PLANET B: THE BEST OF ILOCOS BY BONET SMILE

Happy Earth Day 2021! Pilya Blog Magazine celebrates Earth Day in our own little way with a travel blog by Bonet Smile.

Planet B: The Best of Ilocos by Bonet Smile

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” – Henry Miller 

Roaming around for only two days in different places in the cities of Northwest Luzon was one of the best experiences I ever had in my life. I’ve been to Ilocos Region few months ago with my beloved travel besties. As we touched down the place, we have seen its extreme nature beauties and Filipino touches what would always carry every Filipino’s pride.

While exploring the cities of Ilocos Region, it brings out the Filipino way of valuing its traditional heritage, local specialties, cultural likes and adventure thrills. People living in Ilocos preserve every mark of Filipino to let the world see and experience its wonders and no one would ever miss if they choose to visit the place. Ilocos Region is divided into two provinces, the Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. The two provinces have its own Ilocano material culture with the touch of Spanish Colonization and the tourist spots are known to be one of the best spots in the Philippines and the wonders of the world.

Vigan City

Vigan City is known to be the fourth class city and the capital province of Ilocos Sur. The place is one of the oldest towns of the Philippines. Recently in 2015, Vigan was part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities because of the Spanish Heritage Village located at Calle Crisologo and known for its cobblestone streets. Vigan is famous for its Longganisa, a juicy rolled sausage and would surely let your taste bud crave for more if you taste it. Bantay Bell tower (Bantay, Ilocos Sur) and St. Paul Cathedral are the best part of Ilocano’s unique architectural design which is marked by European Colonization. Plaza Salcedo manifests also a lovely light and sound water fountain attraction every night.

Furthermore, Vigan has a Hidden Garden which is the garden area for all with a lot of distinct herbs, bonsai and wild plants. The Baluarte Zoo has diverse wild and friendly animals which freely roaming its specific area around the breathtaking views amidst of fresh trees and green grasses. Inside the zoo is the Safari Gallery, a collection of wild animals hunted by the owner.

Laoag City

For adventurers, the top adrenaline rush voyage found at Laoag, Ilocos Norte would be the La Paz Sand Dunes. The place has natural sand dunes covers with 85 sq. km. wide and offers sand surfing and 4 x 4 truck ride. It is known to be the sandy coastal desert located outside Laoag City proper and a few meters away from the main road. It has wide shoreline and overlooking the city view on the top of the sand hills.

Java Hotel is the first class hotel in Laoag. This is where we stayed for a night. They have cheap and comfortable rooms for backpackers like us. Staffs and managements are accommodating and friendly. It is famous for its unique Balinese Moroccan atmosphere and well crafted Spanish design.

Batac City

Looking back to the presidency of late President Ferdinand Marcos, the memorabilia from his stint in the armed forces to his presidency would be found at the heart of Batac City, Ilocos Norte. The museum and mausoleum displayed all his worth, works and love of the country. Part of it would be his glass-encased coffin in which his embalmed body has been opened to the public since he was brought home from Hawaii in 1993. His presidency marked the country’s controversy for two decades, but despite of all those things, Marcos left a heroic message of braveness for the countrymen.

Paoay

A place with the wide stunning view of Paoay Lake is where you can see Malacañang of North reflected (Brgy. Suba, Paoay, Ilocos Norte). The place serves as the eyewitness of President Marcos’ great leadership and as the head of the family. It is known to be the Malacañang ti Amianan. It is fascinated with the twist of nature’s beauty and antique things designed based from architectural old Spanish style and provoke Ilocano culture with its cavernous sala, capiz-shell windows and other colonial style that exhibit the family’s luxurious lifestyle.

Burgos

At the high hills of Burgos, Ilocos Norte, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is situated. It has 66-foot-tall (20 m) octagonal stone tower and known to be the highest elevated original and an active Spanish era lighthouse in the country. This fascinating beacon is used to welcoming international ships entering the Philippine Archipelago from the north.

