Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Am an Explorer!: Conquering Ilocos...on Video

"Explore your mind, discover yourself. There are heroic possibilities waiting to be discovered in every person.– a memorable genius once said

It’s an amazing feeling when you put on your adventurer’s hat, eager to explore a new place and in the process, you end up discovering new things about yourself. An untapped potential you didn’t know was there and was just waiting to be unraveled.

Last May, my siblings and I packed our bags on a three-day, two-night getaway to one of the country's hottest summer destinations, Ilocos. This three-day vanishing act couldn’t have come at a better time. I was more burned out than an effigy at an anti-PGMA rally, and was dying to get away from the pre-election craze. And what could be a better escape than the swirling turquoise tubes of Pagudpud and the lovely smell of beach spray? Or perhaps, a plateful of Vigan longganisa on the side?

So we gleefully embarked on our evening flight to Laoag almost bursting with anticipation. Our first night in Ilocos was spent sleeping and cooling our socks at Northview Hotel, a budget-friendly inn which was a five-minute drive from Laoag International Airport.

 facade of Northview Hotel

The real action began on the second day when we explored the lusty, lusty sun, sand and sea of Pagudpud. We took an almost two-hour ride in an aircon-less bus on our way to the coastal resort town (fare is at P60). Upon arrival at the town proper, we hired a tricycle driver to give us a Pagudpud tour for just a thousand pesos. To sweeten the pot further, we sat down and tantalized our taste buds at a nearby carinderia with an exquisite Ilocano breakfast: dinengdeng, bagnet and the to-die-for Vigan longganisa.

gateway to Pagudpud

We had time to burn what we ate when we took the 1.5- kilometer trek to the majestic Kabigan Falls in Brgy. Balaoi. Jeepneys or even motorcycles are not allowed in the area so we had no choice but to take a sun-splashed walk across rice fields and shallow rivers. If you think this will just be another leisurely trek, think again. The trail runs across low cliffs and dips down to some rocks that could get slippery. Despite that, the trail is too scenic too ignore. You could find yourself stopping sometimes and just admiring the lush greenery.

the trail to Kabigan Falls

 the 90-ft. Kabigan Falls

Next stop was the Patapat Viaduct, a concrete coastal bridge that connects the Maharlika Highway from Laoag to the Cagayan Valley Region. We posed for a few pictures before hitting the road and leapfrogging to the piece de resistance of this trip – the Blue Lagoon!

Patapat Viaduct

 polvoron-like sand of Blue Lagoon

The beach is L-O-V-E! No amount of advanced information could really prepare you for the beauty of the mesmerizing Blue Lagoon beach. The moment I laid my eyes on it, I wanted to run like a five-year old and bury my head under its polvoron- like sand. Equally-fetching are the Bantay Abot Caves, the Timmangtang Rock and the famed Bangui Windmills which are not hard to miss on the way to the beach.

 clockwise: Blue Lagoon, Timmangtang Rock, Bantay Abot Caves and the Bangui Windmills

We all got into Annie Leibovitz mode and started taking pictures. And that’s when inspiration hit me: this place is too stunning to be frozen in a photograph. It should be captured on a moving medium that could give justice to its natural beauty….Yes, I should make a music video, right here! In Ilocos!

Armed with my dependable digicam and the instincts of an amateur, I set out to explore the creative possibilities of handheld filmmaking. I choose to lipsynch to a cheeky track by one of my favorite artists, Michael Penn. Soon enough, I was having more fun in this trip than ever. Instead of the usual plethora of a bazillion blurred pictures, I bobbed my head and sang along with Michael Penn all the while capturing it on video.

 from top: interior of St. William's Cathedral, the Sinking Bell Tower and the Marcos Museum

The day that followed was spent taking more video shots at the historic town of Vigan. Our timetable was littered with visits to the St. William’s Cathedral, the Sinking Bell Tower and the Marcos Museum in Batac.

 Paoay Church

A major highlight was our detour to the breathtaking Paoay Church (St. Augustine Church), a UNESCO World Heritage site famed for its unique 16th century “Earthquake Baroque” architecture. But the real treat was the calesa ride down the quiet, cobblestone streets of Heritage Village (for P50) right in the heart of Vigan. It was a transporting experience to stroll down alleys upon alleys of colonial architecture. It leaves you in a pensive mood and gives you a better appreciation of the past. I wasted no time in setting up my camera and doing silly bits for my video.

 Heritage Park

My Ilocos trip was memorable in so many levels. First, as a traveler with an insatiable wanderlust, I was able to discover the crystal-clear beaches of Ilocos Norte and the heritage of the south. Second, as an explorer who continues to find new avenues of self-growth, I was able to unravel my knack for filmmaking and revel in it. And so without further ado, let me show you the music video I filmed in Ilocos. (see video below).

Proof that Dora isn’t the only explorer around these parts. “I am an Explorer and I use IE8!”.

Mirro sings No Myth from Silverscreen Surfer on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. the video is awesome! makes me wanna go back to pagudpud!


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