Destination: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

We just got back from our road trip up north, but thanks to the weather, things didn’t really go according to plan.  Nevertheless, it was still a pretty interesting trip.

The active low pressure area (ALPA) near Aparri, Cagayan during the weekend stopped us from going to Tugegarao and making our way back to Manila via Cagayan Valley.  In fact, the afternoon deluge we experienced Saturday and Sunday stopped us from doing pretty much anything.

As planned, we left Manila early Saturday morning, at 3:00am.  Without making any major stops, except for quick bathroom breaks, we made it to Vigan after 10 hours of driving.  We arrived at 1:00pm, just in time for lunch.

Our first major stop before Vigan was at Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, to take pictures of the Sta. Maria Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sta. Maria Church – UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Once in Vigan, we had lunch at Cafe Uno, along Bonifacio St. and walked around the famous Calle Crisologo, where the best preserved historical buildings are located.

UNESCO World Heritage Site – Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

The only place where you can get away with ordering and eating poqui-poqui.

Local delicacy: Bagnet!

No meal is complete without Vigan Longganisa.

From Vigan, it was a long, hard drive up to Pagudpud, through deluge, floods, landslides, and pot holes.  Driving through the torrential rain, it took us 6 hours to get to Pagudpud.  A drive that would normally take 3 hours at most.  It was quite dark by the time we arrived in our resort in Pagudpud.

Thankfully, the weather was fine the next day, Sunday – bright, blue skies, perfect for sightseeing before finally hitting the beach!

Saud Beach, right outside our resort, Arinaya.

Our first stop was the Windmills in Bangui, the town just before Pagudpud, which around 20-30 minutes away.  It’s hard to describe the feeling you get the first time you see these huge, white windmills, looming over the town.  The 15 windmills lined up on the black pebble beach of Bangui stand over the town like majestic sentinels, and they’re quite hard to miss from the highway.

Bangui windmills.

A perfect place to get breakfast while admiring the windmills is at the Kangkang Windmill Cafe – located under the 2nd windmill on the Bangui side of the coast.

Kangkang Windmill Cafe.

Our next stop was Cape Bojeador Lighthouse at Burgos, a 15 minute drive from Bangui.  The top of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse offers a spectacular coastal view of the surrounding towns.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Burgos, Ilocos Norte.

The view from the top of the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.

Finally, we headed back to Pagudpud in search of the Blue Lagoon in Brgy. Maira-ira.  Brgy. Maira-ira is about 20 minutes away from Brgy. Saud, and on the way there, you will pass by the famous Tumuntong Rock and Bantay-Abot cave.

Tumuntong Rock.

Bantay-Abot Cave.

Once you reach the Blue Lagoon, you can avail of the paluto services and/or rent cottages that line the Blue Lagoon beaches.  The cottages for rent range from P200/day to P600/day, depending on where you’re renting, and usually includes free use of their shower facilities.

The Blue Lagoon, Brgy. Maira-Ira.

After lunch at Hannah’s resort and a few hours on the beach, we decided it was time for us to avoid the bad weather and head back to south.  Despite the good weather in the morning, by 3:00pm we experienced another deluge on our way down to Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

Hannah’s Resort near The Blue Lagoon.

Instead of going to Tugegarao, Cagayan, as originally planned, we decided to go to Baguio instead, via Naguilian road in La Union, but because of the rain, got scared of landslides and decided to stay overnight in Vigan instead – at the Cordillera Inn on Calle Crisologo.

The Cordillera Inn on Calle Crisologo, Vigan.

Vigan by night.

Because of the strong rain, we didn’t get to stop in Paoay to visit the Paoay church, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Laoag on our way to Pagudpud on Saturday, and on our way down to Vigan on Sunday.

Monday, a little before noon, we headed back to Manila.  Before leaving Vigan, we bought the usual pasalubong – Vigan longganisa from Tongson’s, chichacorn from Calle Crisologo (everything here has tourist prices), and sukang Iloco (Ilocos vinegar), which we bought at the Vigan Market (much, much cheaper than buying it at Calle Crisologo).

We arrived in Manila, a little after 9pm – about 10 hours after leaving Vigan.





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