itchy feet cravings · musings

An advance birthday gift: a trip to Ilocos Norte

I’m soorry to my dear followers, ‘coz I nearly forgot to blog this month! I’m really sorry… I just can’t help but bask in the aftermath of a looong fun birthday celebration. It’s almost always like this when October comes in. I got rained with a lot of blessings. Even if I had been deeply absorbed in my work, God still afforded me breathing space to enjoy life’s precious moments.

Even before October started, I already received an ‘advance’ birthday gift: a trip down memory lane…back to Ilocos Norte.

Banggui windmills, Laoag, Ilocos Norte

I was jubilant to see once again the rugged beauty of IN. It’s been 12 years since I set foot here. Now I’m amazed to see how  much of it changed even if its quiet appeal remains the same. You feel an unexplained excitement when one comes face to face with the West Philippine Sea, the Bangui Windmills and the amazing white rock formations at the Kapurpurawan Beach.



I was with a group of college friends working on a video documentary project on Ilocos Norte, the so-called “balwarte” of the Marcos family, when I first came to Laoag. I realized now that this was where my dream to be a writer was birthed. I didn’t think it was coincidence that God brought me back to the very place where he revealed his promises to me. It was indeed a fitting birthday gift, and at the same time, a reminder that His promises whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, comes to pass.


The best thing about my latest visit in this part of town was the chance to see IN’s booming local travel industry. We were lucky to check out Museo Ilocos, and other museums on our walking tour of Sarrat. The walking tour includes the Sarrat Catholic Church or the St. Monica Church which is allegedly notoriously known for having the longest center aisle.

Museo Ilocos
St. Monica Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte

The only set back I guess was that we were not able to try riding a 4×4 at the Paoay Sand Dunes Adventure trail because of bad weather.

IMG_0005 IMG_0001 IMG_0004

But at least I got another glimpse of the historic Paoay Church.

Paoay Catholic Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The best thing about this IN trip is of course, the food! You wouldn’t leave Ilocos without munching on tupig, patupat and empanada. 



So please, do understand why I was late posting this blog. And as always, before and during birthday, I would be off to somewhere to join friends, and family for a simple celebration.

And just before I forget that November is just around the corner, I’m writing today to just utter a word of thanks… deepest, sincerest expression of gratitude…to number one, to God for adding another year to my life, second to my mom, who gave me a special gift and of course, for always being there for me, and third for the friends who greeted, surprised me before, during and after my special day, and encouraged me to live beyond my expectations and live courageously.

Life is good. Thank God! 🙂

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