Let's head North.... 


   In all my experiences in traveling I always have this philosophy to live by and that is --- you don't need to travel too far and spend too much to get away from whatever stress you're running away from and or to find a beautiful sanctuary of peace, where you can just relax and experience everything that's there to experience right at that moment. #LiveInTheMoment

Quite recently I had the opportunity to pack my bags and head north once again, only this time instead of doing some mountain climbing and seeking some form of adventure, peace and quiet where I could maybe reflect on some things... we opted into a more culturally rich form of journey. Traveling through the historical landmarks known here in the Philippines and discovering some things that aren't exactly what you would consider to be mainstream tourist spots, I would also be mentioning our highlights of our stay in that city and good places to eat that I recommend, so let's get started... To my surprise it's been a great week of traveling to five different places, where we experienced a little bit of Europe everywhere we went.  So it was like a mini Backpacking through Europe only it was in Luzon. So it was like Europe but not really.... 

BAGUIO CITY THE SUMMER CAPITAL OF THE PHILIPPINES

First on our list is to hit and check out Baguio, this is my second time to be here in Baguio for this year and it was Charisse's first time in Baguio since I wanted to experience it in colder weather,  fortunately right around the time we traveled which was on the first week of October the weather was just right --- a bit of rain but not too much to damper your mood, the best kind of Forksy weather. The highlight of our trip I must say is the place where we stayed at ---- We found FRANCE in Baguio. We stayed at Le Coq Bleu, a house owned by a french lady and her husband, she has two adorable black french poodle dogs and her house is absolutely to die for, it's the quintessential of having to experience AirBnB here in the Philippines but it feels as though you're in an entirely different country... It comes with a free breakfast meal. You pretty much have the whole house to yourself but the owner does live with you during your stay, the bathroom is communal, there's of course wifi, towels and toiletries are provided and the beds are really comfortable. And if you still haven't notice with the picture I have taken the owner loves BLUE. Hence the name Le Coq Bleu ---  so if you have some sort of weird hatred towards the blue color I suggest looking for another place because quite literally the whole house is  fully painted and decorated with blue ornaments. Personally I think it's the right color that makes you feel cool without making it seem too blue...Literally there's no other place in Baguio that's BLUER THAN BLUE compared to Le coq Bleu. The only downside to this is that the owner has this ten pm curfew so you need to go home early, it takes about fifteen minutes to get to this place from the city but it's no problem as long as you have the Grab app. So if you do have plans doing some midnight shopping down at the session road then this is not the place to get.  Overall if you're looking for a place to chill and not have the hustle and bustle noise of the city then this little french home is just the right place for you and your family. 


 Click the "Contacts" button below for you to transported to the official Facebook page of Le Coq Bleu, I was able to contact the owner via AirBnB app which I suggest you guys download as well. 

Contacts
Imac

Stopping by LA UNION

Going to the beach is never a bad idea. In our case right before hitting it up at Laoag we decided to stop over La Union to have lunch and maybe catch a few waves or in our case a rest stop just enjoying the sights and the smell of the ocean. If you're from Luzon and you would want to go surfing and you wouldn't want to be bothered to go to Siargao. La Union is your next best option, ask the bus driver to drop you off somewhere where you can catch some surf waves. And that he did, he managed to drop us off the highway and literally a whole strip of resorts. restos, cafes and the like --- perfectly ready and well equipped to teach even the most clumsiest of beginners to ride their first wave. Unfortunately I had my period that week so me having to get myself wet in the open ocean didn't seem to sit well with me, so we just decided to eat somewhere and guess what? We found SANTORINI in La Union!!!  

LOUNGING BY THE BEACH @ GEFSEIS GREEK GRILL

So there's nothing better than to dine by the beach right? So I'm going to be completely honest with this review, it's awesome that you get to dine in a sort of authentic Greek restaurant, I mean honestly it blew my mind that they had Baklahva in their menu. But the place is quite pricey, the serving size portion is way too small fo the price you are paying for. To be fair though, I still consider this place to be one of our focal destination points in La Union. I mean who would've thought you'd be able to get lamb kebabs and bakhalava in a place where one would consider in the middle of no where, their menu is all in Greek cuisine so if you are in the mood to experiments and be more adventurous with trying out new food and such then I suggest you head on over to this place. There are other restaurants along the strip that serve cheaper food and usually it's of the western variety of cuisine the surf and turf, burgers and beach type foods. Overall what we did in La Union was just a quick stop over and it brings me such joy to have found this hidden piece of Greece here in Luzon. 


it's been a LAOAG ride and I'm PAGUDpud na!!!!... 

(please excuse the sad pun I used as my title for these places) 

                          ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!!! From La Union it was a long ride to Laoag and Pagudpud but let me just say ---- it was all worth it. I mean seeing the Kapupurawan Rock Formation just made me believe that there is in fact a God and He is the best artist in the whole universe. We did a lot of things and saw a lot of sights but the Rock formation was by far my favorite!!!! It amazes me that the whole thing was formed naturally through time by the crashing waves of the ocean. 

We had to do a bit of walking to get to the rock formation but my God when we got there ---- seeing the waves crash towards the shore, a place that feels and looks so surreal that you can't just ignore the majesty and awesomeness of what you're witnessing. It honestly brought me to tears upon seeing this spectacle of one of the wonders God has made. And it made me regret not bringing along my digital camera with me. Needless to say I still got some good shots from my phone so it's still good. I didn't want to leave  too soon but we had more sights that needed to be seen at that time ----  it's a good thing I have pictures with me to remember this place. 


