Tracing roots…Badoc, Ilocos Norte

This is my fourth time in Ilocos province. Together with my family and relatives from Bicol, our main objective for this trip is to get acquainted with our relatives from my grandfather’s hometown in Badoc.

Municipality of Badoc is as 3rd class municipality in the province of Ilocos, Norte. Even if this place is not part of the usual Ilocos itinerary for tourist, Badoc has its own fair share of tourist spots.

Parish of St. John the Baptist

Also known as Badoc Church, estimated to be more than 200-year-old baroque style church made up of bricks and stone.


 It also has its bell tower and buttresses on the side of the church, a typical church design in Ilocos province.


 The church also houses the image of La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc. Story tells that in year 1620, the image of the Blessed Mother and a statue of the Black Nazarene were seen floating on the shores of Sinait, Ilocos Norte. Fishermen from Sinait were able to move the Black Nazarene but not the image of Mother Mary while the fishermen from Badoc were able to moved La Virgen Milagrosa but not the Black Nazarene. The locals took the two statues to their respective towns, hence becoming their patron saints.

Slide3This year, the image is scheduled to be canonically crowned on May 31, being the 37th Canonically Crowned Marian Image in the Philippines.

Juan Luna Shrine

The Lunas were natives of Badoc Ilocos Norte. Juan, the internationally-acclaimed painter is born in Badoc while Antonio, a revolutionary general is born in Manila. That is probably why the two-storey ancestral house was named after Juan Luna.


Upon entering, there is an audio-visual presentation of the Luna’s history. At the second floor are rooms with antique bits and pieces of the family.


The museum has six galleries which houses memorabilia from the Luna folks particularly the paintings of Juan and some of Antonio’s belongings.


 Gabut Beach Resort

Most of my relatives live near the seashore. I, being a beach enthusiast find this place a blessing for them. Who would not want to have a residence walking distance to a beach?


 Our relatives scheduled a get together lunch in Gabut Beach Resort, a resort about 1 kilometer from their abode. We are happy to see some familiar faces and finally got acquainted with the others.


Special thanks to our gracious hosts kuya Nelson Duran and family for the food and booze, kuya Andring Nicolas and his 3 sons for welcoming us to their beautiful home, to Llyod for accompanying us on our Badoc tour, to the Pajinag, Magbulos and all the Balbas clan I was not able to mention.


Ilocanos are known for being “kuripot”… probably not in my relative’s case =)


Catanduanes, My First Solo Backpacking Experience

I chose Catanduanes simple because it is the only province in Bicol Region that I haven’t visited yet. Since this is a solo trip, I opted to stay and roam around Virac, the capital of Catanduanes.

From the airport, I went straight to Rhaj Inn (contact number 09123180857) and secured a place to sleep in. I got a fan room at P375 (no a/c room for now since I will shoulder the expense all by myself).

rhaj inn

It was a Sunday so after I settled my things, I went first to Cathedral of Immaculate Conception to attend Mass (was not able to get a picture of the church façade because it is currently under renovation).


Next stop is the Museo de Catanduanes, located in the Old Capitol building. Unfortunately, the museum is close on Sundays (which is quite unusual since most of the museum is open during weekends).


There are plenty of beautiful beaches in Virac but based on blogs that I have read, Marilima beach is the most stunning. So, I went to the tricycle terminal located in front of Virac Town Center (VTC) and ride the public tricycle going to Batag, fare is P30/head and distance is about 13kms to Marilima Beach. True to the blogs that I’ve read, transportation is quite scarce going back to Virac. Bloggers even suggested to rent transportation when touring Virac. Typical tour rate is P500 for half day rental which is costly for a solo traveler. Glad to meet kuya Joe, the driver of the tricycle I rode from Virac. Since I was the last passenger to get off, he volunteered to just wait for me. He even took some of my pictures in the beach 🙂 (you can contact his number 09182209345 for tours). Another truth to the blogs that I’ve read, Marilima is dramatically pristine and unblemished. An unspoiled beach situated just along the highway. But Kuya Joe told me that the place is already sold to someone and they will eventually turn it into a private resort (another raw beauty that will turn into an overrated commercial site).

miralima beach

From Marilima, I went back to Rhaj Inn and took a nap. At night time, I went to VTC to have my dinner and buy some souvenirs. I thought it was just a mall but when I reached the back area, there are food stalls, park and a stage with a huge LED. They call the place VTC Metrowalk and I think this is where locals usually stay to unwind.

town center

 Need to end this blog by thanking my travel hubby who, after my several attempts, finally allowed me to do this solo backpacking. Because of this, as a traveler, I feel complete.

Catanduanes, My First Solo Backpacking Experience

Catanduanes is the last province I’ve been to, completing the six provinces of Bicol Region. But what made my trip to this province extra special is that, this is my first ever solo backpacking experience in the country. Below is the itinerary and budget for this tour:



Swimming with Turtles

Apo Island is located in Dauin, Negros Oriental. It is an hour ride from Dumaguete and 1-hour boat ride from Malatapay.


Apo Island is a 7- hectare marine reserve island and a popular diving site. Aside from seeing breathtaking corals, you can also enjoy swimming with huge turtles on their manmade habitat. There are also beautiful rock formations around the island. It is best to visit Apo Island in the morning.


(you may check our budget and itinerary for this trip – Siquijor, Oslob and Dumagute)



Tour and Eat around Dumaguete City

Tourist Spots:

Rizal Boulevard – is a popular spot for locals. It is where people go after hard day works to simple enjoy the sun set while eating the famous tempura. There are also masseurs near Dumaguete port where you can have a nice massage after a whole day activities.


Silliman University – is established in 1901 and the first American University in the whole Asia. At present, they offer elementary, high school and college education. There is also a museum inside where you can find old artifacts about Dumaguete city and Negros Oriental province.


St. Catherine of Alexandria Church – built in 1754 and is considered one of the oldest church stone in Negros Oriental. There is also a belfry near the church used as a watchtower during the old era.


 Food Stops:

Tempura in Rizal Blvd. –Tempura of Dumaguete is not the same as Tempura of Japan, it is actually a big version of “kikiam”. There are several stalls piled up along Rizal Boulevard where you can buy this snacks. Aside from tempura, they also have squid rolls and chicken balls with different level of spicy sauce.


Cakes in Sans Rival – this is a popular delicacy in Dumaguete. Aside from Sans Rival, they also have other cakes and pastries. A newly opened branch, Sans Rival Bistro also offers pasta and rice meals.


Cheap meals in Baroroy Eatery – if you are looking for a budget meal, Baroroy Eatery is best for you. Also located near Rizal Boulevard and Sans Rival Bistro, Baroroy has a wide variety of meals for a very affordable price.


(you may check our budget and itinerary for this trip – Siquijor, Oslob and Dumagute)