There are times that itineraries are not followed and travel plans are edited to experience beyond what you can imagine- TO BE ASTONISHED. This is why do-it-yourself trips are fun, something that packaged tours can’t offer. This thrills me, the thought of finding a new and amazing destination, a place only a few have seen.
I was awaken by the kids I met last night who woke up as early as 5:00am because they were excited to bring me to Lover’s Peak. It’s a place where couples wait for the sun to rise while watching the sheets of fog and clouds pass by the lowlands. I opened my window and saw Mt. Palemlem’s (Mt. Pico de Loro Norte) majestic beauty. I hurried myself and followed the kids walking towards the Peak. It was a chilly 30-minute trek towards the spot. I guess the beauty of the place reminded me of yesterday’s thought while in Saud beach. I really wish I’m with someone enjoying this magical place and sunrise.
Adams Rice Terraces on our way to Lover’s Peak
After a hearty breakfast of chicken omelet, boiled string beans and organic brown rice we went to the river where the locals wash their clothes and my new young friends swam naked. I was tempted to swim even though I didn’t bring change clothes; of course I was too old to swim naked. It would be a different story skinny-dipping in front of all the locals doing their laundry. The river water was shallow, cold and clean. The short dip proved to be an introduction to more swims later.
We went back to my cabin just in time when a Malaysian Couchsurfer named Kenji arrived from Laoag. We had a few email exchanges 3 days before and it was nice to finally meet him at Adams. He wears glasses and loves to eat, he has tried every street food you can find in Manila. He went here because he heard of the ants egg, frogs and some local delicacies being served here.
We continued touring Adams and visited two of the recorded eighteen waterfalls. The place is so pristine and a visitor will easily be astonished at every sight. It’s a breath of fresh air for tourist who finished touring the cities of Vigan and Laoag. A different adventure for weekenders who finished touring the usual spots like Kapurpurawan Rock Formations, Bangui Wind turbines, Saud Beach, Patapat Viaduct, Kabigan falls and Blue Lagoon.
Adams is my kind of place- simple, serene and heavenly. Indeed the first settlers were right when they pronounced that this is like Eden. The locals are a collection of tribes from the Northern Philippines- Kankana-ays, Ilocanos, Bagos and Ymalods. A harmonious community where each one helped another. Everyone living peaceably as exhibited by an empty prison cell inside the police station I visited.
Before I continued my journey I dropped by the native back-weaver who cheerfully showed me her craft. I bought a short piece of weaved cloth and asked her to sew on my bag as a memoir. She explain to me the meaning of the three colors used on the piece of weaving. The red represents the Kankana-ey’s fierceness, brown for the Ilocanos who are known to till the lowland, blue represents the Yapayaos who are known to navigate the rivers. The piece on my bag represents the tribes unity in diversity. It joins the writings found on my bag as I ask important people I meet in every province to write the name of the province where I met them.
The motorbike driver, Kuya Ogie, I met the other day was so kind I asked him to bring me back to Pancian highway. He even brought me to a hanging bridge near town which he said they use when the river’s water rise covering the road they use. He was adventurous too, we tried to use that bridge on our way down. Before we part ways he taught me two phrases, “Agsubli ak tumanen” (I will come back) and “Dios ag ngina” (Thank you). I shouted those words when I boarded the bus.
Adams Hanging Bridge, Ilocos Norte
This part of Northern Luzon is really new to me, I accidentally went to Apayao province, Luna to be exact. I was lost (and it was not fun). I should have get off at Junction Luna and take another bus to Cagayan. I don’t want to compare but its very evident that Ilocanos are more kinder than the people here or maybe because I was alone and it was already dark. I was mistaken to be a military personnel and they were afraid, maybe because of my height and shaved head.
After having pork barbecue for late dinner, I waited for a transport who will bring me to Junction Luna. It was getting late and I’m becoming fearful of the place. My heart was beating fast and someone even ask if I have gun inside my bag. I kept my calm and tried to tell them that I’m just a lost traveler. Thankfully, after an hour of waiting a tricycle driver offered to bring me to the highway. He even helped me to look for a cheap place to stay but I just decided to continue until I reached Tuguegarao.
It was exactly 11:30pm when I took the non-AC bus to Tuguegarao City.
Slumber Challenge: It was hard to sleep sitting on a bus add the fact that I have to be wary of my belongings. I somehow brought with me the distrust I always have when traveling in Manila. I was foolish enough to apply it in the province where locals are nice and true. Anyway, I was half-awake most of the 4-hour sleep and wished that the trip was longer. I have no choice but to get off at Tugegarao City 30 minutes past 3:00am.
Route: Adams, Ilocos Norte – Junction Luna, Cagayan
Expenses for Today: P447
100- guide fee, waterfalls
80- to junc luna
37- bbq dinner
30- luna, apayai to junction luna (slept at the bus for 3hours then spend the rest of the morning at jollibbee)