Bui Vien

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Otres Beach

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Bukit Bintang

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Big Lagoon

El Nido, Palawan

Bangui Windmills

Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Calle Crisologo

Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Filipino-Chinese Pagoda

San Fernando, La Union

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

(Day 2) Ilocos Norte: St. William's Cathedral (Laoag), Sinking Bell Tower, Ilocos Norte Capitol and Kapuluan Vista Resort in Pagudpud

JM was quick to wake me up on our second day in Ilocos Norte. He's probably excited to tour around the city. We had our breakfast at McDonald's Laoag Branch.

McDonald's Laoag (selfie)

After our breakfast, we did a walking tour and took pictures of the Sinking Bell tower, St. William's Cathedral and Ilocos Norte Capitol.

Sinking Bell Tower

St. William's Cathedral

Ilocos Norte Capitol

Located just across the Capitol

I was impressed with the architectural designs of the government buildings in Ilocos Norte. It reminded me of the Spanish Era. After the walking tour, we went back to our hotel and prepared for our trip to Pagudpud.


We took the Pagudpud-bound ordinary bus (60 PHP per person).One passenger (let's call him Kuya Pulis) told us that we should have taken the Cagayan-bound bus because it could drop us off near our destination, the Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud. After about an hour of traveling, Kuya Pulis told the bus conductor to drop us off at a waiting shed where we can take the Cagayan-bound buses.

I couldn't remember where we waited because the area was pretty isolated. We stood there for about 20 minutes and there were no buses passing through-- only tricycles. Finally, we gave up waiting (It was against my will, actually! I wanted to save!) and asked the tricycle driver to accompany us to Blue Lagoon. We paid him 220 PHP.

Lesson learned? Take the Cagayan-bound bus!
Travel time: 2 hours from Laoag


Kapuluan Vista Resort

Being a compulsive planner, I always make sure that I reserve a hotel and pay it in advance. I chose KVR simply because it offers surfing lesson and the room that we got was very affordable. When we checked in, we were given Frozen Margarita as a welcome drink. 

Frozen Margarita (FREE!)

KVR's Lobby

I guess this is their massage area.

We got the dorm-type fan room (650 PHP per person) w/ shared bath. It has two single beds and a small table. I love the simplicity and cleanliness of the room. If you're looking for a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, KVR is a good choice.

Our room

Dorm-type fan room

Small table with necessities.

For lunch, we ordered Sinigang with rice and Carbonara. The food was expensive but it was delicious. I appreciate how they used all-natural seasonings (from their organic garden) and their food is MSG-free.

KVR's Restaurant

Sinigang (240 PHP)

Carbonara (250 PHP)

Restaurant's Menu

For dinner, since we were on a budget, we shared one set meal-- Dinakdakan with rice and pumpkin soup.  Their Dinakdakan is tastier than other Dinakdakans I have eaten.

Dinakdakan meal (250 PHP)

Pumpkin Soup (70 PHP)

Personally, I was satisfied with the food & service of Kapuluan Vista Resort and I really appreciate the politeness of the staffs. I would love to spend a week or two in this place again because of its serene atmosphere.

Day 2: BUDGET (in PHP)
Ordinary bus from Laoag to Pagudpud - 120 (60 each)
Tricycle to Blue Lagoon - 220
Lunch - 525 (Sinigang, extra rice & Carbonara)
Dinner - 495 (Dinakdakan meal, extra rice, pumpkin soup & 2 iced tea)
Total: 1360 PHP

Note: We paid the room in advance. There's a security deposit of 1,500 (refundable upon check-out).
For more information about Kapuluan Vista Resort, visit their website:

Monday, 19 August 2013

(Day 1) Ilocos Norte: Laoag Airport, Texicano Hotel and Dap-Ayan Ti

Last December 12, 2012, I booked a seat sale at Cebu Pacific and paid 1,200 for two one-way tickets to Laoag. Ilocos Sur is one of my travel destinations this year and I just couldn't wait to visit the place again.

We arrived in Laoag International Airport via Cebu Pacific at past 8PM already and took the free shuttle service to our hotel. It took us about 15 minutes to get to the city proper. The driver dropped us off right in front of Texicano Hotel. Great!

Laoag Int'l Airport

Free Shuttle Service

We stayed at Texicano Hotel and paid 370 PHP for an ordinary fan room (double) with bath. It is a small room with bed, a small table and chair. Nothing really elegant. We got the room facing the street and it was actually difficult for us to sleep at night because we could hear the noise of vehicles outside.

Ordinary fan room (double)

Another view

We had our late dinner at Dap-Ayan Ti which is only a few blocks away from our hotel. We ordered Bagnetsilog (bagnet, sinangag and itlog) and bought one Ilocos Empanada. The empanada is made up of egg, veggies and longganisa wrapped in a dough and fried to perfection.

Dap-ayan Ti in Laoag City

Bagnetsilog (70 PHP)

Ilocos Empanada (40 PHP)

Day 1: BUDGET (in PHP)
Airport to Laoag- FREE
Room at Texicano Hotel- 370
Tricycle to Dap-Ayan Ti- 20 (only 5-minutes walk from our hotel)
Bagnetsilog- 140 (70 each)
Sprite- 30 (15 each)
Ilocos Empanada- 40
Toiletries- 433 (tooth paste, battery, bottled water, shampoo etc.)
Total:  1033 PHP

Monday, 5 August 2013

Quezon Series: Kamay Ni Hesus

Kamay Ni Hesus is a religious complex and a healing center located in Lucban, Quezon founded by Catholic healing priest, Fr. Joey Faller.

250-something steps to reach the Grotto.

Personally, I appreciate how perfect this place is when you need a refuge. Even though I am a Protestant, I was able to easily connect with the different beliefs and practices of Catholicism.

 Hand-written words on the floor.

Hand prints from various visitors.

You can see different religious statues, a healing church, Garden of Eden, a replica of Noah's Arc, and the 305-step Via Dolorosa Grotto.

The Garden of Eden

Noah's Arc (retreat house)

Adam & Eve

You'll see this on your way to the Grotto.

View from the top.

I don't want to seem deeply religious, but when I was there, I couldn't help but thank God for all the blessings he had given me for the past year. Most of them were blessings in disguise-- and that was the part that I am really grateful for.

 Drop a coin and make a wish!
Kamay Ni Hesus map

Climbing our way up to Via Doloroso Grotto was a little tiring (imagine how many steps it would take!) but it was all worth it when we reached the top. It was a nice and quick retreat for us!

For more information about Kamay Ni Hesus, visit their website: