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TBJ TRAVELS: Ilocos Guide Part 1- Pagudpud, Blue Lagoon, Kabigan Falls, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation


For this year's Summer vacay, my friends and I decided to go somewhere with a healthy mix of sea, greenery, and history; Ilocos proved to be the perfect destination; after a hectic humpday last week filled with work deadlines, we rewarded ourselves by driving up north, to the beautiful province of Ilocos, where humble, kind people abound and the land boasts of amazing natural scenery.

In our four- day trip, we chartered the amazing natural landmarks of Ilocos Norte, and engaged in adventure and immersed ourselves in history in Ilocos Sur. Welcome to this four- part blog guide/series about the amazing province of Ilocos!

BLUE LAGOON AND SAUD BEACH, PAGUDPUD

Finally! After 14 hours of land travel, we reached Pagudpud! Since me and my friends are going to travel a lot this year, we decided to do budget travel for Ilocos. We stayed at Blue Lagoon, which is about 30 minutes from the more popular beach side of Pagudpud (it is actually part of the long stretch of Pagudpud beach). Our budget hotel of choice is Agua Seda.

I am pretty sure that this is not a super budget hotel considering that there are smaller homestays and transient houses around the area, all of which seemed more affordable than Agua Seda, but what we liked about this resort is it offers decent amenities that allowed us to get a good night's sleep while staying within our budget. Room is small, but it had everything we needed for a good stay: clean sheets, air conditioning, decent bathroom, and working toilet and flush. This standard room costs P1,900.00/night.

Blue Lagoon is called as such due to its cove- like nature; it's not situated within rocks nor mountains, but is still part of the ocean stretch. Due to its shape, Blue Lagoon is home to moderate to slightly big waves and on certain months of each year, it becomes a surfer's paradise. Around April, the waves are small and you can lounge by the beach or just take a dip in the sea without worrying about being engulfed in ocean water. Water is pretty clear too!

Blue Lagoon, being the most affordable beach side of Pagudpud, tends to be crowded during Summer. Land area is not huge as well so expect to share the beach with fishing boats along with tourists as there are locals who live there and depend on fishing for livelihood. On the brighter side, there are spots where you can lie down, bask in the sun, meditate, or chill; just don't be lazy; walk!

If you fancy water activities such as Jet Ski and Banana boat, inquire at your resort/hotel; if yours doesn't offer such activities, just check out the other resorts!

Pagudpud is divided into three areas and the one we went to is the popular Saud Beach; it is not as crowded as Blue Lagoon because the more expensive resorts are here. Water here is also cleaner than Blue Lagoon just because area is larger and more open. Thankfully, you can visit and experience Saud Beach on a day trip basis for only P150.00/head and stay for 8 hours. Cottage rental is P100.00. 

The sand of Pagudpud is pale beige in color; it actually reminded me of Balesin; sand is a little rounded and the shore is deep on some parts, and can be piping hot at noon so just walk on the damp side around this time; expect to have a good leg workout when walking the entire stretch of Saud beach! Also, you can already see the highly visited Bangui Windmills at Bangui Bay on this side of Pagudpud.

BLUE LAGOON AND SAUD BEACH PAGUDPUD IMPORTANT POINTS:

1. On a budget? Choose Blue Lagoon. Big spender? Choose Saud Beach, Pagudpud
2. You can still visit Saud Beach on a day trip basis for only P150.00/head

THE BEAUTY JUNKEE SAYS: Pick up trash around the beach. It may not be your trash, but the preservation of the Philippines is also your responsibility. Also, don't leave your trash at the beach!

We took shelter at Saud Beach Resort after a day of swimming in the clear ocean and basking in the sun; the staff are friendly, and food is good and priced just right. By 8pm, we headed back to Blue Lagoon and called it a day.

KABIGAN FALLS

At 8am, we went to Kabigan Falls located at Barangay Balaoi. Entrance is P20.00/person and a mandatory tour guide accompanied us to the falls and charged us P160.00 for the entire trip; P160.00 is a small price to pay considering that the guides are the locals who use the money to feed their families and pay for their schooling.

Kabigan Falls is 1.8 km from the entrance; to get there, you have to trek for about 30 mins; it's a very easy hike that you can even wear slippers (which I would suggest because you won't be able to resist jumping in the waterfalls!); just wear sunblock and bring an umbrella because it can get pretty hot!

The trek won't be a bore because you'll pass by some of the cleanest streams you'll ever lay your eyes on; in this place, I also discovered how the locals sustain rice farming and that is they utilize mountain water by planting rice in water pockets around the mountain to combat El Nino; the government can take a cue from the locals of Barangay Balaoi about sustainable farming and they should cultivate this idea too and employ it in El Nino- stricken provinces!

On top of the cleanest streams, the hike to Kabigan Falls will also treat you to lush greenery; the mountain range of Ilocos Norte is one of the richest in terms of plants and trees I've seen because I've learned through the locals that this is a protected area and logging is banned in the province, specifically this area.

After 30 minutes, we finally reached Kabigan falls!

This small waterfall seemed to beautifully fall from the heavens; it took Kabigan Falls thousands of years to carve this basin that sends water down the streams at the foot of the mountain to hydrate the land and its inhabitants. 

The water is clear, clean, and VERY COLD. We didn't mind the temperature though because we needed it after the hot hike. This is generally a shallow basin, but the sides are deep, according to the tour guide. The bottom is filled with small stones so if you have sensitive feet, better wear aqua shoes.

The best time to visit Kabigan Falls is very early in the morning, between 7-9am as there are less people and more selfie opportunities for you. After spending an hour swimming in the falls, we headed back to the base camp.

