Heavy downpour, zero road visibility, landslide prone areas, sleep deprivation, exhaustion from driving – these were the unfortunate incidents that we deal with on my first journey to Ilocos Norte. The trip had flimsy planning, time constraints, and lack of travel know-how’s. It was entirely a young adventurer’s burning desire but unequipped with the right arsenal of skills. Right then and there, as I crossed Pagudpud’s arch heading south, I left a promise to return. It was a comeback trip, four years in the making, nevertheless, there I was, I kept my word. Today, let’s see what Pagudpud can offer in this Road Trip to Ilocos Norte 5: Pagudpud’s Tourist Destinations in One Day.
Kingfisher Resort in Baranggay Caparisparisan, Pagudpud.
An ensemble of strong winds and calm waves sweeping the shores, together with the gentle brushing of trees and birds singing happy little chirps, all together, played a melodic ambient tune which greeted me a good morning at Kingfisher Resort. Huge orange kites seen from the horizon contrasted the vivid hues of blue dominating the open sky. The morning was full of colors, sounds, and energy. It seemed like a perfect day for a Pagudpud day-out so off we went.
Guest enjoying the beautiful morning at Kingfisher.
Kite surfing at Kingfisher Beach in Pagudpud.
Guides wearing green gave big hand waves as they invite visitors to take the turn towards their baranggay‘s forest attraction, Kabigan Falls. In front of a small chapel was a grass-covered parking space which also marks the jump off point for the 1.8 kilometer hike to the falls. A 5:1 person-guide ratio was implemented so two local guides were assigned to accommodate our big group of 13. One guide led the march towards a river where the trail begins while the other on the tail end making sure no one gets lost or left behind.
Photo with our friendly guide, Rex, at the jump off point to Kabigan Falls.
A huge driftwood, probably washed by strong currents, sits in between the middle of two streams.
The trail to Kabigan Falls was easy and well-established. Flatland covered most of the hike leading deeper into the forest. Makeshift bridges built from fastened tree trunks or wooden planks enable easier crossing of the streams. On a relaxed pace, Pagudpud’s waterfalls is in sight within 40 minutes.
Hiking through flat lands and open fields.
The man without a sole
Wooden planks serve as bridges.
The bridge was kind of shaky but it did the job.
Luscious green forest vegetation surrounds the 80-foot Kabigan Falls. Its running mountain waters plunge into basin of freezing cold waters. The cool mist felt in the air was refreshing, but a dip into the pool will kick exhaustion and weariness out of your system. Baranggay Balaoi’s Kabigan Falls was worth the hike, sweat, and besides, it was a good morning exercise.
The last bridge to cross before Kabigan Falls.
Going up leads to picture-taking area, the opposite leads to the pool.
Man swims into Kabigan Falls’ freezing pool.
Connecting Pagudpud’s Baranggay Balaoi and Pansian is the 4th longest bridge in the country called Patapat Viaduct. The snaky 1.3 kilometer concrete bridge follows the contour of the northernmost mountains of Cordillera and offers a stunning vista of the Pasaleng Bay to passers by bound for Cagayan Valley from Ilocos Norte. Aside from being a tourist spectacle, the bridge, elevated 31 meters above sea level, was strategically built to avoid accidents in this landslide prone area. Also found along the viaduct, tourist take a roadside stopover to take a picture of a mini-hydro power plant called Mabugabog Falls. Make sure you’re not standing on the middle of the road while shooting photos to avoid accidents due to vehicular accidents and not landslides.
Tourist on a stopover to take picture of Patapat Viaduct and Mabugabog Falls.
Jay enjoys the awesome view of Pasaleng Bay.
A bizarre rock formation called Bantay Abot Cave can be found on the shores of Baranggay Balaoi. Bantay Abot was coined after the rock’s unusual characteristic, thus, the name literally translates to “mountain with a hole”. Strong Pacific waves relentlessly pommeling the coastline of Pagudpud since the dawn of time could’ve punched the huge hole into the mountain that made Bantay Abot truly a sight to see.
The rocky coastline of Sitio Gaoa in Baranggay Balaoi, Pagudpud.
On the way up to the Bantay Abot Cave.
Fellow photographers, Jay and Dax, with the whole group in Bantay Abot Cave.
Just a few kilometers from Bantay Abot Cave was our final stop for the day, Baranggay Balaoi’s white-sanded beach of Blue Lagoon, also known as, Maira-Ira Point. This crescent-shaped beach (which is more like a cove than a lagoon) was once referred to as “Secret Beach” but has gained popularity among travelers which gave rise to road constructions, hotels and food establishments. Tourist influx extensively increased compared to my previous visit four years ago. Pagudpud’s secret may have been revealed to many, nevertheless, I still find its soft white sand, and crystal clear waters a destination in Pagudpud I’ll always come back to and spend a whole laid-back afternoon lazing in Blue Lagoon while enjoying our cold drinks and taking a refreshing swim. And, that’s just what we did.
Blue Lagoon of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Mico plainly lazing around in Blue Lagoon’s white-sanded beach with her ice cold beer.
Jay plays frisbee disc in Blue Lagoon.
Pagudpud‘s numerous adventures, and tourist spots, packed in one town probably made Pagudpud a popular destination in the Philippines. There are many things to do and lots of sights to see anyone could enjoy. We stayed in two beaches, hiked in a forest to a waterfalls, went through a hole in a mountain, passed by marvelous bridge – I could say that my second Pagudpud tour was pretty much complete and, though many things have changed, still its even better.
We head south on my next post to the town of Bangui.
Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:
1. Read more about Kingfisher Resort in Road Trip to Ilocos Norte 5: Pagudpud’s Kingfisher Resort – A Destination On Its Own
2. The Kabigan Falls jump off point could easily be spotted on the right of the main highway to the north. Most of the time, guides stationed on a corner waves passers by signalling to Kabigan Falls.
3. Fees in Kabigan Falls.
P20.00 per person – Entrance Fee
P100.00 per guide – Guide services. If you enjoyed their company, don’t hesitate to give a little over the rate for the guides themselves maintain the cleanliness and improve the trails to Kabigan Falls.
P40.00 per vehicle – Parking Fee
4. There is a comfort room near Kabigan Falls.
5. Bring water for your hike.
6. Be careful when you’re taking pictures or crossing Patapat Viaduct, remember that it is the main highway.
7. Upon turning right towards the road to Blue Lagoon, we were halted and asked for an entrance fee. I don’t know why.
P25.00 per person – Entrance Fee.
8. Make sure you don’t park in SOFT SAND in Blue Lagoon.
9. Read on to Road Trip to Ilocos Norte 7: Bangui’s Wind Farm
10. Read more about the province in Biyaheng Ilocos Norte.
11. Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook.
12. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
13. Drive safe and happy travels to everyone.
Kabigan Falls Mandatory Group Shot
Patapat Viaduct Mandatory Group Shot.
Bantay Abot Cave Mandatory Group Shot.
Blue Lagoon incomplete Mandatory Group Shot.