Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Lakbay Norte 2, Second Leg

Arrival at Tuguegarao Airport

Arriving in style at Adams
The 6-day, North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB)/Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC)-sponsored Lakbay Norte 2, Second Leg, was launched at the NAIA 3 Terminal last March 2, 2011, Wednesday, via Cebu Pacific Air, for Tuguegarao City (Cagayan). 
The tour ended on March 7, Monday, when our Cebu Pacific flight took off from Laoag City (Ilocos Norte) for Manila.  Lakbay Norte 2 covered the 2 Northern Luzon provinces of Cagayan (Tuguegarao City, Gonzaga, Sta. Ana, Buguey and Claveria) and Ilocos Norte (Pagudpud, Adams, Laoag City, Burgos, Pasuquin, Paoay, Batac City). 
Joining again were Ms. Isadora "Izah" Morales of Yahoo! Philippines; Mr. Dandi Galvez of Philippine Star, Mr. Ivan ManDy of Tulay Weekly and Mr. Gabriel "Gabby" Malvar of Travelife Magazine; travel bloggers Mr. Karlo de Leon (www.karlodl.com), Mr. Ferdinand "Ferdz" Decena (www.ironwulf.net) and Ms. Esperanza "Nina" Fuentes (www.justwandering.org).
Newcomers were Ms. Kara Santos of Sunday Inquirer;  Ms. Astra Alegre of Expat Travel and Lifestyle Magazine; Mr. Ian Garcia of Manila Bulletin, Ms. Ida Noelle (a veteran of Lakbay Norte 1) of Living Asia, Ms. Sheryl Songsong of SPACE and Mr. Kenneth del Rosario of Philippine Daily Inquirer; photographers Mr. Kim Nicol Madridejos and Mr. Estan Cabigas; and Ms. Michelle Eve de Guzman, Corporate Communications Specialist at Cebu Pacific Air.  
Eating was a major activity
Doing a segment for Trip na Trip were host  Mr. Franzen Fajardo and Mr. Ron Rivera.  Our trip was again documented by professional photographer Mr. Franklin "Frank" Dizon and newcomer Mr. Roland "Jun" Fontilla, Jr..  
Again joining us was MNTC Senior Marketing Manager Ms. Divina Gracia "Grace" L. Ayento while Ms. Melissa Grace Dizon (Executive Director), Ms. Jesame Nabong (CVB Operations and Event Manager), Michelle Liza "Mishy" Co (Marketing Manager) and Mr. Vince Araneta (Executive Director) represented  NPVB. 
Culinary highlights of our tour include feasting on pansit batil patong in Tuguegarao City, crabs and other seafood in  Gonzaga and Buguey (Cagayan), itlog ti abu-os and kiwet in Adams; poque-poquebagnet and longanisa pizza in Paoay (Ilocos Norte); and empanada in Batac City (Ilocos Norte); and sipped bugnay wine in Adams (Ilocos Norte).  
Lakbay Norte 2 participants also met up with Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Laoag City Mayor Michael V. Farinas, Buguey Mayor Licerio Antiporda II, Claveria Mayor Celia Layus, Sta. Ana Mayor Darwin A. Tobias and Gonzaga Mayor Carlito F. Pentecostes, Jr..
Hiking was another major activity
We also hiked to Anuplig Falls in Adams (Ilocos Norte) and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos (Ilocos Norte); sandboarding and 4x4 offroading at La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag City, observed salt making and biscocho making in Pasuquin (Ilocos Norte); visited the Church of St. Augustine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Paoay (Ilocos Norte) and the Church of St. Monica in Sarrat (Ilocos Norte); visited the Marcos Museums in Sarrat and Batac City and the Malacanang ti Amianan in Paoay; gazed at the expanse of Paoay Lake in Paoay, hopped to Palaui Island and climbed a hill to its century-old lighthouse (Sta. Ana, Cagayan)  and stayed at great resorts and hotels at Sta. Ana (Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort and Eastern Hawaii Casino and Resort), Laoag City (Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center), Currimao (La Playa Tropical Resort) and Pagudpud (Kapuluan Vista Resort). 
For me, the Anuplig Falls hike was the most memorable because of the unique mode of transportation we rode in (a dump truck), the great scenery we passed by during the hike (waterfalls, rice terraces, hanging bridges, crystal clear creeks, forest-cladded mountains, etc.), the exotic food we ate (itlog ti abu-os, kiwet, etc.), the great tasting wine we sipped (bugnay, tapuey, etc.), and the most number of casualties we incurred during the hike (me with a sprained right foot, Sheryl with a foot blister, Jun Fontilla fainting and Kenneth having an allergy attack).  Coming a close second was the death-defying boat ride and scenic hike up to Cape Engano Lighthouse at Palaui Island, and third was the unique sandboarding and the thrilling 4x4 off road vehicle ride at Laoag City.
Start of our thrilling Palaui Island boat ride

Lakbay Norte 2 was made possible through corporate partners Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), the company behind NLEX and SCTEX; Victory Liner, MacDonalds, Smart and Robinsons Land.  Flying V was the official fuel/gas provider for NPVB and Universal Robina Corporation (URC) was the official snack food provider.  Other sponsors were Columbia, R.O.X., Sanuk and Dizitab.  Cebu Pacific was its official airline. 
North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB): 291 St. Joseph St., Oranbo Drive, Pasig City, Metro Manila. Tel: (632) 637-6798. Fax: (632) 631-1674.  E-mail: northphilvisitorsbureau@yahoo.com. Website: www.northphilippines.org.
Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC): NLEX Compound, Balintawak, Caloocan City, Metro Manila.  Tel: (632) 479-3000.  E-mail: corpcomm@mntc.com. Website: www.mntc.com.

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