The Republic of the Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands in the Pacific Ocean the largest of which is Luzon. It is a short flight from Manila up to Laoag in the north of the island. Today is spent exploring the most northern part of Luzon. And it’s beach day!
But first of all a stop in Batac. This is a small town whose main claim to fame is the centre of support for the famous, or is it infamous, President Marcos. Here is his mausoleum and a museum dedicated to his life. It is a small town with lovely people going about their business. These lovely ladies were preparing the local delicacy of empanadas.
and these lovely ladies were ready to take orders in their air conditioned Makky D’s.
Then it’s up the coast road. The jungle is far behind us. Now it’s dry arid scrubland with the occasional settlement of low scruffy one storey dwellings surrounded by simple fishing outriggers nesting on the flat coastline. There are no golden beaches yet. Volcanic clinker is the main element of this coastline. Up here the main source of income is the manufacture and selling of salt and the sale of small onions and garlic.
The ride up on the space shuttle bikes is cool. I was a bit suspicious of my driver as he did not seem to know the rules of the road. Would you trust him?
A quick stop off at the market to buy lunch. Now careful. Traditional dishes are poki poki, fried vegetables mixed with shrimp paste (very strong), or fried aubergine. Neither of which are to my taste so maybe I’ll order pulled pork from the menu. The Filipinos do like their pork, pulled or otherwise. Oh, you need to be careful. Poki in Chinese means vagina.
And then the beach at last. 🙌 🙌 🙌. The landscape has changed over the past few miles as the highlands rear up inland. It is more luxuriant, back amongst the palms and jungle foliage and rice paddies. Then following a sign to Ivory Sands it is through Veronica’s restaurant and there is this long, palm fringed crescent of soft, inviting, silver sand around a turquoise loop with darker patches of fronds of gently lapping seaweed cruising around flattened coral. Sorry guys but I have to put this image up. Yes, the water was as glorious as it looks.
Swiming in the South China Sea before a cool beer and, I decided on, a plate of fried calimari, was just heaven.