This has got to be one of our most memorable experiences because the fact that it’s the first time we got late for a tour and it was just after work hours. It was a tiring day but in the end it was fun! I’ll definitely book here again whenever I have my spare time to relax and travel.
Byahe ni Juan Joiner Tour for Oct 12-14
We almost were not able to join the tour because of a miscommunication between me and Byahe ni Juan. The sudden change of schedule prompted rushed formalization of documents such as signing of Waiver and Itinerary in which all of the participants should send prior to the tour. In summary, we were not informed properly about the day of pick up from Manila – Ilocos. so I was shocked Kuya Jimmy (driver) called me and said he was waiting for us. We don’t have time to lose so we think that the best course of action was to re-sched the whole trip to next week.
Or so we thought, Byahe ni Juan doesn’t allow rescheduling of trips if it is on the day itself. It is good as a no-show and we have to pay the whole amount even without going to the trip itself.
A quick resolution has been agreed and we decided to commute from Manila to Ilocos and catch up with the rest of the squad. They suggested us to ride Partas Bus from Cubao to Laoag and drop off at Batac Crossing.
Deluxe | Cubao – Laoag – P965.00
I’m glad we rode this bus because it was speck less, from the seats to its interior. The seats are like lazy boys because it’s big, so happy to say this, we enjoyed sleeping much of the whole trip because of how comfortable the seats were. There was no restroom so the bus had to take a break at stopovers.
The whole trip spanned for 10 hours, luckily, we arrived at 12nn at Batac. It was just in time for the Paoay Church — the ones you see at postcards for every single time for Ilocos. It’s as beautiful as the postcards!
Since we were late, we sat on the furthest back of the Van as other groups were sitting at the front. After eating lunch, we passed by Paoay Lake and Kuya Jimmy explained to us its historical background. Then our group headed towards Malacanang of the North. A replica of the one that existed years ago, during the Spaniards era, when Philippines was conquered by them.
Malacanang of the North
The highlight of the trip is this 4×4 sand dunes. If you’re looking for an adventure, you should try this. For P500 you can ride a 4×4 truck where you’ll be able to experience the thrilling ride around Paoay’s sand dunes! Recommended number of persons per truck is 5, but since we are only 4 in the group, we paid P625. This package includes sand boarding too!
Paoay Sand dunes
This marks the end of our first day tour. Riding the truck made us tired. BTW, I acquired a bruise on my right arm because of the rough ride I had. Although if you ask me, I don’t regret riding this every single bit. If you are going to Ilocos, this is a MUST TRY.
Bantay Bell Tower
We settled at Villa de Marj and had our dinner here. The downside about this is that anyone who joins this tour doesn’t have a choice but to eat here within their villa because
- The settlement is far from other establishments (restaurants). Google map isn’t able to find other restaurants near.
- It was night time already so we were scared to go out because it was dark outside the villa and there were a few tricycles passing through this part of the highway.
They should at least give us an option to either eat here at the villa or eat outside. I’m not complaining too much because the food was average and there were multiple choices to choose from. The staff are friendly and the place is small, clean and compact. So there were no problems here.
We aren’t able to visit other landmarks as indicated in our itinerary because of time constraints. However, we were able to venture the following on Day 2:
Cape Bojeador Light House
A good tip when you travel here in Ilocos is that there are a lot of locals who knows how to take pictures!
Let the locals and tourist guides (if there are any) do the picture taking, because they know what they’re doing!
The waves in this beach are really strong! I wasn’t able to swim because I don’t know how to swim and I might get swept by the waves. On a side note, I love the beach here because
- It’s not crowded with people
- The sand is beautiful, very fine, not rocky.
- The sea has a deep blue/blue green color which looks good on photos
After taking lunch we headed towards Paraiso Ni Anton. You should take the chance to buy Ilocos’ empanadas. They are this big white orange (like kwekwek) burrito look like snacks containing mayo, rice, egg and meat. It’s the local snack delicacy here in Ilocos.
Paraiso ni Anton
The landmarks were close to each other so we passed through a long white bridge called Patapat Viaduct.
A quick stop at the Bantay Abot Cave where we went to take our pictures on the cave’s opening.
Bantay Abot Cave
Then for the last landmark, we headed straight to Kapurapurawan rock formation. You can check this view by either
- Riding a horse – P100 (back and forth)
The both of us rode a horse to get to the actual rock formation. I thought rock formation viewing was already this area (see pic below) because the view was already amazing!! The fields are muddy and full of horse poop so we decided that riding a horse is a better option.
And here is the majestic rock formation behind the fields. Gorgeous.
Kapurapurawan rock formation
A freebie we took from this place was the candid picture Kuya took when we were riding the horse (the horse’s name is Ace btw) upon disembarking.
Not bad right? Check them out at Profile Pic Multimedia
This day was the Vigan moment. Everything revolved around buying “pasalubongs” and walking around the streets of Vigan. This is where you pack all the things you’re going to give to your family, officemates, and friends.
Here are some of the pictures we took around Vigan
I thought it was already over because our Van was on the way to Manila. It certainly wasn’t over because we made a quick stop over at a Grape Farm at La Union. The grape wine is amazing!! However, because of a storm that razed over the northern regions, the farm was destroyed. We were met by grapes that were still growing
Overall we are happy with the experience, despite the mishaps on our early tour we were able to catch up with the group because of:
- Friendly tour guides, friendly driver, and friendly and cooperative customer support from Byahe ni Juan
- A customized experience for the group such that we were able to request on side trips (to the pharmacy/convenience stores) on our liking.
- Honest feedback and recommendation from the tour agency
- Fun itinerary, fun tour, fun people, basically fun everywhere!
- Rushed scheduling leading to miscommunication
- Choices of restaurants to eat are limited
- Cramped space at the back of the Van
Will I book again?
Definitely Yes! as long as I don’t change the tour on the week itself *chuckles
Links used are indicated below. Check them out!
Tour: Byahe ni Juan
Photo: Profile Pic Multimedia
Transport: Partas Bus
Accommodation: Villa Del Marj