Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte has long made it to the list of top-ten beaches of the Philippines for its white sand beaches. The beaches in the north are often forgotten due to the growing number of developments and resorts in the south, especially in the Visayas region. But for those who wish to explore for a weekend getaways, the northernmost beach of Pagudpud is a must-visit.
From Laoag it’s a couple of hours by bus to Pagudpud, a typical provincial town providing access to several wonderfully picturesque beaches. The Pagudpud area is deservedly becoming known as a destination that has all the beauty of Boracay, but none of the nightlife. Pagudpud is a coastal resort town of Ilocos Norte province. The town is bounded to the south by the town of Bangui and to the east by the Cordillera Mountain Range, the town of Adams and the province of Cagayan. The South China Sea lies to the west and north. The town rolls over mountains, hills, valleys and flat coastal land. It lies 72 kms. north of Laoag City or approximately 90-minute ride bus ride.
Its white-sand beaches and crystal-blue water makes Pagudpud a haven for tourists. Coconut trees line much of the town’s coast. On a clear day, the Babuyan Islands are visible from Patapat National Park. The Patapat Viaduct, elevated 102 ft. above sea level, is a 1.3 kms. concrete coastal viaduct that connects the Maharlika Highway from Laoag to the Cagayan Valley Region. It rises along the town’s coastal mountains. It is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines. Patapat more than 16 kms. from the town proper, it offers a scenic view of Pasaleng Bay, a view that leads towards wide and pristine beaches backed by mountains.
Buses from all directions arrive on the main road in Pagudpud, from where plenty of tricycles can take you the rest of the way to Saud Beach. The Saud Beach, a few kilometres down a narrow road to the north of the town, is a beautiful long arch of white sand backed by palm trees. Resorts on the beach hire out snorkelling equipment, and can provide “bangkas” so that you can head to the best spots. East of Saud (30 min. tricycle ride) is the glorious Blue Lagoon (known as Maira-ira Beach). The setting is stunning, with dazzling water lapping a sugary crescent of sand; the breaks also attract surfers from July to January. To the west of Pagudpud and accessible by tricycle is the beach at Ayoyo. It’s not sandy, but it’s still beautiful and it rarely sees foreign tourists, there’s little here except palm trees and sea, overlooked by a single resort.
Thirty minutes west of Pagudpud by road is the Cape Bojeador Ligthouse in the town of Burgos. Built in 1892, the lighthouse is the tallest in the country, and from the top there are unobstructed views of the coastline and across the South China Sea. The lighthouse is still in use. To get to Burgos from Pagudpud, take a jeepney from the main road. Once in Burgos itself, you can take a tricycle to the lighthouse. On the way to the lighthouse you’ll pass the Bangui Wind Farm on the shore. The first facility of its kind in the Philippines, the twenty turbines are said to provide 40% of the power requirements of Ilocos Norte and have also become a tourist attraction.
Bangui Wind Farm is in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, just south of Pagudpud. The wind farm uses 20 units of 70-meter high Vestas wind turbines, arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the South China Sea.
Hotels/resorts in Pagudpud:
- Casa Consuelo Resort. P. Paterno St., Brgy. Balaoi, Pagudpud. The hotel, near the beach, is small and the rooms are clean and comfortable. The restaurant closes at 9:30 PM. Facilities include bar, car park, shops, restaurant, garden, free Wi-Fi. (Php2,480 to Php3,600)
- Pannzian Beach Resort. Brgy. Pancian, Pagudpud. Clean, friendly staff and quiet surroundings. The gardens are very well-maintained; lush trees are everywhere. Facilities include meeting facilities, car park, restaurant, garden, massage. (Php1,339 to Php4,000)
- Palm Grove Saud Holiday Complex Hotel. Sitio Jupiter, Brgy. Saud, Pagudpud. Clean, superb staff, make you feel at home. The place is near Saud beach. Facilities include car park, restaurant, bar, coffee shop, meeting facilities, billiards, karaoke, garden, free Wi-Fi. (Php1,339 to Php1,785)
- Villa del Nico Beach Resort. Sitio Aprot, Pagudpud. Facilities include 24-hr. front desk, shuttle service, car park, laundry service, shared kitchen, garden, pool, karaoke, free Wi-fi. They have no restaurant and no air-con in all rooms. Common rest room. (Php1,432 to Php2,400)
- Ace Guesthouse. Brgy. Saud, Pagudpud. Facilities include car park, restaurant, bar, laundry services, free Wi-Fi. (Php2,460 to Php5,327)
- Natsuca Beach Resort. Sitio Aprot, Pagudpud. Facilities include bar, shared kitchen, car park, meeting facilities, coffee shop, salon, garden. (Php1,229 to Php2,048)
- Apo Idon Beach Hotel. Burayoc Pt., Saud, Pagudpud. If you’re looking luxury on Saud Beach, then look no further than the tropical suite at this resort on the southern end of the beach. The cheaper rooms are good too, and there’s a restaurant overlooking the sea. Wi-Fi throughout. (Php4,000 up)
- Arinaya White Beach Resort. Brgy. Saud, Pagudpud. With double, triple and family rooms right in the middle of the beach, this is a pleasant choice that raises its prices less than most during peak season. Travellers on a budget can ask about tents for four people.
- Polaris Beach Resort. Brgy. Saud, Pagudpud. Friendly owners and very reasonable prices make this resort a real winner. There’s a free Wi-Fi in the restaurant.
- North Ridge. Burayoc Pt., Pagudpud. The cool and quiet rooms are better valued than the popular nearby Jun & Carol resort. The resort has Wi-Fi.
- Kapuluan Vista. Brgy. Balaoi, Pagudpud. An absolute gem hidden away at the western end of the beach, with lovely grounds, appealing rooms, and alluring pool and friendly staff. The cheapest rooms are the dorms for two or six people. The restaurant uses organic fruit and vegetables grown in the grounds.