The rain pattered through the cold bus window as we navigated the evening traffic through EDSA. We buzzer-beat the time and were soon loading our bags through the back of the rented van we’ll be calling home for a three-day jaunt in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.
With two beautiful models and four photographers aboard--two more waiting along the way--I made myself comfortable, plugged in my ultra-morose Ryan Adams playlist, covered my eyes with my Headware and tried to sleep off the ten-hour ride to the Ilocos Region.
After innumerable stops and starts, including a mini shoot at Banaoang Bridge at the town of Bantay near Vigan City, I opened my eyes and was greeted by a glorious sunrise along the road. Everyone was still asleep and I was too shy to ask the driver to stop for another quickie sunrise shoot.
By 6am, we were having breakfast at Laoag City. While they were ordering McMuffins and what-nots, I roamed the empty streets, passing bikers along the massive St. Williams Cathedral. The weather was so fine and the light beautifully radiant, not a bad way to start the trip, I thought.
Walking about, looking for an alternative to McDonald’s, I came across Gilbert Bridge. It spans the Padsan River and connects the City of Laoag and the municipality of San Nicolas. I would’ve checked the river too if I weren’t pressed for time; I still haven’t found my local breakfast yet.
With no other choice, I finally surrendered to McDo. After a quick munch munch, we regrouped at the parking lot, waiting for the others that have roamed off. I looked up and saw an exotic looking bird perched on electric wires. Fumbling out my superzoom, I managed to take a single photo before it flew off.
And we soon flew too; the first stop in our list, Ilocos Sur’s Bangui Windmills.
But a van-load of photographers can have more stops than a camera exposure.
We were soon stopping again for a chance to shoot a bit of seascapes at Burgos’s crashing shore. I half-ran to the far end of the rocky beach, planted my tripod, screwed my darkest filter, set the timer and pressed the shutter. I can feel the northern wind once again, let’s have it Ilocos!
How to get to Ilocos from Manila
There are numerous bus lines plying the Manila-Ilocos route, passing Ilocos Sur where Vigan City is located, Ilocos Norte where Laoag City is situated and going up as far as Pagudpud.
Here’s a list of Ilocos Buses from Manila: Florida Bus, Farinas Transit Company, Dominion Transit (Up to Vigan Only), Franco Frederico Lines, Maria de Leon Transit, Partas Transportation Company, Philippine Rabbit, Viron Transportation, RCJ Transit