Bangui

The next stop would be heading North of Ilocos Norte and witnessing all throughout the Bangui Windmill. This is the first-ever windmill in the Philippines located on the shoreline in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, facing the West Philippine Sea. There are 20 units of windmill producing electricity up to a maximum capacity of 1.65 MW, for a total of 24.75 MW.

On our way back to the town proper of Ilocos Norte, fruit lovers plug you to amaze how the popularity of Ilocos Norte’s odd-looking dragon fruit spread in the country and abroad. Anywhere on the roadside can be seen this not very sweet fruit, but abundant of Vitamin C and fatty acid which are good for the health. The Dragon fruit Ice cream must try as well.

Pagudpud

The amazing white heavenly view can be spotted only in the coastal resort town of north located at Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. It is known to be the Boracay of North because of its powder-liked sand and crystal-blue water. The white sand beaches are facing the west Philippine sea and just a 90 minute bus ride from Laoag City.

LIFE BEGINS AFTER FEAR by Bonet Smile

Writing is a mirror of yourself. It’s a genius way of expressing your unlimited emotions and thoughts. The pen speaks your heart and the paper tells your story. The secret of writing is not merely the technical way, but it’s how your emotions and creativity reflect each word you’ve expressed. Together with blogging, it is also a way of knowing someone who might be not afraid to face the world.  Writing and blogging paint like a rainbow and it colors to someone’s life secretly. The years move nearer along the life of the new generation and that’s how writing and blogging came as one. It opens new opportunities since life never be a beginning of nothing,  but it’s about the start of a new magic of own story. 

Now, I have a secret to tell. I was thinking about my first writing and the story behind why I started to write and blog. Well, writing and blogging has been part of me since 2013. It was started when I encountered the worst part of me and I thought the world was not open to listen to my downfalls. I cried for a thousand times and wish someone would always be there and listen to me all the time. Then a friend of mine told me to write everything in a sheet of paper. Unfortunately, I hate writing in a paper ever since due to my sister who kept on teasing my penmanship (that was her witty idea as a sister). So, I tried to bust a gut  to make something new just to ease the sentiments. I opened my email account and wrote some poems and my daily pursuit on the compose note, then send it to myself (that was an awkward and funny, sending messages to oneself). Starting on that day, I made my diary online until such a close friend of mind inspired me to try to blog. CharmieGi of Breakaway, shared all her blog posts to the group and it made me think to start my own.

My first blog post was about “The Time Keeper” from the best-selling author, Mitch Albom. The book reminds me that everything has its own purpose. The past has a great connection to the present and future. What we are right now is the reflection of what we had before in our past. I posted about the book because it encourages me to move forward behind my past, even if I don’t grasp the connection between all the sentiments I had. Like what the author said “But the fates are connected in ways we don’t understand.” Until such life always find its own connections. 

No one guided me to make my blog, but I just gave my best shot to know some stuffs about blogging. Reading articles and blogs draw me to continue my new hobby. Honestly, I was afraid to tell the world about my thoughts and I wasn’t confident enough, but I ventured out myself and begin sharing my experiences, likes and creative ideas. Later on, I love editing my blog “My Sweet Promises“, without knowing the days past and I gain some readers across the country. My readers motivates me to love my writing hobby. It opens another door for me to disremember those bane and permit me to grab other opportunities. Even though at first I was afraid but if I would not embrace those fears, I would surely miss the life I have right now.

My ever dearest PILYA BLOG readers. Let your experiences and fears prompt you to open your life for a new shot. Listen to the beat of your heart and try to write your own story. Let your pen and paper be like a mirror of your life. Allow yourself to embrace your discomfort and fears because later on you will realize that life begins after fear. 

Stay with us and cheers! 

Carbonette Encina is her real name but prefers to be called Bonet Smile.  She is a born Filipina who lives in Cebu City. She loves nature trekking, teaching, traveling, writing and blogging. She is now a license financial advisor, a curriculum developer and still an English teacher.

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