Bontoc - Tuguegarao - San Fernando - Manila

I got picked up by Mik in Tuguegarao at 01.00 am. He lives in a house with a 24/7 farmacy on the ground floor, so he had no problems with picking me up at such a time. We had some porridge from the restaurant next door and planned out the following three days that I would be spending with him. The next day we went to the caves in the outskirts of the city. Next to a beautiful river, we entered the caves with a local guide. To me this cave seemed like the middle of nowhere, but the Mik knew all the people we met inside. I found that kind of funny. After investigating the seven chambers, we went into a boat and were taken to a beach further down the river. There was a cave entrance up in the cliff side and we were waiting for sunset to see the exodus of the bats. We had a lot of fun with the local cow while waiting. A one year old, white cow was like a dog and the little girl that owned it, treated it as such. It followed after her everywhere and ate only grass if someone picked it and fed it to her. It was very cute and it seemed to like the color of my shorts, because it kept on licking. Watching the bats exit was very cool and afterwards we drove with the boat under the swarms of bats that were out. In the evening we picked up the Pastor and the Chinese and went for dinner. A delicious barbecue with halo-halo at the end. After such a good start, I knew I would have shit loads of fun in Tuguegarao.

Every morning I was served great breakfast, made by Mik's nanny. A good way to start our days with much travelling. For our second day we needed reenforcements and picked up the Graduate. It was so cool to be with the Mik, because we were never alone and his friends were great. The three of us headed down to Isabella to have a look at a big chair and some old churches. We also visited Mik's restaurant and the Graduate's former professor. She lived next door to the Mik's new flat, which we inspected. Everything was finewith the place except the pink sink. He didn't like the color, but I laughed cause the words pink and sink normally come in a different order. It had been a long day for me and I slept in the car all the way back home.

The third day was great. The three of us added Mik's cousin to the crew, and the four of us drove up to the very north-east of Luzon. We got all the way up and had a good lunch before we got a boat ride to the Island Palaui. The island was beautiful and there was an old spanish light house there. We went up and enjoyed a magnificent view. It was the first time I saw the pacific oceand and it was be the furthest north I would be until the flight to Korea. To top it all off, we went for a swim on the beach with black sand. Due to the volcanoes in the area, the sand on the beaches is black. After sunset we went into the restaurant by the beach and had dinner. This resort area has a lot of Chinese tourists that are there for the casinos and beaches. That's why I was able to have my first Tsing Tao in a long time. It brought back memories from good old China and Hong Kong. On the way back home we stopped by the Graduate's hometown to say happy birthday to his father. I got to eat a mix between Halo-halo and coconut shake, which was very good. I think I consumed a couple of kilos of sugar in the Philippines every day. To be sure of that, we got some extra coconut ice cream to eat on the way back.

During my entire stay, I've been educated a lot about cagayan and I have had friends with me who have explained everything I've seen, and then some. I had a brilliant time in Tugugarao, which is used as the term "middle of nowhere" in the Philippines. It was ridiculously hot, but this place is definitely somewhere to me! With extra help with my plan for the last stops in Luzon, I left the guys the next morning and went to Pagudpud. After a sweaty, no air-con bus trip, I was there. I slept one night in a nice home stay and spent the sunset at the beach and in the water. I then went to Laoag and had a day trip to Marcos' Heritage Home. He didn't seem so bad to me. Passing the "palace of the north" down to Vigan. I had an extra day, so I decided to stop off at San Fernando on the way to Manila. I met two nice teenagers, Niq and mr Hair, immediately after arrival and they helped me find a place to stay, The next two days I slept under the sky on a roof for 100 pesos (13 nok). Their mother Michelle came and took us all out for dinner. I love this place, even when I don't plan to meet nice people, I still do. The next day I spent surfing and met some great guys from Sweden and Australia. We had some beers and then I went to bed early since Michelle had offered me a lift to Manila the following day. My 36 hours in San fernando were great.and it was time to finish off my Luzon trip for now.




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