Sirib’s hospitality and the beauty of Ilocos Norte

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SUSAN PAPA

The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) and the Sirib Swimming Club hosted the PSL’s 124th Leg Series at the Marcos Sports Stadium in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte last October 29. The Department of Education (DepEd) Ilocos Norte also contributed to the project.

The Sirib Swim club was led by Guillermo “Gem” Ablan, Jacky Ablan Ogay, Randy Nacion and Johm Jose.

The PSL, fresh from winning a championship in Tokyo, Japan proceeded to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur to compete in Batang Pinoy.

The 11-year old PSL swimmer Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh emerged as the most bemedalled contestant in the Girls 12 years old and under category.

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Mojdeh ruled Bpinoy’s 400m Individual Medley as well as the 200m, 100m and 50m Butterfly at the President Quirino Stadium.

The PSL family took the opportunity to visit the Vigan Cathedral and offer prayers of thanksgiving for its recent victories particularly its dominance of in the recently concluded 27-team Japan competition.

The group also enjoyed the walking tour on the picturesque Calle Crisologo, named after Don Mena Pecson Crisologo, an illustrious Ilocano writer and politician.

We also visited the Baluarte Zoo, owned by Governor Chavit Singson before proceeding to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

A sumptuous dinner prepared by the Sirib team greeted us upon our arrival on October 27.

We are blessed with a beautiful weather on October 29, the beginning of the competition. An interesting discovery was that the 40-swimmer Apayao team honed their skills by swimming in a river. The PSL saw the need to provide them with proper training and equipment.

The PSL family afterward visited Fort Ilocandia and Saint Agustine Church, commonly known as the Paoay Church as well as the so-called Malacañang of the North – the residence of the family of former president Ferdinand Marcos.

We were also enthralled by other tourist spots in the area among them the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte, which is comparable to those of Dubai’s, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse (also known as Burgos Lighthouse), Kapurpurawan Rock Formation and the Bangui Windmills.

The Patapat Viaduct Bridge, elevated 31 meters above sea level is also a sight to behold.

We stayed at Hannah’s Resort in Pagudpud that offers a spectacular view of a blue lagoon before leaving Ilocos Norte. I would say that the beauty of Ilocos Norte is indeed world-class.

Our stay in Ilocos Norte also reminded me of Marcos’ contribution to Philippine sports particularly swimming. During the 1970s, we were provided with three sets of uniforms so we can represent our country in the best image when competing overseas. It includes a Barong Tagalog and saya for the parade and a tracksuit and uniform for the actual athletic event.

We’re looking forward to coming back to Ilocos Norte!

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