The Plan B. Still recuperating from the cancelled Batanes trip, I turned my eyes to Mt. Guiting Guiting (G2) in Romblon. I told myself, G2 would be the perfect substitute. So I fixed everything. At first, everything went smoothly—I had contacted guides and porter in Romblon, supplies were bought already, and our little team is all geared up and ready. Naghihintay na lang kami ng travel date namin. However again, on the week of our hike, a typhoon entered the vicinity. Consequently, all ferry trips got cancelled. F*ck.
Plan C. On the 19th of January 2014, as I mourn for the doomed travel plans, my girlfriend suggested an Ilocos backpacking trip instead, just for the two of us. Although it's unplanned, it felt like I was destined to travel to Ilocos with Dawn on my birthday, so I readily agreed. Tatanggi pa ba ako? That very night, we left Manila to begin our spontaneous 4-day journey in the Ilocandia. Woohoo, para sa b-day trip ko 'to!
Day 1 - January 20, 2014
Aboard Florida Bus, we traveled from Manila straight to Pagudpud. Given the fact that it is the northernmost town of Ilocos Norte and of Luzon Island, it took us around 11 or 12 hours on the road. It was almost 6 in the morning when we arrived in Pagudpud. no sun has showed up yet.
Since this is entirely unplanned, we don't know exactly where to stay in town. Nag-browse lang ako ng mabilisan sa bahay tapos larga na kaagad. Like an innocent child lost in an unfamiliar place, we walked towards the central plaza and approached the tricycle drivers. I just told the driver to bring us to Saud Beach, then bahala na si batman.
En route to Saud Beach, the driver asked us where we're staying, I replied to him a question "saan po ba ok na mag-stay na mura lang?" So he brought us to Britanya Lodge (P1000/night). We also agreed with his offer of touring us around Pagudpud for only P600. Not bad right?
|this small cube house is our home in Pagudpud.|
That day was a very fine day to be on the beach, weather was perfect and not too many people were there to ruin the place's serenity. Nakapunta na ako dati sa lugar na 'to, pero ngayon ko lang siya na appreciate ng husto.
|white sand beach of Pagudpud. Its sand is not as fine as Boracay, but equally beautiful|
|waves coming from the West Philippine Sea were too rough, making Saud Beach an unfriendly beach for non-swimmers.|
|And look, the famous wind turbines of Bangui can be seen from Pagudpud.|
|while waiting for our tricycle driver slash tour guide, we had an Ilocano breakfast on a beachfront restaurant. Ilocos longanisa plus sukang Iloco, panalo!|
Traveling on a tricycle, we reached the jump-off at Brgy. Balaoi in around 20 minutes. There, we paid for the environmental fee (P20/head), then were assigned a guide to bring us to the falls.
|at the JOP|
|easy way to the falls, petiks!|
|enjoyed the rural scenes as we thread our way to the falls|
|for people who are used to trekking longer and harsher mountain trails, this trek to Kabigan falls is just a piece of cake. Just stroll for 30 mins, and vwalla.|
|look at that, the very tall 120-feet Kabigan Falls|
|There's a pool right below the falls and taking a dip is possible.|
|We dared to take a dip, pero sobrang lameeegg!|
Not too far from Kabigan falls is our second destination. Patapat Viaduct is a 1.3 km bridge built along the coastal mountain slopes to connect Ilocos Norte and Cagayan Province. It got its name from the Ilocano term "patapat" which means belt. Constructed during the Marcos Era, it stands the 4th longest bridge in the country.
|the long and winding Patapat Brigde.|
|turista mode on|
|the miraculous spring and a grotto|
Bantay Abot Rock Formation
Our next destination was Bantay Abot Rock, a cave-like rock formation carved by constant weathering. Coming from Patapat Bridge, we reached the site after a 10-minute tricycle ride. Actually, our trike also stopped by Dos Hermanos Island, pero wala naman kaming ginawa dun. So we proceeded to Bantay Abot right away.
|Bantay Abot Rock, as seen from Dos Hermanos Island. I'm not really sure why pero eto ang pinakapaborito ko sa lahat ng pinuntahan namin sa Pagudpud Tour|
|The massive stone arch is just too fantastic, lalo na sa malapitan.|
|turista shot sa ilalim ng Bantay Abot Rock.|
Anyway, after several photo ops, we carried on to our next destination which is the Blue Lagoon.
When I first heard of this place, I thought we were visiting a real lagoon that is color blue. But when we got into the place, we found out that it's just another white sand beach similar to Saud Beach. But in fairness to Blue Lagoon, its water does look bluer than anywhere else in Pagudpud.
|Clear blue sea against the cream white sand of the beach.|
|And since it was my birthday trip, here's a greeting for me|
|At 1.2 Km, it is believed to be the longest over-the-water zipline in the country. One go costs P750.|
|and that is to have a photo here at the town's welcome arch. Hoorah!|
It was on the soft powdery white sand of Saud Beach that we spent the remaining hours of the day. We just lied there from 3 in the afternoon till the descent of the mighty golden sun.
|Favorably, not too many people were in Saud Beach by the time of our visit.|
|And look at the soft powdery sand of the beach. Nakahahalinang talaga!|
|Watching the sunset with her makes it one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever watched|
Thanks to this wonderful friendly town of Pagudpud, our first day in Ilocos was worthwhile. Now I can't wait for tomorrow.
Up next: Journey from Pagudpud to Laoag