Day 3: On the road to Ilocos Norte: Buguey and Claveria
Our first stop on the bus ride from Cagayan to Ilocos Norte was at the coastal town of Buguey, also known as “the crab capital of the north.” We were warmly welcomed by our hosts with fresh buko juice and crab sandwiches as an appetizer to a sumptuous seafood feast at the El Presidente Beach Resort.
Everyone proceeded to take photos of the beautifully plated crab dishes which we learned had been prepared by practicum students. Aside from steamed crabs, crab claws (which had already been thoughtfully cracked open) and crabs cooked in a half shell with quail’s eggs and raisins on top, there were also large plates of shrimps, breaded prawns, oysters, seaweed, fresh fruits and their local delicacy bocayo (coconut candy).
During the meal, we were entertained with cultural and traditional dances. I tried to get picture-taking out of the way at once so that I could keep my camera and focus on the food. Crabs and shrimps are best eaten with bare hands and the sight of thick orange aligue as I cracked a large shell open was just heavenly. Later on, I noticed another soup dish with clams and kilawin oysters on another table when I went to wash my crab-stained hands, but by that time I was too full to try those. We also got to sample locally made lambanog made from nipa palm and a lambanog berry juice cocktail.
As if the lunch was not enough, our generous hosts at Buguey gave us sets of coconut candy and lambanog to add to our growing pasalubong pile. They even offered to let us take some crabs home, and as much as I wanted to take it, I had to politely decline as it was only the third day of the tour and thought it might spoil during the trip.
After 2-3 hours of snacking on Chippy, Cloud 9 and other snacks in the bus, we arrived in the town of Claveria — just in time for merienda! But before that, we took a quick trip to Claveria Cove and Lakay-Lakay Blue lagoon where colorful fishing boats lined the sandy shore.
Despite the intermittent rain that prevented us from getting decent photos of the place, I found the lagoon picturesque, framed by cliffs on either side and a hazy silhouette of islands visible in the distance. We got caught in a downpour again while visiting the lagoon.
Back in the municipal hall of Claveria, we paid a courtesy call to Mayor Celia Layus and other town officials and were treated to a snack of buko juice, palitaw and perfectly warm and comforting ginataan.
After a couple more hours on the road, we finally got to the other side of Luzon, Ilocos Norte. It was dark and the rain had gotten really strong by the time we got to our third pit stop for the tour – Kapuluan Vista Resort in Pagudpud.
Next up: Kapuluan Vista Resort