Find out what makes an 8- or 10-hour drive worth it.
If you’re looking to dig into some culture and history, these spots up northern Luzon are just the right places to visit.
1) Bangui Windmills
I take this as one of the Philippines’ most beautiful efforts to aid the ailing Mother Earth. Known to be the biggest in Southeast Asia, the Bangui Windmills are a lovely sight that are not merely for aesthetics. The windmills serve to provide power in Ilocos Norte. They make everything look so serene and peaceful. Now isn’t that a double whammy – green and gorgeous in one project.
Seeing the whole line of giant windmills stretch far to places the eyes can’t reach – it was amazing. Just watching the windmills turn was already something beautiful in itself.
2) Paoay Church and Paoay Sand Dunes
The Paoay Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1710, it is well-known for its unique Earthquake Baroque architecture. As the Philippines belongs to the Pacific Ring of Fire, the church was built to survive natural calamities.
The church echoes of history. It has aged markings on its walls, footsteps of thousands of people who have gone before us, marking its very ground. It’s always humbling to experience something archaic because it reminds you that there’s a world bigger than yourself.
The sand dunes on the other hand, are a vast expanse of sand, a little piece of desert in Paoay, where you can go sandboarding and have a joyride on a 4×4.
Or, you can do what I did. I just marveled at the sight. I didn’t get the chance to sandboard or ride on a 4×4. In fact, our car almost got stuck (lesson learned) but fortunately, some people helped us.
3) Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
One of the highest lighthouses in the Philippines, it was first used around 1892 to spot the galleons sailing by and served to guide the sailors to safety.
It may not look like it in the photos, but the lighthouse is situated on top of a hill, and the stairs provided more altitude. Its age was apparent in the structure but it’s amazing how it was preserved. It really brings you back to the old days and you can imagine the way it used to be.