Random Clicks: Ilocos Tour Part 1

The white beach of Bangui Bay in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.
Click on the photo  for a larger view.
Summertime has officially begun in the Philippines and of course a vacation is not complete if you will not spend a day or two in one of the island nation's famous beaches. I was lucky to have the opportunity to take a day off from work and fulfill one task in my bucket list--visit the Ilocos Region. The Ilocos Region is composed of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan provinces situated in the northwestern part of Luzon and is bordered by the South China Sea in the west and Cordillera Administrative Region in the east.


This is the beach that greeted us on our first day.
The first destination of our Ilocos Tour is Pagudpud, it is 562 kilometers away from Metro Manila or more or less 9 hours non-stop drive but it was all worth it. We left the house at 8 in the evening and arrived at 5 in the morning the next day. We did not have prior hotel reservations but we were lucky to get a room that is good for 12 persons at Php3,500 a night. There are no plush hotels in Pagudpud but transient homes offer air conditioned rooms, cable television, free Wi-Fi and kitchen use which is enough for a comfortable stay. My tip is to bring enough food because there are no stores nearby and the public market is several kilometers away.


Two of the famous Bangui Windmills overlooking the South China Sea.
My son couldn't contain his excitement to have a swim in the white sand beach with crystal clear water. It was a sight to behold. Entrance to be beach is absolutely free! The famous Bangui Windmills can be seen from the beach. I felt so excited because it was my first time to see the huge structures.


The Patapat Viaduct along the rocky shore.
Our next destination is the Patapat Viaduct--a 1.3 kilometer bridge in Pagudpud that connects the Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to Cagayan Valley. It was constructed during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos and is considered the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines.


The stream that is supplied by the Kabigan Falls. It serves as irrigation to the surrounding rice fields.

Our third destination was the Kabigan Falls in Barangay Baloi. For only 10 pesos entrance fee, you will be guided to 30-minute trek before you could see the majestic 120-feet wide waterfalls. Along the way, there are stores where you can take a break and eat their famous carioca in case you get tired. There are also comfort rooms if you've loaded your bladder with plenty of fresh buko juice.


The Kabigan Falls in all its glory.
Going up seems like forever because it was such a long time ago since I trekked but the sweat and aching legs were all worth it when I saw for the first time the Kabigan Falls. I was so tempted to take a plunge. Although swimming is allowed, I did not bring any changing clothes, so, poor me. I could stay in the place all day but we have to go to another place.


Ilocos Norte's famous windmills along Bangui coastline.
Ilocos Norte tour would not be complete without visiting their famous Bangui Wind Farm facing the West Philippine Sea. The first 15 windmills were inaugurated by then Ilocos Norte Governor Bongbong Marcos in 2005 and by 2014, additional 11 turbines were completed which supply 40-50% of the province's electricity. There is no entrance fee. My tip before going here is to wear long pants because the sand is blown away by the strong wind and it hurts a bit when the sand hits the legs. It is like an army of ants biting your legs. Swimming is not prohibited but I didn't dare go near the water because of the strong wind and the even stronger waves. There are souvenir shops that sell miniature version of the windmills and shirts that sell between 150 to 200 pesos.

The majestic Kapurpurawan Rock Formation that withstood the tests of time.
On the other side of Bangui Wind Farm is the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation that was formed in time by the waves and strong wind. The rock was named kapurpurawan because of its white color. 



The rocky shore that nestles the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation.
Click on the photo to enlarge. 
Before you reach the rock formation, you will have to walk for 5 to 10 minutes but if your feet are already tired, you can rent a horse for 100 pesos and it will take you around the park. There is no entrance fee which is nice.


The century old lighthouse that still functions today for the international ships that enter the Philippine archipelago.
Our last destination is Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos that was built during the Spanish colonial period. It was first lit in 1892. After more than a century, it still works. It was declared a National Historical Landmark in 2004. There is no entrance fee.


Day 1 of our Ilocos tour was amazing and I couldn't wait to go back. Meanwhile, watch out for the part 2 of my post. There are more amazing things to do and discover in the Ilocos Region, see part 2 of our tour here.

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