Found North of Laoag City, Pagudpud offers a myriad of natural beauty - from turquoise blue beaches to emerald green rice fields. A definite must-visit!
by manlalakbay on October 31, 2011
Pagudpud is more known for its beaches and bays rather than its trekking and bodies of fresh water, but you can also experience this with Kaibigan Falls (kaibigan translates to friend).The pit stop to Kaibigan Falls can be found in the highway. There is a small hut with a sari-sari store (mini-mart) where people wanting to visit the falls sign up. We paid a fee of P10 (around a quarter dollar) per person. Visitors are not allowed to go to the falls without a tour guide. Several tour guides wait by the hut for incoming tourists. Our tour guide was mild-mannered middle-aged man named Benny.He led us to a road that was big enough to accommodate light vehicles, but with the terrain, it would not be advisable. Motorcycles can definitely pass through it. To the right of our trail was a gurgling stream which waters must have come from the falls. To our left were rice fields, some which have been harvested while some were bursting with golden grains ready to be harvested. We even passed a buy some farmers who were resting by the paddies. There were also a couple of houses with their dogs running around and some owners cleaning rice grains. Further along, a carabao tied to a tree lazily watched us pass by.The trek took around 30 minutes, though we could have made it faster if we wanted to. The trail was not that hard, though there were three or four make-shift bridges that we had to cross. In fact, even without a tour guide, trekkers could easily follow the path leading to the falls. However, I did not mind giving the locals a bit of livelihood to augment their meager income as farmers.We knew we were getting nearer as the sounds of the bubbling stream was drowned out by the sound of rushing water crashing against the rocks. Eventually we were by the silvery waters of the 70 meters high falls. As it fell, the water churned into a crazy froth and spayed mist a few meters away. Most of the tourists who came there just went to have their photos taken but we definitely wanted to take a dip. It was the end of the day which we spent mostly under the scorching rnsun so a respite in cool fresh water would definitely be a welcome break.And the little pool by the foot of the falls was definitely cool. Cold even. It took a few minutes to get acclimatized, but eventually it felt wonderful. Benny advised that we do not go in the middle of the pool since it was deeper than a human person and there was a strong under current that would be dangerous for not so good swimmers. We decided to stay by the fringes, just submerged in the crystal waters. We spent about 15 minutes there, though I wished we stayed longer. However, we have not yet completer our itinerary for the day and it was already four in the afternoon.The trek back was almost too easy. I was suprised to find a cemented road so soon and have our orange Vios waiting for us at the corner. We paid our tour guide P100 (approx. $2), which is the minimum.If you want to take a break from the scorching heat of the sun and the stickiness of the sand from the beaches, do try out Kaibigan Falls.
Before reaching the Maira-Ira Cove or the Blue Lagoon, we passed by a couple of rock outcroppings opposite each other. The first one we passed was the Timangtang Rock. It was separated by dried coral rocks and wild waves from the more popular Bantay-Abot Cave. Bantay Abot Cave is a misnomer as it is not really a cave but a large hole in the middle of the rock, but it seems both locals and tourists have embraced the name.The pair is collectively called Lover's Rock. Bantay Abot Cave is supposedly the female. It took me a while to figure it out but found myself giggling when I eventually did. These two natures of wonder once again highlighted how nature blessed the province of Ilocos Norte. My husband and I could not help but take endless photos of the rocks. We went first to Timangtang Rock, which actually offered the best view of the Bantay Abot Cave siince the panorama showcased the rushing wild waves from the China sea crashing against the bed of long-dead corals. The same waves were crashing against Timangtang Rock as well. While we were taking photos in the area, a group of men were walking dressed in rash guards, wearing snorkeling gear and carrying nets. They went to large pools within the dead corals and started hitting the water with wooden paddles. We asked on them who was near us and he told us they were trying to catch fish. The guy we asked was also munching on the seaweeds he picked from the rocks.We left the guys to do their work and proceeded to the Bantay-Abot Cave. This was relatively easier to go to since there were stairs leading down to it. Of course we immediately went in the middle of the hole to play around with silhouttes in pictures. Unlike the Timangtang Rock, it was easier to walk around this area because we were just walking on ordinary rocks rather than jagged coral ones. The Cave also offers a bit of shade in case the heat gets to you and you would like a short break. Like the Rock, it also a great panoramic view of the Timangtang Rock. Whether individually or collectively, these beautiful formations are definitely wonders to behold. Looking at the strong waves, I thought of how nature's wild passion formed the amazing scenery before me. And just watching the rocks and listening to the waves gave me some feeling of peace and tranquility.if you plan to go there, make sure to wear trekking sandals because they will definitely take a beating if you plan to go up the Timangtang Rock. And of course, always wear sunblock!
