Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Luna, La Union: Hitching A Ride With An Infant

After an hour and a half long battle with nausea, I was defeated. For the first time in ages, I threw up in the bus. I could not even recall when was the last time such thing happened. Mind you, I've been on countless buses, boats and even a habal-habal when I had a baby bump last year. And every ride, I won the battle.

Suffice it to say that Naguilian Road could be a killer. That, or the maniacal bloke driving the bus.

Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan in St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Luna. A trike driver suddenly entered the frame and posed for me.

I am fond of weaving through the mountains, but not when the vehicle morphs into a roller coaster coach. Oh how I rejoiced when we finally alighted in San Juan, La Union. My equally dizzy hubby, who was lugging four-month old Luna, trudged alongside me.

Geared up for traveling with an infant. My must-haves (aside from formula and nappies): Disinfectant and mosquito net.

We walked aimlessly for a couple of minutes. It was mid-January. After the hectic Yule season, we were looking forward to de-stressing holidays, away from the extended family and somewhere warm (we had been living in Baguio for almost three months). Because it was lean period, there was no need to book an accommodation.

Hacienda Peter Beach Resort, home for a night.

Neither did I search for cheap options online. Our mindless feet led us to Hacienda Peter Beach Resort. Okay, we were actually on our way to the multihued Lola Nanny's Guesthouse, but was sidetracked and eventually lured by the cheery owner of the former. An P800 double fan room is not how I define cheap accommodation, but its beachfront location makes it a steal.


The room, as expected, was basic but clean. The bed was inviting and could have been an aid in nursing my headache, but we got plans for the afternoon. An inquiry about public transportation to Luna paved the way for an opportunity to hitch a ride.

Owner: Punta kayo ng Luna? Dun nyo ba ipinangalan anak nyo? (You're heading to Luna? Was your baby named after that place?)

Me: Opo, paano po pumunta dun? At hindi po dun galing pangalan ni Luna (Yes, how do we get there? And no, she wasn't named after that place.)

Owner: Sakay na lang kayo sa kanya (pointing at the guy she was seemingly doing business with). Papunta sya ng Ilocos Sur. (Why don't you just hitch a ride with him? He's on his way to Ilocos Sur.)

On the front steps of the Abad-Lopez ancestral house.

We didn't have to ask. Kuya, who sold fire extinguishers to San Juan resorts, offered us a lift. Stories were exchanged as soon as we hopped in his van. Kuya is a semi-retired businessman, buying and selling random stuff. And for some reason, he is particularly interested with our uhm, love story.

Kuya asked for my camera and directed us to pose here and there.

About fifteen minutes into our ride, like a true-blue hospitable Filipino, he invited us to his home. What are the odds of hitching a ride with someone who owns an ancestral house (which by the way ain't open to the public)? So of course we said yeah! Kuya happens to be part of the prominent Lopez-Abad clan of San Juan. And he was more than happy to show us their beautiful home.

The town's humble welcome.

The original house was built around 1885 and was remodeled to its present structure in 1951. Not only is the house old, also its furniture and interior decor. It was truly an honor to be guided by one of the owners himself. We had a grand time. And as if that wasn't enough act of kindness, instead of dropping us off the junction, he told us he'll take us all the way to our destination because Luna's asleep. He reasoned that a bumpy tricycle ride will wake her up.

St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in the middle of Luna's town center.

He dropped us off in front of the church, and waved farewell as he drove away. Joel, a fellow blogger who was then on a visita iglesia (aiming to visit a million Northern Luzon churches in six days - okay just about thirty or something), popped out of nowhere and greeted us with his beaming smile. Together, we did a quick tour of the church.

Surprisingly massive, contradicting its unassuming facade.

The statue of the Blessed Virgin enshrined here was to be delivered by a galleon from Mexico to Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The galleon redirected to Luna because of uncooperative weather. The statue was temporarily placed in a convent near the church of Namacpacan (Namacpacan is the old name of the town, and was changed to Luna in honor of the Luna brothers) for a night. The next morning, it can no longer be moved and the Augustinian priests felt this was a sign for it to stay. Interesting story, ei?

Luna back in San Juan from our Luna visit.

After we got out of the church, we dined in a carinderia where I had the best dinuguan ever. My day progressed from bad to okay to awesome. It was only early afternoon, but already, the horrific bus ride that morning was a distant memory.


