The very first stop of my 2024 ILOCOS Region Super Adventure was the Museo San Nicoleño in the town of San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte. I’m not sure if it was fate or if it was just very carefully planned because this stop truly set the tone for the entire trip.
You see, I was one of the very lucky Cebuano media and content creators chosen by the Department of Tourism Region 1 (thanks to my friend Dookie) to go on an all-expense-paid trip to Ilocos. And since the past months had been extremely busy with Christmas and Sinulog events happening almost every single day, I knew that I had to say yes to this. I needed a break so badly and this invitation was just god-sent.
Anyway, back to our story. So I mentioned that the Museo San Nicoleno (Buabobuabo) Philippine Airlines’ was our very first stop. And as we all know, the first stop could make or break an entire tour. And I tell you this stop not only impressed me, but it also made me super excited for what the next 3 days would bring.
Arriving in Ilocos
After a two-hour flight from the Mactan Cebu International Airport via Philippine Airlines (Thank you PAL!), we landed in Laoag Airport safe and sound and ahead of schedule! At the airport, we were warmly welcomed by the wonderful men and women of DOT Region 1 headed by Ms. Evangeline Dadat.
After leaving the arrivals area, our group dropped by One Town One Product (OTOP) store just outside the arrivals gate for a quick sneak preview of what Ilocos has to offer. And seeing the amazing things on display, I knew that we were all in for an amazing treat!
Museo San Nicoleño (Buabobuabo)
My Ilocos journey officially began at the Museo San Nicoleño (Buabobuabo) in the charming town of San Nicolas.
Stepping into this quaint museum felt like stepping back in time. Housed in an age-old water reservoir, the museum showcases the town’s rich and truly fascinating history. The museum carries well-preserved artifacts, documents, and photographs – a testament to the town’s colorful past. All of these offer a glimpse into the town’s cultural heritage and the lives of its people.
What truly makes this museum unique, however, aren’t the priceless pieces on display but the young geniuses – grade school students who, with immense enthusiasm, serve as the museum tour guides.
They may look too young to understand history or the importance of passing down stories from one generation to the next, but it is best not to judge. For in reality, they are very well-versed and well-trained and have obviously put a lot of time and effort into their craft.
Through the students’ insightful guided tour, I learned about San Nicolas’s colorful past – from its pre-colonial roots to its present-day transformation. And their innocent smiles and genuine passion for their hometown’s culture and history made the experience truly heartwarming.
A Bright Future for Ilocos
After the tour, I realized that Museo San Nicoleno isn’t just a repository of the past. Instead, it is also a testament to the vibrant present of this quiet little town.
The young guides, empowered by their role as cultural ambassadors, were a beacon of hope for the future of all San Nicolenos. Their dedication and enthusiasm left a lasting impression, reminding me that inspiring the next generation to carry the torch and preserving our heritage should both be front and center.
My Ilocos adventure has just begun, and obviously, we’re off to an amazing start!
I’m so excited to share with you guys the rest of my adventure. So please stay tuned because I tell you, Ilocos is truly one of a kind!