Ilocos Norte Vacation

No, I was not in Ilocos Norte for a vacation that long (since my last post on this website), I was just extremely busy and tired. Nowadays, I cannot stay up late anymore, nor can I wake up early, to blog. Sleeping is now one of my favorite hobbies. Anyway, back to the subject of this post. The Viloria family chose Ilocos Norte this year for our annual family vacation.

We were in Ilocos Norte from April 23-26, 2009. I will be sharing bits and pieces about our trip in the coming weeks and months (hopefully, at the rate I write these days, it won't take months!).

Anyway, just a quick summary of what you can expect in terms of stories.

We took a Cebu Pacific flight to Laoag, Ilocos Norte as our family does not really relish long drives. My kids are a bit impatient (they are so like me) and my daughter gets car or vansick at times. We likewise think it can be a waste of time to spend so many hours driving or riding your car. Pagod ka na, ang tagal pa. As always, in anything we do, we believe that our time is our most important and expensive resource. Time lost never comes back while money spent can be earned again. The Cebu Pacific flight is a story in itself so that will be one write-up altogether.

We stayed at Playa Tropical Resort Hotel in Currimao, Ilocos Norte. It's a 35 minute drive from the Laoag Airport. We were generally very happy with the resort although I will also write about a few minor points that the resort could improve on. We will have a post on what we liked and we liked the resort a lot!

Even before we left Manila, the family decided that we would not pack this trip with too many tours and activities. The kids are actually happy lazing around in an airconditioned room and give them a pool and a beach, they're okay. The adults also wanted to spend some time just sitting around and resting which is something which we hardly do during regular working days.

Playa Tropical Resort Hotel, based on our initial research and communication with them, offered three types of tours: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur (including Vigan), and Pagudpud. For this trip, we decided to focus on Ilocos Norte only. This will give us an excuse to go back to Ilocos again two more times to do the Ilocos Sur and Pagudpud tours on separate occasions. We had previously heard from friends (who did it all in one go) that they were so tired when they got back. They had taken a road trip to Ilocos and did it all in a span of a few days. So during this trip which gave us only three full days in Ilocos Norte, we did a tour for one whole day and just swam, ate, and played during the two other days. It was a good time to bond.

Where did we go during the tour? Here's a rundown as I will go into the details in the coming days: we visited the Marcos Mausoleum in Batac; went to the historic Paoay Church; ate Pinakbet Pizza at Herencia Cafe; explored the Marcos' former vacation house known as the Malacanang of the North which overlooks Paoay Lake; learned about Ilocos Norte culture and heritage at the Museo Ilocos Norte; dropped by the Marcos Museum and the Sta. Monica Parish in Sarrat; and heard English mass at St. William Cathedral in Laoag.

We enjoyed our trip immensely and we hope you will enjoy reading the stories that we will be sharing with all of you, our dear viloria readers.

Is Ilocos Norte for kids? My kids enjoyed the vacation although at some point, my 7-year old daughter asked when she heard my reply to her question on where we were going next: "Another church?" And my favorite question from her all throughout our trip: "Why do you like teaching us about old things?"

Why do I like old things? I like learning about how things were in the past. I am awed when I see things that have been in existence centuries before I came to be. Old things make me appreciate my Filipino roots and Philippine culture even more. Even if the memories may not be so perfect, pleasant, or ideal all the time, they are a part of Philippine history and seeing history, face to face, rather than reading about it in a textbook is always more alive and interesting. As we went around actually, I would talk to my kids about what they were seeing and what they meant. At some point, I exclaimed: "This is history." Then I turned to my 12-year old son and asked: "Do you like learning about history?" And he answered sheepishly: "Not in school..."

So, do stay tuned for our Ilocos Norte trip details (yes, brother dear, you know which brother you are -- the Utah trip will then take more time to write) in the coming days. By the way, I will be writing about the trip in my other website, the one on Philippine travel called so do visit that site every now and then to check our latest additions. Not to worry, when the series is done, we shall also put a link from viloria to the Ilocos Norte trip stories at lipadna for easier reference.

[By Angelica Viloria | Friday, May 1, 2009]

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