Monday, January 21, 2013

Our Pagudpud Travel Journal

On our second day in Laoag City we drove to Pagudpud. Though armed with printed improvised Google maps we realized that by simply following the main high way you wouldn't get lost.

First in our itinerary was Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. While driving, I was amazed to see hills still partially covered by trees and excellent asphalt road condition. Moreover, the road was free from rural traffic and checkpoints.

After sometime, we noticed from afar the towering lighthouse on top of a hill at the right side of the road. I was expecting to see it on the other side since it served as navigational guide for ships sailing in South China Sea. During this time, the sea was not yet visible from the high way.

We turned right and started to climb a steep road going to the top of the hill. Extra caution should be practiced while driving on this area due to narrow road blind curves. Parking is available at the foot of the lighthouse, however it was full when we arrived. Fortunately, we were assisted by those small boys while we parked our car along the sloping road. In doing so, the road near the top becomes one-way. Nevertheless, the locals are very helpful to all motorists don't forget though to spare a change for  "watch your car little boys."



Upon leaving our car, we noticed a continuous goosebumps-inducing breeze coming from the sea. We climbed a concrete stair until we reached the base of lighthouse structure. From here, we conquered another set of steep stairs until we reached the actual lighthouse tower. Unfortunately, entrance to the tower is prohibited. Nevertheless, our eyes feasted on the magnificent view of South China Sea and mountains on the other side.









We spent less than an hour in Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. I maneuvered our car with the help of my new little friends. Shortly thereafter, we're off to Bangui Windmill!

After half an hour, I saw a sign board "This way to Kang Kang Windmill Cafe" but it seemed the windmills were still far so I continued driving until the actual windmills started appearing one by one on the left side of the road. We turned left on the next Windmill signboard. We drove on dusty and rough road for around 10 minutes until we reached several huts near the shore. I believe this is where the center of the action is. Food and souvenir shops are plentiful in this area. My wife bought a wooden replica of the windmill for 80 pesos. The place is open for public and parking is free





The windmills looked alien but fascinating. I believe we need more of these to lessen our dependence on oil in producing our electricity.








chasing waves



There are a few fishing boats ashore while the waves continuously batter the blackish sands. My kids were very happy and even horse played along the shore since they haven't experience being on the beach yet. I was elated to see all three of them brimming with smile.  In fact, I even reminded them that it was time to leave otherwise they would continue chasing those waves.






We retraced our path and in no time at all we were on our way to Patapat Viaduct.

The trip to Patapat Viaduct is quite taxing due to zig zag and sometimes inclined roads; there are many blind curves as well. There are times that big buses would surprise you after cornering a blind curve. Hence, it would be safer to limit your speed at 60 kph. Nevertheless, I would never thought that we have this kind of roads in Philippines. The zig-zag roads before you reach Pagudpud Viaduct is much better than Kennon Road where you would be dismayed by the empty and rocky hills. Gone are the pine tress that used to dot the winding mountain roads.

The road to Patapat Viaduct could be arguably one of the best high ways in the Philippines. We had some great panoramic views of South China Sea on our left side while thick greenery covers the hills and mountains at right side. Likewise, there are parts of the high way that the views are really stunning. I noticed several motorists stopped along the road shoulder to take snapshots having South China Sea as background.

Having driven for almost an hour from Bangui Windmill, my family started to get uneasy since it was almost lunch time. I remember seeing a kilometer post having 575 km mark on it. It means we were 575 kms away from Luneta. After that km post, Patapat Viaduct appeared on sight. We noticed several cars also parked along the shoulder while the passengers were busy having some photo-ops. This place is quite famous for northern Luzon tourists because of the magnificent view of the viaduct having the mountains and South China Sea as background. I have been told that on a clear day, Babuyan Islands can be seen from this place. More so, there were less vehicles traversing this road making it more tourists friendly.



Just to add, I remember our tour guide at Malacanang of the North explaining that this road used to be a normal high way but there were times in the past that it was not passable due to perennial landslides especially during rainy season. To rectify this problem, they modified the design of this road in such a way that even if there would be landslide the viaduct would remain passable. I am impressed by its engineering and design apart from being picturesque.

After some photo shoots I noticed that all motorists except us continued their journey to Cagayan. We returned back and started searching for a place to eat. I remember Kang Kang Windmill Cafe. We all agreed that we'd take our lunch there.

We returned back to the windmill then instead of stopping at the area where we stayed earlier, we followed a rough road until we reached Kang Kang Windmill Cafe. The place is located near the fifth windmill thus after taking our lunch we had another set of photo shoots. This place would give you a clear vantage view of all the windmills towering along the shore. But since Kang Kang Cafe is the only place where tourist can stay, the place seems desolate.

After a hearty lunch we followed the road until we reached the main high way. We're now on our way back to Laoag City then Paoay.

I consider our trip to Pagudpud as the most amazing part of our Northern Luzon road trip. My wife even told me that it could have been better if we spend a night in Pagudpud Beach rather than spending two nights in Laoag City. I must admit that it was a good idea indeed but considering that the travel time from Pagudpud to Laoag City would add at least 2 hours to our travel time from Laoag City back to Manila the following day then it won't be advisable. All of us would be dead tired and bored on our way back to Manila. In fact, from Laoag City, it took us 15 hours to reach our home in San Mateo, Rizal. What more if we started our trip from Pagudpud?

After conquering Pagudpud I told myself that one of my ardent dreams has been fulfilled and it was more meaningful since I achieved it with my family. My memory palace is getting filled-up fast by my travel adventures in recent years.

Lastly, my wife and I noticed that there were several brand new vehicles being broken-in in Pagudpud. We noticed a Fortuner and Hyundai Sta. Fe at Burgos area having Manila car dealers plate.


To check our complete travel journal: Road Trip to Ilocos (Vigan/Laoag/Pagudpud)