|The famous canopy marker of Pagudpud|
Given my short time to travel around Ilocos Norte, I was torn between two options: spend a night in Pagudpud after a whole day tour or take a tour the entire day and head back to Laoag in the afternoon. Catching the sunset in Blue Lagoon sounded nice, but this time I felt like I wanted a slice of the city at night so I chose the latter.
|North Pagudpud tour attractions|
I arrived in Laoag from Tarlac at around 4:30am—too early to catch a ride to Pagudpud so I killed time with a cup of cappuccino and captured some photos in the city center. I took advantage of the bright lights that I believe were remnants of the holiday season that had just passed. I spent a little more time seated on the park bench, confidently browsing FB in my tablet. Yes, I actually felt safe and at home in Laoag. At around 6:30 I started to walk towards the van terminal for Pagudpud/Claveria. Asking the locals for directions was not a problem because they spoke Tagalog fluently and they were really friendly.
|South Pagudpud tour destinations|
I boarded a van and at quarter past seven, we left the city. I didn’t sleep during the trip as I’ve read that Pagudpud is just about an hour and a half away. I arrived at around 8:45 in Pagudpud and was approached by a tricycle driver. He offered me the popular North and South Pagudpud tours. These are tours that are regulated by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Region I in which the standard rates are 600 pesos per tricycle for each tour, with a maximum of 3 persons. The tricycle drivers are trained and accredited by DOT to tour the visitors around. My tour guide for the day was Kuya Jose, a 60-ish man who was very kind and accommodating. He presented me a laminated brochure of the places I could visit and a few moments later, we've already set our itinerary for the day.
The North Pagudpud tour includes the following places: Blue Lagoon, Patapat Viaduct, Timmangtang Rock, Bantay-abot Cave, Dos Hermanos Island, Kabigan Falls, Agua Grande and Paraiso ni Anton. I asked Kuya Jose to remove the last two and add Saud Beach instead. He willingly agreed.
|Hole in the wall: Bantay-abot Cave|
The South tour actually means south of Pagudpud tour as the attractions included are not located in Pagudpud itself but in the towns to its south, namely, Bangui and Burgos. The tour includes a visit to Bangui Windmills and view deck, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. There was a slight change in our tour itinerary as Kuya Jose told me that the tricycle drivers in Burgos envied those in Pagudpud because the latter normally get all the tourists. So he suggested that we could make a Burgos tricycle driver happy by transferring me to another trike after visiting Bangui windmills. It was not a problem for me as I would pay the same total price, 900 bucks for Kuya Jose and 300 pesos for the other driver (forgot his name) who will take me to Kapurpurawan and Cape Bojeador lighthouse. So now everybody's happy :)
|The Patapat Viaduct serves vehicles going to and from Ilocos and Cagayan|
They were both very kind and fatherly as Kuya Jose talked to the other driver asking him to make sure that after the tour, he would wait for me to board a bus before he goes back to the town proper. And he did. At around 3:30 pm we were back on the highway and shortly after, I bid Burgos goodbye.
|The amazing windmills in the town of Bangui|
It was a tiring day as I had to squeeze in all of those destinations in a limited time. It was also an expensive tour since I had no companion to share the expenses with. But whenever I see such beautiful sights, tiredness becomes happiness and stress becomes satisfaction. And I would like to thank God for blessing me with the perfect weather that day. The sun was up and bright yet the wind was so cool. Kuya Jose told me that I was indeed blessed because it had been raining in Pagudpud in the past days.
*If you are spending the night in one of the resorts in Saud Beach or Blue Lagoon, it is advisable that you start your trike tour in Burgos then head towards Pagudpud.
*The tour rates are actually flexible. You can slash out some attractions you are not interested to visit and pay less than the standard rate.
*Touring Pagudpud DIY style may be a little cheaper, but expect to spend more time as public transportation is not that frequent in the area.
*Bringing your own vehicle is still the cheapest and most convenient way to roam around Pagudpud. Well, that is if you are travelling with a group.
|My last stop: Cape Bojeador Lighthouse|
GETTING TO BURGOS, BANGUI OR PAGUDPUD
You can catch a bus, van or jeep going to Burgos, Bangui or Pagudpud along Gen. Segundo Ave (National Road). Or if you want a sure seat, head on to the bus/van terminal for Pagudpud/Claveria located on the corner of Primo Lazaro St. and Agcaoili St. (around 5-10-minute walk from the Capitol building). Fare from Laoag to Burgos is 40 pesos; fare to Pagudpud is 70 pesos.
600 pesos per tricycle per tour, maximum of 3 passengers; inclusive of gas and tour guide fee since the driver doubles as the guide
Saud Beach entrance – 20 pesos
Kabigan Falls entrance/donation – 10 pesos
Guide fee to falls – 100 pesos
Jose Moreno - 09153703908