Ilocos Day 3: Fort Ilocandia + Paoay + Batac + Currimao

by - February 22, 2012

[Disclaimer: I’ve already started with the first two days. Might as well finish it. So here’s to reminiscing the past craze once more. Third stop: Ilocos Norte—Fort Ilocandia + Paoay + Batac + Currimao]

Paoay Church

02 August 2011, my third vacation day in Ilocos and first day without Raymond’s company. But I had my dear Tita, Tito, nephew (Gosh! I have a nephew), and the youth president of their church, Amor, to show me around the place.

Our first destination was Fort Ilocandia, a 5-star deluxe resort hotel situated in Laoag City. It covers over 77 hectares of land and is lined with a 2km beach that is facing the South China Sea. The beach was so refreshing. We didn’t take a swim but the feeling was the same. Just the sight of the tranquil sea, blue sky, and sandy shore imprinted serenity in my being. The chill of the splashing waves on my feet as they bubbled away back to the sea, the sweet breeze brushing my hair to my face; it was a scene that I could eat every day.

Amor and I were able to tour inside the hotel itself, and it was lovely inside. Upon entering, we were greeted by the grand, spiral staircase leading to the second floor (non hotel occupants were only allowed in the first floor). The interior had great architectural design, its hallways consisting of arches with brick walls, emanating a European atmosphere. Further at the end was another corridor leading to the garden with a big fountain in its heart, the type with cherubim sculptures and intricate engravings. Being here gave me a feeling of walking in a garden of a British mansion.

Amor had been my photo buddy; we took lots of pictures; I took a lot of shots of him. At first he was shy to strike a pose, but he eventually found it fun, and I enjoyed taking shots of his innocent, joyful smiles, smiles that’ll tell you that he’s honestly having a great time. I like those kinds of simple, true moments. They’re rare these days.

We next visited Paoay Church, and I must say, that among all the churches I’d visited during my five day stay in Ilocos, it was Paoay’s façade that I fancied the most. It may look unappealing because of its bare, unpainted walls, but no, it ironically works the other way around. When I looked at it, it was like history standing in front of me. If the sun wasn’t only directly hitting its rays on us, I could spend hours sitting and just appreciating its beauty—bare and honest.

Its sturdy buttresses were also a sight of beauty. Oh, how could I explain the tremendous view of growing moss and green plants on its buttresses and walls that added to its splendor?

After exploring the grandeur of Paoay Church, we took a ride next to Batac to see the Marcos Museum, and there was an entrance fee of Php50 per head. It was the old residence of the Marcoses. Some of their old belongings such as books, car plates, paintings, and even a TV set were on display. It amazed me to see the judge mallet that former President Ferdinand Marcos was infamous for during the Martial Law period. Since I was a kid, I’ve always connected Martial Law with a judge mallet more than the EDSA Revolution, and I guess that’s only logical.

There’s one particular room that I admired, and it had travel bags, two sofas with a black dress resting on one, a side table with old documents and a head figure of President Marcos, and the object that I liked the most was a piece of white panel board hanging on the wall that was black-painted with a phrase, saying, “For every tear you shed, there will be victory.”

In a separate shelter was President Marcos’ resting place. It was an enclosed, air conditioned room with black-painted walls and was dimly lit. Taking of photos weren’t allowed inside, but I was able to observe his body close enough. His body doesn’t look real anymore due to the excessive make-up and whatever stuff they used to preserve his body. His skin almost seemed like that of a mannequin’s already. Yes, I was that brave enough to stare that close at his peaceful lying corpse. I even tried doing a horizontal bend with my body to measure his height; President Marcos did not seem to be a tall man for me.

It has been decades since the Martial Law. President Marcos had also done great things for the country during his term. Remember, he didn’t start out with Martial Law right away. He first seated like every President who sat before him. I learned in history class back in college that he had accomplished a lot of economical progress for the country. But just as my history professor described it, “minalas siya” with his second term. A lot of calamities simultaneously struck the country, and it was hard to recover. Yes, Martial Law was brutal, but my mom and the older people described it as actually one of the eras where one can see a peaceful street. Media just really had every power of turning someone to be genuinely evil. Of course, I could not answer to those who really had suffered in his hands. But it’s the same thing when the people had impeached President Estrada, and hated to death President Arroyo. I think it would be okay to finally give him a proper burial. Even God forgives, and people are not god.

And for the record, President Ferdinand Marcos was a good-looking guy.

My cute little nephew
After that, we took a visit to my cousin’s place in Batac. Their house was situated in the woods. There were a bunch of forest trees everywhere and the pavement ended with the roads. From the road up to their place was already pure soil, but their house was fairly large. I got to see another nephew of mine, and he was actually calling me tita. Oh, I feel so old. Now that I realize it, I have tons of other cousins who have children, so I have lots of nieces and nephews already. In fact, it’s only in our family that hasn’t produced any grandchildren yet. O_O

Having my cousin, her husband and son join us, we headed to Pangil beach in Currimao to take a swim. What’s amazing in Ilocos is that one does not have to pay entrance to a resort to take a dip in the sea; just go ahead and submerge in any safe place. Haha.. And that’s basically what we did. :)

The rock formations along Pangil seashore were breathtaking. There were no concrete words for me to describe the splendor of the scenery. Especially being on top of the rock formations, oh, such peace and ease it brought to my soul. It’s like having a silent retreat; one can talk to God with the purest and sincerest of heart. It was amazing to sit on top and just watch the waves crashing at the bottom of the rocks, the clouds chasing each other in the sky, and breathe the wind that came splashing through my face. I could say that the long journey was worth it.

We were able to spot a lot of different sea creatures, from a small fish to a starfish. Yes, we spotted a live tiny starfish and witnessed it slowly move from one place to another. The spot we chose certainly was like a sanctuary. Oh how marvelous our awesome God really is. I thank Him every day that it is He, the Lord, who is our God, and no one else.

Ilocos Day 1: Vigan
Ilocos Day 2: Laoag + San Nicolas

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