Our last business trip took us on a road trip to Laoag. It was sort of unexpected, as the original plan was for us to leave Monday night. However, due to conflicting schedules, we left Manila last Thursday night and drove to Laoag for 10 hours.
We reached the Fort Ilocandia Hotel at 5am on Friday. I was the only girl in our group and got my own room:
We freshened up and proceeded to a breakfast meeting at the hotel. After about an hour or so, I rested for 30 minutes and we were off again to another meeting. I was finally able to get some much needed zzzzzz's at 4pm until about dinner time at 8pm. Our group retired early for the night.
I woke up early on Saturday morning, with the sun just about to set. I opened the curtains and saw this view:
I stepped out to the veranda and took advantage of the tranquility.
After breakfast, I was able to take a few shots:
and take a quick look at the mini zoo:
Fort Ilocandia Hotel is highly recommended for families. There is everything for everyone here. No one will surely get bored. They have numerous facilities and offer various activities ranging from archery, billiards, shooting range, paintball, horseback riding, all terrain vehicle and even hot air balloon riding. They also have a casino and 2 different bars inside the property. Their golf course is located about 10 minutes away.
(Shameless plug: The hotel now offers free WiFi access to their guests.)
That afternoon, we took a short drive to Paoay
and had a late lunch at Herencia Cafe, which is right across the famous Paoay Church. The restaurant has an old Filipino ambiance, with antique wooden furniture. What caught my attention was that some of the table legs were actually that of antique sewing machines. We ordered the restaurant's Ilocandia Pasta and Ilocandia Pizza. The pasta was so-so, but I loved the thin crust pizza topped with slices of Ilocos longganisa
Herencia Cafe also serves the famous Pinakbet Pizza, but our group wasn't brave enough to try it, haha.
We went back to the hotel in time for another meeting. Afterwards, we were all drained and homesick. We had a couple of beers that night and ordered Crispy Pata for pulutan.
On Sunday morning, we finalized the renegotiated deal and fine details. We checked out of the hotel at 11am. We were finally going home!
A road trip to Ilocos would not be complete without a stop to Vigan
We had empanada and okoy for lunch
I also bought Vigan Longganisa and Royal Bibingka as pasalubong for my girls.
To avoid the traffic in San Fernando, La Union, we took a diversion road which winded just before the turn to Poro Point on the other side of the road. Our next stop for a quick cigarette break was on the side of the road somewhere in La Union
We made another stop in Rosario, La Union to gas up and stretch our legs. We decided to stick to the National Highway rather than take the alternate route in Pangasinan as it was getting dark. Luckily, Urdaneta in Pangasinan was not congested with traffic. For dinner, we stopped in Caltex along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). We were shocked with all the people who were there. The parking lots and restaurants were all full. We wanted to dine at Razon's but the line was too long and there were no vacant tables. We settled for Kenny Roger's Roasters instead. Because we were all homesick, we lamented that the other people were about to end their weekend while ours were just about to start ... boohoo.
I finally got home at 11pm. It was a 12 hour trip back.