Hometown Cha-Cha-Ching!

by Monchi Ampil

Yes, I got the title from my favorite Korean drama or K-drama Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (it’s on Netflix). I love the show because Gongjin (the fictional location) just looks beautiful from its beaches and food.

The show’s relaxing tourist spots, breathtaking beaches, and good food reminds me of why I’m writing this article – the show has a resemblance to my hometown, which is Ilocos Norte.

Due to the pandemic, I wasn’t able to go home to my hometown for roughly 26 months. So as soon as restrictions were eased for fully vaccinated individuals and there were significantly less COVID-19 cases, I immediately grabbed the chance to travel.

Of course, I still had to deal with the expenses. The bus fare or airfare cost is considerable. But, I figured, it was all worth it. I knew that being home and enjoying our famous delicacies — longganisa, bagnet, and empanada — with my loved ones, was priceless.

There are a lot of things to see and do in Ilocos. It won’t cost a cent to explore beautiful old churches or look at lakes and windmills. If you decide to go to Pagudpud, you just need a minimal entrance fee (P20 to P50). The adventurous types go to the Blue Lagoon, where the waves are really strong. By contrast, Saud’s beach has a more laid-back energy and is actually considered one of 25 most beautiful beaches in the world.

My long-overdue trip was one of my most memorable visits there. I realized the value of having the freedom to travel. Being able to go to other places enriches your life. For me, it’s imperative to always set aside something for travel. As a saying goes, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” 

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