Thursday, October 30, 2014

BANGUI WIND FARM

Bangui Wind Farm has 20 wind turbines erected in a single row along nine-kilometer stretch of shoreline located along Bangui Bay where Bangui is also one of the municipalities of Ilocos Norte. I was amazed to know that we have this kind in the Philippines. These windmills face the sea from where the wind blows towards the land. Its location along the shore is optimal in removing windbreaks and has a terrain roughness of 0. The site is free of any trees and vegetation, and stretches approximately 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) long and 100 metres (330 ft) wide. The area is undeveloped and uninhabited making it ideal as a site and poses no threat to the environment.



The wind mills use 20 units of 70-metre (230 ft) high Vestas V82 1.65 MW wind turbines. These 20 units were constructed in two separate phases of which the first 15 units were finished and inaugurated on June 18, 2005 under the Phase I project as developed by a Danish firm, Northwind Power Development Corporation and the units are similar to those already found in Denmark. The other 5 units were completed in June 2008.



Prior to the finalization of making this project a reality, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 1996 has conducted a wind resource analysis and mapping study. It concluded that various areas in the Philippines are ideal for wind power installation. These areas include Bangui and Burgos towns in Ilocos Norte, Batanes and Babuyan Islands, which are north of Luzon and the higher interior terrain of Mindoro, Samar, Leyte, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Palawan and Eastern Mindanao.



This project is really a big help to the region as they are its immediate beneficiary owing to a cheaper supply of electricity. This is considering that each capable of producing electricity up to a maximum capacity of 1.65 MW, for a total of 24.75 MW. The 20 on-shore turbines are spaced 326 metres (1,070 ft) apart, each 70 metres (230 ft) high, with 41 metres (135 ft) long blades, with a rotor diameter of 82 metres (269 ft) and a wind swept area of 5,281 square metres (56,840 sq ft).



The beach alone is not ideal for swimming for its strong winds also cause big waves. Just as a sort of advice, tourists should keep off the sea water as its waves are strong enough to pull human bodies even those with big frame. Unofficial reports revealed two who died because they drawn by the strong current of the waves. We also have this experience during our tour when our 6-year old girl joined this jump shots. Unfortunately, when she jumped she landed to the rushing waves and she was drawn to the deeper part of the shore and so we pulled her ashore and we really felt how strong the current as we were almost carried by it despite our combined force. The waves are even treacherous, all the while you will see they are not there and without any warning, they would come rushing to take you away.

HOW TO GET THERE

This tour package is a part of my Ilocos Sur - Ilocos Norte Trip, just refer to my earlier post of Paoay Church for it will be a big help.

MALACANANG PALACE OF THE NORTH

The spacious guests' lobby of the palace


Malacanang Palace of the North is also called Malacanang ti Amianan, located in Barangay 15 of Suba in Paoay of the province of Ilocos Norte, the former official residence of the President Ferdinand Marcos and his family when they are in Ilocos Norte though Marcos was born in Sarrat and they have a house in Batac. This 5-hectare property nestled partly near the banks of Paoay Lake. From its wide windows, the magnificent and cool scenery of the lake can be viewed in all its glory. When Marcos was still in power, the province was dubbed to be a “Marcos country”.

The main door of the palace turned museum


This is just one of the 29 houses the former First Family built when they were still in power till Marcos was deposed in 1986 and a few years later, this palace was transformed into a museum as part of his memorabilia.

The magnificent Paoay Lake as viewed from the palace's veranda


This palace has consistently been considered by tourists to be a part of their itinerary when visiting the Ilocos region. To maintain this museum, it is being managed by the Department of Tourism where entrance fee is charged at P20 and P10 for adults and children, respectively. It is open from 9:00 to 11:30 A.M. and 1:00 to 4:30 P.M. daily except for Mondays. Opposite this museum is restaurant and convenience store also selling souvenir items. Few local vendors are selling buco and few variety of local fruits just outside its gate.

The convenience store and souvenir shop fronting the museum


HOW TO GET THERE

This tour package is a part of my Ilocos Sur - Ilocos Norte Trip, just refer to my earlier post of Paoay Church for it will be a big help.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

PAOAY CHURCH

The region of Ilocos is known for its century-old churches built wayback the Spanish period and one of them is the famous Roman Catholic Paoay Church or as known to the locals as Saint Augustine Church. Records show that it was completed in 1710.

Facade of Paoay Church


It has a Baroque architectural design highlighted with enormous 24 huge buttresses of 1.67 meters thick (5.5 feet) on the sides and back of the building. Other than being declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973, it has also brought honor to the country for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

The huge and massive buttresses


Its walls are made of large coral stones and bricks and its separately constructed three-storey bell tower which resembles to a pagoda is also made of coral stones. Its bell tower had served as observational post for Filipino revolutionaries against the Spaniards in 1898 and by Filipino guerillas against Japanese soldiers during World War II.

The massive coral stones and brick walls, bell tower and buttresses


The other side of the church with massive buttresses


Looking closely on its architectural design, one who has varied knowledge in architecture, can see a touch of gothic design on its beautiful façade while the gabbles reflect influence of Chinese architecture and the niches on top of the pillars and buttresses suggest Javanese influence as seen in the Borobodur Temple in Java, Indonesia.

Our group with backdrop of Paoay Church


To date, as it continues to stand proud by itself, it has proven that it survived the threats of wars, strong typhoons and devastating earthquakes. Its built foundation might have been seismographically designed to resist the destruction that an earthquake may cause.

