Up North (Pt. 1)

26You know that summer is coming (or has officially started) when it’s March here in the Philippines. Everyone is getting ready and excited for their plans for the upcoming season. And to start the new season, me and friends went up north to experience beauty of Ilocos Province.

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Before traveling up north, we had a spare day to explore around Manila. We visited BGC and Makati on this spare day. This is the time where we just do whatever we want in the city. As a self-confessed shopaholic, all I was excited for was to shop H&M’s S/S 2017 Studio Collection. The collection is inspired by athleisure and very minimal which caught my attention.

I was eyeing on the white ballet flats but when I arrived on H&M Makati, there was no more size available for me. What I got instead from the collection was a shirt with a tie detail (see pic below) and an embroidered shirt. These two shirts have greatly affected my 7kg of carefully curated looks that I packed for this trip.

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The next good thing to do after shopping is to eat. Since we know we will be in Makati, we made a reservation at Your Local. It is one of the must try restaurants once you visit Makati. Their food is all about their interpretation of Southeast Asian flavors. What we ordered were the Feel Good Chicken and Mock Mentaiko Fries for the starters and the Braised Beef Pasta, Chicken Rice and Chorizo Sandwich for the main dishes. When my friends and I eat out, we usually don’t take a lot of pictures of our food mainly because we are hungry and we can’t wait to eat up so that is why we only have one photo out of all the dishes we ordered that night (below is the Braised Beef Pasta). All I can say is that their food tastes so good as it was presented on the plate. Serving is good for a single person however, it can also be shared when you are dining in groups. Your Local is definitely worth a visit. 33.jpg

After a two days in Manila, it was time for us to travel to Ilocos. We got a joiners tour package to save up on the expenses. The downside was we were in a bus alongside 40 other people because there were a lot of people who booked to go to Ilocos that time. Nevertheless, we got the best seats at the rear part of the bus. A lot of space for our bags, extra vacant seats and an exclusive access to the bus’ comfort room. Haha!

Day 1, How to be a Normal Tourist 101. We arrived in Laoag, Ilocos Norte at 8am in the morning. We were mostly visiting museums – Marcos Museum and Malacañang of the North by the day we arrive. By the afternoon, I changed to my Look No. 1 for the trip – the Studio S/S17 Shirt with tie detail. As I mentioned earlier, after buying from the Studio Collection, there were changes to what I have packed for my outfits. Look No.1 was part of the quick change of plans.

The first site we visited in the afternoon wearing Look No.1 was one of the oldest and an Important Cultural Property of the National Museum of the Philippines, the Sta. Monica Church. Aside from it’s historical background and it’s relevance to pop culture, the church is a has a picture perfect environment that makes you feel you are in another era or even outside the Philippines.

What I was really excited for on Day 1 was to visit the sand dunes and experience the 4×4 adventure.  It’s very unusual for a tropical country to have a desert-like place and it is amazing to see that there is a place in the Philippines that has this kind of beauty. I was even jumping inside the bus when we are entering the location. The Ilocos Sand Dunes is an iconic place. It is where the famous line “Walang Himala!” by Nora Aunor in the film Himala (1982) was shot. The sand dunes also became the set of for my OOTD photo set. The location is perfect to take you summer OOTD since fashion ads right now are being shot in a desert. Check Givenchy and Mango. Haha.

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I wore a white shirt in the desert since all I imagined being in a Mad Max film as one of the wives while riding the 4×4 ride. Reinvented shirts are also a thing that never went out out style for the past seasons and for this summer, it will still continue to be one of the key pieces. I paired it up with a short shorts to have an illusion of having a shirt dress (also for branding). I was supposed to pair it with an unfinished denim but the temperature is too hot during that time. It is not at all times I had to suffer for fashion. Completing the look is a yellow hue sunnies to add up some color to the monochromatic palette. Over-all the look have this light and effortless feeling while being in a desert.

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The sand dunes experience wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t try on the 4×4 adventure. At first I thought the ride would be so chill and it is just for you to enjoy the scenery. But it is different from what I expected but IT WAS SO FUN! If you are an adventure junkie and love thrills, this is for you. The 4×4 will take you off-roads before taking you to breathtaking place where you can see a view of the place.

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Photographed by Phoebe Espejo and Marben Lawas.  Look No. 1, Shirt, H&M Studio Collection S/S2017. All Accessories, all from H&M. Shot in La Paz Sand Dunes, Ilocos Norte.

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