Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Kamagong Journals Part Ten: Side Trips
When traveling anywhere in the Philippines, due to road and traffic conditions one must spend long hours in the vehicle to get to your destination. Needing to stretch now and then, we often pulled over at attractions along the road. One of the things I noticed is that a lot of the attractions were created by current and past governors of nearby towns. I wondered if it was a legal way of bribing constituents to keep them in office.
At one particular attraction, there was a lion, the birds seen above and below and miniature horses pulling carts to give children a ride around a track. Nearby was also some sort of dinosaur themed exhibit judging from the large fiberglass dinosaurs standing guard. Because we had a long ways to go, we let the kids take a ride with the miniature horses and watch the birds before hitting the road again.
Another stop along the way was this old Spanish church at Paoay (pronounced pow-why). The Spanish started a missionary there in 1593 and started building this church in 1704. Spain had a long reign in the Philippines until the Spanish-American war was ended in the fall of 1898 and America gained control of the Philippines for the sum of $20 million. It always thrills me to see buildings older than our country and this one was still a functioning church.
At the northernmost point of the island of Luzon, the mountains running north and south eventually run smack into the water. Engineers wanting to build a loop road around the island found this obstacle and had limited options. They could either go up and over the mountain or through the mountain. Neither of those options were particularly appealing and horribly expensive so in the end they came up with a third option. Build a bridge around the end of the island. The bridge is set back from the mountain so that it doesn't get covered up in frequent mudslides that occur and it is elevated 31 meters so that it doesn't get washed away by frequent typhoons that hit the area. This 1.3 kilometer long bridge is now quite famous and called Patapat bridge and connects the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan. Some enterprising fellow even hung up a basket in a tree at the only pullout where you can get a good photo of the bridge asking people to pay P10 (about 23 cents) to park there.