure-filled activities like sand sledding, sand boarding and off-roading.

Kuya Jun Musni, the astig driver, told us that the sand activities in La Paz started out as a group hobby. Because they have these giant four-wheel drives, he and his friends started off-roading there. Then, the rest they say was history. Tourists and hobbyists started flocking in. Soon, they added sand boarding and sledding, patterned after those activities done in Dubai. An hour’s ride on the four-wheel drives plus sand boarding costs 2,500 for a group of four people. Not bad.

It was one heck of a ride. We tried it twice. Well, the second was a shoo-in. Hahaha. Anyways, I find it a thrilling activity—it rivals the roller coaster ride. Hahaha. The video below would tell you just why:



Trivia: We learned that two foreign films: Mad Max and Born on the Fourth of July, have shot several scenes here.

Homebound
We’ll definitely go back. Promise. Yun lang. Nuff said. Hahaha.

*the title was inspired by Chico and Delamar's Top 10 Tourism Slogans for the Philippines. Dapat ang title niya talaga e "Iba ang Swag ng Laoag" kaso sabe ni Ate Fina gawin ko daw English, hence the change. Masunurin akong bata. Hahaha

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felix felicis: The Swag of Laoag*

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Swag of Laoag*


I have fallen in love with Laoag the first time I went there six years ago. We had to finish a webmagazine for an international competition sponsored by the SEAMEO- RELC. To be honest, I wasn’t much giddy to begin with because going there by land means 12 loooong hours sitting inside the bus plus I have motion sickness so anytime I feel nauseous, I’ll throw up. Yuck. But anyway, when we got there, I thought it was one of the places to be. This year, because of work, I had to go back to Laoag but this time, we’re going to use the office van so it’s more comfortable plus I was able to overcome my motion sickness, so I’m good to go. Hahaha.

Roadtrip
By 4pm, our team left Manila. In prep for one long, arduous land travel, I had my phone fully charged and my playlists updated so I won’t be bored. Well, it turned out, I won’t need my playlist sa dame ng kwento ni Ate Fina at Ate Ann. Plus, we’re too addicted with Temple Run *game face on*. Hahaha. By the time the sun set and we’re still on the road, everyone’s asleep except Ate Fins who kept Kuya Ariel company. She’s singing Whitney songs, by the way. What a tribute, I say. Hahaha.

Around 10pm, we stopped over Urdaneta City for a late dinner—Matutina’s! Yey. Food’s great—we had sisig and bangus belly plus rice overload. Then we’re off the road again.

Fast forward. At exactly 4am we arrived at Java Hotel in Laoag City. I thought we’re just getting some gas for the car, yun pala yung front talaga ng hotel. Fail. Hahaha. After checking in, we went ahead to our rooms and got ourselves some sleep. I even set an alarm ng 7am so we could eat breakfast but we failed to wake up. It’s already 10am when we got out of our beds and everyone’s preparing to head off lunch at the City Hall. Hahaha. Anyways, we helped ourselves to some nice lunch and then went on with the coordination meetings with Mayor Mike. After that, we went back to Java to get our stuff because we had to transfer to another hotel to give way to the mayors coming for the meeting. Then, free time!

Lost in Laoag
Ate Fely and Ate Joy went to the market, Ate Fina took a nap and Ate Ann and I explored the streets of Laoag. We decided to ditch the tryke and allowed our feet to take us where it wants us to go. Hahaha. Our feet did not fail us, we found ourselves in front of the Provincial Capitol counting fountains and then we glanced inside the Pamulinawen Trade Fair. We also explored the city plaza where they hold concerts and other city activities. Finally, while looking for a place to eat, we found the Museo Ilocos Norte, a bricked building just beside the Provincial Capitol. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go inside because it’s already closed. 5pm na kase. Hahaha. Oh, we also stopped by to admire the beauty of the Laoag Sinking Bell Tower. 


Luckily, we found a bookstore called Samtoy beside it too. We went inside to take a peak and wow, it is a very nice bookshop! We looked into their collection and I was just like, wow. I even sat down the floor to flick through several titles and tomes. They have books from UP Printing Press, ADMU Press and other cool titles I don’t usually get to see in “mainstream” bookstores. They even have a reading area where one can rent a book for 5 pesos per hour. The saleslady, a friendly, geeky girl invited us to their Sine Sabado, one of their store’s activities. She was speaking to us in Ilocano and we’re like black faced. And then she realized we’re “dayo” so she spoke in Tagalog. I forgot the movie they’ll screen but I remember telling her, “Sayang, kaso po pabalik na po kami nun ng Manila.” Well, saying talaga. Mukha pa namang maganda yung movie. 

