It was drizzling when we flew from Davao City to Manila on the evening of February 8. It was Wednesday. Most of my local trips happened during weekends but this one was different. This is a 4-day trip packed with fun-filled and time chasing itineraries. Our target destinations were the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. Knowing all the fun and thrills store for us there; excitement consumed me while waiting for boarding at Davao International Airport.
After 2 hours of bumpy flight, we touched down Manila. It was almost midnight. Days prior to our trip, we contracted a service vehicle we can use for the whole 4-day trip. An hour before our arrival, the van was already there. When all was set and ready, our journey to the scenic provinces of both Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur commenced. It was already 1:00 in the very cold dawn when we left the Metro.
Both Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur are situated in the northwest tip of Luzon. All the coastal towns of both provinces face the great South China Sea. The rustic Municipality of Pagudpud being among farthest coastal towns of Ilocos Norte from Manila was our first destination.
Traveling overland going to Pagudpud was a long journey. It took us almost 13 hours to actually get there passing different provinces, cities and towns of Ilocos Region. Some of these towns and cities were actually part of the itineraries but we opted to proceed first to Pagudpud as our first goal. Seriously, this is by the far the longest road trip I have made in my whole journeys. Being on the road for 13 hours was a no-joke. Thanks to GPS, we made it to our destination.
When we reached the town of Pagudpud, we headed immediately to Patapat Viaduct which is about 20 minutes drive from the town proper. The Patapat Viaduct is one of the most important bridges in this northernmost part of Luzon. It was constructed to connect Ilocos Region to Cagayan Valley. It has an elevation of 30 meters above the sea level and about 1.5 kilometers long. From afar, the view of the long and winding bridge alongside the mountains of the Cordillera looks indescribably amazing. I have never been to a bridge like this thus seeing this for the first time truly wowed me. The green side of the mountains, the azure skies and the cobalt waters of the South China Sea complimented each other. What a perfect view, I muttered!
THE PATAPAT VIADUCT
From Papatat Viaduct, we headed back the same route this time going to the Blue Lagoon. About 10 minutes drive from Patapat Viaduct, the Blue Lagoon is considered an equally prized jewel of Pagudpud. The view of Blue Lagoon looks pretty much inviting. It has a long stretch of powdery white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters. Using the GPS, the cove appeared like a giant swimming pool in the map. Commercialization has greatly influenced the whole beach. There are big resorts and beach hotels there already. It was past five when we got there so we didn’t have the chance swimming at the Blue Lagoon.
Another interesting feature in Pagudpud is the Bantay Abot Cave which is just a few minutes away from the Blue Lagoon. Bantay Abot Cave is not really a cave. It is more of a hill that was wrecked by an earthquake in the 80’s leaving a huge hole in the center. The hill is still covered by verdant vegetation, thus, adding exquisiteness of the Cave. Dropping by there before heading to the Blue Lagoon is a worthy stop-over. The view of the whole environs surrounding the Cave is truly fascinating. On one side, you can see the huge waves splashing on the rocks of the mountain while on the opposite are the charming seascape and the verdant mountains therein. The place is not fit for swimming but view of the vast blue sea complementing the Bantay Abot Cave is truly worth visiting. And yes, this is perfect spot for a timeless photo souvenir.
THE BANTAY ABOT CAVE
It was dusking when we left the Blue Lagoon and Bantay Abot Cave. We hurried back to the vehicle to head to our final destination for the day, the Saud Beach. Popular not only in the country but some parts of the world, Saud Beach is a long curving 2 kilometers of pristine white sand beach lying on the magnificent blue and crystal clear waters of the South China Sea. Saud beach embodies the definition of a perfect beach destination but it remains to be rustic, unpolluted and less inhabited by beach crowd. In other words, it remains to be pristine even to date.
Pagudpud is coined by many as the “Boracay of the North”. While those beach combers keep comparing Pagudpud to Boracay Island, it purely is what Boracay once was – pristine and untouched. Pagupud remains to be an absolute beach haven away from the bustling noise of the concrete jungle one can find now in Boracay.
As we ended our long day and long travel to Pagudpud, it was the glorious sunset that highlighted our long tiresome journey. Exhausted we may be but the beautiful sunset that was laid before our eyes soothed our tired minds. When we got to Cathy’s Homestay, our home in Pagudpud, we immediately rushed to our own rooms and savored the homey comfort of the place. While resting, we can’t help but talked about the long trip we had for the day but we all agreed that all was worth it. Pagudpud is worth visiting indeed. And so early to bed, the next day will be another fun-filled long day!
Next destination: BYAHENG BANGUI, ILOCOS NORTE.