Friday, 2 January 2009

Manila to Ilocos in a Picanto, Finale (Happy New Year and Back to Manila)

After a brief survey of the resorts on Saud Beach we realised that there was nothing happening on New Year's eve. No crazy beach party with fire dancers and loud music. Nothing. A couple of the waiters even said they're taking the afternoon off to be with their families so we weren't even sure if there was anywhere open for dinner. Luckily, there were a few places open. We didn't want to eat a crappy meal and experience crappier service at Villa del Mar, and we weren't going to Apo Idon where Peter sent two cold breakfast plates. Seriously, we've had the worst meals and the worst service from these so-called exclusive resorts that I'm left wondering what sort of hell-hole shite backpackers are left with in their budget hotels. The bigger the resort the shittier the service, it seems.

We ended up having a delicious Ilocano dinner at Saud Beach Resort which included a plate of calamari, pinakbet, bagnet and KBL, and steamed fish in white sauce. And plenty of beer. That was very nice. There was a family on the next table who shovelled food down their throats while managing to look perpetually disappointed. It turned out that they own the resort. After that, we drove back to our resort, went next door and had fruity pancakes for dessert.

By this time the wind was high and the waves crashing on the beach kept reminding e of that huge tsunami, so I took a nap and told Pedro to wake me up at midnight. After two minutes of random fireworks on the stretch of the beach it was over. We went back to the room and slept.

We woke up at 8 am, had coffee, packed and left Pagudpud. We were heading towards San Fernando, La Union, where we booked a room for one night at the Sunset Bay Beach Resort. We made a brief stop at the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and, um, basically drove on until we were too hungry to notice the landscape. Since it was new year's day most places were shut, so we decided to go to Vigan in the hopes that Cafe Leona would be open.

The drive to Vigan took about three hours where we stopped for lunch at Cafe Leona in Calle Crisologo. Pedro had steak the size of a baseball mitt and I had my Ilocano pinakbet and longganiza. Delicious. On the side of the road from Vigan we bought several bottles of Basi wine and vinegar, two of which broke inside the car so it reeked of spiced vinegar, which still smells better than dog vomit, we both agreed.

Drove for another three hours and finally reached San Fernando, La Union. We checked into the room, I changed and headed to the beach with my trusty snorkle,
went back disappointed (murky, rocky), ordered beer and sat by the infinity pool. Sunset Bay Beach Resort is owned by an English guy called Spider who was teaching Arts in Hong Kong for decades and finally settled in this town. The resort is really qutie sweet. They only have about 15 rooms but an excellent kitchen, nice swimming pool and lots of easy chairs and gazebos where you can sit with your laptop and just use their wi-fi (not free, by the way) for free, just don't tell anyone.

We had a traditional English dinner with cottage pie, roast beef, mince pie and christmas pudding with vanilla ice cream. It was good, but not great. Went back to the room and overslept. The best thing about English food is the cooked breakfast, if you ask me. We had english sausages, minute steak, eggs, crispy bacon, toast and delicious coffee served in large mugs.

After a short while packing, we drove off to Manila via Clark. At the welcome arch in Sison, we stopped to have a look at these enormous prawns. I ended up paying up more, of course. Fuck these cons. And slap me for being stupid. They were delicious, though.

We're back home after eleven days, tired but happy. This was the break we needed. Now I'm drinking Sauternes, tomorrow I'm doing the laundry.

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