Sleepy Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte: A Retreater’s Guide

Sleepy Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte: A Retreater’s Guide


I was contemplating a very exhausting job in Marketing and PR for this Japanese company. I work 13 hours/day and travel almost every week to conduct events that led me to disarray as I felt I’ve become imbalance with time not just with family, with friends, but also with myself. In the brink of deciding to leave my job and get all the clutter of decision making off my mind. I told myself that I need to pause. I need a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. I need to clear my head.

A friend invited me to join her family’s road trip up north to Ilocos, on a whim I said YES. I agreed to leave at 3 AM on a Thursday. Half asleep, I lugged my bag and hopped on the van. The driver warned us that it’ll be a very long trip. 506 KM/314 Miles be exact. Off we go to Ilocos. It was my 1st time going to Ilocos Norte and I’ve read good and bad reviews about the place. At that time, I don’t really care if it’s a white sand or a coffee-like sand. I want tranquility.



The ride was long. Really, really long I was tired and hungry. As we get off our vehicle, Pagudpud’s crystal blue waters and strong wind breeze welcomed us assertively. As the brisk of the strong wind touched my face and as I breathe in. I know at that moment that it will be a good weekend. The town is quiet and sleepy. A perfect place where I can calm my thoughts.

If you’re pressed for time, the fastest way to get to Pagudpud is by a 15-minute airplane ride to Laoag International Airport is your best bet, since it’s only a 90-minute ride away from the town of Pagudpud. Check out PAL, Air Asia, and Cebu Pacific’s flight schedules and ticket rates. If you opt to commute via bus- Manila to Pagudpud route is carried by Partas and Florida Lines.




Pagudpud is the northernmost town in the island of Luzon. Surrounded by waters from the West Philippine Sea, If you don’t want to leave Luzon and see a decent beach then head up north. A scenic view miles upon miles of interesting coastlines. My plan was just to spend my whole day at the beach and to eat good fresh seafood.

We booked our stay at Blue Lagoon, Maira-ira Beach. It is best to visit from the months of March to September as the wind and waves aren’t that erratic.  It is a hidden bay found at Maira-ira Point, which is a half-moon in shape edifice, by the Nacatnagan Cliff in the east and the Dos Hermanos in the north. A good escape away from where tourist were at that time over at the Saud location.

This quaint beautiful cove is home to an off-white grainy beach where the water is azure blue, the entire sea is calm and the underwater floor is deep but purely made of sand.





We stayed at the Kapuluan Vista Resort  Its distinctive, contemporary design creates a serene ambient casual setting. Style, distinction, warmth, and intimacy are the key elements in the architecture and design of this place. The photo below was taken 7 Am after breakfast.It’s stunningly blue to see with your own two eyes.



A pleasing expansive seashore that only a few people swim to. A clear, azure blue sea with cerulean mountains and gray rocky islets in the background. The presence of the huge driftwood pile may only be a one-off event. The rest of the shore is covered with beautiful, fine white sand that is constantly massaged by crashing waves.



During our stay we wandered off to Saud Beach as well, Pagudpud also has crystal blue water that opens its arms towards the West Philippine Sea. The sand is finer on this side. Its shore is long and perfect to just lounge lazily all day.




Stay at least 2 days to fully enjoy the place. There are a number of choices around the area where you can eat. Be careful though about the sudden depth in some areas of the shore.

Other great options to stay:


I only planned to just stay and enjoy the beach and take some time to reflect on the things that I need to do when I return back to Manila. If you’re planning a full-throttle inland tour you shouldn’t miss these places:

  • Bantay Abot Caves It is a unique creation partly surrounded by the clear blue sea. Its shore has white sand mixed with fragments of shells and rocks that can be made as a décor. Parts of the shore are forms of rocks where you can sit and relax and enjoy a lucid view of the wide sea and verdant mountains.
  • Bolo River. The portion of the river in Barangay Dampig, Tarrag, and Poblacion 1 have big boulders and deep water ideal for kayaking where shooting into the rapids is fun.
  • Winding Patapat Bridge This bridge is often referred to as the “French Riviera of the North”. Along the bridge, you can pass the Mabugabog Falls that serves as a source of power for the mini hydroelectric plant. It is only during the rainy days when it shows its splendor with its water dropping rhythmically to precipice on the rocky shore of the sea below.
  • Timmangtang Rock. Collectively termed as “Lover’s Rock”. This rock is a bell-shaped, hence the name Timmantang. The rock is covered with grass and bushes. On top of it, you could see the calm blue sea and the enchanting view of Sitio Gaoa. 
  • Nacatnagan CliffThe cliff is a virgin forest where different kinds of trees grow and you could hear the peeping of the birds. Wild animals can also be found within the place thus it is a perfect place for hunting. 
  • Dos Hermanos IslandsBelow the rocks are caves where varied and colorful tropical fishes swim abundantly that can be seen during low tides. 
  • Kabigan FallsIt is an enchanting fall located at the eastern part of Barangay Balaoi and it is around 1.8 kilometers away from the national highway. This 80 feet waterfall is surrounded by thick forest and well-known for its concaved basin.
  • Saguigui FallsIt is a small waterfall situated at Barangay Balaoi, 3.5 kilometers away from the national highway. 




There was no possibility of us leaving Blue Lagoon and Saud, because it calls us to stay along its shores.  We had been wandering, indeed, along with its white sand and rocky shorelines, we didn’t mind the time. We ate and slept during random hours in the afternoon. This place is far from where I came from which was in Manila, but there was a certain kind of familiarity in Paudpud that I feel at ease with. I wished that I could spend more time or a week perhaps.

Some of the best moments I had on my trip was the opportunity to pause and take in how beautiful and uncomplicated life can be when we start to let go of our bothering thoughts. The view breathtaking views and unique atmosphere. If you live in the city like I do, our environment can be so congested and erratic we need to recharge and take ourselves away from the chaos. Find balance in all ways possible. Hop on a bus or drive out of town at least once a month. You owe to yourself. 

Go forth and wander.

Travel Saving Hacks:

  • Book via TripAdvisor for non-bias user reviews and best prices consolidated in one view.
  • You may book via as shown on the upper right part of this article. shoulders the 12% VAT on your hotel bookings! Guaranteed cheap prices and you earn points that you may later be used for your future travels. Don’t have a credit card? you can also pay at the hotel of your choice when you arrive.



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