Windmills and Waves Galore
Feel like travelling to the northwest tip of Luzon? The shores of Ilocos Norte are the perfect destination for you. The province boasts an undulating coastline perfect for beach lovers, plus rolling hills, mountains, and other quaint scenery that complete the paradise-like allure of the surroundings.
And just to remind you that this is no rural backyard, Ilocos Norte is also famous for the towering windmills that provide 40% of the province’s energy needs. These huge structures provide an awesome contrast to the otherwise peaceful and pristine shore of Bangui Bay.
The Bangui Windmills
At about 70 meters high (the height of a 23-storey building), the white windmills dotting the Bangui Bay shoreline is pretty hard to miss.
Each windmill stands 276 meters away from its neighbour, to better harness the powerful winds that come off the West Philippine Sea.
There are 15 of these windmills currently doing sentry duty on the shoreline, continuously providing clean, cheap, and renewable energy for the province. They are considered the largest windmills in Southeast Asia, and definitely a big contributor to lowering the greenhouse gases emitted in Ilocos region.
The bare scrubland of Bangui Bay is the most ideal spot to erect these monstrous power generators, as it is also one of the windiest and stormiest places in all of Luzon. In fact, the same storms that buffet the Batanes group of islands also hammer away at the mouth of Bangui Bay and the surrounding areas.
Beauty and Power
The windmills can withstand the power of a Hurricane like Katrina (one of the more devastating hurricanes to have hit the United States in recent years) and convert it into electricity for province’s homes, schools, and offices. They’re no charming farmhouse windmill, but they look elegant and beautiful just the same, plus they do their work with tireless efficiency.
These structures are so tall, you can stand beneath the blades and feel the air ripple high above your head even if the blade tip is far up. It’s safe the approach the structure and takes photos if you want. No exposed electrical wiring can be found on the exterior of the windmills, so you don’t have to worry about sudden electrical shocks.
And oh, in case you were wondering if you can climb to the top of the windmill, you can—when a windmill is being repaired, you can ask permission (very nicely!) from the workers if you can go up the narrow ladder and view the windmills from above. You can probably feel just how strong the wind can get even on a seemingly calm day.
Road Trip to the North
If you’re planning a visit to Northern Ilocos, be sure to wear comfortable clothes and sensible shoes. The trip can last as long as 14 hours should you choose to travel by land. However, you will never get bored along the way as there are many stopovers and surprises to look forward to.
You don’t need a tour guide to take you to the windmills. You don’t even have to just pass them by without getting a closer look. Take the time to visit the Bangui windmills on your holiday and appreciate their sheer splendor.
Read about Pagadpud – Ilocos Norte in the next article of this series