Day four of Lakbay Norte 3 found us at an al fresco breakfast at the veranda of Malacañang ti Amianan or the Malacañang of the North. I cannot believe I am eating my share of Ilocano dishes right at the official residence of a former President of the Philippines.
A mouthful of garlic longanisas, crispy espadas, egg omelets and some fruits later and we were exploring the grand interior of the Marcos’s home.
The group was then divided into two; one was going to do some bird watching and the other paddle boarding. As per my experience at the Candaba Swamp, I know that the chances of catching some birds depend on how early you can be on their grounds; so I went with the bird group first.
It was only a few minutes ride to the bird-watching platform at the other side of Lake Paoay, but unfortunately, the sun was already way too high and we hardly saw any of the twenty listed birds sighted in the area. What we got were a few egrets and a bunch of local ducks instead.
We then transferred Paoay lake National Park Protected Landscape to see if we can spot a few more of our feathered friends but with no apparent success.
Back at the shores of Malacañang, the first batch was still not done with their paddleboards. Since there was only one instructor and with the wind picking up, only one person per session is allowed to venture out into the lake. No one has fallen off the board yet and the anticipation was building for someone to finally get dunked in the water. I of Victory Liner did the honors to everyone’s hoots and cheers.
The group did a quick Temptation Island poses at the Sand Dunes of Paoay before proceeding to Batac for a late lunch. Batac is known for their excellent empanadas and that was what we were having for chow.
Ilocos’ empanadas are quite unique in that it uses rice flour colored with achuete for crust. The fillings are a mix of garlic longanisas, eggs, bean sprouts and grated papaya’s instead of the usual meat dishes found on local bakeries.
I had a double double (a filling of two eggs and two longanisas) before moving to the next course which was a hot bowl of miki. Totally and absolutely full, I got myself four bags of Nana Rosa’s Chichacorn (a bit pricey, but it is the best chichacorn ever) before boarding the bus.
It took five more hours before our soles got to touch land again, this time at the Mediterranean-styled Thunderbird Resort in San Fernando City. The white and blue walls transported us to Santorini and I was just gawking upwards at the domed lobby painted with Atlantisian murals.
We feasted on penne pastas, smoking kebabs, lemon chickens, beef teriyakis, sweet cakes and fresh fruits. It was just unfortunate that we were unable to stay overnight at Thunderbird and we have to move to San Juan to bed down.
But our bed was the farthest thing from our mind as the bloggers congregate around the pool and E of SoloflightEd started his impromptu SEO talk which eventually evolved into a chika-minute session and finally into a podcast interview. It was 2:30am when I finally plunked down on the soft bed of Kahuna Beach Resort, I can almost hear the boarding time call.
L A K B A Y N O R T E 3 S E R I E S
ON THE ROAD: LAKBAY NORTE 3 CAVING AT NORZAGARAY & BASS FISHING AT PANTABANGAN DAM
TOPLOADING & WHITEWATER RAFTING AT KALINGA | SHOOTING LANDSCAPES & SURFING AT THE BLUE LAGOON
PADDLE BOARDING & BIRDWATCHING AT PAOAY | HIKING AT HOLCIM’S ECOTRAIL & AIRSOFT AT BAGUIO COUNTRY CLUB
RIVER CRUISE AT DAGUPAN & GO KARTING AT TARLAC | JUNGLE SURVIVAL, SPA TIME & PINOY HENYO AT SUBIC
PUNING’S HOT SPRINGS & LUBAO’S PRADO FARM
HOW I JOINED LAKBAY NORTE 3 LAKBAY NORTE 3! | PICKED 4 LAKBAY NORTE 3!
LAKBAY NORTE IS AN ANNUAL MEDIA FAMILIARIZATION TOUR AROUND NORTH LUZON
ORGANIZED BY NORTH PHILIPPINES VISITORS BUREAU