Roadtrip to the North of Luzon: Byahecho’s First Year Anniversary Give Away

It was Byahecho’s first year anniversary few months back and so, I thought the first year gave me so much opportunity to explore more about blogging. Writing stories, making on the spot itineraries while on a travel and taking some good photos and videos are not easy and will never will. That is why, when somebody reads my blog posts, I am so thankful deep inside though, I can’t thank everybody one by one. It feels great when somebody will drop you an email or a comment making positive feedbacks about your write ups and shared visual arts.

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Byahecho Roadtrip Anniversary Giveaway in Sandbox Alviera Pampanga

As my way of thanking the people who supported byahecho since I started this blog, I made a travel roadtrip give away promo on my social media accounts. That ended up making Mark from Las Pinas and Nhimrod from Bulacan as the winners after a fish bowl draw.

August 23 and 24 were the dates of the roadtrip and the weather was not so cooperative. On my way to Manila to pick up our winners, I had to drive along flooded roads and it was raining at that time. We all met at SM North Edsa Parking Lot Annex and we started the roadtrip from Manila to Pampanga.

Upon exit to San Fernando, Pampanga expressway, we started the day with a breakfast at LA Bakeshop. Probably, the most famous bakeshop in the province for their tasty cheesebread and spanish bread. Their branch along Dolores road has a space for those who wants to dine in. I had our winners tried their famous cheesebread and tsokolate batirol and so as their asado bun.

After LA Bakeshop, we went to Everybody’s Cafe which is also in San Fernando. This is one of the oldest restaurant in Pampanga offering an authentic Kapampangan experience and dishes. Our stomach were still full so we only ordered stuffed frog or “betute” according to the Kapampangans, which many considers as an exotic food. The fried frog tastes like a chicken but more flavorful. I knew it because I used to eat it during my younger years. These frogs were farm-raised according to the staff of the restaurant.

Byahecho Roadtrip Anniversary Giveaway in Sandbox Alviera Pampanga

We then went straight ahead to Porac, Pampanga to experience Sandbox Alviera Adventure Park. We tried their Giant Swing, the Roller Coaster Zipline, Free Fall and spent 30 minutes practicing our archery skills. Since the weather was not so good and there were times that it’s drizzling, we didn’t had to wait for long lines as there were few guests at that time. Well, during my first and second visit in that park, we had to wait for 30 min to 1 hour just to take 1 ride because of the long lines and it is being visited by too many tourist. Unlike the Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna where the all day pass will let you try 1 ride for as many times as you want, Sandbox tickets will only let you take the ride for 1 time, unless you buy another one. That is the downside of this adventure park.

Byahecho Roadtrip Anniversary Giveaway in Sandbox Alviera Pampanga

From Pampanga, we had our late lunch in our second province – Tarlac. I planned to take our winners to Nay’s Restaurant in Tarlac City but the restaurant was closed. So, we took a turn and made it to Dampa sa Tarlac. It is a restaurant which primarily offers seafood dishes. It was a feast but we were not able to finish all.

Byahecho Roadtrip Anniversary Giveaway in Dampa sa Tarlac, Tarlac City, Tarlac

Just about 3-4km from Dampa sa Tarlac is KCT Kart City, but unfortunately, it was also close at that time because of the rain. It was almost 5pm already so, we decided to leave Tarlac. I planned to take them some places in Pangasinan but due to time constraint we decided to just continue our roadtrip to La Union where I had a hard time looking for an available beach resort few weeks before our trip. I didn’t know it was a long weekend at that time. Most beach resorts were fully booked. I was able to make a reservation to San Juan Treasure in San Juan, La Union. It is about 6km away from the known beach resorts in San Juan.

It’s already past 8pm when we arrived at San Juan. We checked in and went back to the the live streets of the known beach resorts to have some good beer and just have fun. Finally, after a few bottles, my winners started to talk and open up a little about theirselves. The power of a glass of beer was again proven. LOL. They were very shy and untouchable at first. Little did I know, it was both their first time to join someone in travel who is a total stranger.

Byahecho Roadtrip Anniversary Giveaway in San Juan, La Union

The next day, it’s still raining. My plan of meeting Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel for the second time has been cancelled after receiving a text message from our guide that trekking was prohibited that day as it might be dangerous for visitors. I also learned that cliff jumping before reaching the falls was also prohibited after two separate incidents where 2 guys died after jumping on the cliff. So, we just decided to stay at the hotel and enjoy the waves of the beach at the shore. And surprisingly, it’s fun even if surfboarding was not allowed at that time.

After checking out, we went to Halo-halo De Iloko in San Fernando, La Union to have our lunch. Halo-halo De Iloko as I described from my previous blog in Tarlac is the most famous restaurant in Tarlac. The food are pricey and you have to expect to wait on line before being serve as there is always a queue for visitors and diners.

Gapuz Grape Farm was our last destination. I was glad to know that they offer other wine products now compared to my last visit as I truly love the taste of their grape wines. The sweetest red wine I’ve tasted. I was once a collector of red wines for local and international market few years back that made me tasted many wines being offered here in the Philippines and abroad. Do not worry, the staff of the farm are generous in giving free taste for the wines. You’ll surely love it too.

After in Gapuz Grape Farm, I took our winners back to Manila and that ended our roadtrip to the north of Luzon. I hope these guys enjoyed our 2 days trip and I am looking forward to have more adventures with new people and strangers on future byahecho’s trip.

Thanks for reading. Until on my next travel story.

-Echo (

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