Anyway’s Ate (I wasn’t able to ask her name) recommended that I buy UP Press’ Ultraviolins—it was a collection of short stories and poems translated in Tagalog by up and coming writers like Lourd de Veyra. Cool. I bought the book for only 250 pesos. I thought it was a good find since I wasn’t able to see it in local bookstands. Ate Ann bought a Freud book for 200 din ata. We learned that Ate saleslady was a LegMa grad from USTe—sabe nya kase she thought she knew Ate Ann—classmates pala sila on one class whatever. Small world, I say.


Stomach rumbled. Grrrrrowl. Hahaha. We went down the stairs and found Johnny Moon Café which serves local favorites like the famous Ilocano Empanada. Since it’s already 5.30pm and we have to get back to the City Hall for dinner ng 6.30pm, we just ordered something for takeout. I had the Special Longganisa Empanada and Ate Ann had Tupig con Chocolate. We ordered Special Bagnet Empanada for Ate Fina because we’re kind friends. HAHAHA. Then we saw they have ice cream cups so I bought for the three of us. I had papaya and Ate Ann chose Saniata or Dragon Fruit flavor for them ni Ate Fina.

We walked the streets of Laoag again on our way to the hotel. We ate our takeouts inside the room—the empanada’s a winner. And also the ice creams. Yum yum!

Extra Challenge/ Amazing Race Day
The next day, the mayors and other guests were toured around Ilocos Norte. Since we have to facilitate the preparations for tomorrow’s meeting, we’re left at Java. But that doesn’t mean we’re losers.

We went back to the museum and had tons of concept pictures. Then we also rode the calesa because, why not. Haha, fun ride that is. Horses enjoy the King of the Road status in Laoag—motorists are banned from beeping when calesas are ahead of them because they’ll get startled and might run amok so they had to slow down. Astig!

When we arrived at the hotel, we tried biking but the bike’s too high for a “petite” girl like me so after 30 minutes we went wall climbing. I never thought it’s an easy feat but I guess I have to try for my Bucket List. Yun. Ate Ann passed because she’s wearing a dress so ako nalang and Ate Fina. She went ahead because she was able to try it before. Cool! She was able to reach the top part. On my part, I wasn’t able to do so. While climbing, I have to exert every effort to carry my body to reach the next stone. I tried my best to get on the top stone but my arms are already aching I had to rappel down. We tried for a second round and I still wasn’t able to reach it. Ambigat ko talaga. Hahaha. Because of that, I plan to lose weight. Hahaha.

Dinner that night was sponsored by Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos at the Malacanang of the North. Again, as part of our duty to facilitate the whole event, the three of us went ahead to the venue with some staff from the city hall. That was a good thing din because we had the chance to see the sunset at the Paoay Lake plus we toured ourselves inside the mansion. Tons of concept pictures nanaman. Also, we had the chance to shake hands with Gov Imee and listen to her speak. Galing lang. Haha.

Whole Day Meeting. Blast by the Evening.
Friday’s meeting day so no adventure stories for that. I just sat down and took the minutes of the meeting. Hahaha. Dinner was at the City Hall again, it was some sort of a fellowship night. We watched in awe as the Laoag City Gymnasts danced acrobatic moves in front of us. They were last season’s grand winners of ABS-CBN’s Showtime. We’re equally entertained with the vocal prowess of the high school choir from Ilocos Norte National HS. Mayor Mike proudly told the audience they’ve won competitions internationally. I really loved their funky rendition of Lady Gaga’s Edge of Glory. Dub du pop pop. Dub du pop pop. A local band called The Edralins also gave their best covers of alternative rock anthems. They even had mayors singing onstage and the guests dancing merrily to Buttercup. Hahaha. The night’s a blast.

We Found Fun in a Hopeless Place
A barren region is considered a bleak place to be in. Sun’s scorching hot and there’s no water everywhere. But, but, but. Ibahin ang La Paz Sand Dunes ng Laoag. The place boasts of a nice landscape perfect for “concept” desert photos. It is also a good place to do adventure-filled activities like sand sledding, sand boarding and off-roading.

Kuya Jun Musni, the astig driver, told us that the sand activities in La Paz started out as a group hobby. Because they have these giant four-wheel drives, he and his friends started off-roading there. Then, the rest they say was history. Tourists and hobbyists started flocking in. Soon, they added sand boarding and sledding, patterned after those activities done in Dubai. An hour’s ride on the four-wheel drives plus sand boarding costs 2,500 for a group of four people. Not bad.

It was one heck of a ride. We tried it twice. Well, the second was a shoo-in. Hahaha. Anyways, I find it a thrilling activity—it rivals the roller coaster ride. Hahaha. The video below would tell you just why:



Trivia: We learned that two foreign films: Mad Max and Born on the Fourth of July, have shot several scenes here.

Homebound
We’ll definitely go back. Promise. Yun lang. Nuff said. Hahaha.

*the title was inspired by Chico and Delamar's Top 10 Tourism Slogans for the Philippines. Dapat ang title niya talaga e "Iba ang Swag ng Laoag" kaso sabe ni Ate Fina gawin ko daw English, hence the change. Masunurin akong bata. Hahaha

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