Ilocos was that road trip you’d want to take, (because everybody else has been to the place) but then not want to come back – ever. It was exhausting.

While the place is full of history, the long travel had been draining. The blends of scenic and historic destinations did not seem to nullify the fatigue of traveling North.

I think there was a definite itinerary on how to navigate the destinations of Ilocos in order to appreciate each destination. Surely, making the Sand Dunes the second destination on the first day was never a good idea.

Nevertheless, the highlight of this tour, for me, had been the people who were with us throughout the trip. This was one of our trips where the memories with the strangers we met on the tour were more memorable.

The moments that I’d always remember with this particular trip had been on how easy it was to meet strangers, enjoy certain moments, and for a brief instance, be a part of each other’s life journey.

Like any other trips I had, Ilocos added a stack of realization on how big the world is and that it is considerably larger than anyone who I’m going to meet. I was thinking that if I were to meet somebody who will be turning my world upside down, I will always be grounded on the fact that there is a world out there greater than both of us. I was imagining that while many people seek wealth, status, ego-boost, and longevity; I will always be going for someone who will be as grounded on the reality that there will always be a bigger world – but it won’t stop us from creating our own.

I respected the feeling that when you were with someone, you’d felt like you got the whole world in your hands. While that hyperbole is driven by emotions, I would add that that high school-ish notion had no place in some people’s priorities. Others had completely outgrown them.

My point really is, when you have met an angel, don’t ever try to tie his wings to make him stay. Let him wander the world and don’t make him feel guilty for doing so. While many are so obsessed with journeying the world with someone, a few have settled to creating their own world. Be a part of it but don’t ever for a second expect to be it!

It is hard to explain to someone how everything makes sense in your head especially if you two have different wavelengths. For some, this Ilocos trip might be one of the best they’ve had, while for others, it might be not such a big deal. What makes each person interesting is on how he sees the world and what’s happening around him. And I believe that that translates massively on how he is as a person.  

The destinations in this Ilocos trip might not be as memorable but they would always be “haunting”. We never had so much churches, arches, and bridges in one itinerary.  In personal conclusion, I think Ilocos is a one-time thing. I don’t see myself returning back to the place anytime soon. However, I’m always open to the possibility that, in the future, I may find myself basking in the familiarity of the place. This tour may not be my favorite but I don’t regret a single thing of it. I’m rather thankful that Ilocos happened.

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Author: Mark Atong

If he is not taking advantage of his skills on full-time IT employment, he is going different places and hopefully making his mother proud. He believes writing is his passion; but it has yet to prove to pay his bills. He is a fun-loving individual who would rather stay at home reading books and catch-up on episodes of TV shows.

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