Traveling to Ilocos doesn’t require breaking the bank. We set out on a vacation trip to Ilocos last Holy Week and while it took about 13-14 hours from Manila (considering the traffic during this peak season), it’s worth the drive!

We shelled out PhP 3,700 per person for the 3D2N adventure. The cost includes hotel accommodations, roundtrip transfers, van rental, driver, and all land trips in Pagudpud, Laoag, and Vigan. In this post, I’m sharing Part I of our journey: the top 6 places we visited in the northernmost tip of the Luzon island, the coastal town of Pagudpud.

Top 6 Places We Visited in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte (Holy Week)

1. Saud Beach Pagudpud

Saud Beach Pagudpud is where you can explore and appreciate the serene beauty of nature while away from the hubub of the city. A typical weekend stay includes overnight accommodations in any of the resorts that are nearby.

We checked in at Jun and Carol Beach Resort and stayed for a night. The rooms were simple but adequate, and the beds were pretty comfortable. Unfortunately though, the water heater of our bathroom was broken and we had to shower in cold water. Eep!

Anyway, the main attraction here is the beach. Saud Beach looked clean and peaceful (no vendors desperately asking people to buy souvenirs or subscribe to water activities), very much unlike Boracay. It’s dark and quiet at night, and there’s also no exciting amenities to try. Hence, at sundown, almost no one was found surfing or swimming in the waters.

Vacationers mostly enjoy their time sunbathing, walking barefoot on the sands, and hanging out in restaurants that offer a cool beachfront experience. On-site dining options are plenty, so you don’t have to worry about where to eat and what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

2. Patapat Viaduct

We had a short stopover at the Patapat Viaduct just for picture-taking. The Patapat Viaduct is a concrete coastal bridge that is elevated 31 meters over sea level. It’s a long winding road leading to Cagayan, with the side of the mountain overlooking the West Philippine Sea as its backdrop. The view of the blue sky meeting up on the horizon with the sparking blue-green water is truly mesmerizing. 🙂

3. Bantay Abot Cave

Bantay Abot Cave is just about as eye-catching as it is intriguing. From afar, it looks like a giant rock with a large hole at the center. Apparently, this interesting geological formation is not really a cave but a rocky hill that resulted from an earthquake that happened many years ago. Located along the shore of the little town of Baloi in Ilocos Norte, Bantay Abot Cave literally means “a mountain with a hole.”

It’s recommended to wear sturdy shoes that won’t slip since you will be climbing down the steep and slippery rocks. Once you get through the hole, take as many pictures as you can and maximize the effect Bantay Abot can give to your shots by staging your perfect silhouette poses.

4. Bangui Windmills

The Bangui Windmills were created during Marcos’ administration as an alternative source of energy in Ilocos. The project sells electricity to the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) and provides 40% of the power requirements of Ilocos Norte via Transco Laoag.

Seeing the windmills upclose was a surreal experience. Arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, the windmills are a lot taller than we expected based on the photos on magazines and videos on TV. Winds were blowing hard against our faces and messing up our hair, powerful enough to turn the mills round and round. If you plan to witness these majestic structures, I suggest you wear sunglasses and a hat. 🙂

5. Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Kapurpurawan translates to “white” in Ilocano. The white rock formations look amazing, and for a moment there I thought they were man-made. 🙂 For a nature lover, trekking down towards the rock formation will be a breezy, refreshing, and definitely a memorable feat. Visitors may also opt to ride a horse and just walk on the way back.

6. Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

The last attraction we visited in Pagudpud was the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, also known as the “Burgos Lighthouse.” It is one of the important historical landmarks in Ilocos. This cultural heritage structure was established during the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines. It was first lit on March 30, 1892, and after over 100 years, it still functions as a welcoming beacon to the international ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago from the north and guide them safely away from the rocky coast of the town.

