From Ilocos Norte

Top 12 Long Weekend Destinations from Manila (No Flights Needed)

Being a full-time employee in Manila is no joke. Every single morning, stress (in the form of horrendous traffic) greets you even before you step into the office. Then you spend at least nine hours of your day working your butt off. You end the day enduring another hour or two stuck in a sea of cars. When you get home, you just collapse into your bed because you’re too tired to do anything else. The next day, you repeat the same routine all over again. No wonder we have an undying love for weekends.

But you know what we love more? Long weekends. When a non-working holiday falls just around a weekend, we know it means more time to relax, pamper ourselves, and do the things that we love. One of these: travel.

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Paoay Sand Dunes: Getting Down and Dirty in Ilocos Norte, Philippines

“We’re losing it!” I shouted in a mixture of excitement and panic as the 4×4 jeepney we were riding stirred dust across the vast arid land. The big ball of fire is slowly dipping in the horizon, and the sea pine trees — which under normal circumstances I would find delightful — were blocking the view. We’re losing it,  I whispered again, this time in a tone that was coming from a place between sadness and frustration. We just lost the sunset.

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Patapat Viaduct: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

The Patapat Viaduct is an elevated road — over 30 meters above sea level. This 1.3 km long coastal bridge can be found in the municipality of Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte. Connecting the Maharlika Highway in Laoag to the Cagayan Valley,  this is a busy street above the coastal areas of Pagudpud. The fourth longest bridge in the country, this winding concrete beauty is said to be the northernmost roadway part of Ilocos Norte.

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Blue Lagoon at Maira-ira Point: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Pagudpud. Probably the strongest reason the Poor Traveler embarked on this journey across Ilocandia. I had heard so many good things about Pagudpud that I just had to see for myself. But even when we were still at the Bangui Windmills, we knew swimming at this time of the year would be quite a challenge — the WAVES were just bigger than how much I love myself. And I love myself big time so that’s saying something.

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Bangui Windmills: Ilocos Norte, Philippines

The Bangui Windmills — the Poor Traveler had been longing to see these enormous electric fans since the news broke that there were plans of harnessing wind energy in the Philippines. I had never seen windmills before (not counting those in kiddie cartoons I used to watch). That’s why standing before these giant fans was such a personal milestone.

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Java Hotel: Where to Stay in Laoag, Ilocos Norte

The Poor Traveler and his poor friends were having more ice scramble beside the Paoay Church when our Tour Guide fetched us. He asked if we wanted to stay longer at the church. The group talked and decided to just move on the next destination in our itinerary. Apparently, we would finally be going to the hotel where we will be spending the night at. FINALLY!!!

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