Pagudpud is located about 350 miles north of Metro Manila. If you want to travel in utmost comfort and convenience, then traveling by air is the way to go. There are no direct flights from Manila to Pagudpud so the best option is to fly to Laoag, the capital city of the province of Ilocos Norte. From the airport, find your way to the bus terminal where you’ll see parked buses and vans. Take the one bound for the province of Claveria, and ask the driver to drop you off in Pagudpud. The ride should last for about one hour to one hour and a half.
Local airlines such as Philippine Airlines and Cebgo (a subsidiary of the well-known budget airline, Cebu Pacific) have daily flights between both cities, but it’s best to check their websites for detailed information about schedules as well as the fare rates.
There are also bus companies that offer direct trips from Manila to Pagudpud. This option is perfect for budget travelers and for those who have time to spare since it will take about eight hours to get there from Manila. You can choose between ordinary or deluxe buses with the latter having more comfortable amenities and fewer stops. Most Pagudpud-bound travelers also opt to take the night trip since they can sleep throughout the journey and arrive early morning the following day.
How to Get Around
The tricycle should be your choice of transportation for getting around Pagudpud. The rates are on a per trip basis, but you can commission a driver for half a day or the whole day to take you to the various sights and attractions.
What to See
Pagudpud is blessed with an array of natural attractions that will make you fall in love even more with this coastal town in the north.
Kabigan Falls is a majestic natural wonder that should be on your list when visiting Pagudpud. It is located in Barangay Balaoi, about 1.8 kilometers from the National Road. There will be transportation that can take you to the falls, but the best way to get there is by foot where you will have to pass through flat lands, rice fields, and streams. The trek is fun, exciting, and an intrinsic part of the overall Kabigan Falls experience, especially when done with a group. The trek will last for about half an hour. Once there, the majestic 120-foot Kabigan Falls and its cool waters will entice you for a refreshing swim—just what you needed after the tiring hike. This impressive body of water is also surrounded by an enchanting forest that allows anyone to reconnect with nature.
Another attraction located in Barangay Balaoi is the Bantay Abot Cave. Don’t be fooled by its name, though: the “cave” is actually a rocky hill with a hole in the middle. This unique natural attraction is also right by the sea so tourists can enjoy listening to the crashing of the waves or marveling at the expansive clear waters in the horizon. The cave is also a good spot where you can take impressive panoramic pictures. The water by the cave, however, is not recommended for swimming since the waterbed is rocky and the currents are too strong. If you want to go swimming, head to the Blue Lagoon, which is a couple of kilometers away from Bantay Abot Cave.
Also known as the Maira-ira Cove, the Blue Lagoon is one of Pagudpud’s best attractions, notable for its pristine azure waters and its fine white sands that give Boracay a run for its money. Unlike its more popular counterpart, however, the Blue Lagoon is clean, unspoiled, and free of noise except for the splashing of waves on the shore. Because of this, Blue Lagoon has seen an increase in the number of tourists that visit it daily. Soon, more and more establishments like hotels have been constructed in the area to meet the growing demand for establishments. But even with the tinge of commercialism, this beautiful cove remains one of Pagudpud’s prized natural attractions that every tourist in Ilocos should visit.
Saud Beach is often dubbed as the “Boracay of the North,” and one of the most well-known destinations in Pagudpud. Like Blue Lagoon, Saud Beach is a perfect spot where you can enjoy the sun, the glorious sand, and the sea. Though not as white compared with Boracay, the sand in Saud Beach is just as powdery—ideal for those who just want to sunbathe, play volleyball or Frisbee, and stroll along the shores while soaking up the relaxing atmosphere. Saud Beach is also ideal for couples or friends who want to catch the stunning sunset at the end of the day.
Man-Made Attractions and Activities to Try
Near Blue Lagoon and Bantay Abot Cave is a bridge known as the Patapat Viaduct. This viaduct is around 1.3 kilometers long, rises 30 meters above sea level, and connects Maharlika Highway from Laoag to the Cagayan Valley Region. It is considered the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines. You can ask your hired driver for the day to take you to the viaduct where you can have a photo-op with the South China Sea in the background.