So far, this was my third time to visit this place but what made this trip very memorable is the fact that I was with the company of masteral classmates along with few friends where while resting we dine in at the Herencia Café and feasted on their great Pinakbet Pizza while having a great view of the Paoay Church. This café is located along McArthur Street, Barangay 14, Sangladan of Paoay and you can contact them at (77) 614-0214.



Our group seated just outside Herencia Cafe


The Pinakbet Pizza at Herencia Cafe


Dining at Herencia Cafe


How to go to Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte by Car (Private Transport)

Travel time from Manila to Laoag is 12 hours. That is, if you won't consider stop overs. From NLEX, exit to SCTEX then head north to Tarlac Exit, the last exit of SCTEX. From Tarlac Exit, turn left to Sta. Rosa Tarlac Road. Turn right on MacArthur Highway.

Follow this highway northward passing through the Tarlac towns of Gerona and Paniqui, and through the towns of Pangasinan (Urdaneta, Binalonan, Pozzorubio, Sison, and Rosario).

When you reach Rosario in Pangasinan, watch out for the major fork on the road. The right road of the fork will lead you to Baguio. Take the left road going to further Pangasinan towns and Ilocos (this is still MacArthur Highway). From there you will pass by the Pangasinan towns of Sto. Tomas, Agoo, Bauang, San Fernando City, Candon, and Narvacan.

Before reaching Laoag, you will pass by the cities and towns of Ilocos Sur (Vigan, Cabugao,then Batac). Paoay is not located on National Road but only a few minutes drive from Batac. When you reach Batac town proper, drive on to Batac-Banna Road to Dewey St., turn left on Washington Street then right on Marcos Avenue. Paoay Church is at the left side. It will only take you 30 minutes tops from Batac.

How to go to Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte by Bus (Public Transport)

Partas Bus, Philippine Rabbit, Fariñas, and Dominion Bus are the most common buses that travel to Laoag. Check their travel schedule at least a day before your trip. You may charter a tricycle from Laoag to tour you around Paoay (Php250), which is a good alternative since Paoay is not on National Road.

CAPE BOJEADOR LIGHTHOUSE

For tourists, this is known to be Burgos Lighthouse or the locals call it as Faro Cabo Cape Bojeado, being located in the municipality of Burgos of Ilocos Norte where it lies on a hill overlooking the South China Sea just approximately 35 kilometers north of the City of Laoag. Unlike other lighthouses in the country, this one which was built in 1892 is still operational serving ships passing by the northern part of South China Sea.

The stairs leading to the lighthouse


As per record, this lighthouse is considered to be highest in the Philippines erected on top of a hill named Vigia de Nagparitan with an estimated total height of around 160 meters and tower height of 17 meters. The light coming from it flashes once in every minute. This was actually completed on the 30th day of March, 1892 where its design and construction was undertaken by the Engineer Magin Pers y Pers but was subsequently reconfigured and finished by the Engineer Guillermo Brockman. Its tower is octagonally-shaped and has an inner dimension of two meters and an exterior dimension of three and half meters.

The low-lying plains as seen from the huge window of the lighouse


Because it is the most visited lighthouse in the country due to its accessibility, its pavilion has now been transformed into a mini-museum as well as lodging for guests who wanted to stay in the place for overnight or two, though except from shared cooking facilities and water from the cistern, no other amenities are provided.

Just about to climb the lighthouse tower


How to Get There:

From Laoag/Baguio/Vigan or La union : Follow the northwestern coastal national highway that is commonly used going to Ilocos provinces until you've reached some dramatic and exhilirating view of the sea and upon reaching the town of Burgos in Ilocos Norte. There is a sign board at the right side of the highway indicating the entrance to the winding road leading to the base of cape Bojeador Lighthouse.

Relaxing on the closed huge window of the lighthouse base building


PICNIC GROVE (TAGAYTAY CITY)

I have been to Tagaytay City for a number of times since 1993 for leisure tours and seminars/retreats but it was only this time that I spent the whole day at the Picnic Grove just to unwind together with a friend. In my previous tour to this majestic destination, I used to hop from one point to another and compressed my time for a day tour or two to include: Palace in the Sky or People's Park, the Pink Sisters Convent, Tagaytay Highlands, Club Balai Isabel, Picnic Grove and some other parts of this cool city. But this time, I just stayed in one place for the whole day, that is, at the Picnic Grove.



You may wonder, how I spent the whole day in this park. Of course, there are so many activities that one can engage with in the park like: the Eco-Trail, Hanging Bridge, Zipline and Cable car, horse back riding, fish spa and the viewdeck itself offers an amazing scenery.



Of course, I did not ride in the zipline and cable car nor engaged myself in horseback riding. I find it less exciting. I stayed more time at the viewdeck and took with us some food while I was at one of the picnic huts which we rented. If one intends to stay overnight in the park, there is a hostel to accommodate guests at affordable rates.

The following information may help you to budget your visit to this cool place:

Park Entrance Fee - P50 per head (4 years old and above)

Parking Fees:

P50 - cars/jeepney/van/coaster
P100 - bus

Horseback riding is at P200 for one hour

Zipline and Cable Car rates:

One-way

P200 - Weekdays
P300 - Weekends

Two-way

P300 - Weekdays
P400 - Weekends

Cottage Rentals:

Tables - P100
Picnic Huts - P150
Family Sheds - P300
Pavilion - P500

The viewdeck can be rented for P2,500 for any function.

The park is maintained by the Local Government of Tagaytay and for more information, you may contact them at their telefax (046) 4830346.