Friday, February 11, 2011

all day agony from vigan to clark

our second day in vigan. we were fortunate enough on our first day that we only had overcast skies as compared to the typhoon's foreboding menace on the second day. the overcast was already a gift. at least, we had our day tour as our consolation.

we never had an itinerary but merely a list of places in memory, where we might be going if time and the weather would permit. scaling further up north - laoag, bangui and pagudpud, was literally blown away by the preliminary fury of the typhoon. on my mind, it was "shiyou ga nai na~", a japanese expression for there's nothing we can do.

the only logical thing to do that time was to go down south and then back to clark. but before we began this long journey, we first had our free breakfast in grandpa's inn.

Vigan Longganiza

since vigan longganiza is a must-try in vigan, i chose this meal rather than the usual breakfast meal i could have in cebu. though longganiza is also a specialty in cebu, i just had to try this one. after devouring the 3 tiny pieces, this is what i had to say. the taste didn't come close to the longganiza that my tongue is familiar with. it wasn't sweet and it was on the border of being too dry. like the empanada, vinegar dip is also its recommended pair. maybe it was just new to my tongue or maybe i still have to find the best longganiza in vigan.

Leaving Vigan

we hired a tricycle from grandpa's inn to partas bus terminal. one thing local tourists are fortunate of is that, we can always haggle anything so, haggle we did. if my memory serves me right, we paid PhP50. but in hindsight, that could already be the normal fare.

Partas Buses
the two buses on the left were heading to laoag and on the right was for cubao.
i don't intend to show off my plastic bag but we only had this pic of our bus. :-/ this bus stop was way past vigan already. i bought some chichacorn, vigan's version of chicharon. chichacorn is a good alternative for vegetarians since it's corn instead of pork. i suggest to buy the chichacorn while in vigan since it can get too pricey in these bus stops.

Partas Fare Table and Fare Ticket

terminals/stop-overs of partas from cubao(manila) to vigan are 3 columns and a half of the fare table. the travel time is normally 8 hours. in our ticket, our destination post was 130 which is in san fernando, la union (skipped in the fare table).it's the stop before san juan, la union.

we decided to try our luck in la union and planned to stay in one of the resorts there. it was off-peak season anyway so we would just be fine without reservations. la union is famous for its waves great for surfing though none of us has a bit of enthusiasm for surfing. haha!

Crossing the Bridge across the Mestizo River
vigan is a chunk of land separated from the land of luzon by 3 rivers. one must cross a bridge in order to get to the national highway of northwestern luzon. vigan is equipped with enough bridges in case one bridge fails.

Going to La Union

we chose la union since it's halfway to clark. it gave us a bit of assurance that we would not be missing our flight, the following day. the bus ride to san fernando was slow. a day trip would likely mean more passengers alighting or going on board along the way, making me wish i could just teleport. with the threatening rain, it even got slower.

Beautiful Waves in Northwestern Luzon's Coast

some parts of northwestern luzon's national highway are coastal. too bad that i was seated at the wrong side of the bus. i almost missed these waves! i needed to stitch two pics for a better image, cropping the most part of the originals. i hope you would forgive me for a v horizon. a disclaimer: this pic does not intend to demean, if ever some dissing thought has crossed your mind.

Great Scenes Along the Way

when we were not dozing off, my brother and i managed to take
some snapshots of the scenery we may no longer see.

Pink Tricycles in Balaoan, La Union

la union seems to have color coding scheme with their tricycles in every town. we were able to see the green ones but i don't know which place was that. san fernando's tricycles are white.

Partas Bus Terminal in San Fernando, La Union

when we got off in san fernando, rain showers welcomed us. we obviously ran out of luck that time. like lost and drenched evacuees, we hurriedly went to the nearest fast food (jollibee) and replenished ourselves after the half-day ride. then we had to face the one big question. where would we go? i even had breinn on the phone, asking him to google the nearest resorts but unfortunately, resorts he had looked up were far away from us.

nothing couldn't be better than this! (spell sarcasm) after some thought, we decided to continue our saga to clark since we won't be able to go around san fernando anyway, not under the pestering rain. we retraced our steps back to the terminal and waited forever for our bus to clark.

