The previous day, we toured South Pagudpud and although it was a great experience, we were tired by the end of it. Good thing that we started this day’s North Pagudpud tour at around 9 in the morning; we didn’t have to wake up so early hehe. And since it would only take around 6 hours to do the north tour, we caught the bus going back to Laoag afterwards with still plenty of daylight to spare.
The first attraction we visited during our north Pagudpud tour was Kabigan Falls. Kuya Arnel was still our guide and tricycle driver for the day; yes we hired him for 2 days and we definitely did not regret any minute.
Upon arriving at the entrance, you have to register and then a local guide will be assigned to you. It’s up to you how much you pay the guide later but a minimum of Php100 is sound. Once everything was sorted, Kuya Arnel found a spot under a shaded tree and settled himself to wait for us to finish this attraction. We then followed the guide and just like that, we started the 30-minute trek to see the waterfalls.
Along the way, we got to see clean gurgling streams, lush rice fields, silent mountains in the backdrop, and lots and lots of greens around – perfect in my book! A lot of the huge trees we passed by had informative signs attached to them detailing their scientific names and their uses. In fact, I found out that our national tree Narra is best used for reforestation and watershed projects. Narra lumber is also good for making furniture. It’s scientific name? Pterocarpus Indicus. :p
After the invigorating trek, we finally arrived at the actual Kabigan Falls. Although not as extensive as Kawasan Falls we have in Cebu, Kabigan was still very beautiful. We were lucky we were the only people there when we arrived. We had the whole place to ourselves and it was just magical. My imagination just went into overdrive and I was already seeing in my mind’s eye tiny fairies frolicking in the water and around the trees surrounding the falls.
After spending another 30 minutes or so just enjoying the cold cascading waters, the green surroundings, and fresh forest air, we bid Kabigan falls farewell. We trekked back to where Kuya Arnel was waiting for us (another 30 minutes walk), got into his tricycle and proceeded to our next destination.
With an elevation of around 30 meters, the Patapat Viaduct is a 1.3 km long coastal bridge. It is also the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines. What is a coastal bridge? Hmm. Just look at the picture below. Hehe
V and I had fun taking jump shots here. There weren’t many cars passing the area at that time so the whole bridge effectively became a playground for two kids at heart like us. What’s interesting about the viaduct for me is that it’s constructed right there at the point where the base of the mountain meets the sea (it’s a coastal bridge after all). Crossing this area during a typhoon when the tides are high must really take some b*lls.
Paraiso Ni Anton
Next stop was this very tiny waterfalls where a grotto was constructed. There wasn’t much to do here except shop for souvenirs.
Timangtang Rock and Bantay Abot Cave
On the way to Blue Lagoon, locally known as Maira-ira Beach, we stopped by a hill which Kuya Arnel said was just recently used as a filming location for a drama starring the local celebrity named Coco Martin. Unfortunately, I have no idea who this Coco Martin is (sorry fans of his, I don’t watch television anymore), so that information really did not matter to me. V and I still climbed the hill though and wow, the view from the top was awesome. Right away, I saw Bantay Abot Cave and Timangtang Rock, two landmarks we had to visit first before going to Blue Lagoon. If given the opportunity, you should climb that hill too for the view.
Next up was Timangtang Rock so named for its unique bell-like shape. According to Kuya Arnel, it’s called Timangtang because bells go tang tang tang ^_^. This rock is dwarfed in beauty by the white rock formation so it did not hold our interest for long.
We then proceeded to Bantay Abot Cave, which was really a cave before but due to the strong waves and natural movements of the earth, half of the cave eroded and collapsed into the sea, leaving a rock with a very interesting hole in the middle; the hole used to be the entrance to the cave.
Blue Lagoon or Maira-Ira Beach
Finally, Kuya Arnel said we were going to Blue Lagoon. But then we started travelling up the mountains. Then he stopped near a cliff and asked us to go and check out what’s below. We did as told and what we could see of the beach was just beautiful! I was too captivated by the view that I forgot to take a picture from the top of the cliff.
There’s a huge commercial resort there now, but Blue Lagoon used to be an untouched paradise. Still, as we got closer, the commercial buildings could not detract from the beauty of the beach and the mountain behind it. During that time of the year, Maira-Ira beach was definitely more beautiful in my opinion than the more popular Saud Beach.
V and I separately wandered around the beach for more or less 30 minutes, just leaving each other to our thoughts. That’s the main benefit of traveling with him, I get to feel like a solo traveler but with a buddy to count on in case there’s trouble. As a result, our trip so far was very relaxing as V and I just gave each other space whether to let our imaginations run wild or to reflect and commune with our long neglected core introverted selves.
After eating lunch at one of the seafood eateries near the beach, we headed back to Cathy’s homestay to check out. We said goodbye to Ate Cathy, the owner, a tiny lady in appearance but a superwoman for us because she is able to run her lodgings business (and all the craziness that involves) with grace and an open smiling face.
Kuya Arnel took us to the bus station where we thanked him profusely for taking good care of us and for ensuring that we see and experience just how lovely Pagudpud is. He is a really wonderful guide and worth every peso you pay him and more! If you wish to hire him for your visit to Pagudpud soon, make sure to book him early because he has really become popular and his schedule is packed! His contact number from a year ago is 0926-5880-666. I’m not sure if this is still correct today but just try it anyway 🙂
Back to Laoag
Around dinner time, we arrived in Laoag. We checked in again at Balay da Blas. Unfortunately, the room we booked still had people in it. They were supposed to leave on this day but they extended their stay. No worries though because Balay da Blas gave us another room, a better one at that, meaning we got an upgraded room for no extra charge! The room was bigger, the beds were bigger, and the shower room was fantastic! We love you Balay da Blas! Seriously.
For dinner, we ordered delivery from Saramsam Café, well known in the area and by backpackers as a restaurant that serves really delicious Ilocano fare. The owner of the café is the same person who owns Balay da Blas and that’s why guests like us can ask for our food to be delivered to our room. We opted for this option because we were really tired from the 2.5 hours Pagudpud-Laoag bus trip and it started raining again.
We ordered Inabraw (vegetables in season cooked in fish flavoured broth), Insarabasab (slices of grilled pork mixed with salt, vinegar, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers), and Pinakbet Pizza. The latter is basically pizza made of the typical vegetable ingredients for pinakbet. During my research, I read lots of bloggers touting this must-try pizza, so we tried. The inabraw and insarabasab were delicious, but unfortunately the pinakbet pizza was just too weird and bitter for our tastebuds that we did not even finish the first slice we took. Sorry fans of this pizza, it just wasn’t for us.
And with that, we concluded our fourth day holidaying in Ilocos. The next day would bring us some more adventure.