The beaches of Pagudpud are frequented by tourists because of its watersports like surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. The Kingfisher Kite and Wind Surf Center offers kite surfing and windsurfing courses where you can learn to ride the waves like a pro. During the less windy seasons when the waves are not that strong, the center offers other activities like paddleboarding and kayaking. Remember to call the center first to make a reservation and to schedule an appointment so that there will be an instructor present to guide you on your activities.
Aside from surfing, swimming, and sightseeing, there are also other activities that you can try in Pagudpud. This rustic town is also home to Asia’s longest over water zip-line that spans 1.2 kilometers, which can be found in Hannah’s Beach Resort and Convention Center. For a more thrilling way to explore the town, you can rent an ATV.
If time permits, taking a side trip to the nearby towns of Adams, Bangui, and Burgos is also highly recommended. These towns are home to some of Ilocos Norte’s greatest attractions such as the Bangui Windmills, Anuplig Waterfalls, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Abang Falls, and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation.
Where to Eat
Ilocano cuisine is one of the best in the Philippines so you can look forward to mouthwatering dishes during your stay in Pagudpud. For budget travelers, the town has a lot of roadside food joints that offer complete meals at pocket-friendly prices. Papa Nard’s, with their serving of authentic Ilocano dishes, is one of them.
Emohruo Bach Restobar is another dining place that comes highly recommended. The restaurant serves an array of Asian cuisines but their Pancit Bagnet is a crowd favorite. They also have a selection of wines and spirits. While there, you should try the Pagudpud Sling, the restobar’s best seller.
But when it comes to fine dining in Pagudpud, nothing beats BergBlick Restaurant. This restaurant serves sumptuous local and international dishes, and has received the Certificate of Excellence in the restaurant category from TripAdvisor in the year 2013. Their classic bagnet is homemade and fried to a crisp—a must-try when dining there. The BergBlick – Pan is one of their best sellers: a German dish made with breaded pork chop, pork roast, sausage, cabbage roll, pan-fried potatoes, and mixed salads. Cap off your meal with a mug of their authentic German wheat beer.
Pagudpud is also the best place to try gamet, a kind of seaweed that is harvested in Ilocos Norte but tastes similar to the Japanese nori. Head to Casa Consuelo to sample this delicacy and their assortment of dishes as well.
Fare: PHP 700.00 to PHP 4,500.00
If you are planning to travel to Pagudpud by air, then it’s best to book in advance. Watch out for promos and seat sale announcements so you can avail of cheaper fares. On average, a roundtrip airfare would cost at around PHP 3,000.00 to PHP 4,500.00
Traveling from Manila to Pagudpud via bus is roughly around PHP 700.00. The fare is higher for a deluxe bus or during peak season. The tricycle fare in Pagudpud will vary depending on the distance. You can haggle to make the most out of your budget.
Food: PHP 150.00++
There are roadside eateries in Pagudpud which offer value-for-money meals, especially for budget travelers. There are some fine dining restaurants as well. On average, one can probably spend about PHP 150.00 to PHP 300.00 per meal.
Shopping: PHP 100.00 to PHP 300.00
Small trinkets and other souvenir items are often sold in packs, like three key chains for PHP 70.00 to PHP 100.00. Souvenir shirts cost higher at PHP 250.00, but the price could still vary depending on the design and on the quality of materials used.
Accommodations: PHP 500.00 to PHP 5,000.00
Like in the city and other destinations in the Philippines, the room rates vary given the amenities and services, its proximity to the attractions, and the season. A basic accommodation could go for as low as PHP 500.00 per night. The more high-end hotels are around PHP 5,000.00 per night.
Activities: PHP 200.00++
The activities also differ in rate, with the prices starting at PHP 200.00. Some fees, however, are group rates so you may want to consider traveling with your family or friends. Make sure to discuss the inclusions first with your tour guide before paying.
Other expenses: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00
A service charge is almost always included in the bill when dining so leaving a tip won’t be necessary. If you insist on tipping, PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 should be fine.