The Ilocos Norte Road Journal (Part 2)

I had a very short encounter with the other part of Ilocos Norte–the part where the Marcos family are more predominant. My friends and I decided to have the Laoag tour in the last part of our itinerary since we planned on riding a Florida Bus again to Manila and Florida’s terminal is in Laoag.

And that’s actually a not-so-good idea. You’ll find out why….

From Pagudpod, Laoag is about an hour away. The tricycle driver who toured us in Pagudpod the day before was also the one who picked us up in Arinaya Beach Resort and brought us to the nearest bus stop where we road a bus going to Laoag. If I remember it right, the fare was around P70 per head.

The first thing we did when we arrived in Laoag was to purchase in advance a ticket in Florida Bus bound to Manila. We didn’t book for another room in Laoag since we’ll also be leaving for Manila that same day. We just asked the guard in Florida if we could leave our stuff in the station and he was nice enough to let us and even promised that he will look after our things carefully.

We initially thought of availing a tricycle tour of the city but then we found the P800 charge of the first tricycle driver we approached to be too costly. So, we just opted to have a do-it-yourself tour of the city instead.

Because I was very much inching to see the preserved corpse of former president Ferdinand Marcos, my friends and I agreed to go to Batac, Ilocos Norte, first since Marcos Museum and the Mausoleum are located there.

I actually felt goosebumps when I set foot in front of the door of the Mausoleum because of the instrumental music being played inside and the thought that a dead body was actually in there. We asked the bravest of us four, Mother Lulu,  to lead the way. The place was surrounded with white roses made up of ceramics, I presume. There at the center, was the preserved body of Pres. Marcos. The moment I saw his body, I went nostalgic.  It was as if I was transported back to the time when I think I was only 4 or 5 years old.  I was seated beside Papa in the living room while watching the news about the coup d’ etat. I remember seeing the face of Ferdinand Marcos in the TV screen telling something to the public. The memories were very vivid.

Taking pictures were not allowed inside the Mausoleum for obvious reasons. The Marcos Museum, which houses the memorabilia of the late president, is just situated beside the Mausoleum. I was so excited to see all those Marcos memorabilia since I’ve been hearing a lot of them from friends and family who’ve been to Ilocos Norte. But my excitement quickly turned into a sheer disappointment when the caretaker of the Mausoleum told us the Museum is closed every Monday and is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

Why of all days does it have to be closed on a Monday? Why!!!!???

A fellow tourist who was also in the place that time told us that the Malacanang of the North is also closed every Monday. Another frustrating information. I was thinking of a way to get inside the museum, even if it means going to the house of the caretakers just so they would let us in. I was really hoping against hope. We waited. But no answer came. Until we decided to just re-do the Laoag tour just so we could see what’s inside the Marcos Museum.

And these were the only photos we could have of the museum for the meantime:

The thought of touring the other parts of Ilocos Norte failed to lift my mood up. I was just so heartbroken not to get inside the Marcos Museum. I even thought it would be one of the highlights of my Ilocandia tour:-(

What’s even frustrating was that when we went to Paoay Church, the facade of the church was being renovated so we weren’t able to take a nice photo of the church.

I was so disheartened. I felt like a little child then who was promised of a day in the amusement park only to be disappointed because the park was closed when they got there.

Because we were all disappointed, we decided to just head back to Laoag, eat merienda and buy pasalubong in the market. We decided not to go to Sand Dunes anymore and just save that for another Ilocos Norte tour where we will make sure that all the museums are open and no construction is going on.

Back in Laoag, we thought of just checking what’s inside the Laoag Museum hoping it could lighten our moods up and to kill time as well. The museum is located along Genereal Luna street. It is a two storey building, structured in a such a way that there’s a stairway to the second floor showing the living quarters of Ilocanos : the hall, bedroom, living room and the kitchen.

The dummy old Ilocano house inside the museum made me yearn to go back in time again. I just love the simplicity the old Philippines evokes.

The Laoag Museum experience somehow put back the zest in our tour.

Ilocos Norte truly deserves a second try. I know that this part of the country has so much to offer to the wanderlust in me. I will really make sure that there’s a re-do of this Ilocandia tour.

Lessons of this brief encounter with this part of Ilocos Norte:

  • Always make sure to bring Tylenol or Cataflam most specially that I’m always having migraine attacks.
  • Make sure to check museum schedules first when planning the itineraries so there won’t be wasted time again.
  • Check if there are construction going on to the spots you’re going on as well to save your tour from being spoiled.
  • It’s better to schedule the buying of pasalubong in Vigan than in laoag since there are absolutely a lot of things to buy in Vigan.

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