Philippines 2018: The Long Journey to Ilocos Norte

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Part 5! The long (and long awaited) journey to the place of my ancestors...Ilocos Norte.

3/29/18 - After landing back in Manila, we started our 10 hour road trip to Ilocos Norte (or what we thought was going to be only 10 hours). We hit some major traffic and...it ended up taking us about 18 HOURS to get to my auntie's house in Solsona, Ilocos Norte! 😨 Much mahalos to our driver, my auntie's nephew, who drove us the whole way!!

Passed by this bridge. Not sure where it was. I slept for most of the road trip. 😅

My whole life, I thought my mom was from Laoag, Ilocos Norte (it's what she always told me). But while we were still in the province of Ilocos Sur, we made a stop at this house. And my uncle told me...that this is actually where my mother was born; my grandmother's family house.

She, along with my grandma, and her siblings who were also born at the time, eventually moved to the city of Laoag, where my grandpa's family house is. I didn't get to see it on this trip, but hopefully I will the next time I visit the Philippines!

3/30/18 - There's a huge gap in photos at this point...my phone died on that road trip. 😅 But we eventually made it to Solsona, where we stayed for the remainder of this trip. On this day, we went to a nearby cemetery to visit my auntie's loved ones who have passed.

This might sound weird but...I've always wanted to visit this type of cemetery. It's just so different from how cemeteries are in the States! This place was hauntingly beautiful.

Not going to lie...I was a bit scared while editing these cemetery photos. 🙈

Later that day, we visited Karinking Serrek Picnic Grove.

Another bamboo bridge. 😒

I don't know what this says, but all I could think of was all the warning signs in The Walking Dead. 🙈

One of the things I miss most about the Philippines: seeing cows and goats everywhere! I love farm animals so much!

That night, we had dinner at my auntie's brother's house. It was also Good Friday and there was a procession right outside. My dad always told me stories about this. It was cool to see it in person!

3/31/18 - The next day, we checked into another hotel for my auntie's mom's big birthday celebration, which was the main event/purpose of this trip!

After we checked in, we visited my auntie's brother's chicken processing factory. I love how soda is always served in the glass bottle in the PI! Feels legit haha

At the big birthday celebration!

Beautiful weather!

And beautiful decor!

4/1/18 - Attended Victory Church for Easter Sunday service.

Later that day, there was a baptismal celebration. I seriously drank so much soda in the PI! I rarely drink soda. 🙈

PUPPPIEESSSSS!!! But stray puppies :(

4/4/18 - Early morning hike to view the sunrise.

So half of the group went forward on the hike, and half stayed back at the car. I originally planned on staying back because 1) it was COLD and I didn't take my asthma medicine (cold air triggers my asthma) and 2) it was muddy and the only pair of shoes I had was my white sneakers...

...but I decided to go forward. And I did. By myself. 😅

I made it to the mid point of the trail, until I reached this. This turn was dark. It was covered in clouds. I couldn't see anything. And I thought to myself, "Janice, you've seen enough scary movies to know that THIS IS THE SCENE WHERE THE PERSON DIES and everyone in the audience keeps screaming DON'T DO IT!" 😂

So I turned around and started to head back to the car lol!

Later that day, we finally headed to the main place my heart needed to see on this trip: my dad's family house in Catuguing, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte.

...and here it is 💖

My auntie (my dad's older sister) gave me a tour. This was my parents' old room.

My mom's old wardrobe closets 💖

My auntie told me that after my parents got married, my mom wanted to move to my dad's family's house because of this little balcony and the fresh air. When I visit again one day, I hope i'll get the chance to sit here and read, or just sit and enjoy the moment, knowing that my mom's presence once occupied this space.

This was so bittersweet! We passed by the church my parents got married in! 😭 I'll visit you one day!! #BucketList

A short visit in Laoag City to do some shopping before our trip ends!

So the last 3 days of my trip didn't go so well. I had digestive issues. 🙈😩 I totally disregarded my lactose intolerance and drank "blanca" coffee daily for the last week (blanca means "white", aka coffee with LOTS of cream). I felt better after 2 days (put myself on the B.R.A.T. diet) but...I ruined my progress when I ate this. 😇 It was my last meal in the PI! How could I resist!! But ohhh maan, was it a big mistake lol! Oh well...

Left a part of Hawai'i in the Philippines.

4/7/18 - Time to go home! Bye bye PI! I'll be back!

Home sweet Hawai'i 💖

The end.

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