                           

                      You can't just go to Ilocos Norte without stopping by to see the windmills right? Because that's just bullocks if you decide not to go.... What I love about the time when we visited is that there wasn't a lot of people, in fact you could safely say that there 's no one else but us taking pictures and enjoying everything that Ilocos Norte has to offer. I learned that said windmills are owned by Ayala, the Marcoses and the Lopezes. It's a natural source of energy and apart from it being a good source of organic raw energy they just seem to add to the aesthetics of the place, in fact Ilocos Norte is known for the windmills---- even their magnets for souvenirs are shaped like the windmills. It's just a few minutes away from the rock formation, a great place again to take pictures, chill ----just be aware of the waves of the ocean because the currents are quite strong to a point that there were actually a few tourists that died because of dipping their feet in not so shallow waters. 

SAND DUNES!!!! 

For 2500.00  max of five -six people in one 4x4 jeepney, you are able to experience a thrilling rough ride one would undergo in the desserts of the Abu Dhabi. Luckily we have the same thing here, the difference? Instead of being inside an air conditioned car you're pretty much exposed and vulnerable riding this outback jeep type thing (see picture for that I mean) --- but it's totally safe as long as you hold on and NOT LET GO. So everything else in life you don't hold on but God forbid something might happen to you during the ride, so please do listen to your guide (driver), scream if want to and whatever happens DON'T LET GO.... 

  • Package includes unlimited slides for the Sand Surfing. 
  • Approximately 45-60 minutes. (depending on how long you'll be staying at the sand surfing site) 

I would like to state that the friend I was with didn't really like to ride the 4x4 with me, but I managed to convince her and it ended up being the most exciting thing we have done in our whole trip, she ended up screaming the whole ride while cussing at me and maybe even the driver for scaring the wits out of her and I ended up getting an ab workout from all the laughing because it was absolutely hilarious, fun and scary at the same time. 




The fun has just VIGAN!!!! 

     What a way to end our trip than to spend two days here in Ilocos Sur, and just when I thought there are no more surprises left --- we reached Vigan. And it's as if we time warped into another dimension and I'm grateful that I just had an opportunity to witness this place. The buildings are from the 16th century, would you believe that? It was just well preserved by UNESCO and of course the people of Ilocos Sur. 

           So apart from the famous Calle Crisologo. Vigan is in fact home to a myriad of cultural and historical treasures that will really bring out the Pinoy in you. The Museums especially the Mansion of Sequi is A MUST GO TO PLACE, it made me appreciate the overall culture of the Filipinos before in the time when the country was still colonized by the Spaniards, I mean seriously could you imagine that Manila literally looked like this before, but was destroyed due to war. The smell, the feels and the looks of the whole place just feels like you're in Spain, even the sound of the hooves of the horses----- brings out this archaic feel that honestly makes me want to wear gowns and bring a fan and a handkerchief with me just like the Maria Clara's before. 

Empanada, Bagnet and longganisa.....

        Of course it wouldn't be a trip without any food trippin' as well right? At Vigan we were fortunate enough to try a lot of delicacies ---mind you the names of such food are kind of peculiar, to name a few; POQUI-POQUI, WAREK-WAREK, TINUBONG, BASI, DINENGDENG and many more . MUST TRY --- VIGAN EMPANADA!!! The Pakbet with Bagnet, we went to this place called Cafe Leona they served Pakbet Pizza. And the longganisa of course is a must try for those who are first timers in Vigan. Admittedly though I prefer Cebu's Longannisa better but that's just  me, also I honestly think Bagnet is literally just like Lechon Kawali only they call if a different name... I must say though my favorites are of those that aren't in the mainstream, the poqui-poqui in Cafe Uno was just to die for, and Warek Warek at the Hidden Garden is just a must try too... and Irene's Empanada is the best mirienda to get by while strolling about in the afternoon.  

Highly recommended places to eat: HIDDEN GARDEN, CAFE LEONA, CAFE UNO, COFFEE CREAK, ABUELITA AND IRENE'S EMPANADA. 

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DANCING FOUNTAIN..

₱ --- it's FREE 

  • weekdays starts at 7:30PM 
  • weekends starts at 7:30PM and again at 8:30PM

This places reminded me so much of hotel Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's a thirty minute fountain show with lights and music that Vigan offers as part of their enriching promotion for tourism. It's located at the Plaza, right in front of the church, there are seats/bleachers where you can sit down and enjoy the show. A great way to end the night. 


                  Overall the whole trip was just fun and enriching for me both as a traveler and as a Filipino, I have learned a lot about our history how despite being situated in one country there are still places out there that's very diverse in terms of their heritage, culture and overall way of living. I didn't mention everything in this blog because there were just a lot of sights we went to so I've provided a vlog that will hopefully summarize and give you more perspective with the other places I haven't mentioned in my blog. 

Grab a close friend and head out to somewhere unfamiliar or familiar the point is--- go everywhere when you can. So here's to more travels and more destination goals. 

#BLeaving #Travel #BackPacking #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines #Vigan #Baguio #LaUnion #Pagudpud #Laoag #Philippines #TravelBFFs #BestFriendTravelGoals