Ilocos Norte: Northbound Tour in 5 drizzly hours

Move over ATV's, here's the All Terrain Tricycle

I was really surprised with the flexibility and endurance of these tricycles.  From rough and steep roads to kilometer long highways, it’s just unbelievable.

Our Southbound tour should’ve began in the afternoon.  We left Laoag at 11:30PM and we’re supposed to arrive at 2-3PM in Pagudpud but we came 45 minutes past 3.  That’s beyond the normal 2 hour travel time.  We’re supposed to stay at one of the resorts in Blue Lagoon but Kuya Arnel, our friendly (the owner of the red tricycle above and not to mention, also a travel blog sensation :P) Pagudpud tour guide informed us that it’s 20+ kms away from Sentro and the weather is worse. Though he implied that it’s still up to us, I asked him for other options.  He introduced Cathy’s Home Stay in Saud Beach which is not only nearer but the rates are more affordable! We’ve made a good decision to change our lodging and you’ll find out why on a separate post. 🙂

Took us 5-10 minutes to our lodging and  we just enjoyed the sunset at Saud beach.

Beach waves + fine sand

Rocky and Wavy

A better view of Saud with fine sand is just a few steps away so it didn’t matter to us if it’s all rocks that we see in front of our lodging.  Besides, we felt
at home during our stay because Ate Cathy was so accommodating.  She even cooked our dinner that night.  Ilocano hospitality at its finest.  I’ll create a separate post only for her, as promised. 🙂

Almost perfect sunset view

Could have been perfect if the clouds were clearer.  This wraps up Day 2.

Day 3 dawns..

Time check:  7AM| Temperature: 14-16 degrees Celsius | Weather: Windy and Cloudy

Northbound tour kicks off.

First stop:  Patapat Viaduct. From Saud, it took us  nearly 30 minutes to get here.

Patapat Viaduct

Fast Fact: It is a winding bridge found at the foot of the cliff of the Cordillera Mountain Ranges. It connects Barangay Balaoi and Barangay Pancian which around 1.2 km long.


Second Stop:  Agua Grande

Agua Grande Picnic Park

See the big blue waves at the back? Pwede ng mag-surfing.  It is a pretty natural picnic park with the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop.  We didn’t stay long because it’s already raining and the winds are strong.  Entrance fee is 20php per head.

Third Stop:  Kalbario-Patapat Natural Park

FKA Paraiso ni Anton

The rain poured hard so I have to spare my camera from being wet.  Good thing the trees served as our  shelter.  It was believed that the water flowing down from the mountains can heal sickness and are always cold even during summer.  An image of Virgin Mary can be seen inside the grotto.

Along the road we saw the shipping vessel which caused the oil spill in Ilocos Norte.  It was travelling from North Korea when suddenly it experienced engine problems and got stuck in this part of the north.

NK Shipping vessel

Fourth Stop:  Bantay Abot Cave

The famous Hole

Bantay-Abot rooted from Tagalog origins.  Bantay means bundok and Abot means butas. Technically, this is the fifth but I skipped Timangtang Rock.  Nothing much to see but a giant rock that could be seen from the shore.  Littering is strictly prohobited in Pagudpud.  No wonder it’s orderly and noticeably clean.

Fifth Stop: Blue Lagoon Beach

Blue indeed

Taken from a wide angle perspective.. 🙂


Finer Sand

Twigs scattered at the shore

Due to the unpredictable rains and winds, the beach is not as clean as it is during summer.  Probably because it’s off peak season and no one’s around aside from us.

One of Blue Lagoon's finest beach front houses

Twin mountains?

Not far from Kapuluan is a view of the twin mountains.  Well not really a mountain because it’s small.  Okay, small mountains.. 😛

Sixth Stop:  Kabigan Falls

A tour guide is needed to reach the amazing falls.  100Php for the guide and 10php/per head as entrance fee.  We took a rest for a while and saved energy for the next 30 minutes trek to the falls.

Kuya Neil - our friendly and singing tour guide

He’s fond of telling stories as I walk side by side with him.  Not to mention that he sings some Ilocano songs from time to time. Yeah, I can hear that from a few meters away.  Kasunod nya lang naman ako palagi, yung tatlo laging naiiwan.. hehe..

Short chit-chatting with Kuya Neil.  He shared that:

– there were 67 other tour guides in Kabigan Falls.  He’s lucky to have 1 group to bring to the falls in a day during off peak.

