Monday, April 25

Lal-lo Church, Cagayan

After Pamplona, we stopped by the town of Lal-lo. Lal-lo is a first class municipality and was called as City of Nueva Segovia during the colonial times.

The town of Lal-lo was the center of trade and religious activities of Northern Luzon. It has a rich historical background as being one of the first cities founded in the Philippines alongside Manila (1571), Cebu (1565) and Naga (1575). Established in 1581, Lalloc was its former name, it was the seat of the Diocese before its transfer to Vigan in 1755.
Our stay here was brief and we only took photos of the lovely church called as Santo Domingo de Guzman Church. This church is on the small side but it had massive walls seemingly capable of surviving a war (God forbid). Known to many, colonial churches were built to also serve as fortresses in case of unlikely attacks. Its thick girth reminded me of the walls of Intramuros. And I fell in love with it just like I did with Pamplona Church.

Monday, April 18

Pamplona Church, Cagayan

My impromptu northern Luzon vacation last Holy Week was laid-back and candid. My friend Journeying Pinay, dragged me one day on a road trip to the farther towns of Cagayan province. It was very relaxing and also very refreshing. I enjoyed staring at vast green fields and endless blue summer skies. 

We really had no itinerary. But she mentioned dropping by several old churches which made my heart skip with excitement. And yes! Cagayan's old churches were both beautiful and magnificent.

Two towns from my friend's hometown, Claveria, was Pamplona, Cagayan, where Pamplona Church (St. Peter the Martyr Church) is found. Pamplona church is one of the oldest in Cagayan since it was erected in 1617.  Across the church is where the Cross of Evangelization is placed. It celebrates the arrival of Our Lady of Piat 400 years ago. A few steps further, one can see the then-calm Cagayan River.

The church is around four centuries old. Its crimson facade gives it a charming aura. With the almost empty surroundings at the time of our visit, the church reminded me of the olden times. I half expected knights appearing round the corner, halting briefly on their mounted horses. 

The church sits in the middle of a gated compound with a pair of old large bells safely ensconced in a pyramid glass in front of the church. I thought then what was a pagan symbol doing in a Christian place of worship? Masons anyone? Then a flashback hit me. I saw a road signage on the way. If I am right, there is a masonic district in that area.

There was a small park and several trees where we took refuge at high noon.  Good thing that it was not sunny nor runny. The weather was just right for old world sightseeing. 

I loved this church. 

Monday, April 11

Lazing in La Union

The mermaid has finally swished her tail in the seas of La Union.

Yes, a brief visit to this province has made me appreciate it more. I only used to pass by it when I visit the more popular Ilocos provinces. 

My friend and I spent a day lounging on the shores of Urbiztondo, San Juan. There were not much waves so we just frolicked and spent time resting on the shore. Good thing that the sun was up. I had a slight burn but was not enough to make my skin ache. We even met a friend whom I last seen over a year ago. 

One of the art works on display inside the restaurant

In the early evening, we dined in Halo Halo de Iloko restaurant in San Fernando. It was a lovely diner as it showcases Filipino culture through its muebles and fixtures. The facade is most captivating at night. From the name itself, visitors keep coming back for their halo-halo. A fiesta size is already good for two persons. :)

Fried balut. Waaah!

Before I went back to Manila to report for work the next day, we passed by the city proper and found a night market set up near the city hall. A beauty pageant was about to start too. A stage was set in the town plaza. We feasted on street foods such as kwek-kwek and Barbeque of different kinds. We were tempted to taste fried balut but a not-so-good childhood memory with it prevented me from doing so.

It was a day well-spent. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed my brief stay in La Union. Till next time.

Monday, April 4

The Azure Waters of Dahican Beach

It was my first official summer adventure for 2016. My last beach escapade was end of May last year where my red tail ended in the contested Spratly Islands in Palawan

I was excited for my first air travel this year. Me and friend Marx met at 4 AM in Pasig and was whisked off to the airport for free by his grab taxi promo code. Arriving at the airport, the line for the self-check in facility was long but the check-in counter was even longer than usual. It was a Saturday so I was guessing many were off to take their much-needed short vacation for summer has officially started.

Our flight was delayed for an hour and a quarter there off. The sun was high up when we reached Davao City. After grabbing a quick lunch, we paid for our tickets and sat quietly at the back part of the van. A couple of hours later, the road got steeper, was winding and I glimpsed a view of the high seas. A part of our journey reminded me of Batanes. And it excited me to go out and see the beach.

However, more than half a day of traveling took its toll. We settled in our lodging at 3 PM and promised to explore at 4 PM.  Instead, we woke up at 8 PM, rejuvenated but hungry. It was very dark outside and the clouds were tempting to spill their tears.

Bringing my flash light with me, Marx and I trudged the poorly lit pathway towards the main road. Earlier, I did not notice any restaurants at this part of Mati. We were hoping to eat at a small carinderia somewhere. But I think we should have brought out food from the city. Our hostel could have cooked for us but it was only until 7 PM.  

After walking for ten minutes, we saw a small hut which turned out to be a sari-sari store. We asked if they know any place we could grab a bite. The persons manning the store doesn't speak in my vernacular but we ended up understanding each other. He said that we have to back to the city proper if we like to eat at restaurants and that it was a long way from there. Luckily, he contacted someone who was still up and offered to cook for us. There was a sleeping karaoke machine at the store. Spending only two pesos a song was a true bargain so we sang till we dropped while waiting for our food.

We were met by slight drizzle on our way to our room. After cleaning up, we retired on our separate beds with the whispers of the wind lulling us to sleep. It was a lazy day. We were still tired. We said good night and turned in for the night. 

The following day, we also had a slow start. I guess that's just life in the province noh? You sleep early then you can wake up late. I truly missed that! But we only had a day to spend in Dahican so I reluctantly woke Marx up. It was already past nine when we began to see the real beauty lurking behind the tall coconut trees. 

This was what greeted us! We really had a good morning. Though it was scorching hot, the wind coming from the seas was actually cool. And Dahican's waves were crazy! 
 The azure waters of Dahican Beach are simply mesmerizing