The Philippines is undoubtedly known for its world class beaches. But whereas most locals and visitors gravitate to heavy-hitters like El Nido and Boracay in the Visayas, Luzon also has gorgeous beaches of its own. One such stunner is the white-sand paradise of Pagudpud. Although this destination offers all you’d expect for a sea-and-sand getaway, it has so much more to offer. Here are our picks for the top 19 things to do in and around Pagudpud this year.
Located just over a kilometer from the national road, this beautiful and refreshing 87-foot high waterfall is accessible via a short hike, or by hiring a local vehicle from the nearby village. Though it can be daunting to take a long walk in nature for some—don’t worry. This is an easy hike through shady trees, with rewarding views of the hilly landscape and occasional rice paddock. Be sure to wear clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet, as there are some streams to cross.Continue reading below ↓
Roads are rarely a tourist attraction, but the kilometer-long Patapat Viaduct, which is a curving coastal road that connects steep cliffs to the gorgeous oceanfront is a sight to behold. Elevated over the sea, it is technically a bridge that connects the Ilocos Region to Cagayan Valley. It is best to visit this site in between seeing other tourist spots, especially if you are hiring a car for the day.Continue reading below ↓
Paoay Sand Dunes
If you’re looking for a heart-racing adventure, try riding a jeep or four-wheeler up and down the Paoay Sand Dunes. This rollercoaster-like adventure is exhilarating, and a great way to appreciate nature of a different kind. You will also have the opportunity to surf down one of the dunes. And of course, lots of time to take pictures. We suggest you go right before sunset, to catch that golden-hour backdrop in all your photos.Continue reading below ↓
The largest lake in the province of Ilocos Norte is locally known as Dacquel a Danum. One of the best places take in this serene sight is from the Paoay Golf Course. So, grab some clubs, and enjoy the views.
This iconic bell-shaped rock is located on the shores of Pagudpud. When the tide is low at summertime, visitors can reach the rock without having to submerge in water. It is close to the Bantay Abot caves, so make sure to visit both sites back-to-back.Continue reading below ↓
Bantay Abot Cave
The famous Bantay Abot Cave isn’t a cave, as much as it is an arched rock formation (think, half a doughnut). It is easily accessible from the main highway, meaning you can pull your car over to the side of the road and reach the cave after a 50-meter uphill walk. Once there, you can take in a panoramic view of the West Philippine Sea, or have a mini-photo shoot that showcases one of the region’s most iconic natural wonders.Continue reading below ↓
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
Pagudpud is not in want of rock formations. But don’t worry, you won’t get sick of these otherworldly attractions—each their offering their own unique contribution to the landscape. The Kapurpurawan rock formation is particularly breathtaking because of its vastness. You’ll walk from the road down a path flanked with sleek Martian stones. Occasionally, you’ll see a horse drinking from a pool of rainwater that collects in the formation’s divots. It’s glorious. Be sure to put this on your itinerary.Continue reading below ↓
Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
For a different perspective of Pagudpud, check out the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse (also known as Burgos Lighthouse), set atop the steep Vigia de Nagpartian Hill, which is accessible by more than a few steps. Built in the Spanish colonial style, it’s architecturally interesting as well as historically significant, as it has been used to guide ships away from Ilocos Norte’s rocky shores for over 100 years.Continue reading below ↓
This white sand beach is known as the Boracay of the North. It is a great place to chill out for the day, if you’re looking for some sun, sand, and waves. Enjoy the powder-like shore and turquoise waters, as you relax in the shade of coconut palms. Nearby, there are some local vendors you can grab snacks from. But it might be good to bring your own food. Just be sure to clean up after yourself, to keep the beach and ocean free of pollution!
Sinking Bell Tower
The Sinking Bell Tower isn’t quite in Pagudpud, but rather in the nearby city of Laoag. Especially if you’re traveling by plane, this site is one worth visiting. As part of St. William’s Cathedral, this 45-meter bell tower was built over 400 years ago. Because it is such a heavy structure built on sandy ground, it has ended up sinking into the earth.Continue reading below ↓
A stunning architectural site, the Laoag Cathedral was built by Augustinian friars in 1612, but after surviving multiple fires and earthquakes, its current façade is only about thirty-five years old. Still, this Renaissance-inspired building is a peaceful place to visit, night or day. It is located in close proximity to the Sinking Bell Tower, and in fact, the two are considered part of the same church.Continue reading below ↓
Dos Hermanos Islands
Dos Hermanos, also known as the Twin Islands, are among the many natural landmarks on Pagudpud’s shoreline. And rightly so. According to legend, these “two brothers,” located on the northern coast, vowed to be together until death. So, when a raging storm took both their lives, they emerged as these islands, standing together forever.
The Bangui Windmills are not just a great example of (much needed) sustainable energy in the Philippines, they also have a quixotic charm that has attracted tourists for years. Located in the nearby municipality of Bangui, the windfarm is a fairly close drive from Pagudpud. It features fifteen wind turbines along nine kilometers of shoreline.Continue reading below ↓
Museo Ilocos Norte
It’s always a good idea to get to know a location’s history when visiting for the first time. One of the best ways to do that is by visiting a museum. Museo Ilocos Norte features a collection of the region’s traditional crafts—including pots, mats, bolos (knives), and even basi (sugarcane wine). These not only show the historic culture of Ilocos Norte, but also give insight into the locals’ current source of livelihood.Continue reading below ↓
Hannah’s Beach Resort
If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing getaway right on the beaches of Pagudpud, check out Hannah’s. This luxury resort is boasts first-class amenities, environmentally-sustainable practices, and a gorgeous location. By booking an accommodation here, you’re not only supporting local environmental protection initiatives, but you’ll also be boosting the ecotourism industry, which supports livelihoods for the community.Continue reading below ↓
Another resort to check out is Kingfisher. This is the perfect accommodation for surf junkies who want to enjoy a seaside getaway, away from the hordes of tourists. It features a wide variety of rooms, including cabanas and beach huts. Plus, it’s pet-friendly!
What’s a visit to Ilocos without partaking in the local fare? What Ilocos Norte does particularly well is serving fresh food. Whether it’s meat or vegetables, you can almost guarantee that any old homestay is serving freshly-picked veggies or chicken right from their backyard. This isn’t only an environmentally-sound practice, but it also makes for some of the best meals you’re ever going to have.Continue reading below ↓
One of the crown jewels of Pagudpud is Saud Beach. Easily among the top beaches in Asia, this the bright teal waters are full of vibrant sea life. Meanwhile, the white-sand beach is lined with coconut palms you can relax under or on. One of the best features of this beach is that it is not as crowded as others. Because there aren’t too many resorts, there is little noise and litter. In the right conditions, it makes for an ideal surf spot as well.Continue reading below ↓
This may come as a surprise, but Pagudpud has scuba diving options for all of you mermaids. Check out a host of certified dive shops to enjoy the colorful coral and other healthy underwater life that these pristine waters have to offer.
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