And so we had to bid goodbye to the beautiful seascapes of Pagudpud as we hopped on a non-airconditioned provincial passenger bus priced for 60 PHP for a two-hour ride to Laoag. The ride was very different compared to riding an non-airconditioned bus here in Metro Manila. Riding buses in the provinces seems to be more rewarding as you get random treats like beautiful sceneries while unpolluted, cold, fresh air happily greets your face along the way. Bus conductors happily helped out passengers boarding and alighting the bus as they assist you especially if you had heavy luggages or grocery items to bring.
It was nice to observe how nice the people in Ilocos actually were. It’s very different from Manila, where you are most of the time scared to board a bus, and most of the people riding in transit are rushing their way to somewhere, more often than not. In Ilocos, buses seem to be happy places where people can convene, meet, and share their random stories with each other. It was different. It was very much a happy culture.
After two non-traffic hours accompanied by the fresh and cold breeze of Ilocos, we arrived in Laoag. We took a tricycle going to La Elliana Hotel to check in. And then we immediately left the hotel to explore what Ilocano food Laoag can offer us. Off we went to Saramsam Cafe, an authentic Ilocano restaurant. (I have to make a separate blog about Ilocano restaurants and Ilocano food. It was that good!) After eating, we took an immediate stroll and walking tour around the kalesa-filled city.
Pretty much, Laoag is a more progressive town compared to Pagudpud. Most of Ilocos Norte’s businesses can be found in Laoag, that’s why there seems to be less of a provincial feel about it. But nevertheless, Laoag must be recognized for its city’s culture and atmosphere. Laoag is commendable for laid-back walking tours as there is no need to rush in going from one point to another. The major tourist spots are readily walkable and are in close proximity with each other.