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4 posts categorized "[Travel] ILOCOS: Laoag City"

Monday, December 25, 2006

Paoay Church

The San Augustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte is One out of the Four Baroque Churches of the Philippines and designated as a World Heritage Site. The Baroque Churches of the Philippines is the official designation to a collection of four Spanish-era churches in the Philippines, upon its inscription to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.

Paoay church by Heritage Conservation Society

The collection is composed of the following:
San Agustin Church in Manila
Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur
San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo

These churches have a unique architectural style known as Earthquake Baroque which called for the emphasis on the buttresses and foundations of these churches to survive earthquakes. The most imposing of these buttresses could be found in Paoay Church, while the true testament of this architecture could be seen in San Agustin Church, Manila, the only structure in Intramuros to survive World War II. (Read More... Wikipedia on Baroque Churches of the Philippines...)

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.The programme aims to catalogue, name, and conserve sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humankind. (Read More: Wikipedia on World Heritage Site)

You should never miss this and I made that mistake a couple of times already because I was not informed about the historical significance of this place. You should read this article by Heritage Conservation Society:

"The church was started by the Augustinian Fr. Antonio Estavillo in 1694. It was completed in 1710 and rededicated in 1896, just three years before the expulsion of Spanish rule in the country. The style of the church has been dubbed “Earthquake Baroque” by Alicia Coseteng, one of the early authorities on colonial church architecture. Because the buttresses extend out considerably from the exterior walls, the entire visual experience becomes three-dimensional, unlike most of the churches in the country where the inherent beauty of the church is limited only at the facade." (Read More: Heritage Conservation Society: on Earthquake Baroque: Paoay Church in the Ilocos)
Links and Resources Wikipedia Heritage Conservation Society in the Philippines

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Sand Dunes of Ilocos

Microsoft 5th Quest

This is only place in the Philippines where you can find a desert in the seemingly endless coastal sand dunes of Suba. It is about an hour's walk along the beach from Fort Ilocandia. It is quite an exercise and walking in these sand dunes feels like meditating. The sky feels a little bit closer. It is a an awesome place for reflection. I suggest that you walk during early morning and ensure that it won't rain.

Microsoft 5th Quest

Microsoft 5th Quest

Microsoft 5th Quest

Microsoft 5th Quest

Links:
The Sand Dunes of Ilocos by Our Awesome Planet

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

[Fort Ilocandia #2] The Youngest Quester @ Microsoft CIO 5th Quest

Microsoft 5th Quest


To my dearest son Aidan,

I'm sure you won't remember this already but I'll share with you our 3 day adventure during the 5th Microsoft CIO Summit last Oct. 19-21, 2006. We had fun and we always love traveling with you. Your mom and I loves to travel, eat and discover new places. You are exactly 21 months old at this time. This is our second time in Fort Ilocandia thanks to the Microsoft team. Yes, you are the youngest delegate to this Microsoft summit. If you chose to be in the IT field, someday, you'll be joining these summits too.

I'll share with you the highlights of our trip...

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Friday, November 03, 2006

[Fort Ilocandia #1] a Fort Ilocandia Affair

Fort Ilocandia

"Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino, the only 5-star resort in Northern Luzon. A spanish Moroccan inspired villa. "

This is the official marketing tagline of Fort Ilocandia. What they did not tell you is that it is a spanish Moroccan inspired villa with a chinese accent. It is an open secret that Fort Ilocandia is marketing to taiwanese gambler and chinese golfers. Golf and Casino is its biggest asset and with its proximity to China, this resort needs to attract tourist who has money. That is why all around the vicinity, you can see chinese poster, chinese rates and chinese TV stations, that would make you feel out-of-place in your own home country.

It is a 5 star resort indeed. If you come here via road trip it is like an oasis of city amenities in the middle of provincial neighborhood. When you are driving for almost 10 hours, seeing Fort Ilocandia is like seeing a Fortress in the North. You can opt to fly via Cebu Pacific directly to Laoag airport and it would only take you an hour to arrive here. The cost of a one way flight is equal or even cheaper than the cost of fuel going to the North. I prefer the road trip because you are not trap inside the resort and be held hostage with the activities and tours offered by the resort. You also control your time and itinerary if you have your own car -- that's the way I like it.

All the comforts you would need in a resort can be found here. But I would argue, why go all the way to the North and just experience city amenities in the resort? It is true that there are all sorts of activities that would keep you occupied. They have a hot air balloon for P900/person/flight (P1,400 on weekends) where the balloon would rise up to 20 meters above the ground and you can enjoy it for 15 minutes. There is a firing range (P550/ shot), golf driving range (P600/hour), paint ball (1,000/hour/ 100 rounds), wind surfing (P300/hr), and an all terrain vehicle (P550/ 20 mins) where there is a sandy track along the beach. There are tour packages of Laoag City for P750/person, and a Pagudpud tour for P900/ person. Again, I would argue, if you are already in the north you really need to explore the different churches, the heritage sites, the market place, see the Laoag mansions, or head over to Pagudpud. It would be expensive if you would just treat Fort Ilocandia as a sleeping destination.

C'mon, let Aidan tour you inside Fort Ilocandia and let you decide for yourself if it is worth coming here or not.

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