I am tracing a good five years of travel with my amour around the country and in this two part series, I am featuring ten of those sojourns. Part 1 | Part 2 covers Davao City, Romblon, Quezon, Sagada and, finally, Ilocos.
It was Holy Week and we decided to spend it in Davao City, my work base that time. From Cagayan de Oro we took the 7 hour trip across Bukidnon and into the Mindanao Cordillera.
Lots of beautiful sceneries but most of the time, it was spent sleeping, with me not minding the outside view much as I’ve been riding this main artery for countless times. But it was memorable enough, especially as the vehicle went downhill in Marilog. I hope you remember.
Instead of going to beach resorts, we were most of the time holed up in the hotel and during Good Friday, we had a buffet meal at one of the restaurants, the only one offering a descent meal. Que horror, as the religious conservatives would say.
We had good time there capped with a visit at the eagle camp and dinner at the hills of Matina.
If not for my church book project, we wouldn’t have planned to visit this island. Romblon is small but beautiful with unspoilt beaches and an interesting industry. Other than the marble sculpture and products churned out by artisans, there is the Spanish colonial era church with it’s beautiful retablo mayor. The two fortresses perched atop a hill, guarding the town from Muslim slave raiders in centuries gone are testament to it’s dark past.
But it’s the island’s bucolic character that enamoured us to this place, even if we just stayed for a few days. Navigating the circumferential road by motorbike within a day introduced us to the many facets that the place has to offer.
I can’t help but look back in amusement when we went to the Pahiyas in Lucban, Quezon. It was really silly of you to get distracted from the festivities as you looked over my shoulders and got suspicious and jealous of the other person who you think was looking at me lustily. Hahaha… that was such an ego boost but just made me love you more. No worries here. You’re the one and only. Even if I have strayed from the right path before. Or even tasted the fruits of forbidden trees and earned a black eye from you. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.
Despite your disdain for long and winding bus trips, we went to Sagada via the decrepit Halsema Highway connecting this highland town with Baguio. 13 hours. Nevermind if going there, the stench of chicken dung used in fertilizing the vegetable capital of the country mars the experience but it was really a very beautiful sojourn, once we got to this town. Cool weather, great spots with ethnohistorological significance as well as just stunning panoramas.
And then there was food. We never imagined partaking in good French cuisine at the Log Cabin. Or pancakes and yoghurt dishes that we found comforting.
How many times have we gone up the rugged north that is the Ilocos Region? Twice? Thrice? More? I lost count. But each time we’re here, it’s always a beautiful experience. We had the whole beach in Sinait all to ourselves. Slept under a four poster bed in one of the inns along Crisologo Street. Marveled at the cultural treasures of Sta. Maria and Paoay, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Walked past in eerie silence at the Marcos Mausoleum that looked like more of a wax figure than a dead ex-President.
We liked very much the tinubong of Magsingal. Munched on empanada as well as savored the spicy longganisa and gorged on Ilocano dishes offered at La Preciosa Restaurant in Laoag. We didn’t even miss Macy’s Diner, the themed fastfood joint in this part of the country.
While we never ventured in Pagudpud, some time in the future, perhaps, the wind turbines of Bangui enthralled us. It’s a humbling experience to be dwarfed by these massive structures. However, the gamet gatherers at the far end of the wind field was more interesting with their intrepid foray to the sharp and dangerous coral rock outcrops in search of this “black gold.”
Travels with you are always fullfilling and happy. While we had our share of misunderstandings, not agreeing on particular places to go and do, we always meet halfway. Perhaps, it’s this that makes our journey together meaningful and worth it. ILY.