The Blue Lagoon is the more popular name of the Maira-ira Cove or beach. As our vehicle was going down the road, a beautiful turquoise blue beach greeted us as well as an ala-Hollywood sign "Hannah's" put up by one of the resorts there.The road down was still rough and just had enough space for one vehicle. This may be a problem when there are oncoming vehicles, but basic driving courtesy can make sure you get to the Blue Lagoon. Before reaching the beach, we passed by a couple of other famous rock formations. As we slowly approached our destination, there are signs for cottage rentals as well as "palutuans" Guests can have fresh fish and seafood cooked by the "palutuans" for their meal, which can be eaten as you stay in a rented cottage. As you moved nearer and nearer to the best part of the beach, the cottages get more expensive.There are several homestay places in the lagoon but there are also a couple of more-established resorts. Hannah's can be found right smack at the sandy part cove, while Kapuluan is much nearer the rockier side of the cove. The food pictures of Kapuluan that greet you as go down looks quite tempting to be honest, but we were too cheap to try. Where Kapuluan is, is also where you can find a pair of rock outcroppings called Dos Hermanos Islands. Another picturesque scenery indeed.We parked our car in an allocated area. Instead of getting a cottage, my husband and I just chose a driftwood to put our things before deciding to take a quick dip. The dip indeed was quick because the waves were pretty strong! The sands were constantly shifting and would rise up and down as you went further in. If you are not a good swimmer, going far into the water is not advisable. The waves are strong but the undertow can be stronger. The waves were already churning the sands as it approached the shore giving us an extra scrubbing as it hit us.There were some surfing instructors offering their boards and services for those interested to learn. The day we were there, nobody seemed interested since the only one trying to surf was an instructor.The Blue Lagoon, though a bit difficult to visit, is worth going to! Though the resorts and homes are a bit crowded, the main beach is still quite tranquil and serene enough to enjoy nature's beauty.
Agua Grande, or locally known as Dakel a Danum, can be found as the Patapat viaduct ends. This literally means "big water" in Ilokano.To be honest, it's not as big at all, as the name suggests. Why it was named so, I can not be sure. Nonetheless, it is an interesting showcase of nature.The stream that leads to Agua Grande comes from the mountain where the Patapat viaduct is snaking around. Eventually the stream, as it courses through rocks and boulders, will lead into the Pasalang Bay which is part of the China Sea. By the mountain, where the water is coming from, there is a grotto for the image of Mother Mary. This is quite a common expression of Catholic religiosity usually asking for the image to look over the people. Probably in the case of it location, to watch over motorists.The first time I was able to visit Agua Grande, people were free to come and go as they please. Now, there is already an entrance fee of P25.00 (less than half a dollar). Some benches and cottages are placed in strategic locations for people to sit down on and have picnics.It's a good place to hang out in if you want to have some peace and quiet. The sounds of the sea, especially the waves crashing against the rocks, can be quite soothing. Since there is a little mini-market by the side, you can also buy some soft drinks and bread or chips for snacks. However, it is always cheaper to bring your own food.
The Patapat Viaduct can be found in the northermost part of Pagudpud. This viaduct leads to the next province of Cagayan Valley and the bridge is approximately 1.3KM, said to be the fourth longest bridge in the Philippines.The bridge has become one of the must-visit tourist attractions of Ilocos Norte. From the Southern part of the bridge, you can already see it snaking its way through the emerald mountain side and crossing over the deep blue Pasaleng Bay. Indeed, with its location, it is definitely a place to take postcard perfect photos of.Before crossing the bridge, you will see a shipwreck by the shore. The vessel is supposed to be a vessel dating back to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in the 1940s during World War II. It is rumored that the other half of the ship can be found somewhere farther and fathoms deeper into the sea. All that is left of it is a rusty orange skeleton that breaks the blue of the sea and sky. As you cruise through the bridge, the pleasant sound of the sea hums along with your vehicle. Before the construction of the viaduct, it was just a road paved on the mountain.. However, the mountain range was prone to landslides during heavy rains and were a danger to motorists traversing to get to Cagayan Valley. The construction of the viaduct was to provide vehicles a safe pass even in rainy conditions. Certain parts of the mountainside have waterways to help water flow into the Pasaleng Bay instead of carrying with it tons of eroded land. The construction of the Patapat viaduct has made traveling from Ilocos Norte to Cagayan Valley much safer than it used to be.The pictures would say it all, the viaduct is definitely something worth visiting. Pictures of it would showcase both the genius of man and nature.
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