Adams, Ilocos Norte, recently opened its doors to tourists for eco/nature tour. Situated on a mountainous terrain, Adams is accessible from the more famous coastal Pagudpud. I have consciousness of the town since I was a child but never had a chance to go. Through the years though, I have heard some nature adventure stories in Adams by locals of the province, every now and then, and of late, I took my queue from a news feature of what Adams can offer.
Before going back to Manila from my Summer vacation, I, together with my sister and her son, Jordan [9-years old] drove for two-hours from our place to Pagudpud and from there, we left the car at the foot of the road going to Adams and waited for motorcycle bikes [habal-habal] for us to bring to our destination.
Habal-habal for 100 pesos per person, are the more popular mode of transportation because of the rough road terrain. An ordinary Sedan can bear the trip depending on the weather condition, [road prone to landslide on rainy season], while a 4×4 may not be of any problem at all, except under extreme circumstances.
It is always advisable to approach the nearest Police Station to verify road condition which we did before embarking on the trip. We opted to take the habal-habal for two reasons: first, we did not want to take the chance of using the car even though we were advised that there are no landslides; and second, it is part of the adventure as it is the usual mode of transportation.
Here’s a raw video of the ride:
(If flickr vid does not work, copy and paste direct link : http://www.flickr.com/photos/biagkensiak/3597670130/)
The ride going up may become really rough and tough passing through river boulders, rough roads going up and down overlooking deep ravines and cliffs. One may opt to walk on its most famous hanging bridge, the “Beset” hanging bridge or rather ride on the motorcycle still passing through it! However and whatever you want, local drivers will readily oblige. Pictue of the hanging bridge below that my nephew was excited to have crossed.
There is not only one but several hanging bridges and they were not build for adventure but for necessity. They are most important when rivers swell during rainy season. There is however, one concrete bridge under construction along the way and it should be done in a few months from now. There was also a short strip of concrete road that we passed by but I hope these constructions will not in anyway alter the beauty and natural appeal of Adams as it is known and being promoted for.
When we reached the town proper after 45-minutes, we were referred to their “restaurant” for rest and lunch, which was just within the Poblacion, situated along a river overlooking Mt. Palemlem, considered as the highest peak in Ilocos Norte. While we packed our lunch, we ordered local catch shrimp [“Udang”] from the river beside the restaurant and Pinakbet na Gabi [“Aba”] served with locally grown organic rice known as “Mariket,” all freshly cooked! What we had for lunch [below] and some images of what can be seen around the restaurant.
After lunch, we started our hike to Anuplig Falls, one of several waterfalls in Adams. There are other nearer waterfalls but Anuplig Falls being the best [but the farthest!], we decided to take that. We were already in Adams and why not see the best it can offer. The hike is 45-minutes to an hour, one way. It’s challenging for first time hikers like us, because most of the hike paths are along deep ravines and cliffs, some with sharp rocks and may become slippery specially when wet. Try not to look down on the ravines and cliffs for you might lose sight of your path. Bring enough water and something to eat just in case you decide to rest halfway. Our guides suggested for a rest but because of excitement, we declined.
Here are some images on our hike to Anuplig Falls:
After the hike which literally made my heart pound [no kidding], we finally reached Anuplig Falls. It’s a 25-feet of natural waterfalls with two falls basins. Swimming and diving allowed at your own risk. IN case of doubt, confirm with your guide. The water is cold and whether or not it was safe, I had some of it because we did not bring enough.
Video of Anuplig Falls:
(If flickr vid does not work, copy and paste direct link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/biagkensiak/3597518908/)
After about 30-minutes of swimming and enjoying Adam’s best offer, it started to rain which was our sign to leave because of the long trek back and the condition of the path might not be good when wet. After coming back from the trek, there is no doubt, I can go to Anuplig falls again. I am definitely overweight and does not have much experience on hiking or trekking, but my 9-year old nephew, Jordan was my inspiration. If at his age, he never complained being tired nor scared, I should do better!
Some images on our way back from Anuplig Falls:
It was still raining when we left Adams, again on habal-habal. We got two brooms [“walis tambo”], locally made, for 50 Pesos each. We were looking for the “Mariket” rice but it was not in season. They have another local product, Kamagong [“Yantok” furnitures but they cannot not fit in the motorcycle! Obviously! The makers are open for orders though.
Our ride going down from Adams was just as exciting as going up – and that ended our trip on a high note, as high as where Adams is! Honestly, I should have slept over for the night as there are “home-stays” available for 200 Pesos but for domestic reasons, I decided to do that on my next trip.
Below are pictures of Adams’ typical native home and their Roman Catholic Church:
Big thanks to our drivers turned tourist guides (two of them and by the way, I have their contact numbers just in case you want to try Adams. Charge is reasonable, in fact, we even have to give some extra because we thought they did a good job!). They who readily obliged to guide as around due to absence of accredited tour guides that time. Don’t forget to log-in at their local police once you get there, and log-out when you leave, as SOP and for all parties’ peace of mind.
Adams is an alternative to the already famous destinations in Ilocos. I love it the way it is today because it is at its best being the Adams as it is and used to be. Now that its open to tourists, it is inevitable that there will be more manifestations of progress, as there are some now, but I hope it will not in anyway alter, modify or reverse what Adams is all about. The efforts of the Province of Ilocos Norte, opening Adams to tourists is laudable. I hope, however, that the reasons for the effort will remain and let Adams be the way it is and should be. Otherwise, it may lose the purpose for which is exists.
So, in your next trip to Ilocos, why not leave at least a day for Adams when you are already in Pagudpud Beach, and see what Ilocos mountains can offer you!