One hour drive away from Manila, Pagudpud is located at the northernmost tip of the Philippines. Despite its location, tourists sought this small coastal town of Ilocos Norte as a number one destination when one is seeking a one of a kind adventure and perfect unwinding spot.
Pagudpud’s peaceful rural communities, rich, unspoiled natural resources and the absence of mass tourism make the place even more visit worthy.
Below is a 3 days and 2 nights travel guide if ever you want to experience an exhilarating quest to the “Haven of the North,” Pagudpud.
Note: Our visit to Pagudpud happened long time ago already so some information may be outdated. Will try to update this travel guide once in a while.
By Air: There’s no direct flight to Pagudpud so one needs to take the flight to Laoag then take the mini bus going to Pagudpud for about 2 hours.
By Land: There are various bus companies that travel to Ilocos but most of them are up to Ilocos Sur only. If you want a bus that will travel from Manila all the way to Pagudpud, go for Florida or Partas buses.
Things You Need To Know
Accommodation: There are lots of resorts and rest houses in Pagudpud so if you want to see the place first before booking, you can do so. Resorts or Inns usually start at 1,500. If you are on a tight budget, you can also stay in transient houses.
Meal: The usual cost of meal in Pagudpud, or Saud Beach (we stayed here) to be specific, is like that of any restaurants. One order of Sinigang na Baboy that’s already good for 2-3 persons is approximately Php 220.00 already.
Tour: Resorts usually offers or has their own recommended tour guides so better ask the resort staff about their touring.
I highly recommend Kuya Lenzer Javier. He was our tour guide when we visited Pagudpud, and one of the most sought after guides in Ilocos Norte and Sur. Great guy! Not sure if the Facebook page Kuya Lenzer’s Ilocandia Tour was made by Kuya or one of his guests. Either way, you may just check out his personal Facebook account.
Important Things You Need
- Cash. There’s no ATM machine in Pagudpud, the nearest one is in Laoag, which is two hours away from Pagudpud. You wouldn’t want to travel back to Laoag and waste time would you? So, remember to always stash extra cash with you. (This was way back 2007 so there might be some ATM machines already, but still safer to bring extra cash)
- Chips and lots of water. The trip to the north is approximately 11 hours so it is expected that you will get hungry and thirsty. Though there will be at least 2-3 stop overs, it is still safe to pack lots of food and H20.
- Medicine. For people who have motion sickness, don’t forget to take a medicine one hour before travel. Bring some paracetamol and analgesic with you as well.
* Good for one person only (save more when you travel in big group)
- Fare – Php 1,600
- Accommodation- Php 3,000
- Food- Php 1,500
- Touring- Php 1,000 (depends on where you want to go or visit)
- Entrance Fees- Php 200 (includes payment for the tour guide in the Kaibigan Falls)
- Pasalubong- Php 500
You need to have: Php 8,000/person is the safest budget one can allot for this trip because there might be other places you want to visit that may require additional fees for the touring. Also, this usually depends on the quantity of pasalubongs you want to bring home. Again, it is always advisable to travel in groups to save more.
Pagudpud Daily Itinerary
If you leave Manila at 12:00 midnight or 1:00 a.m., it is expected that you will arrive in Pagudpud before lunch. Settle down first then find a place where you can have lunch.
After a hearty lunch, you and your friends can while away the hour by staying in your room, watch television if provided, or ask the resort administrator about their touring. If a tour guide was referred by a friend, better let him know about your plans for next day’s touring.
Granting you stay in a resort along Saud Beach, 5: 00 p.m. is the perfect time to stroll along the beach to watch the sunset. Facing the west, the south portion is where you can see the Bangui Windmills. You can actually see all the 15 windmills and take a picture of them all if you have an ever trusted DSLR with a zoom lens of at least 70-300mm, then it is already enough to capture the mills’ beauty.
