Even while still inside the bus on the way to Pagudpud, I could already tell that the region will be all about beautiful nature for us, which is a great thing after all the immersion in history we did in Vigan. On both sides of the road, most of what you will see are green fields, lush mountains, and verdant trees. The air was fresh and quiet. The more we got into Pagudpud, the more I felt rejuvenated as all the stresses just oozed out of my system.
We left Vigan very early this morning and headed back to Laoag. Upon arriving at the Laoag Partas bus terminal, we wasted no time in going to the terminal where we found buses for Pagudpud. This time, the bus was smaller and was non-aircon (what I prefer to call open-air bus). I prefer this type of bus more because I get less motion sickness if I can feel the air rushing through the vehicle I’m riding on.
Around lunch, we finally arrived at Pagudpud. We were met at the terminal by our tour guide / tricycle driver for the day Kuya Arnel. He is very famous among backpackers as a knowledgeable, reliable, and trustworthy guide in Pagudpud and Kuya Arnel really lived up to expectations. We had so much fun with him and we had no complaints whatsoever at how he showed us around the area. It is clear that he loves Pagudpud and we fell in love with it too as we got to explore.
Kuya Arnel took us to Papanards Eatery first because we haven’t eaten anything substantial since we left Vigan early that morning. After answering the calls of our stomachs, we went to Cathy’s homestay, our accommodation for the night, and dumped our backpacks. Then, we eagerly started the Pagudpud South Tour c/o Kuya Arnel costing us a value-for-money amount of Php 600.
Our first stop was the Bangui Windmills, more than 10 giant white windmills calmly facing the strong winds from the sea and coolly churning environmentally friendly energy for the whole of Ilocos.
Kapurpurawan White Rock Formation
Pay the entrance fee of around Php 20 and you’ll then have to go down a flight of stairs and pass through a trail before you get to the white rock formation. You can choose to walk all the way to the rock or you can ride a horse offered by some enterprising locals there. V and I decided to walk because we wished to take in everything on our own pace and the walk was not that far anyway; it provided us some good exercise. The rock formation was set in a backdrop of a rugged sea, which made our whole experience beautiful. The rock formation’s whiteness is really unique and the rock striations we got close to were very interesting. Although there’s really nothing much to do there than enjoy the rock and the views of the sea, it is still worth visiting for an hour or so.
Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
According to Kuya Arnel, this lighthouse is unique because unlike most lighthouses in the Philippines that were built on shores, this one was built high up on a hill. Kuya Arnel claimed that Cape Bojeador is the highest elevated lighthouse in the Philippines. True or not, the view from the top was amazing and we still enjoyed the climb particularly because it was really windy and it wasn’t hard to imagine yourself getting blown away by the wind at this height haha. Upon closely examining Cape Bojeador, it becomes obvious it is really old because the place is falling apart. When you visit it, be careful not to lean on any railings or balusters because they’re very weak. I almost had a Jack-fell-down-the-hill kind of accident, seriously.
View Deck for more windmills viewing
The Bangui windmills, Kapurpurawan rock formation, and Cape Bojeador lighthouse are the main highlights of South Pagupud. After visiting all of that, I was expecting that Kuya Arnel would take us back to our homestay. But no, he treated us to some more stunning vistas by taking us to this view deck wherein we got a good view again of the windmills plus the invigorating rice fields of Ilocos. Even just 15 minutes of taking in all those greenery will do wonders for your stress levels. Highly recommended!
After the view deck, I really thought we were done, but no not yet. Kuya Arnel took us to a place loved by locals for the empanada sold at the sidewalk. V and I weren’t too keen about this though because we already had the golden brown empanada at Vigan, and although tasty, we really did not become a fan of it. But to our surprise, the Pagudpud empanada was orange! I got to see how it was made too, which was really cool. Most surprising of all, it was really delicious and I enjoyed it more than what I had in Vigan. It was very filling too and we didn’t feel like eating dinner anymore after we had it.
Back to Saud Beach and Cathy’s Homestay
Finally, Kuya Arnel was done showing us the wonders of south Pagudpud. We returned to Saud beach where Cathy’s homestay was located. Since a typhoon just passed by Ilocos (that’s why it rained all day in Vigan), the sea and beach wasn’t too appealing. The waves were still sizable; suffice it to say that surfers would have enjoyed Saud better that day but not a non-swimmer like me. At the right time of the year though, Saud Beach would surely live up to its other name – the Boracay of the North.
Tired from all the traveling we did all day, V and I turned in early for the night. Cathy’s homestay was very basic, no hot shower, but it was spacious enough. It was also the cheapest accommodation we had in this whole Ilocos vacation. Here’s our Ilocos itinerary and budget breakdown if you’re interested.
The next day would present us with more nature immersion as we toured north Pagudpud.