NOTE: This is a 2012 article, currently being updated for 2017. Budget indicated therein is already outdated.
Juan’s Budget: Php 1,300 (excluding travel from Manila)
Juan’s Duration: 2 Days
As a tropical country with 7,107 islands, and with an overall coastline longer than that of the United States, the Philippines has a lot of world-class beaches to offer for both local and international tourists. There are already a few famous destinations known worldwide, such as Boracay, Puerto Galera, Laiya, among others.
However, too much popularity could also be a bane aside from a boon. This is due to overcrowding of resorts, failure of the local ecosystem to cope up with the surge of seasonal visitors, as well as noise pollution from the people. This is why some beach-goers prefer some isolated place that’s not yet fully developed, to enjoy the peace and quiet as well as the serene view.
Enter Pagudpud, also known as the “Boracay of the North” due to its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. Pagudpud, is a town in the Ilocos Norte Region of Luzon. Its beaches face the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), comprising of a secluded area known as Blue Lagoon, and the more accessible Saud Beach.
My college friends and I decided to go on a vacation to the far north, partly to have a relaxing weekend, and partly due to one of our companions visiting his Ilocano relatives. We traveled by car in order to enjoy the view along the way and so we could have road stops (photo ops) on our own good time.
There are several ways to go to Pagudpud: by car, which we did; by bus/van all the way; or by plane to Laoag plus mini-bus to Pagudpud. The land trip takes a grueling 11-12 hours, although you could really appreciate the scenery as you travel. If you really can’t wait to go to the beach, and if there’s a standing airfare promo, then take the short flight to Laoag and have the 2 hour ride to Pagudpud. Once you reach the town’s bus terminal, there are a lot of tricycle drivers who will offer you a ride to the resort of your choice.
Pagudpud has a lot of resorts that you could choose from. Most are quite budget-friendly, except during peak seasons on December and the summer months. We rented a room on Polaris Beach House at Saud Beach. By the way, there’s currently no ATM machine in Pagudpud, so you’d better bring everything in cold cash.
The moment we got there, we immediately unloaded our stuff since we had already reserved a room, and basked in the wonderful Pagudpud sunset. Since there’s not much to do in Pagudpud if there are no events, it would be best to have a 2-3 day stay only. But at this period, you could already enjoy the cool breeze, starry night, and the view of the Bangui windmills in the far distance.
Polaris Beach House has an off-peak rate of 800 pesos (as of this date) for a standard room which is complete with air conditioning and private bath room. The rate goes up to 1,600 pesos during peak seasons. There’s also a videoke area for your family or barkada’s enjoyment. Polaris Beach House also serves its own food, although you could buy from the market or from the fishermen, and have it cooked at the resort.
…or you could grill it on your own just like what we did.
After the delicious seafood fest, we had our usual booze fellowship and enjoyed the night just by the beach and being at one with nature. Lasting friendships are made of these stuff.
By the following day, we simply enjoyed frolicking in the blue waters of kilometer long Saud Beach. We decided not to go to the Blue Lagoon since it was, in all sense, similar but just more secluded hence giving it more allure to tourists.
After our beach escapade, we continued with our Ilocos land trip, which I will focus on other upcoming articles.
As I’ve said, if you don’t like the crowded beach hotspots of the Philippines, there are still a lot of isolated destinations such as Pagudpud. Well, there’s no nightlife here, but it’s better for family/company/barkada outings wherein you just want to have the place all to yourselves. As Pagudpud is already popular, there is still not that much development so you can still enjoy the secluded beach areas.
For more information and if you want to set a reservation, you can check out the website of Polaris Beach House here. Or you can call them at mobile (0919)-307-8803, (0920)-239-6138, or landline (077)-676-0198.