Scenic drives, sumptuous Ilocano cuisines, rich heritage, awe-inspiring megastructures and stunning landscape are some of the reasons which makes Ilocos Norte an all-time favorite for travelers. Memories of Ilocos Norte goes way back to my childhood road trips with family. Even if I had been here countless times, its always a welcome visit to this northern region. The recent Lakbay Norte 7 had me revisit the familiar places again with new companions this time. In just a day, we had the exciting rides at the La Paz Sand Dunes, to marveling the gigantic windmills of Bangui and a fun swim at Saud White Beach of Pagudpud.
La Paz Sand Dunes Adventure
Seems to be a staple favorite for Lakbay Norte tours. And why not? It’s always a guaranteed adrenaline rush and sweeping views when visiting the La Paz Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte. The 85 square kilometer heaving landscape is a National Geological Monument. Dunes peaking high from 10–20 meters that its swells and slopes are natural playground for 4×4 vehicles and sand boarding activities. We did the thrilling 4×4 Vehicle ride and it was fun as before but this time we had a few minutes at the beach side before heading back. The sand boarding as always a challenge to keep your balance. But I think falling off was a fun journey and being able to stand-up was an accomplishment.
Bangui Wind Farm
It only gets better as the number of these megastructure windmills increases at the gusty shores of Bangui. The Bangui Wind Farm with now has 20 operational wind turbines (from the original phase one of 15 units) supplied by Danish firm, Vestas Wind Systems. Each 70-meter high wind turbines supplies up to 1.65 MW of energy. Aside from marveling at these structures, the area itself is picturesque with these gigantic windmills as backdrop.
Saud White Beach
It’s hard to resist the clear emerald waters and playful waves of Saud White Beach. We visited the public beach and I like how naturally tropical it still looks, powdery fine sand, simple open cottages and the towering windmills adds a staple sight to this gem of a beach. We were glad we had some time to enjoy this beach, riding along the waves with the afternoon sun on our backs. There’s comfort in the familiar places like these especially if they don’t change that much from memory. It’s like reliving the good times from the past and adding new bits and pieces from this new journey.
For those interested in the La Paz Sand Boarding and 4×4 Adventure contact LEAD Movement through Reny Tan 0919-873-5516 ; 0917-841-5155 or Nicole Arce 0917-523-0331. Or follow their Facebook Page /ilocossandboarding/
How to go to the Bangui Wind Farm
From Laoag, there are jeeps and buses bound for Pagudpud or Cagayan via the Maharlika Highway. Travel time is around 1.5 hours. Watch out for the signs left side of the highway as there are several entry points to the wind farm.
How to go to Pagudpud
From Laoag Bus Terminal there are buses and vans heading to Pagudpud. Travel time is 2 hours.
Alternately, tricycles can be hired to tour around Ilocos Norte. Cost is usually around P600-800 per day.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.