As part of the second leg of Lakbay Norte 2 (around the provinces Cagayan and Ilocos), a media familiarization tour organized by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB), I was fortunate to get to see a number places in the North that I’ve never visited and try out some new activities. Here are a few travel firsts from the trip:
Exotic eats. I got to taste tukak (deep-fried frogs), bu-os (ant eggs) and palos (stewed eel) among other dishes during a native Ilocano lunch served by the river in Adams, Ilocos Norte. Though I was afraid to taste the frog because it really looked like a frog’s body despite being fried, the meat actually tasted good (sorry for the cliche – but it tasted just like chicken). The ant eggs were interesting and a little on the salty side. Unfortunately one journalist developed a bad allergy after eating it.
Roller-coaster boat ride: The 40-minute boat ride to Palaui island, a volcanic island just off the coast of Sta. Ana in Cagayan brought us through 10-15 feet high swells. At times we couldn’t even see the boats in front of us because of the waves. Though it rained during the latter part of our visit, the view from Cape Engano, a Spanish lighthouse built in 1892 which sits on top of a hill was well-worth the trip. On one side of the island was the calm cove where our boats had docked, and on the other side were dramatic waves crashing against the rocks. I think the lighthouse ruins would be a great place for themed pre-nup or high fashion-type pictorials if only it were better maintained. While the aged gray walls, moss-covered ceilings and wide window frames make really graphic backdrops, sadly some of the walls have been vandalized by previous visitors.
Sand boarding. It’s not called “devil’s drop” for nothing. The first look down the steep sand dunes in La Paz had a lot of us balking at the thought of speeding down the 25-30 foot high hill into the path of the eager photographers below ready to catch our every fall. It takes a while to get your balance though some in the group were naturals and effortlessly surfed down the dunes without any problem. Others had to recover from a fall halfway or trudge back to the top carrying the boards to get them rewaxed and ready for the next user. Going back up the hill is hard! Better bring some mineral water with you.
4 x 4 ride. The fact that the young driver of our orange 4×4 off-road vehicle likes playing Gran Turismo should have given us a clue what to expect. During the 15-minute ride all around the hills, he drove maniacally (there’s no other word to describe it) off expected paths, blazed his own trails literally and at one point sped up a hill only to suddenly let the vehicle fall back in reverse while we were hanging on to the railings with all our might. Great adrenaline rush! I highly recommend this adventure! 🙂
More posts soon on other adventures during Lakbay Norte 2 …