When traveling to Ilocos, don't ever miss the Patapat Viaduct! The bridge connects Ilocos to the succeeding region of Cagayan. It crosses the slopes of the mountain ranges while providing the best view of the open sea. A common sight on the bridge are parked vehicles equipped with tourists eager to capture photos. Some would dare to sit or lie down in the middle of the road for that one perfect shot, which I actually did. :p 

On the way to Pagudpud, we passed by this picture perfect area. I remember this was taken near the welcome arc. The place reminded me of photos of old calendars, showcasing different scenic views. We also went to the Blue Lagoon and swam the beaches of Pagudpud. Unfortunately, I was already tired when everything happened. So I have no more photos to show.

We were able to visit Ilocos' famous zoo, Baluarte. We only had some sight seeing while riding the e-jeep and exploring the museum showcasing some preserved animals. 

Years ago, I saw an IG photo from South Korea carrying this concept. I find the entire idea cute and to some extent, brilliant. I was happy that Laoag offers this. While everyone is trying to get their best photo in the famous Laoag marker, I stayed in this area. My shallow self is mesmerized. ;)  

Some parts of Ilocos are also known for pottery. We visited a pottery plant and had the chance to experience this traditional process. Just a piece of advice for those with intentions to visit, applying some mosquito repellent spray can help. I had a number of mosquito bites while trying the pottery experience.

Looking at this photo, I quite regret that I wasn't able to buy this candle holder.

The Patapat Viaduct was already a treat for me. On the way home, we also stopped by the Quirino Bridge. The entire sight was too relaxing. Initially, I felt uncomfortable and tired on the long road trip. I was daydreaming of traveling by air if I have more than enough resources. But if I chose such route, I would surely miss this view.

Our final stop was the grape farm in La Union. Yes, this is no longer in Ilocos. This was another revelation for me. I didn't know that there were grape farms thriving in La Union. These can be easily seen along the highway and several farms are offering grape picking for a minimal fee. The usual entrance rate is Php 50. The cost of grape picking was around Php 200 per kilogram. (I'm not really sure.) It might be expensive but as most of you can guess, we don't pay for the grapes but the experience. If you find the rate expensive, don't fret. You can eat unlimited number of grapes while inside the farm. :) 

We arrived quite late in the grape farm, which became a disadvantage. It was a challenge to capture decent photos. The best time to visit the farm is around 3 pm to 4 pm. Usually, during the period before sunset. I intentionally hid my face because my skin was terrible. I was unevenly reddish brown.

This has to be my last post from my Ilocos trip. My deepest gratitude goes to my friend A who arranged everything. Likewise to my friend T for leaving us some helpful tips. I'm also partly indebted to my freelance client who gave me a surprise bonus, hours before the trip. This leaves me, maybe I should once in a while spend my freelance earnings for traveling than shopping. ;) While travel only lasts a few hours or days, the experience it gives me lasts a lifetime.

Every year, it has always been my target to see a new place. As you may know, traveling and sight seeing also meant documenting or taking photos. The Ilocos trip has proven that I need to give up my trusted point and shoot Sony camera. Some photos were actually taken by my camera phone. While the camera phone is great, I noticed that pictures emerge better with a real camera. Even an entry level point and shoot camera can go a long way. This year, my target is to acquire a mirrorless camera. I hope the universe will connive with me. For the longest time, I've been planning to upgrade. I'm claiming it! :) There will be more earnings and a new camera soon.