Ilocos Solo/ Joiner trip

When you say Ilocos, first thing that would probably pop up in my silly head is Bagnet, Dinengdeng and the ever famous longanisa… Yeah I know..I love to eat. But also, Ilocos is a region in the Philippines which is known for its historic sites, beaches and the well-preserved Spanish colonial city of Vigan.

Been wanting to do the “byaheng Norte ” for a while but a DIY trip seems to be way out of my budget and traveling from one place to another is not exactly that easy. So instead , I had this brilliant idea of joining a group tour for only 3000 php (60 USD) including transportation, accommodation and entrance fees for the tourist sites.
I joined BBM travel and tours since their schedule works for me and I have used them when we did our Sagada trip.  Since I am a saling pusa ” joiner” I gotta meet the rest of the group in Mall of Asia which I later found out that I am joining two families.. so  yeah I’m definitely the “saling pusa”

One thing that you have to remember if you are joining a group tour is never ever arrive late and be considerate! there are specific time allotted in visiting every destinations  so maartes and primadonas are a   def a NO NO..
Travel time from Manila to Vigan is approximately 6-7 hrs. I suggest leaving at night time since it’s less traffic,  less hassle and if you are not driving, just sleep.

Fist stop : Vigan Calle Crisologo – We arrived in Vigan before 5 AM which is perfect for taking pictures of the ever famous Calle Crisologo showcasing the street with its famous lights and less photo bombers.

The cobblestone streets lined with heritage houses is just amazing..

Calle Crisologo in the Morning.



Next is the Baluarte Zoo,  which is own by Chavit Singson . For me, it  is just a so-so place to visit.  Tho I got chased by some evil wandering Ostrich which made my day a bit exciting, other than that… no comment… hahaha

This is the evil bird…

3rd stop is…. Bantay Bell Tower & Church – this 400ish old tower served as a watchtower for pirates back in the Spanish era ( I just googled this hahaha ) .  This is also a memorable place for me since this I believe is where I lost my lucky hat… sad face…

Then off we go to Juan and Antonio Luna Shrine and Museum – These Ilocano brothers, the general and the painter played a big role in our Filipino History.  I’m not gonna dwell on that, since I suck in history.. lol

One of Antonio Luna’s work of art


Then,  there’s  the  “Malacañang of the North”  – This is where the Marcoses used to live.


My favorite destination is the Sand Dunes – It’s seriously fun! a bit scary but it’s all worth it. Price for a 45 minutes ride is 2500 php , good for 5 pax so we ended up paying 500 php each  and unlimited sand boarding.   If you go to Norte this is a MUST to do guys.

The driver will take you to the shore too while taking the ride and you can do a bit of a siesta.

At night, you can go visit the sinking bell tower and explore Laog city.

Next is the old Bacarra church ..

Then of course while in Ilocos never miss to try the famous Empanada.. it had veges, meat and egg inside and….. you gotta eat it with vinegar.. only for 35php

Since this is a 3 D/ 2N  trip,  the next day we started our journey  by  visiting  Cape Bojeador lighthouse. It had a nice view over looking the sea.

Next is  Kapurpurawan windmills and rock formation.

Just to give you a heads up guys.. Ilocos is scortching hot hot hot so wear your sunnies and bring hats or umbrellas.

Then off we go to….. the Bangui windmills which is the mother of all windmills in Ilocos.


Of course  this trip will never be completed without a beach destination😁. What can I say?  I am beach person.. hehe

On your way to Pagudpud.. taking a pic of Patapat Viaduct is a must!

Then finally.. here we are.. Pagudpud beach which feels like you’re already at the end of  Luzon 😂


All in all it was a fun  and so worth it  byaheng Norte. Massive thanks to BBM tours for making my Ilocos trip possible without hurtinh my pocket 😁


Bolinao Daytrip from Manila

I’ve only been to Pangasinan twice and it was my first time in Bolinao and tho Pangasinan is one of the many destinations for a quick getaway from the bustling Manila, travelling to Bolinao can be a pain in the arse.. like literally!

How to get there

The most convenient way will be by car but if you are commuting there are buses from Pasay and Cubao such as Victory line 5 Star and Dagupan bus.

Travel time is approximately 6-7 hrs depending on the bus route. We took the Victory bus via Alaminos and it was definitely a bad choice! we could have just picked the more direct route . Also, these buses picks up passengers in almost every town along the way. Fare is around 450-500 PHP (8-10 USD) per way.

Upon arriving Bolinao , just right outside the bus terminal you can use your haggling skill and hire a tricycle for a full day tour. Standard rate is 1200 PHP ( good for 4 pax). If you’re that good in negotiating, they might give it to you for 800 php. But honestly if you’re not traveling solo I’d settle with the standard rate , like what I always say… help the locals. Imagine how big of a help would it be to manong driver if you pay him 1200 that could feed his whole family :-).

What to Visit
Falls, 1,2 and 3
Let me warn you, it will be a hell of ride going to these falls. It’s far from the city center and the road is very very bumpy and dusty. Felt like I was on the tricycle for hours and can’t feel me bum….

Since it is the farthest, we first visited Falls # 03. When we get there it’s not yet crowded so we were able to take some good pictures  w/o people photobombing the view ,hehe and btw, there is an entrance fee of 50 PHP per pax same goes in visiting falls 1 and 02.

I was a bit disappointed with falls  2 and ended  up not visiting falls #1.  It’s summer so water is low and you can hardly see the waterfalls, it’s super super tiny and its swamped with people wearing orange life jackets.. so we skipped the last one to save 50php.

Next we visited the “Wonderful Cave “Entrance fee is 100php.

If you’ve been to Bantayan Cebu, you can compare it to Ogtong cave tho a smaller version. Water is cold and clear and perfect for my achy body due to the long bumpy ride to the falls.

There’s also one  cave that you may visit called “Enchanted Cave” but when we asked manong  driver if it will be ideal to go there he said that it wont be due to the massive  crowd.  Also it is the holy week so tourist are expected.

So instead…we went straight to the Rock Formation as they call it which surprisingly charges 75php per person..

Next stop is the Light House which to my relief, there’s no entrace fee hahaha

And I really can’t help but notice this….

Our last stop was the ever famous “Patar Beach” it’s a public beach so it’s for free!! Cottages are for rent tho. Since this is a public beach expect the crowd and mind your stuff, needless to explain why..  Also, there are  souvenir shops at the entrance  so as food stalls and turo-turo.  If  you will be renting cottages you can also cook your own food.

The beach is generally nice but it saddens me to see some trash  floating together with the beach bummers!Seriously people, please be responsible with your own rubbish!

Patar beach as well is known for its picturesque sunset which you shouldn’t miss but we did!! Hahaha

If you have plenty of time, you can also do a  side trip in hundred Islands😊