Pinakbet Chronicles: Laoag City and La Paz Sand Dunes (Day 01)

Why does a runner travel nine hours by bus to a place he’s never been to?  To run!

Friday, November 27, 2009.  Four guys from camp met in a bus station in Manila for their nine-hour journey north—to run.  It was a long weekend so bus seats are scarce leaving us no choice to travel in two groups: Sir Rene and I, and McCoy and Wilnar.  We departed around midnight and by nine in the morning the following day we arrived at Laoag City.

The best time to travel to Laoag City may be at midnight

Run Ahead race director, Mr. Faivo Bartolome, invited us through Mr. Jinoe Gavan of to join their event, and running addicts as we were we ignored the travel time and the popular race also happening at the same time.  After all there isn’t always a chance to run in Laoag, for free! Sir Faivo was event kind enough to take care of our accommodation at Laoag Renzo Hotel, and he also served as our tour guide for the next few days.

Got cozy at the reception area
Buffet breakfast upon arrival, yum!
Hotel distance from Manila bus terminal: 398.5K
View from our window

Lunch time was the first time we met in person Sir Faivo who first took us on a culinary tour with delicious local delicacies.

I love the food in Ilocos, although I can’t remember the names

After the sumptuous meal, Sir Faivo brought us to the spot where the desert scene in the movie “Panday” was shot: the sand dunes of La Paz.

Fine sands with the blue South China Sea in the background
Wilnar, Sir Rene, Sir Faivo, and me (courtesy McCoy)
It’s very windy in the area that you hardly feel the heat

For the time being we returned to our hotel for some afternoon siesta, but later that afternoon we returned to the sand dunes for some sand running.  Click here to view the area in Google Maps.

Afternoon easy run towards the sand dunes (courtesy Sir Rene)
Keep right
Entering the dunes
Keep running
The dunes
McCoy atop one of the hills (whose sands ruined my camera!)
Shadow shot
Finally arriving at the beach…
…for some group shot
…and watching the sunset
Time to head back

It was already dark when we left the sand dunes and to cap the night we headed to Run Ahead’s carbo-loading party near the capitol.  The day was very interesting, and it was only the first day.

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