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"Pagudpud, A Hidden Treasure"

Fine white beach

overcast 19 °C

We were already travelling for seven hours but we were still in Candon, Ilocos Sur. I grossly underestimated the distance and the travel time from Lucap, Alaminos City in Pangasinan province to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. I thought that the 450 kilometer distance can be reached in seven hours. We left Lucap at 7:00 a.m. there were times when I was stepping the gas of my Ford Lynx at a speed of 80 km per hour while my eldest daughter who substituted me behind the wheel sometimes hit 90 km per hour but we could only reached in the middle of Ilocos Sur province after seven hours. The reason being was that in populated cities we experienced heavy traffic.

We had a late lunch at a Max Restaurant in Candon, Ilocos Sur at 2:00 p.m. It was also the longest rest that we had (an hour) after spending seven hours on the road. I have to attest to the fact that the national highway from Pangasinan to La Union and then to Ilocos Sur and finally to Ilocos Norte is well-maintained as we were able to travel at a faster speed with some exception of slowing down in cities like Dagupan City and San Fernando City where we experienced heavy traffic.

It was already getting dark at 6:00 p.m. when I had a full tank at a Petron station on the highway near Laoag City. The gasoline boy told me it will take another hour and a half to finally reach Pagudpud.

It was refreshing to finally meet Me-an, the manager of Polaris Beach Resort in person. We were only texting and talking over the cellphone for our booking arrangements after I got her contact number from a website which I google searched for Pagudpud accommodation. Me-an led us to our rooms and was very accommodating to our needs. It was a wise decision that we had an advance booking as there were many guests who arrived at the same time that we arrived. I witnessed how Me-an politely referred at least 5 vans full of guests to the other beach resorts which are still vacant. However, unlike Polaris which is a beach front resort, the others were located several meters away from the beach.

Since it was already dark at 8:00 p.m., we could no longer see the beauty of the beach line of Pagudpud. We had dinner at the restaurant of Polaris Beach Resort which was reasonably priced, the same way that our air-conditioned rooms where priced fairly. We got two separate rooms (one room for me and my wife and the other room for our two daughters) each room was only at P1,500.00 per day.

After dinner, we slept early, tired from the 13-hour drive that we had. As I closed my eyes after my evening prayer, I could not wait for daybreak to come so that I can finally see for myself the hidden treasure named Pagudpud.

As soon as I realized that the sun was already up I left my wife who was still in bed and I walked to the beach of Pagudpud, only 20 meters way from Polaris Beach Resort. The sea wind from the great South China Sea was blowing strong and even with my jacket I could still feel its coolness.

Facing the sea, I stood on the highest cliff of Pagudpud beach and I saw the shimmering South China Sea with a few fishing pump boats approaching the white beach from a night of fishing. As I slowly moved my head to my left, I saw the long white beach of Pagudpud with the wind mills of Bangui lining the horizon. Slowly moving my sight to the opposite direction, I was delighted to see the stretch of white beach lined with tall coconut trees. Several fishermen are busy removing their catch from the fish nets that they had thrown into the sea.

I went back to the resort to wake up my wife and my daughters. We had an early free breakfast which was included in the room rate package. As soon as we finished breakfast, we went to the beach for a morning frolic with the sea! A van owned by the Municipality of Pagudpud was parked near the highest cliff. It was designed with a buzzline: Pagudpud, Asia’s Number 1 White Beach Destination. I could not help but agree with this buzzline considering that unlike Boracay which is already very commercialized, there are no rows of commercial establishments on the shoreline. What I saw was the white beach with white sand but the particles are bigger than the powdery sand of Boracay. Also I saw the busy fishermen, their fishing boats, tall coconut trees and the local residents who watching us swimming!

Its accessibility from Manila could be its weakness. Although there are several bus companies (RCJ, Farinas, Partas etc…) plying from Manila to Pagudpud, a lot of guests does not have the patience of travelling more that 8 hours on the road. There are flights from Manila to Laoag City. But from Laoag, it will still be another one hour and a half drive to Pagudpud.

But for me and my family, travelling 13 hours just to reach Pagudpud was worth it. We finally saw a hidden treasure!

Posted by E. Sandalo 07:24 Archived in Philippines Tagged family_travel

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