Time and time again, a curious friend will approach me to talk about visiting Philippines and often, my answer bias as it seems is to get out of Metro Manila as quickly as they can and head to an island or nearby provinces. Once you get out of the congested metro, regardless if you are a tourist or a resident, the feeling will always be the same, a literal breath of fresh air.
Whenever there is a chance, I do discover parts of Philippines and this time around it was a road trip to the North-West part of the island of Luzon. Well, it was really not a road trip in a sense of driving my own car or so, but I traveled North using what I believe is the most practical way when travelling solo – public transportation.
Setting aside the occasional hassle, I do find the experience calming- throwing your backpack at the provincial bus, sitting window side and daydreaming, putting on your favorite music and letting the wind just swept your hair until you fall asleep and waking up to the voice of bus conductor telling you finally arrived.
There is so much to see at Northern island of the Philippines and the most common or rather popular route involves the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.
Located at the municipality of Bangui, Ilocos Norte, strategically located at North-West tip of the island of Luzon facing the sea, Bangui Wind Farm is a sustainable energy source providing electricity to the surrounding municipalities. Apart from its function, it is definitely one of the best views in the island.
Another place often visited at Ilocos Norte is the cultural heritage lighthouse of Cape Bojeador (also known as Burgos Lighthouse) located at the municipality of Burgos. Established during the Spanish colonial era, the lighthouse 20-meter octagonal stone tower provides a panoramic view of the open sea.
Don’t get me wrong, visiting all these amazing places via public transportation requires a considerable amount of effort, you need to walk miles under the mid-afternoon sun and constantly ask around for directions or transportation options.
But maybe that’s what makes the whole trip meaningful. A simple question for direction allows anyone to appreciate how genuine and honest residents are willing to help, how proud they are of their town and everything that it has to offer.