Ilocos Norte Diaries 2

 

 

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Touchdown Laoag. I really like this idea of walking across the tarmac. It reminds me of my childhood.

 

Here is the next part of our Ilocos Norte Diaries. The reason we went to Ilocos Norte was to attend Himala Sa Buhangin. See the fabulous photos here. Now let me piece together stories from our four day trip.

 

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Laoag International Airport is beautiful

 

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Everything works – the aircon, conveyor belt, extra fans.

 

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The bathrooms are new and well-maintained. All stalls have rolls of toilet paper. There is proper (not watered-down) liquid hand soap at the lavatory. There’s even a sink for kids, also with hand soap. The hand dryer is working. There’s a separate bathroom for persons with disabilities. There’s a diaper changing table for infants. This is what all our local airports should be like.

 

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I love how those arched windows and local bricks reflect the heritage of Ilocano architecture. The airport looks great for something built in the early 80’s. Proof that a little maintenance can go a long way.

 

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Our Ilocos Norte adventures started in the sand dunes of Paoay. We stayed at a nearby private guest house.

 

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What do people wear in sand dunes? Shorts, cotton tshirts, head gear, slippers, sunglasses. Unless you are that man who is comfortable in jeans and running shoes. (I cannot imagine the heat and all that sand in the shoes). When we got there, I bought five “good morning” towels so all of us could ward off some dust. There were 4×4 races and other festivities during that weekend of Himala.

 

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Sand castle competition.

 

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We did our own 4×4 off-roading adventure.

 

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Then the Vice Mayor of Paoay saw us and treated us for a ride in his custom pink buggy. Of course the girls loved it!

 

This video shows what goes on in a 4×4 Ilocano adventure. I had not felt this alive in a very long time. (There was one adult for each of my kids while we went down the sand dunes. They loved it!)

 

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The morning of our departure, the kids went back to the sand dunes.

 

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Lily tried sand-boarding sitting down

 

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So did Soph.

 

I love this crazy video of Sophia attempting to do it standing …

 

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With “Superstar” Nora Aunor at the Himala presscon.

 

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The night of the Himala festival, those colourful tents were filled with people.

 

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Eliza and I went in comfortable clothing.

 

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I was presented with a Daphne® chair cupcake by a local baker Ava’s Cakes

 

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I’d never seen anything so intricate. Thank you Ava’s Cakes. I’m going to want this in my next/future event.

 

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Confession, the kids ate the cupcake but I kept the fondant Daphne chair.

 

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The lovely family of Ava’s Cakes.

 

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It was amazing to see the culmination of all the hard work and vision by the provincial team.

 

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Fire dancers

 

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Belly dancers

 

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Eliza and one of the Ilocos tour guides in the moshpit before a gazillion people came in.

 

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Word got out that Bamboo had arrived.

 

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Within seconds, the crowd thickened.

 

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To this.

 

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And this.

 

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It was amazing to see different genres of music and dance. I even heard Ilocano hiphop. Awesome. Kids were belly dancing!

 

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With Nicole of the Provincial office and Eliza. I have to say it was my first time to attend a party like this – in the middle of the desert sands of Paoay with awesome music and company. Now I can’t wait to do it again.

 

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So you think I had fun in Ilocos Norte?

 

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A little bit?

 

For information on Ilocos Norte Tourism check out www.tourismilocosnorte.com. Part One of my Ilocos Norte Diaries about Leeroy New’s art installation here. And the one about new developments and old favourites like Paoay church and Batac empanada here.

 

 

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