Despite it being a tourist destination, Kabigan Falls and its area remained clean; I commend the efforts of the local government and most especially the locals for their conscious effort in keeping this haven clean and preserved.

On your way back, be sure to stop by the stores located along the pathway to the waterfalls. Have a taste of Empanada and Tupig, coconut, coco milk, and sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in Bamboo to reward yourself after the hike; it's also a nice experience to enjoy these delicacies with nature as your background!

KABIGAN FALLS IMPORTANT POINTS:

1. Kabigan Falls is a 30-minute hike from the base camp. You have to consider this if you have a health issue, specifically in your lower body.
2. Wearing slippers is fine for the trek. Trek is very easy.
3. The way to the falls can be really hot so wear sunscreen and bring an umbrella/hat.
4. If you have sensitive feet, wear aqua shoes when swimming in the falls.
5. Supervise children while they're swimming in the falls.
6. Be sure to grab empanada and tupig on your way back

THE BEAUTY JUNKEE SAYS: Show more love to your tour guide by giving them additional tip or treating them to an Empanada or Tupig.

KAPURPURAWAN ROCK FORMATION

Millions of years ago, while sea and land engaged in multiple wars, the wind formed the rock and stone casualties into statues as memory of one of the great clashes of nature, giving birth to Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. Located in the town of Burgos, this rock formation is a reminder of the power and artistry of nature. 

Puraw is an Ilocano term that means white, which describes the entirety of Kapurpurawan. There is no entrance fee to see the rock formation. You can either walk or ride a horse to explore the area; please note that the horse ride has a fee.

The best time to visit Kapurpurawan is very early in the morning when the sun is still gentle; this is located by the sea where any form of heat or sunshine can be intensified easily. That said, wear sunscreen, bring umbrella, and wear a scarf and hat!

There are prohibited areas around the rock formation so please, heed the advice and stay where you're supposed to stay.

A natural pond that formed behind the gigantic rock formations. There is also a metal statue depicting the greatness of Lam-Ang, hero of the Ilocano epic Biag ni Lam-Ang.

KAPURPURAWAN ROCK FORMATION TIPS:

1. Best time to visit is very early in the morning when the sun is still gentle.
2. Wear sunscreen, scarf, and hat, and bring umbrella to shield yourself from the sun.

THE BEAUTY JUNKEE SAYS: Pick up trash when you find one. Don't contribute to the trash around the rock formation as well. Put your trash in your pocket, bag, or hold it until you find a trash bin.

Hope you enjoyed part 1 of my Ilocos adventure! Tomorrow, I will share the challenging part of my Ilocos trip at the La Paz Sand Dunes plus sights around Pagudpud, Paoay, and Laoag!

First time traveler to Ilocos? Check out our itinerary:


Ilocos adventure budget breakdown:


*Please note that we got the van and driver at a very cheap price because one of our friends owns a car rental service. Regular 4-day rate of a van + driver is around P15,000.00 so standard total per person will be somewhere between P7,675-P8,000.

My other travel guides in the beautiful province of Ilocos:

ILOCOS GUIDE 2: Patapat Viaduct, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, La Paz Sand dunes

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11 Lovely Thoughts

  1. I'm a sucker for falls you should try Catanduanes Maribina Falls (you'll definitely fall in love with the serene atmosphere).

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  2. Wow, Ilocos is very beautiful, Ms. Martha. Great photos.Thanks for posting. I would love to go here someday. You're right in saying to pick up trash even if it's not yours when visiting these scenic places. That's one of my pet peeves, trash scattered in the streets.

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  3. Great photos Miss Martha, proof how lovely the Philippines is. This is so beautiful place to spend a vacation. Sure you had lots of fun. Excited for the part 2 of your Ilocos getaway post(^̮^)

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  4. The Kabigan Falls is breathtaking! I love the photos Ate Martha, especially those that show the rock formation :)

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  5. Yass! I love this blog!! And i love the tips! 👍 ang ganda ganda dun sa falls. I think sa inyo ko palan nakikita an falls na yan whe i search trips to Ilocos. :)

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  6. Woooow! How awesome of you to share the budget and itinerary! :) Your travel blogs are so informative.

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  7. i cannot wait for the next part of this adventure.. i have never been to ilocos (my younger sister already visited Ilocos) she said yung tourist guide nila tru tryk tapos may sariling wifi plus very kind and accomodating sila lahat.. at pinaka hanga sila sa lahat yung pagiging disiplinado ng mga tao. (pansin ko nga malimit lang mabalita na may mga krimen o kaguluhan sa parteng ilocos) my co-officemate is from a family of ilocanos at proud sila for being one though laki na sila dito sa parteng south.

    i love their tupig! we got the chance to taste them pasalubong ng sister ko..

    ilocos is a great place to visit, siguro kapag malaki na ang aking mini me papasyal kami dyan banda.. why go abroad para gumala kung sa sariling bayan natin e marami ka ng makikitang magagandang lugar..

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  8. Never thought that Ilocos is such a beautiful place. <3 Philippines is still beautiful. We should always take care of mother earth. This is such a great blessing from God :)

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  9. Wow gusto ko tong article na to, seeing the nice places in our country. Galing naman Ms.M! Takot ako magtravel dahil sa gastos, so nice to know na may mga murang destinations sa Ilocos. Thanks for sharing! When I get married may kasama na ko magtravel, eyeing on a place na pwede mag honeymoon this coming May! I might consider those places you mentioned.

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  10. Wow! Super ganda ng pictures. Ilocos reeally preserved its beauty. Cant wait to read your next travel blogs :)

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  11. I missed this trip to our company outing! Now i am envy!ehehe nice budget itenerary Ms. Martha! Anticipating for other local travel guide:)

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