Monday, June 16, 2008

Loco Over Ilocos

By Raneil Antonio Ibay
Photos by Raneil Antonio Ibay, Rosy Villasanta-Ibay, Emil Valdez-Tan, Rose Razon and Arnie Aranjuez

A Northern Luzon road trip painstakingly organized by Roselyn Roldan with some help from Lea Ricolcol along with fellow Framed Shots Camera Club members Arnie, Rellie, Michelle, Edwin, Rina, Tin, Doc Emil, Willy, Allan, Rose, Joey, Irma, Doc Rose, my wife Rosy and I takes us on a photo safari to the land of Pinakbet that is Ilocos. From April 30 to May 04, 2008, our journey took us from the old town of Vigan up to the last town of Ilocos Norte, the idyllic Pagudpud.First stop was at Villa Angela in Vigan where we stayed for the night as we arrived at around 3 o’clock in the morning of May 01, Thursday.

Vigan, a World Heritage Site is the most intact example of a Spanish colonial town in the Philippines. It is well-known for its cobblestone streets and unique architecture that fuses Philippine building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning.

We slept for a couple of hours and woke up at 6 o’clock for an early morning shoot at Calle Crisologo.

After breakfast it was off to the burnayan where the famous Vigan pottery is made. They were kind enough to demonstrate for us how these beautiful pottery is made. We then had lunch at the Plaza Burgos where we also had some of the famous Vigan empanada and okoy. Next stop, Bantay Church where we went up the belfry and took in the site. We were surprised that Quirino Bridge is visible from up there. Minutes later and it was time to go to Paoay where we shot what else, Paoay Church. At this point I was already feeling like a contestant in The Amazing Race.

There were a lot of tourists and this made it a little hard to shoot the church. We had some halo-halo first before running to the La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag for the sunset. This is where Fernando Poe Jr.’s Panday movies were shot. We got there with enough time to explore the place a bit.

In Ilocano, the native dialect of Ilocos, "Laoag" means "the place of light or clarity". And true to it’s name, the sunset and twilight here was spectacular. It clearly was a place of light.

Still high from our shoot but now feeling hungry, we had dinner at La Moda, a panciteria in Laoag where we had some pancit, crispy pata and pinakbet. Our group then checked in at the Java Hotel. Some chose to sleep early, it had been a long day after all. While some of us relaxed a bit in the pool and then transferred to the Eagle’s Nest Bar for some drinks and videoke singing before calling it a night.

The next day, May 02, Friday, we started with a late breakfast, checked out and headed for the Laoag market to buy food to bring to Bangui. We also had lunch here before going to the 116-year-old Cape Boreador Lighthouse in Burgos. Completed on March 30, 1892, it was one of the first lighthouses to be put up for adoption by the Phil. Coast Guard for its project to rehabilitate and maintain these once-proud lighthouses.

We arrived at the Northwind Power Development Corp., the first commercial wind farm in Southeast Asia at Bangui Bay at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and met the plant manager Mr. Dino Tiatco. We then proceeded to the windmills and shot them until the sun set. God not wanting to disappoint us, gave us another glorious sunset. It is during these times that I thank God for the talent he has given me, to be a witness to his greatness, to record these images and share it with everyone.

Back at the plant, Mr.Tiatco gave us a short lecture about their company and its operations after which we pitched our tents and started cooking dinner. It was a hearty meal of rice, longganisa, inihaw na mais, saging na saba at danggit, diced green mango with tomatoes and onions, and some soft drinks. After dinner, we had a few rounds of beer with Mr. Tiatco and we turned in our tents for our much needed sleep.

Morning of May 03, Saturday came and I woke to the sounds of everyone hurrying to break camp and prepare breakfast. It’s 5:30 A.M., w e had just missed sunrise and we were trying to catch some of the beautiful early morning light at Kapurpurawan. A magnificent sight of limestone rock cliffs and waves crashing on its sides greeted us. Everyone scattered to take pictures.

Our group next split up to two. One group went to shoot the Bangui Windmills from a cliff nearby and our small group consisting of Rina, Tin, Rose, Arnie, Allan and I went back to the Northwind plant and meet up with Mr. Tiatco, we were going to climb up one of the windmills. They were going to service a windmill and we will just go with the staff to shoot from up there while they do their maintenance work. It was a rare chance as only authorized personnel can go up there. I also considered it as bragging rights. Many could say that they’ve shot those windmills. But how many could say that they’ve gone up and shot from those windmills? Thank you to Mr. Niels Jacobsen, President of Northwind Power Development Corp., Mr. Vincent Perez Jr., Chairman of Alternergy Partners, Pte. Ltd., Mr. Dino Tiatco, Plant Manager and his staff for giving us this truly memorable opportunity.

Everyone was so excited as the staff prepared the harnesses and briefed us. The tower is 23 stories high and the only way up is a steel ladder where you, wearing a harness are hooked up, a safety measure just in case you slip. One has to be physically fit though to climb as it can be quite tasking for the arms and legs, not to mention the heat of the controlled humidity in the tower. This humidity is needed to protect the tower from rust because it stands on the shoreline. The sea can be unforgiving to anything metal. The view from the top is indeed great. From here we can see the vast expanse of the Luzon Sea and rest of the 15 windmills all lined up on the shores of Bangui Bay.

We had late lunch at Pannzian Resort in Pagudpud and at around 3:00 P.M. we went to the Blue Lagoon Resort and headed for the beach. The waves were quite strong so we just soaked up and goofed around the beach. Willy taught us Tai Chi and Arnie, some yoga. It was a fun afternoon. We went back to Pannzian resort just before sunset and still caught the twilight at the beach. After dinner, everyone turned in early. We were supposed to have a bonfire at the beach but everyone was dead tired after all the traveling we’ve done.

May 04, Sunday, at 5:00 A.M. we all woke up for the sunrise. We caught it this time. One group went to shoot at the Patapat Viaduct, some chose to shoot at the beach. It was a nice early morning walk and shoot before breakfast. At 9:00 A.M. we departed for the trip back to Manila, stopping first at the Bangui View deck for a final glimpse of the windmills. Next stop was at Bacarra Church for a quick shoot and some ice cream. Late lunch was at Paoay and then off to Vigan for some quick shopping of pasalubong of Vigan longganisa, bagnet, chichacorn and empanadita.

Our final stop to shoot was at the foot of Quirino Bridge in Abra where we waited for the sun to set. The sun set at the horizon of what seemed like the construction of a new bridge, bathing the scene with a warmness that highlighted the texture of the dried riverbed, grass leaves and the bridge.

The ride back home was quite uneventful save for a blown out tire of our second van. We had to turn back and help them but other than that, it was all smooth thanks to our drivers Mang Jun and Mang Nilo. We arrived in Manila at around 3:30 in the morning of May 05, Monday still groggy from sleep or lack of it.

Getting home, crazy as it sounds, I was already thinking of uploading my shots on my computer but decided against it. Rosy would have killed me even before I turned the computer on. It will have to wait until morning. So ends one crazy trip. And if you ask me if I’d to it again, I say I’d be crazy not to.

1 comment:

Edwin Loyola said...

great article, after reading it, parang gusto ko ulit bumalik... hay sarap...thanks sa mga photos..sana di nalang sinama yon solo pix ko..waaaaaaa....


thanks again...