Wake up early to catch the sunrise and take a breakfast before leaving for the tour. Start the tour at 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. Always keep your camera handy because you’ll never know what you will see along the way. Some things, places or sceneries might capture your interest so always keep those smart phones and DSLR ready. Be sure they are fully charged as well.
Touring Pagudpud usually costs more or less Php1,000 though you can still haggle. FYI: Bangui Windmills and Cape Bojeador are already outside Pagudpud so the tour guide will charge an extra amount if you want to visit those places, it usually ranges an extra 100-200 pesos. Also, don’t expect a van or car for a service since all the touring in Pagudpud always have a tricycle for a service. Anyway, you will be able to take good pictures and enjoy the view more when riding the trike. On the other hand, if you will be traveling in a big group, ask your tour guide if he knows someone where you can rent a van even just for a day.
P.S. Kuya Lenzer now owns a van so if you wish to be toured using a van, feel free to ask him.
Cape Bojeador is located in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, 45-1 hour away from the town of Pagudpud. It is known for being the highest lighthouse in the Philippines that is still functioning since its completion on March 30, 1892. To date, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse still gives signals to passing ships along the Cape. The place is perfect for viewing the sunset but since this is your first stop, you would definitely miss it, not unless you have decided to make it your last stop.
Bangui Windmills is also outside Pagudpud, as the name implies, it is situated in the town of Bangui, Ilocos Norte, 30 minutes away from Pagudpud. Seeing the windmills for the first time will definitely leave you speechless, not to mention giant windmills that look like white robots or aliens.
These giant electric fans are used to generate electricity in the province and at the same time, serve as a major tourist spot in Ilocos Norte.
Trek for almost 30 minutes to get to Kaibigan Falls. Not so steep falls in the middle of a forest but still worth the trek. Water is freezing cold but still looks inviting enough after a long trek. I especially love the surrounding greens and shady trees going to this falls.
Make sure to take your lunch after the trek before going to your next destination. Ask your tour guide for his recommendations.
After lunch, journey to Patapat Viaduct and marvel at the view of the West Philippine Sea. This is the only road you have to pass through in order for you to reach Cagayan from Pagudpud.
This elevated concrete highway constructed along the winding/rocky headlands is constructed to solve the problem of landslides in the area that have caused many vehicular accidents in the past.
You can opt not to enter or enter Aqua Grande because there’s really nothing special about the place. It’s just a river full of big rocks that meets the sea, so if you are pressed for time, I suggest not to go down here anymore.
Near Aqua Grande is the Paraiso ni Anton. Don’t ask who Anton is because no one knows who he really is. Like Aqua Grande, nothing’s very special about this place so this might just bore you.Paraiso ni Anton is just a mini falls with steps to the grotto where one can drink from the water coming from it.
Travelers who pass by to go to Cagayan usually get water here. There are also mini stalls there where you can buy some pasalubongs.
Bantay Abot Cave is a must see tourist attraction in Pagudpud. Bantay Abot is a natural sculptured cave which has a hole in the center. The place is very nice for picture takings and offers a great view of the sea as well.
9th and last stop
The last stop for the day and the tour’s highlight is at Blue Lagoon, which is commonly known as the “Boracay of the North.” The water is crystal blue as the name implies. The powdery, white sand is very fine like that of Boracay and to top it off, the place is not overcrowded. But if you are someone who loves parties and rubbing elbows with strangers then this place is not for you. Read this, Pagudpud has NO NIGHT LIFE.
Optional: Since Blue Lagoon is not facing west and if ever you are not staying in Saud Beach but still want to see a perfect sunset, you can ask your friendly tour guide to drop by at Saud Beach just in time before the sun bids farewell.
Third and Last Day
Rest, eat, stroll and bask under the sun all you want while waiting for lunch time. The usual check out time is 12:00 noon but you can ask the resort’s receptionist if you can leave your things in their hotel while you shop for souvenirs and pasalubongs. You can also drop by the bus station, located in Pagudpud’s town proper, to buy or reserve a ticket for the 6:00 p.m. trip.