We planned this trip out of impulse about 7 months ago, which was rather long. But being working singles, tied up to our jobs full-time, it was just necessary to plan ahead (not to mention to budget ahead).
Hey, tired of reading already and just came here for some info gathering? You might want to skip to the Full Itinerary or the Expense Summary, or watch the full video. By the way, some travel tips are scattered all over the article, so reading from top to bottom won’t be a bad idea, either 😉
As someone whose lived in various places across all 3 regions of the Philippines, maybe you can say that I am well-traveled, but in terms of travel-for-pleasure, this is just my 4th time, with the first one in Camotes, and the other two just trekking rivers and climbing mountains. Therefore, as a “noob” backpacker, boy am I thankful to have a pro wanderer among us spearhead the planning! (thanks, Kim) :3
Our tour package was provided by JNC Van Services (full details below) and includes a 12-seater van, rooms accommodation, and two-day breakfast meals. Three months in advance, we paid 1/3 of the tour fee as reservation.
Remaining budget: (9000) [bar here]
So at 0400H of June 10, with all our vacation leaves approved and our pocket money secured, we got on-board Flight No. [number here] bound for Manila.
McDonald’s coffee and sandwich: 70
taxi to Mactan airport: 150 (GrabCar promo)
The moody weather successfully prevented me from witnessing my would-have-been first airplane sunrise, but despite that, we barely felt any turbulence and landed at NAIA an hour and a half later.
Our “sundo” was already at the airport waiting for us, so we wasted no time and got out of EDSA to avoid the usual morning traffic.
Being a hungry pack with lack of sleep the previous night, we stopped at Marilao, Bulacan (by unanimous decision) for a quick breakfast. Native restaurants were still closed at 0730H, so we settled for KFC.
We left Bulacan at 0830H.
[5 hours road travel]
We stopped again at Pangasinan for lunch at 1300H.
I settled for Sinigang na Hipon [5-star] and some meatballs [1-star], without rice because I didn’t feel so hungry at all.
Normally, Manila to Ilocos roadtrip is estimated to be up to 8 hours long only, but due to the bad weather and a bit of traffic, it took us more than 12 hours to reach the City of Laoag.
After a drive-thru at Chowking and a short stop at 7 Eleven, we arrived at the two rooms reserved for us at Denise Pension House around 2100H.
We wasted no time in unloading our stuff, did a quick shower, dinner, and a bit of drinking session to ensure a sound sleep.
I hit the sack at exactly midnight, about an hour later than my companions.