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blissfulguro said...
October 12, 2011 at 9:37 AM

astig! parang winelcome si Luna sa Luna. and steal na nga ang 800 for a beachfront accommodation :)

Chyng said...
October 12, 2011 at 10:40 AM

i would also give a tour to a beautiful family. chismoso no, ano love story nyo daw.. ^_^

and btw Gay, sa wakas alam ko na! use WWW instead of HTTP. hindi pala narerecognize ng blog ko ang response button pag HTTP. haay.. old skul!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 12, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Yeah! Whatta fantastic welcome that was!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Chyng, yey will try it later :)

lakbay philippines said...
October 12, 2011 at 11:22 AM

yung driver talaga, oo!

docgelo said...
October 12, 2011 at 11:46 AM

i've been to luna, la union too, so the photo of the church brought back memories how my feet endured the rocky beach shores of luna enroute to that famous watchtower.

thank you for being generous to share your family photos; it's my first time to read your post with them. beautiful!

and you just teased me with that magic word you enjoyed from luna's carinderia --"dinuguan" -been craving for it for the longest time (alam mo naman dito sa penang, may baboy nga, wala naman main ingredient noon for obvious reasons).
bawi na lang pag uwi namin sa pasko.

thanks, gay!

docgelo said...
October 12, 2011 at 11:50 AM

and btw, i must state that any parent can so relate with those second and fourth photos (how your husband carried luna) in this post! mabuhay ang mga magulang! :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 12, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Doc Gelo, we were supposed to go to Pebble Beach but got lazy :( Hopefully next time we could check it out. I miss dinuguan too. Don't know where to get pork blood here...

Elal | The Shades of Grey said...
October 12, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Grabeh. nakakarelate ako sa nausea na nafefeel mo. i actually have a motion sickness and that's a battle i have to fight every trip that i try to make. :(

Luna in Luna. Super cute. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 12, 2011 at 1:20 PM

I hope meds could help you with that, Elal. Cause that could really be a problem with long bus rides :(

Simurgh said...
October 12, 2011 at 2:11 PM

may impromptu ancestral home tour!
nice!! :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 12, 2011 at 4:43 PM

We got sooo lucky :)

Edmar Gu-Quibb said...
October 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM

is Luna just along the main highway?

Batang Lakwatsero said...
October 13, 2011 at 12:05 AM

naver ko pa na-try mag-hitch.. sana sa oras na magnyari yun patuluyin din ako.. hehe.. ang cute ni Luna, beybing-baby pa. ang ganda ng church nila.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 13, 2011 at 6:27 AM

Edmar, it's not along the main highway. There's a certain junction you should turn to.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 13, 2011 at 6:28 AM

Ivan, hitching's awesome! Hope you get to try it someday.

Rizalenio said...
October 13, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Hi there, Luna. :) I have a feeling, writer si Kuya kaya interested sa love story nyo. What a kind person. :)

Ian | Going Places said...
October 13, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Luna is a nice name. It's sophisticated and elegant that pertains to the moon's beauty.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 13, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Lito, haha! I think interracial relationships amuse him.

Kristeta ♥ (kalokang Pinay) said...
October 14, 2011 at 7:50 AM

Luna is so cute =) Ang batang magstart mamasyal, hehe =) You've got a beautiful family.
I love old churches, just not a big fan of painted ones as I prefer old buildings to look old sana....
But what an adventure this is. Nothing beats Filipino hospitality talaga. =)
And yum, i think I could do with dinuguan, ive not had it for ages...

Thanks for dropping by and for leaving a comment =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

I am not a fan of freshly painted ones also, but the painting's got something to do with the preservation also. Found out from a fellow travel blogger :) Thanks for visiting!

Senyor Lakwatsero said...
October 14, 2011 at 12:24 PM

san nyo nga ba kinuha yung name ni luna? cute! and interested din ako sa love story nyo. chismoso din, no? hehe

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 14, 2011 at 1:47 PM

We named her after the moon godess, cause when I was pregnant, Luna was always kicking at night. And... I met the hubby in the Middle East. Haha...

Gladys | ByahengBarok.com said...
October 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM

wow, may sariling town si luna :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 23, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Haha! Yeah ;p

ardee sean said...
November 30, 2011 at 2:00 PM

one of the places in my travel bucket list too.. nice pics :)

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