I never knew that one day I’ll be setting foot exactly to the set where superstar Nora Aunor once shouted a reverberating epic line “Walang Himala!”, the same location used to film that Joey Gosiengfiao’s classic movie Temptation Island. If I never traveled far north to Ilocos Norte, I would have no inkling of how vast and picturesque the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte are. If I never braved that 13 hour long journey to this Province, the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte will forever remain a part of my classic Filipino movie experience.

Still on the second day of our Lakbay Ilocos Norte adventure, we hurried towards the town Paoay to take a glimpse of the most famous sand dunes in the Philippines – the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte.

The Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte stretches widely from the municipality of Currimao in the north and curves it’s way to La Paz in Laoag City then to Suba in Paoay and lastly in Pasuquin in the south.

The home of Ilocos Norte’s Sand Dunes in Paoay is located in Suba. Suba has the most extensive and unbroken stretch of coastal sand dunes compared to the other towns of Ilocos Norte. With an extensive stretch averaging to 800 meters wide, I felt like I am in a real desert.

It was nearing dusk when we get there – a perfect time to chase a glorious sunset setting at calm waters of the vast West Philippine Seas. As the sun retired, the whole place was slowly swathed by the hypnotizing sunset hues. It was so enthralling we were all at loss of words. Glorious! Glorious! Glorious! The only adjective I kept on murmuring as I glued my eyes on a glorious sunset that was laid before me. I was like staring at a stairway to heaven. To be honest, I was carried away. I wept for no reason. It was just so glorious.

Lured by this spectacle, I seized the moment. While the remaining hues were still there, I playfully posed in front of my camera hoping to own an epic sunset photograph of myself romancing the most beautiful sunset in the Philippines. And it never failed me.

With BFF Sarah

Contended by what we saw and experienced, we left Suba so delighted. I knew it was the pleasing view of the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte and the glorious Sunset of Suba that just made our long day on the second day of our Lakbay Ilocos Norte!

KAPURPURAWAN ROCKS: The Prized Gem of Burgos, Ilocos Norte

I would say one of the most beautiful sights to visit today in the whole Ilocos Region that is perfectly crafted by Mother Nature can be found in the town of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. In fact, it becomes one of the most photographed sights in the Ilocandia Region beating other equally famous tourist attractions in the province. I’m talking about the impeccable beauty of Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, the prized treasure of Burgos, Ilocos Norte.

Still on the second day of our Lakbay Ilocos Norte adventure, we moved this time to the town of Burgos, around 30 minutes drive from the Windmills of Bangui. Our point of destination is the now famed Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. 

Kapurpurawan Rock is accessible from the highway. Going there, the handsome view of the bonsai forests the abound both sides of the bumpy road alluringly caught our interests. These pygmy foliage in various hues was so attention-grabbing. Spectacular. It was a good sight to start our encounter with Kapurpurawan Rock.

Reaching the jump off area, we waited no second to hike down a cemented path leading to the open field. From here, the welcoming view of the vast South China Sea now known as the West Philippine Sea is superb. From afar, Kapurpurawan Rock can already be seen.  Few minutes of hiking passing through coastal rocks, pools of sea water and bonsai mangroves, a scenic view of this unique sight become more alluring. And when we finally get to its base, the splendor of the whole place immediately captivated us. Staring it from where we stood, indeed, it was a magnificent sight to behold.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation offers a breathtaking view of different rock shapes that can completely amaze tourists that visit the place. It is completely different from the common sharp coral rocks found at hand. The whole formation has smooth curving. It has shapes that look like iconic head, cradle and the resting dragon. But the most amazing thing about Kapurpurawan Rocks is its white creamy color. Kapurpurawan actually comes from an Ilocano root word “puraw” which means white. According the locals, these rock formations become even whiter during the months of April and May. I also noticed that one side of the rock formation is soft and has a chalk-like texture. At one point, my black shirt and my black shoes were covered with cream colored dust as I tried climbing the peak of the Kapurpurawan Rock.

Aside from the rock formation, the whole environs that encircle Kapurpurawan is also a charming sight to see – the breathtaking blue waters of the West Philippine Sea, the ravaging waves splashing on the plain rocky shores, the bonsai mangroves nearby – everything looks gorgeously charming!

Without a doubt, Kapurpurawan Rock is the prized treasure to be discovered when in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. It is not only a tourist destination to see but a prized masterpiece perfectly crafted by Mother Nature.

TRAVEL SERIES: Byaheng Ilocos Sur, Lakbay Ilocos Norte

  1. PAGUDPUD: The Charming Tropical Paradise of the North
  2. The Humongous Windmills of Bangui
  3. KAPURPURAWAN ROCKS: The Prized Gem of Burgos, Ilocos Norte


♫♫”Nakita mo na ba
Ang mga windmills ng Bangui
Lumang simbahan ng Paoay
At mga mansyon sa Silay?
Tara na, byahe tayo!”♫♫

This has been an inspiring song for me about traveling around the 7,107 Island of the Philippines. Whenever I get to travel around the country, this song tops my iPod’s playlist. I never get tired playing it again and again. But on the second day of our Lakbay Ilocos Norte adventure, listening to it was different. It was full of excitement – packed with much thrill. Who wouldn’t? I was on our way to see the gigantic Windmills of Bagui – one of the featured destinations mentioned in the song.

