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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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October 20, 2009

maira-ira: the journey north to blue lagoon

North bound

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

It seemed like we were at that moment. No, not good travelers exactly, but travelers not intent on arriving.

My first clue? A 6-hour wait to board the bus. It was a long weekend, and the PARTAS bus station in Cubao was packed with all sorts of travelers heading north, young and old, and surfer dudes in between. We were at the station by 10PM, but was able to board the bus only at 4AM the next day. By the time we were on the bus, I am already awake for 24 hours. Nevertheless I was happy to start the trip.

Manila to Laoag: 477 km, Laoag to Pagudpud: 78 km. Plenty of time to sleep.

The ride was mostly uneventful. Since it was day time the VERY small highway, ironically its a National Highway, passing through the towns of Pangasinan and La Union was clogged. Our bus crawled. It way past noon and we were still in La Union, halfway to Laoag.

Side trip to Vigan: scrapped. Sunset shoot: out the window.

Most of us are getting restless, well me mostly. I kept checking my travel buddy's map. How far are we from Ilocos? Many times I've been tempted to blurt out "are we there yet?" but looking at my friends weary faces I dared not to.

Finally Ilocos
La Union-Ilocos Sur border

We were probably the subject of the travel gods' practical jokes that day. Just when were about to cross the border into Ilocos Sur, a makeshift traffic light stopped our bus. Road and bridge construction up ahead and there is only one lane.

Enroute to Vigan
"your taxes are working for you"

Several idiots on both sides decided they can't wait and zipped past the warning light, to the chagrin of the traffic enforcer. What do you get if you have several cars on both directions of a one way road? Deadlock. And Deadlock has a sister called Long Wait.

The travel gods' practical jokes didn't stop there. While in a bus stop somewhere in Ilocos Sur for a late lunch, I noticed several of our co-passengers taking their stuff out of the bus and heading to the road side.

When I asked the bus conductor what was up, he nonchalantly replied: "Oh our aircon is busted, they are transferring to a new bus".

"You could have told us sooner! What about the rest of us?", I replied.

"Well you can wait for our bus to be fixed if you want".

I was too tired to protest. Dragged our bags out the bus and headed to the road side. We boarded the next bus that came along, unheeding the protest of the conductor that they are already full. We will get to Pagudpud tonight, by hook or by crook.

The last leg of trip was soothing despite the cramped seats of a small provincial bus. Fresh sea breeze and the thought that soon we will be in Blue Lagoon proved comforting.

By 8PM, after 16 hours of butt-numbing bus rides, we were finally standing on a dark coastal road in Sitio Malingay in Blue Lagoon. And without a place to stay in. It was too dark to look for a place to pitch our tents on.

I cannot recall know how long we went to and fro looking for a place to spend the night. One resort was too classy for our taste (read: way too expensive), the others, home-stay accommodations with a couple of rooms, were fully booked. Finally a kind local offered us the use of his hut.

Spartan Accommodation
our spartan accommodation

The next day I got a first time glimpse of Blue Lagoon. Its a quaint village if you are willing to overlook a glitzy looking resort, lighted like a Christmas tree at night, at one end of the cove. It certainly looked out of place with its villas desecrating the nearby hills.

Sitio Malingay
Sitio Malingay

The sky was overcast but perfect weather for moody photos. We hit the beach while most were still snoozing. Photography first, breakfast later.

Overcast Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon in an overcast morning

We chanced upon a fisherman selling fresh catch and bought several large ones. We had grilled and sinigang (sour soup) fish for breakfast, or make it breakfast and lunch, or maybe dinner. In places like these, time stops and watches don't work.

Blue Lagoon Bounty
Blue Lagoon's fresh bounty

See more of Blue Lagoon's moods in this post.
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sheng said...

lovely...when will my next lazy days be?

Gaelyn said...

What an ordeal, but Wow, what a beautiful place. The fish look good enough to eat. And I like your accomodations.

lino said...

ayos ah... sama ko sa susunod na lakwatsa ha... hope to do shooting with you guys...

Photo Cache said...

I'm sure sulit naman lahat ng hirap nyo di ba? ang ganda ganda yata dito.

Anonymous said...

i like your caption on your 4th photo here, hehehe... i think it's not sarcasm but truth.

Inday said...

Send those fish to me and I'll cook them for you whatever you like. But I think I miss the kinilaw most.

fortuitous faery said...

looooooove the blue hues on the fish!

Lantaw said...

@sheng - sa december na siguro? :D

@gaelyn - the fishes are super fresh :)

Lantaw said...

@lino - dun sa november sched natin with sidney bro, kita kits :)

@photo cache - sulit na sulit :)

Lantaw said...

@docgelo - I hope it really is. But most of the time they just do a project to spend money. No money spent, no kickbacks

@bonnie - da best ang kinilaw if the fish are fresh. yummy :P

@fortuitous faery - they are super fresh, caught with a spear gun just a few minutes before

Jerick said...

i think i fell in love with your blog. haha! nice pictures. nicely written article.

and i felt your weariness dun sa article. galing!

The Islander said...

alam ko na.. nakatoka sayo ng intro, kay atty yung half ng trip, at kay dong yung mismong beach. hehehe. galing.

Lantaw said...

@jerick, thats very flattering bro! thanks for the visit

Lantaw said...

@The Islander - not really hehehe, I was actually the first one (of us 3) who posted pics on Blue Lagoon beach :)

bing said...

nicely captured pics in a not so extraordinary but exquisite place..

dodong flores 도동 플로오리스 said...

The hut is a very good accommodation as compared to the expensive ones...
It's truly a beautiful place. I can see it from the photos. The fresh bounties are so enticing as well...
Well, I guess, it's all worth it for the misadventures along the way. Bawi na :D

Unknown said...

bloghopping from Lawstude's.:p

what an adventure...i admire your patience. after a 16-hour bus ride, my first instinct was to look for creature comforts.:p

the wild beauty of this place makes up for the long trip.

Lantaw said...

@bing, thanks! :)

@dodong, it was really worth it bai, tama ka, bawi na :D

Lantaw said...

@luna, the things we do for photography LOL!

Anonymous said...

Allan bro, you really can work magic using your camera... Nice pics dude next time try going to region 2...

-doc mel

escape said...

i like the last shot the most! hahaha.. the spartan accommodation!

Lantaw said...

@doc mel - anong magandang places dun sa region 2 bro?

@dom - buti na lang hinde tayo pumayag dun sa glitzy accommodation :D

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