To date, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is well-maintained and operational. Fans of ABS CBN’s “Walang Hanggan” (TV series) might recognize the lighthouse as the backdrop used in the romantic scenes of Coco Martin and Julia Montes.

Walking up the road to the lighthouse’s summit was easy and pleasant if not for the scorching heat of the sun. For those who can’t stand the heat, riding a tricycle to the lighthouse is also an option. We spent some minutes having a 360-degree view of the West Philippine Sea from above.

Wrap Up

In our limited time in Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte, we discovered that Pagudpud’s landscape is remarkably varied. It’s is a treasure trove of majestic nature (think coconut trees, white sand beaches, cold breeze at certain times of the day, and greens) that’s worth boasting about.

There are more things to do in Pagudpud and tourists surely can find loads of ways to fill a free day with fun. Hannah’s Zipline, the Blue Lagoon, Paraiso Ni Anton, and Malingay Cove are just some of the other places where you can win some Instagram points. 🙂


Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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20 Responses

  1. Heather lawrence

    We have lots of windmills down in southern Alberta that are beautiful to look at but honestly I have never been up close and personal to them.
    I love the pictures you have of the beach.. makes me wish that we lived closer to the ocean instead of land locked!
    Looks like you have a blessed holy week 🙂

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It’s cool to have many windmills in your area. I hope we could have more so we can generate more energy that’s reusable. The windmills are gigantic! Thanks, Heather. 🙂

  2. Jaclyn Anne

    It looks like you had a terrific trip to Ilocos Norte! The beaches looks so serene and peaceful, and the cave looks amazing! I would love to visit and see it all in person one day. Thanks for sharing your vacation photos with us 🙂

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, the beach is clean and I hope it remains that way. The local government must be taking good care of the natural resources here to boost tourism.

  3. Shelly B

    Sounds like you had a fantastic trip. I thought that the images of the white rock and the hole in the hole in the rock was very breathtaking and interesting to read about. I liked it seemed very tranquil and relaxing, even with other people out and about.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, we could have stayed longer and appreciated the tranquility here if not for the heat of the sun. Gosh, we felt like our skin was burning. 🙁

  4. Monica Y

    What a great place to have a vacation. The water looks so inviting and the beaches so clean. Makes me really want to plan a trip here. Great pictures too

  5. Brandi Penguins in Pink

    Gorgeous! Pagudpud is very beautiful. And oh my goodness are those wind mills TALL. I’ve never been up close to one before. My favorite place you visited has to be Bantay Abot Cave. I love hiking and exploring and this place like it has some great hiking options!

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It wasn’t a long hike. I bet there are more hills and mountains to climb in Pagudpud. Check those out for an adventurous trip with your friends. 😉

  6. Echo

    What an amazing and beautiful trip! Those beaches and rock formations are incredible! I have always wanted to ride horses on the beach! How cool that you got to experience all of that in one trip!

  7. Tori Gabriel

    What an amazing trip! Your photos are so bright and vibrant. I love the look of the beaches. I got to ride horses on the beach in Barbados and it was an incredible experience. I would love to do it again one day.

  8. Jamie

    The place you stayed looks really nice, as does the beach. The rock formations are gorgeous! Riding on the beach looks fun too.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Nature has a way of making us think and be intrigued about things. These are just some of the popular sites where natural works of art are in sight.

  9. Jennifer

    A cold shower is never fun! I hope they did something to compensate you. All of the places you visited look beautiful. The beach is calling my name.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      We just crushed the challenge of taking a cold shower because there was no other choice. Inside the bathroom, we screamed and jumped from the time the first bucket of water hit our hair to the last droplet of water.

  10. Phil

    This post will be helpful as I have been planning to visit Ilocos. I wanted to travel via Ilocos from Sagada during my trip last 2015 but time just did not permit. I’ll keep posted for your next getaways!

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Phil! I have often heard about Sagada. Maybe the best time to go is Feb because it’s said to be the coldest month of the year in the “Mountain Province’s Pride.”


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