To say that the 13-hour bus ride from Manila to Pagudpud was long is an understatement. I thought I could easily handle it since I was planning to just sleep through the bus ride. Yes, I did get some sleep, but I kept on waking up every time the bus would have its stopovers and the conductor would turn on the lights. But it was fine with me. After all, who wouldn't want to take a bathroom break, knowing that you were traveling in the middle of the night, and that your destination was still hours and hours away?
We left the Partas Bus Station in Cubao, Quezon City a little past 10 p.m. of July 20. By 6:30 a.m. of the next day, we were already in Ilocos Sur. Or should I say we were still in Ilocos Sur? We would reach Laoag, Ilocos Norte in two to three hours, and it would take us another two hours to get to Pagudpud.
During long hours on the road, I enjoy looking out the window. In Ilocos Norte, what I saw was a pretty good sight: a few houses here and there, green fields, and mountains that still have trees. Oh what a joy to see! The skies were clear and the sun was brightly shining as if welcoming us to the province.
When I saw a view of the sea from the bus window, I got excited and I no longer felt sleepy despite the long bus ride. I tugged at Paula's arm and showed her the view. We both marveled at the blue sea like it was a precious gem.
View from the bus window. The boats are so charming.
When we got to Pagudpud, the bus dropped us off at one corner, where the conductor hailed a tricycle for us. The tricycle would take us to Casa Consuelo, Brgy. Balaoi, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, where Paula and I booked a room to stay at for three days and two nights.
I couldn't remember how many minutes it took us to get to Casa Consuelo. It was probably more than 30 minutes. No surprise there, because Casa Consuelo, when I looked at it on the map days before our trip, is located at the northwestern tip of the archipelago. It was that far, and traveling on land for already 13 hours was exhausting.
But when we got to Casa Consuelo, Paula and I both felt that the grueling land trip was so worth it. Casa Consuelo was a paradise. A paradise at the tip of the archipelago. It is more of an island reef resort than a beachside made for swimming. Therefore, when we got there, it was quiet and peaceful. Nothing greeted us except for the sound of the waves splashing on the seashore, the warm sea breeze, and the welcoming smile of Richard Tamayo, who runs Casa Consuelo together with his mom Armie.
Casa Consuelo: A Paradise Up North
As we settled into our room, fixed our things, and ordered lunch, I felt that our trip was bound to be perfect. It was just our first day in Ilocos Norte, and I had already fallen in love with the province, thanks to what I saw, no matter how few they still were. And as the staff of Casa Consuelo prepared our lunch of Bagnet and Poqui-poqui, I looked around and felt at ease with the place. It was far, but it felt like home.
And that's what I miss in Manila now that the rains are starting to fall.