Saturday, the second day of our “vacation.” One by one our comrades arrive in Laoag for our race that is practically hours away. After meeting a few of our newly arrived friends over breakfast, we went back to our hotel to freshen up, and start our mini tour.
Conveniently located near the Ilocos Norte Capitol is an old structure, apparently from the Spanish era, housing the Museo Ilocos Norte (Ilocos Norte Museum). For a measly fee of P30 we got to see a glimpse of Ilocos’ history and their way of life that’s long gone.
After our tour we decided to return to our hotel in a most touristy way—via a calesa (horse-drawn carriage)! Unlike in Manila where riding one is more of a tourist attraction, calesas in Laoag survived the test of time by being used as they were back in the 18th century—as transportation. Riding one is as cheap as riding a tricycle, and since we’re not in a hurry to be back we didn’t mind the very easy pace (and the “scent”). I’ve never ridden one before, and I didn’t expect my first calesa ride to be in Laoag.
Lunch time was also our checkout time. We had all agreed to meet up, eat, and do our shopping at Laoag’s latest attraction—a mall! But the problem was, how do we get there? The solution: charter a bus! Things really have a unique way of resolving itself.
Because of the “airport factor” none of us were able to bring along our hydration solutions and as such the need to do some shopping. It’s so much more convenient now that there’s a mall and we’re guaranteed that our needs can be met, not to mention that my cash was spared (swipe it baby!).
After all that shopping we’re back to our original commute, a regular jeepney. Unfortunately there were more of us than the available seats so you can just imagine our “close” we were! Where were we headed? To the starting line! Well, not quite. We were off for our hotel in Pasuquin just a few minutes away from the Municipal Hall where the race would start. Hotel no. 2, for day 2.
There’s no such thing as rest for these crazy critters as we went to a nearby church, right in front the park where the race would start, to arrange for a special mass. We were fortunate to be granted our request, in exchange that we lend a hand with the mass. And so some of us played the instruments, some of us sang, and some of us participated elsewhere. In a way it was like a scene from “Glee™” with all the music. It was a different side of everyone, and at that moment I was really happy. We may have trained the best way possible, but nothing beats Divine Guidance.
After a wonderful mass, we headed back to our hotel for our last supper (before the race that is), settled down early, and prepared for the ultra-big day to follow. Everyone seems to be ready, runners and support. What challenges would brave us along that 65K+ road? We’ll find out soon enough…
* * *