NOTED NCR Road Trip (Third of Four Parts)

Bounded by the South China Sea on the north and west, the Cordillera Mountain Range and the province of Cagayan on the east, and the town of Bangui on the south, Pagudpud has been called the Boracay of the North, minus the party noise. It is therefore ideal for relaxation.

Very early the next morning (April 28), we went out to enjoy the sun, the clear blue sky, the sparkling blue waters, and the brownish white sand of Pagugpud beach. After a quick breakfast, we dove in and enjoyed the cool and refreshing waves.

Beach time! From left: Paolo Sison (my nephew), Rod Duque of PNU (Metrobank Outstanding Teacher (MOT) 1992), Eppie Tabbada of TIP (MOT 1997 and NOTED NCR President), me (MOT 2010 and NOTED NCR VP), Sally Calabucal of Makati SPED (MOT 2003 and NOTED NCR BM), and Raquel Pasigpasigan of La Concordia (MOT 1993).

From Pagudpud, we made a short stop in Bangui to see the windmills, and another short stop in Pasuquin to buy some of its famous biscocho. Our next major stop was the massive yet graceful church of St. Augustine in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, which, for some reason, took 200 years from 1694 to 1894 to build. Built of coral rocks (its bell tower is made entirely of coral stone) and brick, and designed with baroque, gothic, and oriental influences, this church is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines.

View of Paoay Church from Herencio Café, where we sampled their special pizzas -- diningding, longganisa, dinuguan, and bagnet. Best for me was the longganisa pizza. (Their service was terribly slow, though.) Thanks for the treat, Raquel!

From Paoay church, we then drove to the neo-gothic Augustinian church in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, now called the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity, and then to the baroque St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral in the Historic City of Vigan. The city itself is another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From the cathedral, it was a short walk to Calle Crisologo, a half-kilometer cobblestoned street flanked by well-preserved 18th century houses. There I bought special Vigan bibingka for the CCS secretaries, and Vigan longganisa and bagnet for my family and pastor.

Horse-drawn calesas are the only vehicles allowed on cobblestoned Calle Crisologo. There are many “calesa seats” like this along the street’s sidewalks. Are they merely decorative, or are they for weary travelers? Both I guess.

Next: What I will always remember about this trip

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