Ilocos Norte is one province that is so diverse in terms of tourist spots. From pilgrimage sites to historical landmarks, and unscathed natural attractions, the province up north certainly makes an unforgettable getaway. Unfortunately though, there are a few places a lot of travellers are unaware of. These off the beaten tracks remain to be passed by visitors who would often go and see the more renowned ones.
This write-up is a feature of Ilocos Norte’s southernmost municipality – Badoc. Badoc is the gateway to Marcos Country as it is the first town to greet you when you come all the way from Manila.
Old and new churches: There are 2 churches that are totally opposites of each. The Badoc Church (aka as St. John the Baptist Parish Church), showcases architecture of the past with its aged buttresses; and the La Virgen Milagrosa Chapel – a modern and intricately designed church built by the sea.
St. John the Baptist Parish Church was constructed in 1591 and was once a chapel under the jurisdiction of Sinait (a nearby town of Ilocos Sur). It was formally recognized as a parish in 1714 with St. John the Baptist as patron saint. The baroque church made of stone blocks and brick tiles is credited to Reverend Father Valentin Blovide. The famous painter Juan Luna was baptized in this church. At present, the church houses the 400-year old image of La Virgen Milagrosa, the patroness of Ilocos Norte and believed to be the cause of countless miracles in the province.
On the other hand, the La Virgen Milagrosa Chapel was built to commemorate the arrival of the La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc, believed to have come from Japan and sent floating into sea by missionaries fleeing the country. This very lovely chapel is built on the cove separating Ilocos Norte from Ilocos Sur, The open-air chapel, that looks like an inverted boat, bears bamboo fittings and maritime decorations to recall the 400-year story recurring among the locals of Ilocos Norte.
Arts from the past: Badoc is also the birthplace of renowned Filipino artist, Juan Luna. A shrine and a museum called Balay ni Luna (House of Luna) was built where his prized artworks are displayed for public viewing. This wood-and-brick building is where Juan Luna and his family lived until it caught fire in 1861, prompting the family to move to Binondo in Manila. The existing structure is a reconstruction made in the 1970s.
Surfing Haven: Just when you thought surfing is only offered in San Juan (La Union) and Pagudpud (Ilocos Norte) at this side of the Philippines. Badoc ,Island, an uninhabited island located about a kilometer off the shore of Barangay Pagsanahan in Badoc, is a lesser known surfing spot specially during the months of July to September. Badoc Island is also home to some coral reef formations, hence swimming and snorkelling would be great to see these marine wonders.
The surfing areas are known as Badoc Island Lefts and Badoc Point. Lefts is called such because it is where a goofy footers dream wave are observed and could get high as 3 meters. Badoc Point, on the other hand, is that area near an island resort where one may stay.
How to Get to Badoc:
By Plane: There are direct flights from Manila to Laoag via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. From Laoag, ride a bus (any bus going south of Laoag) or rented vans to get to Badoc town.
By Bus: From Manila, travelers can take a Florida or Partas bus bound for Laoag. The take off point is at the Badoc Detachment bus stop. It takes approximately 9 hours of travel to arrive at the stop and from there; tricycles can be taken to get around town. Boat rides can be taken to the Badoc island from barangay Pagsanahan.