Sprint to North Luzon - March 17 &18, 2011

Disclaimer: My "Sprint to North Luzon" posts do not serve as a travel guide.

"Sprinted to North Luzon" is not a planned vacation but just a weekend of going to the provinces, as many employed city workers do. Despite this, we managed to squeeze in a lot of travel sites (such as Pagudpod and Vigan) and still get back to work on a Monday.

Having a simple job in a small company, I managed to apply and get approved for a one day leave in just a week's notice.  We applied for a Friday leave.  On a Thursday, March 17, we left Manila trying to catch 12AM bus trip with a signboard "Laoag".  In Pasay, Manila you could find all these buses but we have a favorite bus lines called "PARTAS".  Their terminal can be found beside MRT Station in EDSA-Taft.

This type of bus is the new "deluxe" type of bus of "Partas" which can be had for a reasonable increase in fee.  I advise to get this type as it is spacious and has a lot of leg room, aside from less road noise which is helpful to get your night's sleep.
Call Partas' office first and ask when this type of bus is available as the bus is very rare, probably one only in their fleet.

This picture is quite brighter than it really is. The bus lighting is conducive for sleeping.

Tip:  Have the curtains closed as I found the street lamps and lights from the window to be distracting.
First stop of the bus in San Fernando, Pampanga in which someone had to pee, either a passenger or the bus driver.  I took this shot of Landbank sign and found the time to be at almost 5 AM, 5 hours of travel from Pasay.  This is pretty fast since the bus rarely slowed.
We are close to our destination at Balaoan, La Union.
We arrived 30 minutes from San Fernando and the people in the house are awake already.  I guess they sleep very early.
It's actually a surprise visit for this kid as it's her birthday.  We brought her gifts which I'm sure she really liked.

Wow, nice village they have here.

This is where they store the not yet milled rice grains and it does look like a house.  Nice.

Silly kid asking me to have her pictures taken and we're here in this hut for her birthday celebration.

Our lunch composed of pansit, sandwiches, lumpia, and orange juice.

I took some pics while they had a small conversation after the short but fulfilling lunch.

I took this pic while we wait for a bus heading to Laoag.  This is at 1:23 pm, the start of our epic journey to Pagudpod!

Buses sure do have entertainment as evidenced by the kid in the picture.
Compared to most kids, she's the most behaved I have ever been with while travelling.  She's so good at it that she managed to stay good for the rest of the trip.
Not yet Vigan.  Don't worry, we'll be there on another day.
Good girl! To ease her boredom, we  played some simple teasing, tickling, and playing.

 At last, at 6:10 pm, we're in Laoag!

We're dropped to Partas terminal in Laoag, we're quite unsure on where to go next.  Luckily, we overheard a girl in the bus who is going to Pagudpod.  She's very helpful and is a resident of Pagudpod.  We went with her, got a tricycle, and headed to another bus terminal.

This is the only picture that I managed to get of the bus.  It is an non-air-conditioned bus and is filled with people which is why I'm quite unsure of bringing out my digital camera.  The bus fee is only 75 pesos from Laoag to Pagudpod and it would take two hours to get there.  The long trip is made easier when we got near the view of the Bangui Windmills as they're quite large and eerie under the moonlit sky.

We got to Pagudpod around 8pm. With the help of our Pagudpod resident and guide, she got us into a nice and reasonably priced lodge name RLYN'S store.  The only problem we encountered is food to eat for dinner.
We searched but left with no choice to a resort called Saud.  It was long and a dark walk from the guard entrance to the restaurant.
Menu is quite expensive.  I reckon, more expensive than what can be found to reasonably priced restaurants in Boracay.

I think, this is priced at around 50 pesos so I got only one and also the fact that their last orders is 9pm.
It was not good for the price at around 300 pesos.  Their Sinigang na baboy tasted ordinary though I appreciate the "baboy damo" or wild pig meat they used.
The living room at the second floor of RLYN'S store.

They slept early while I did some low light camera testing such as below.  This is 15 second shutter speed shot and I turned this to Black and White since the colors are awful. After this, I took a cold shower since they don't have a heater. Worse, RLYN's store does not provide bath towels, only a piece of soap.  After taking a bath and using my used clothes as a drying towel, I found that the beach is also filled with videoke music which I find hard to sleep easily.  
No big deal for an aspiring adventurer.  Good Night.

Travelling North such as La Union or Pagudpod without the hassle of land travel?
SeaAir serves flights to Vigan while Philippine Airlines fly to Laoag Daily.

Fly to the North of Luzon with the help of CNM Travel and Tours. They're the only agency that allow you to travel now and pay in a 6 month term at "zero" interest.
Go here at CNM's website to get their numbers and look for Khrizia regarding your inquiries.