From Pagudpud, our Lakbay Ilocos Norte continued heading this time to the Municipality of Bangui, the home of Bangui Windmills, the famous wind turbine farm in the Philippines.

The 20 humongous Windmills of Bangui can actually be seen from Saud Beach in Pagudpud. From afar, they look like tiny toy fans planted on grey sands. What a charming background, I instantly commented.  Moving on with the trip, driving from Pagudpud to Bangui took about 20 minutes. Approaching the town proper, some of these giant wind turbines can already be seen from the highway. Seeing it from afar ignited the excitement in us. As we get closer, these charming white structures got bigger and better. And when we finally reached the beach where they are situated, all of us shouted in full amazement as we clearly glimpsed the 20 humongous white windmills beautifully lined up on the shores of Bangui Bay.

Seeing them for the first time, I was mesmerized by the breathtaking view that was laid before my eyes. I used to dream of setting foot there. I used to sing that Byahe Na theme song imagining myself being at that scene. Finally, that dream came true. I was at the Windmills of Bangui. At an instant, I became melodramatic. I paused for a minute staring plainly at the beautiful windmills arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the South China Sea. It was a surreal experience for me.

I asked around and learned that Bangui Windmills is officially referred to as the NorthWind Bangui Bay Project. The project is the first “Wind Farm” in the Philippines and considered to be the biggest in Southeast Asia. It aims to provide electricity and power supply to nearby towns of Ilocos Norte. Each windmill is 70 meters high, and its blades are 41 meters long. It is truly an amazing sight to behold!

BFF Journeying Sarah with her Travel Sweetheart Mario Lopez

Having seen this sight in full grandeur, I now truly understand why Department of Tourism included the Windmills of Bangui in the agency’s theme Byahe Na. They’re just worth it!

…….The Travel Teller together his RTour Travel Buddies at the Windmills of Bangui……     KEIR ASHLEY LIM, thanks for lending me some of your photos. 🙂

 NEXT DESTINATION: Burgos, Ilocos Norte

TRAVEL SERIES: Byaheng Ilocos Sur, Lakbay Ilocos Norte

  1. PAGUDPUD: The Charming Tropical Paradise of the North
  2. The Humongous Windmills of Bangui
  3. KAPURPURAWAN ROCKS: The Prized Gem of Burgos, Ilocos Norte
  4. Sunset at the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte
  5. Visiting Malacañang of the North

PAGUDPUD: The Charming Tropical Paradise of the North

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!


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.


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!

The Travel Teller with his RTour Travel Buddies


The Bangui Windmills As Seen From Cathy’s Homestay in Pagudpud


If someone would ask me about the longest travel time I spent on the road, indisputably I would say it happened during my tour at the equally stupefying provinces of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. Longer and exhausting it may seemed but experiencing the wonders of these two provinces is truly electrifying. This is Byaheng Ilocos Sur, Lakbay Ilocos Norte, the first ever Travel Series of the Travel Teller for 2012.

From Davao City to these two provinces of Ilocos Region, The Travel Teller spent three fun-packed days of adventures and excitements going around the must-see, must-experience destinations in this part Ilocandia. Touristy as it may seem but these places define the Wealth and Wonders of this part of the Philippines, a country of fun and excitement.

Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte are two significant provinces belonging to the Ilocos Region located in the northwest of Luzon. These two provinces offer a number of popular destinations for tourists, local and foreign alike. They are famous for their cultural heritage and natural wonders. They have various natural attractions that guarantee unparalleled adventures. Both are exceptional destinations best for those who quest for fun, culture, heritage and nature.

For beach lovers and sun worshippers, these two provinces are equally paradise to consider. Their proximity to the South China Sea now called West Philippine Sea lures tourists to come and enjoy the heat and waves of Ilocos’ sea and sands. Speaking of sands, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte are both homes of the famous Ilocos Sand Dunes, favorite location for local and international film. Beyond that, there are many spectacular and inviting places to see in these two provinces.

Join me as I chronicle this exciting adventure from my home in Davao City to the sparkling white sand beaches of Pagudpud, to the majestic Windmills of Bangui, to the amazing Kapurpurawan Rock of Burgos, to the vintage street of Calle Crisologo in Vigan and many many more. To date, this is the longest travel time I spent on the road but every bit of it is worth it. This is the longest trip I surely will never forget.


TRAVEL SERIES: Byaheng Ilocos Sur, Lakbay Ilocos Norte

  1. PAGUDPUD: The Charming Tropical Paradise of the North
  2. The Humongous Windmills of Bangui
  3. KAPURPURAWAN ROCKS: The Prized Gem of Burgos, Ilocos Norte
  4. Sunset at the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte
  5. Visiting Malacañang of the North
(From L-R) Christopher, Tina, Ariel, Arthur, Ophelia, Mary Ann, Hannah, Me, Sarah, Mario, special thanks to Kier Ashley Lim for this group photo

A grateful shout out to my RTOUR friends, my travel soulmates on this memorable trip.