This year, we went to Ilocos without a car.
As anybody who’s been here knows very well, going around Ilocos is pretty straightforward with private transport, all thanks to nicely paved roads and sparse traffic.
It’s a totally different matter though when we start talking about commuting. You start foregoing certain spots because they’re either too far, you’re too hungry, the fare is too expensive, or you still have to catch the last bus going someplace farther.
This happened to us too, but it wasn’t nearly as disappointing because we didn’t have an itinerary to begin with. We simply let the days go, dropping by spots that our funds, time, and energy allowed. And we’re pretty happy with how it turned out—we went around without having to worry about staying too long and wasting other people’s time (and God knows Owen needs A LOT of time taking photos).
Hour-long walks and more
Is Ilocos any better on commute? We daresay the spots are going to be just as beautiful, but experiences will differ with the people you’re with and the ways you go around with them.
For instance, we would not have walked from the highway to the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation for an hour if we were with family (we can imagine the horrors), or else with friends who wear high heels and will die at the thought of getting their pedicure ruined by the dirt road.
We also would not have lingered long enough at the bell tower in Bantay, Ilocos Sur to meet a bunch of kids who were running up and down the structure and even rolled down the slopes after a church staff told them off.
We would not have met Fidel Go, who turns out to be a National Folk Artist, because if we had an itinerary and a car, we would not have considered Burnayan an option at all (read: too boring).
Then again, if we had a car, we would have found it easier to deal with the distance from Laoag to Pagudpud, and from Pagudpud to all the other spots we wanted to visit.
Even then, we’re glad we made this unplanned trip. Commuting still has its humbling rewards, and the photos we took will always remind us of the extra mile we had to tread to get them. ;)
ILOCOS NORTE SERIES
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