Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rave Running in the Northern Edge of Luzon

My passion for running is equaled only by my passion for travel. I love going to places not just to see the popular attractions but also to discover the local folks' way of living, culture and food. And whenever I'm new to a certain place, I always look for the opportunity to run around it. One of the best way to know more about a certain destination is to explore it by foot. And by running around, I don't only discover more of the place, I also get to do my maintenance run at the same time.

This year, my wife and I are fortunate to have traveled to the northern provinces of Luzon: Ilocos Norte and Cagayan Province. We took days off from our respective work to discover these beautiful places that are way too far from home. The long travel, however, did not stopped my itchy soles from running around these three places:

1. Claveria Beach in Claveria, Cagayan:

Not to be confused with the Misamis Oriental town of the same name, Claveria in Cagayan Province is one of those off-the-beaten places not often frequented by tourists. It can be reached after passing through the coastal municipalities of Ilocos Norte. Situated in the northernmost tip of mainland Luzon, Claveria is home to beautiful beaches and secluded coves with interesting rock formations. 

We stayed in a resort near Claveria Beach, locally known as Baybay. The beach has a very long stretch of gray sands and since it sees only a few tourists most of the time, you can have it all to yourself. 

Before going for a dip, I ran barefoot on the sands amid the breeze and the waves on my side. When running on beaches, it is best to do it on the wet portion of the sands where it is more compact. Running on fine, dry sands is difficult since you're feet will sink in every step you take. 

Visit this LINK for more about Claveria, Cagayan.

2. Patapat Viaduct in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Patapat Bridge is the fourth longest bridge in the country. Spanning a length of 1.3 kilometers, it offers a  breathtaking view of the sea merging with mountain ranges in the horizon. Because of this it is one of the few bridges in the Philippines that are considered as tourist attractions. 

My soles got itchy again when we reached this spot. Unmindful of the heat of the sun, I handed my camera to our guide and asked him to take photos as I run up and down the bridge. 

Visit this LINK for more about Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

3. Bangui Wind Farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Bangui Wind Farm, more popularly known as the Bangui Windmills, is my ultimate run destination dream. As a clean and renewable source of electricity, it has become the most popular icon of Ilocos Norte. 

When we arrived in this place, I wasted no time in fulfilling my dream. It felt really surreal running on the sands underneath the giant turbines with the sea breeze blowing on my face. But because of the intense heat from the sun, I wasn't able to run the entire 9-kilometer row of 20 wind turbines. Still it felt great to finally to cross this dream run destination off my bucket list.    

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