Grapes Sold in the Terminal

partas terminal in san fernando is small with only a few benches inside its building and a couple near the sidewalk. to feed our boredom, we almost tried every local food sold by the peddlers until these fresh grapes came along. we knew it's expectantly overpriced at PhP80 per plastic but it's still a lot better than the refrigerated grapes sold in the groceries back home.

so, in san fernando, we ate and ate, counted buses going to baguio, wished the rain would stop, and waited for our bus. cubao-bound buses were usually full since it was a sunday and a lot of people were going back to manila, maybe for work or school.

anyway, thanks still to san fernando for adopting us for a while!

Capas, Tarlac

and why did we end up here? i must say that this was the longest, most agonizing and at the same time most amusing and fun bus ride to date. after a loooooong wait for a cubao-bound bus, we finally had our partas ride. we settled just fine in the seats at the back most part of the bus. partas buses are bigger, more roomy and comfortable compared to the smaller dominion bus. though that time, all the available space was used in its maximum capacity since there were passengers already standing in the aisle.

then another problem came down on us. when the bus conductor was about to issue us our tickets, we told that dau bus terminal as our destination and the last thing that we wanted to hear was this: the bus would no longer pass by dau and would take another route. what?!

as if reading the confusion in our faces, the bus conductor quickly suggested capas, tarlac and told us that we could just then take a jeepney from there to angeles (clark). yes, a glimmer of hope. but it was another long ride to capas with several stops along the way. our last stop before capas was already dinnertime. =((

we knew we would no longer make it to clark. again with breinn on speed dial, i asked him to google the accommodations in capas. i was getting impatient and i also even called my cousin just to be sure. haha

McDonald's in Capas, Tarlac

it was already pitch dark when the bus conductor told us that it's already capas and it's time for us to go. dumbstruck for a while alongside the road, we then spotted the familiar sign of mcdonald's, at the back of the gasoline station across the road. yey! comfort and food.

we were hoping for a wi-fi in mcdonald's but sadly, there was none and calling breinn for help was faster than the internet in our phones. both breinn and my cousin came up with mr. blue, an inn. we verified with the crew in mcdonald's about mr. blue and they told us that it was just near, a short tricycle ride. they were hesitant at first about mr. blue and mentioned another name i can't remember. it had me thinking that it's maybe one of those inns that offer shortened stays. oh no! or maybe they wanted us to have a more superior accommodation. i preferred to think the latter.

 Room in Mr. Blue

mr. blue is a traveller's inn located at the 2nd floor of a building along the highway. when we got there, the long and dark corridor gave me the creeps and then, my imagination went frantic but i just had to compose myself for my body deserved the needed rest. we weren't able to take decent photos inside the room aside from this obvious quick camwhoring.

a really BIG room for 1 night: PhP900

i was glad and relieved that i thought wrongly of mr. blue. in the morning, we knew from a hotel staff/owner that many mt. pinatubo climbers stayed in the inn. capas happens to be the most convenient jump off point to mt. pinatubo. that explains why the woman who showed us our room, asked if we were mountain-climbers. she would not give us the room if we were. maybe because, it had rained the whole day and she could not bear the room to get really dirty. sad.

Mr. Blue - A Traveller's Inn

the hotel staff pointed the mt. pinatubo while explaining some details to us and this is the long corridor i'm paranoid about. imagine this when it gets really dark.

Mr. Blue's Building

and we spent an ENTIRE day to clark! wow! from capas, we took the bus instead of taking a jeepney and besides, we also had no idea which ones will go to dau. at least, buses have signboards.


travel period: aug 6-9, 2010
1. my guide to vigan

2. vigan day tour

3. all day agony to clark
4. things to do in clark

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