Eight days out of Manila is no joke to me. The last time I was away for that long, I was 14 years old and it was a School of Tomorrow student convention. (I just realized that means it was ten years ago. Yikes.) Normally I stick close to home and it’s only been work or vacations that have taken me out of my comfort zone.
Thankfully, work doesn’t seem like work when you’re traveling and experiencing new things. It’s my second trip with Living Asia Channel and I was blessed with the assignment to go to Laoag City and include their yearly Pamulinawen Festival in a “Gone for the Weekend” storyline.
Since the show’s format requires someone host an episode only once, this time around I had to bring my own host. I lucked out with Miche (pronounced “my-SHEE”). We’re both instructors at Fitness First and really great friends, so we filled our idle time in chatter about each other’s personal lives and everyone else we work with. Ü
The main difference between this trip and the last one is that we always had a home base to come back to — Laoag City and our hotel, Java Hotel. So instead of roughing it, we were treated to great accommodations and didn’t have to live out of our suitcases. Every morning we’d be out and about by 7am shooting locations within and outside the city. Writing about each of our eight days takes too much work, so I guess I’ll have to pick out the most interesting parts.
As always, my favorite part is when I get to try extreme stuff. Miche and I got to go offroading on sand dunes with the members of the P.I.N.A.K.B.E.T. group (that’s short for Province of Ilocos Norte Adventurers Kampers Bikers Eco-tourism). These sand dunes are a natural formation stretching out from the coastline toward inland, and they’re the only such ones in the Philippines. The inclines were steep, the four-wheeler’s engine screamed murder, and every time we rode up and slid down a hill Miche and I hung on for dear life. At one point I was literally just hanging on using my arms because my legs were dangling out from under me. It was great.
It was an eventful trip, but what else can you expect being away for eight days? I’ll save my other stories for another time — going to the Sunday market, or discovering my allergy to ant eggs, or visiting Sarrat Church and the weird stuff that happened after. Or you could just check out the “Gone for the Weekend” episode when it airs. Ü