Jeffer's Odyssey

Road Trip Up North: The Bangui Windmills of Ilocos Norte

Hello, friends, how have you been? It’s been exactly a month since my last update. The holidays have also come and gone. Quite a number of things happened, which was partly to blame for my month-long hiatus from this blog. Let me just sum it up in 4 words: holidays, rest, RSI and laryngitis. BUT! It’s a new year, so let’s leave them at that. Also, instead of starting anew, let’s just pick up where we left off, shall we? This time, I bring you to the next stop in our road trip up north, to see to the famous Bangui Windmills up close.

From the Burgos Wind Farm and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation (see blog post here), it takes roughly 20 minutes along the Pan-Philippine Highway until you get to the Bangui Windmills.

To say that the Bangui Windmills is famous would be an understatement, since it has become such an iconic landmark not only of the province, but the entire region as well. And who wouldn’t be impressed? We sure were.

So we drove up to this wide parking area a good distance away from the shore, and we’re just so glad to see only a couple of other cars before us, which meant less crowd on this very very hot day.

But first, check out these “locals”. Apparently, it was just too hot that these resident pups practically had to burrow into the sand, under the shade, to keep cool while taking a nap. We were bustling around and fussing over them, and they were hardly fazed by all the noise and attention. They stirred a bit, and just when we thought they’d go elsewhere to get away from the disturbance, they just flopped right down only a few centimeters away from their original spot.

….Yeah. I’m a softie for these tiny creatures, can’t you tell?

Windmills as far as the eye can see…

In the previous post, we have established that the Burgos Wind Farm, which covers 600 hectares land area, is the largest wind farm in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. That was since 2014, when it was established.

Before that, however, the title of being the biggest wind farm in the country and the continent was held by the Bangui Wind Farm.

The wind farm is located along Bangui Bay in the town of Bangui. More than its land area, however, I think that what makes this place extra special to tourists and locals alike is the location.

I mean, just look at those lofty white windmills dotting those long stretches of beach on both sides!! It doesn’t look like it, but there are actually only 20 windmills in a line along Bangui Bay.

I dunno. I did not bother counting, but it looked like there were more than 20 of them, haha!

The 20 turbines produces 33 megawatts power, which accounts for 50% of the power consumption of the province of Ilocos Norte. And it has been operational since it was commissioned in 2005.

Before this visit, I thought they were just there for the aesthetic. Silly me. 🙂

A beautiful contrast…

From afar, the bay was a sight to see. From a distance, you’d spot those white sticks seemingly stuck on the bay, and when you spot the windmills turning, the sight is definitely even more fascinating.

But you know how some sights are better seen from a distance, such that when you get closer, the sparkle somehow dulls? That is so not the case here.

When I was there, I could not help but become even more in awe of the place. I mean, just look at the water. And the skies. Killer combo right there.

Ignoring the fact that taking a dip into that inviting blue water on this particular scorching day is practically begging to be burnt to a toast, the Bay is a siren song on its own. But NOT ignoring the fact that we are not swimmers, we had to make do with frolicking on the beach, staying on the safe zone.

Come to think of it, I’m not even sure if swimming is allowed in this Bay. I saw no lifeguards around. Perhaps during friendlier climes?

A feast for your senses… for free!

By the way, there are no fees that you must pay to come here and enter the bay. And it is open all day! The sight is even better at night, or so they say, when the windmills are all lit up. I did manage to catch a glimpse in the evenings a couple of times, during previous trips where I was able to spot the row of lights along the bay at night. ‘Twas impressive.

According to several readings, the owners and developers of this wind farm (the Northwind Power Development Corporation) chose the Vestas Wind System, a Danish company, to provide the turbines. That explains why the 230-ft tall windmills have a design similar to the windmills found in Denmark.

Maybe someday I’d learn about windmill designs, haha! Or not. Maybe I’d stay content just looking at them, thinking how gorgeous and majestic they are, without trying to analyze too much (because, you see, sometimes, too much analysis can suck simple joys. And that applies to most things…)

We hung around the area for less than 30 minutes…. and it took only that short of a time for many of us to sustain burns, sunblock notwithstanding. I got a bit of a burn on my shoulders. That’s how hot it was that day.

So, as much as we wanted to bask in the beauty of the place, and maybe even walk from end to end of the Bay, we couldn’t. Us cold-blooded Highlanders could only handle so much heat, haha!

Compared to the Burgos Wind Farm, the Bangui Wind Farm is more accessible, located just along the highway. Which means that including the Bangui Wind Farm as one of the stops of any Ilocos road trip is a no-brainer.

I hope y’all are having a good start for 2018, and a healthy and hearty rest of the year! I also hope to be able to share more adventures and – crossing my fingers – more learning experiences. It’s a great time to be alive, you guys, and what better way to show your appreciation than to actually live that life? Just sayin’.

See ya next time!

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