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Road Trip to Ilocos Sur: La Union Stopover

I love traveling. Yet, I am not that fond of long road trips. Most of the time, long commute or long road trips made me feel dizzy and nauseated, especially when riding public transport vehicles like bus or van. So when I go on a long commute, I always make sure to sit on the first two rows of the bus/van (in those seats, the feeling of dizziness and nausea lessens).  Otherwise, I wouldn't get in. I would wait for another bus/van just to be seated on those first two rows.

It's another story though, when riding in a private vehicle. Although I still felt dizzy, I can go sit on the backseat because I can open the car windows anytime I feel sick. I don't know what's with the open air, but it somehow relaxes me when I get to breathe fresh air, or should I say polluted air...hehe!

Anyways, when a friend invited me to Ilocos Sur and told me that we're gonna bring a car instead of commuting, I was relieved. Ilocos Sur is about 7-8 hours drive from Manila, a very long drive, and I'm afraid I might get sick if we travel by bus. At least with private transport, I would not worry getting sick on the way.  Plus I would be able to enjoy the scenery, a real treat since this is my first time going to Ilocos Sur. ;)

My friend also told me that we would make a short stopover in La Union for some personal business.  Before we left, I did some online search to find out some of La Union's interesting places. La Union is famous with its beaches and is considered to be the surfing capital of the north. However, since it will just be a short stopover, I looked for some other places which are  accessible and/or just a few minutes drive from the City's commercial center.  Some of the must-see places I found are the Ma-Cho Temple, Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and La Union Botanical Garden, two of which are along the highway going to Ilocos Sur, the other one, a 15-minute drive from the city center.

Ma-Cho Temple

Ma-cho Temple is a Taoist temple located along MacArthur Highway (highway going to Ilocos Sur) in San Fernando City, La Union.  It was built atop a hill overlooking the South China Sea.  It is the home to the Ma-Cho image, an image believed to have a resemblance with the Lady of Caysasay in Taal, Batangas.

Ma-Cho Temple entrance
Ma-cho Temple has a beautiful facade, a fascinating Chinese architecture that attracts not just its devotees but tourists alike.  And it has this dome-like ceiling with very intricate design. While taking some photos, the very accommodating caretaker who was sewing something in the corner, eagerly told me the best spots to capture. Here are some of the photos I took:

Ma-Cho Temple's facade
Ma-Cho Temple's intricately-designed dome-like ceiling
Ma-Cho Temple - overlooking the South China Sea
  
Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers

Another interesting place I found online is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.  At first, I thought it is just a memorial garden for the soldiers, just like the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio. I was surprised to find out that it is a monument/landmark.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers monument was built in honor of the soldiers who fought in the last World War. The monument is located in the junction of MacArthur Highway and Pennsylvania Avenue (the road leading to Poro Point where the luxurious Thunderbird Resort is located) in San Fernando City.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, San Fernando City, La Union

La Union Botanical Garden

Another place we visited was the La Union Botanical Garden.  The garden was 10-15 minutes uphill drive from the City's commercial center.  It is a 10-hectare garden divided into several themed areas which include the Japanese garden, the sunken garden, children's garden, and the bambusetum.  It also has orchidarium and butterfly garden but we're not able to see all of them due to the limited time we have.  Here are some photos I took from this garden.

*Note: There is a 20-peso entrance fee to the La Union Botanical Garden.

The kids from La Union Botanical Garden gamely posing for and with ThePinayWanderer. :)
La Union Botanical Garden's themed areas
Some of the flower species that can be found in La Union Botanical Garden

Date of Visit: November 5, 2011

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for joining BNP! Your blog has been posted! You can also vote for your favorite blogs! The Top 5 highest rated will be displayed in the Hall of Fame ;)

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  2. Thanks for sharing. These place is beautiful. Blog hopping!

    Kim, USA

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    1. Hi Kim, thanks for visiting, been to your site too, followed you also. :)

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  3. wow i havent been to these places but ive been in la union, hope u tried surfing aww!

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    1. Hi McRich! I can't try surfing, don't even know how to swim eh. Besides, this is just a short stopover. Thanks for visiting. :)

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  4. i dreamt last night that i was vacationing in Ilocos :D my grandmother is from Ilocos, and we used to go there a lot when I was younger but it has really been a while since I visited with them. I heard malaki na din pinagbago talaga ;)

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    1. Hi KM! I hope you can go visit Ilocos again, esp. Vigan City. Been to Vigan on this trip, such a beautiful place, a fusion of the old and the new. I'll post about my Vigan trip next time.

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  5. I want to go back to Ilocos Sur! Pinapagusapan nga namin ng cousin ko na punta kami sa Ilocos this summer. Sana matuloy.

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    1. Hi Anney! I hope you can include Vigan on your itinerary, makikita mo dito 'yon mga old ancestral houses pero mga bagong establishments ang nago-occupy. I'll post about my Vigan trip next time, sana maka-visit ka ulit. :)

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  6. Went to La Union to surf, but didn't have time to explore beyond the beach. Will definitely try to check out these places next time I'm there. :)

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    1. Hi Daene! Yes, check them out next time, they're along the highway and very accessible, anyway. :)

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  7. i love the gardens! definitely will want to check this place out when in La Union. Gives us more to do there other than hitting the beach. :)

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    1. Hi TND! Me too, I love gardens and flowers, my favorite photography subject, even if I'm not good. :)

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  8. I've never been to La Union and it seemed like their botanical garden is quite nice! :)))

    xoxo,
    http://spoonfulofstories.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hi Lady! La Union is famous for surfing, but if you don't have much time or just passing by, you can check out these places, they're accessible and most of all, they're free except for the 20-peso entrance fee at the botanical garden. :)

      And thanks for the visit, I'll go visit your site later. :)

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