– he also works in a check point going to Blue Lagoon beach.  I’m not exactly sure what it’s called.  He takes his duty there every after 15 days.

– that when he was younger, they encountered NPAs on his way to the falls that he thought were farmers. This was way, way back and he assured that no rebels are hiding in the mountains at present. Whew! (nagtanong pa kasi ako… hehe)

– he toured Koreans, Japanese, Indians, Chinese and Americans.  He’s been a tour guide for quite sometime already.  He’s able to speak and understand English but he confesses that the hardest tourists to speak with are the.. *guess who*.. It’s because they speak English too fast.. Literally fast.. he adds.

– there was one time that he accompanied a couple, a Pinay with his American husband.  He informed them that the way to the falls is steep that they need to be extra careful.  The husband preferred to wait for them in a nipa shed.  He’s quite a big man as Kuya Neil described, so there goes the reason.  Minutes later, he decided to follow them on his own and on his way up, he held on to a branch which suddenly broke and the next thing he knew, he was slightly bruised on the ground.  No serious injuries though but they had to call for first aid.  “Sinakay sya dun sa hinihila ng kalabaw pababa ng bundok kasi nahirapan na syang makalakad.” Kuya Neil added.

The tour guide’s job is not easy.  They are responsible for their guest’s safety since they are the ones familiar on the way up.  Guests, on the other hand should also be responsible for themselves and listen to the guide’s instructions.

Here’s our 30-minute journey before taking a glimpse of the falls.

Trekking begins..

Ang Babaeng Lakwatsera



Havaianas ka pa ha! 😛 bundok to hindi beach!..  hehehe

Not mine.. 😛

Then the view of the falls surfaced.  I was stunned.

All sweat paid off..

I wish Hinulugang Taktak falls in Antipolo is as clear and pristine as the one I’m staring at.  The water’s cold and relaxing.  If I wore my board shorts that time, I could’ve taken a dip in the water.  Nature’s freshness right in front of us.

On our way down, I heard more stories from him about what is it really like to live in Pagudpud and told me that he’s been longing to have a vacation in Manila.  Before we had our lunch, I thanked and handed him his fee.  I added a little to it as a little help coming from me.

Aside from the places I’ve been seeing in this tour, it’s much more enjoyable to have a short but worthwhile conversations with someone who was a complete stranger to you.

There goes the 5-hour Northbound tour.  Next is southbound but first, we’ll have lunch.  Tomjones na eh!


13 responses to “Ilocos Norte: Northbound Tour in 5 drizzly hours

  1. naks naman. gaganda ng shots. pedeng gawing postcards.

    😀 havianas pa talaga si bloggingpuyats… iba na ang rich kid. ehehehe.

  2. hahahaha.. naalala ko yung havianas ni EMOdem.. hahahaha..lagi syang nalulubog sa putik.. ingat na ingat sya mapigtas.. sobrang memorable sakin tong tour na to.. lalo na ung falls..

  3. nice story of the guide. yan isa sa mga niloo-look forward ko whenever I travel. to hear stories from the locals.

  4. Ang lamig ng tubig sa falls! Hehehe! 🙂

  5. I agree with chyng. Iba talaga pag nakakasalamuha mo yung locals sa isang lugar.

    Ang wavy nga. Hahaha! yan lang ang hirap pag hindi peak season. Bagyo kalaban mo. Hindi rin pwede ang surfing no… mukang tsunami na siya sa laki e. lol!

    • pwede pa yan.. kaso maalala ko eh puro bato na pala yang likod.. 😛 galit na galit ang waves.. pero the weather got better in the afternoon.. nakisama naman kahit papano.. 😛

  6. thanks for the travelogue…am planning to take my first trip there and collating info. you should have tried to get to Timmantang rock. although it is indeed just ‘white rocks’ you could have taken great shots ‘on the rocks’!~ 😉

    • Hi YlocanaBelle!.. 😀 the winds are very strong and it’s raining kaya we didn’t take photos in Timangtang Rock.. kawawa ang camera.. hehe pero the view is as spectacular as the others.. inenjoy na lang namin yung lakas ng hangin.. malamig rin kasi.. Enjoy your trip! let me know if you need other info.. mostly naman ay naiblog ko especially mga contact info’s ng lodging and ung nagtour sa amin.. 😀

  7. I fell inlove with the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. A very stunning place.

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