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Friday, May 02, 2014

Northern Exposure: From Laoag to Pagudpud

We did not expect that the travel from Manila would take more than 15 hours. But since we traveled on a Holy Thursday alongside half of Metro Manila's population, everything were unexpected. We left our home in Rizal at 3am our ETA was between 11am to 12nn. Unfortunately there was an accident at NLEX and a huge traffic build up at the SCTEX toll gate that easily ate away 3 hours of our precious time. I was very disappointed to be only at Pangasinan at around lunch time. 

I know this isn't the case if we DID NOT travel during the Holy Week.

Thankfully the roads to the north are all paved and smooth. There were plenty of directional signs making it almost impossible to get lost.

Since we're traveling with 3 children, The Hubby and I decided to do strategic stops to spend the night, the first one being Laoag City to spend our first night and continue to Pagudpud the following morning. This was also a wise move since the accommodation in Laoag was way affordable compared to the highway robbery prices at Pagudpud.

After hurdling choke points at various areas from NLEX, SCTEX, TPLEX (all at the toll gates probably because of the volume of vehicles), Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos Sur, we arrived dead tired in Laoag City at 7pm.

Laoag City is relatively small and SuperTram Lodge where we booked our rooms 2 nights was not hard to find. I'll post a separate blog about SuperTram Lodge. 

So since we're dead tired, we just bought dinner at Jollibee and ate at the lodge. We slept early because as our itinerary for the following day, a Good Friday, begins at 7am towards Pagudpud.

It's only about an hour and a half from Laoag City to Pagudpud. The paved roads are smooth and clean - no surprises! Our itinerary plan for today was to hit the beach (just rent a tent or table at a resort), then go further north to Maira-ira Beach (also known as Blue Lagoon) and see Bantay Abot Cave, Patapat Viaduct

We decided to skip the attractions that involve long walks or hikes as we have kids in tow and it's simply just not convenient for everyone. That meant not seeing Kapurpurawan Rock Formation and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

We arrived in Saud, Pagudpud a little at 830am and immediately looked for the resort that rents out tables or huts to walk in guests based from my research. However, we got the shock of our lives when no resort would accommodate us as they were all fully booked and they want to prioritize in-house guests.

Luckily, we asked a tricycle driver who pointed us to the "Municipal". I frowned at the name as it doesn't sound like a resort. We followed his directions nevertheless. True enough, the "resort" is called Saud Municipal Beach as it's a public area run by the local government.

But hang on, before anyone cringe at the idea of government run beach area, it's worthy to note that Municipal is clean, well-maintained and has an amazing beach front. It's even better that the resorts we tried to get into. Entrance fee is only Php20 and tables with 6 chairs can be rented for Php150 per set.

Pagudpud sand is white and fine, but not comparable to Boracay. The water is amazing in it's blue-green hue.

There were soooo many people but our kids didn't care. They hit the beach as soon as they saw it.

We didn't bring any pre cooked food as I read in various blogs that most resorts have restaurants. We did not end up in a resort, ergo, meal plans need to be altered as well. But that was not a reason to frown as at there were rows of food stalls right outside Municipal that offers various grilled foods, meals, snacks and drinks. I saw from afar a sign that offers "Cooking services" and off I went to buy fresh seafoods and have the enterprising home owner/vendor/manang cook 2 dishes (sinigang and grilled) from a huge tuna I bought for Php200. I also bought grilled bangus from one of the stalls. There goes our simple lunch by the beach.

I am sure we could have a better experience of Saud Beach and basically the entire trip to Pagudpud had it not been a peak period. It would have been nice to do some leisure walk along the beach and enjoy the view (it would have been serene with less people). It was just impossible at this time of the year.

Again for the nth time, mental note to self, never go to Pagudpud on a Holy Week!


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