Monday, September 2, 2013

Maira-ira Beach: Northernmost Escapade

Date: AUG 28-29, 2013

I’ve heard so many stories about how beautiful Pagudpud is from those who managed to get there. However, the travel time and its distance from Manila is what makes the trip challenging. I’m so lucky because finally, I will be able to visit this place. This will be my first time in the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, and I can’t help myself from being too excited from this new adventure!

The beautiful beach called Maira-ira or Blue Lagoon

My officemates and I agreed to meet later today at 8:00 PM, and I told them to go to Florida Bus Station in Sampaloc, Manila. I left home early and headed straight to Florida Bus terminal near UST. The street going to the terminal was very dark, and I felt scared because danger might be lurking nearby. I was the first one to arrive at the terminal, and moments later, my officemates came.

Comfortable sleeper bus bound for Laoag for only P800!
We chose to ride the sleeper bus going to Laoag because my officemate told me that it feels comfortable. I thought that the bus ticket for this kind of bus is expensive, but I was surprised to find out that the ticket only cost P800 – and that was cheap if you’ll be asking me. We boarded the bus 10:10 PM, and it looked like a dormitory inside – the aisles were full of double-decker beds, and there was also a comfort room beside the door.

It will be a very long ride, so I tried to get some sleep. However, I kept on waking up every hour. I was told back at the terminal that there'd be only one bus stop. The time was 4:30 AM and the bus stopped at Bantay, Ilocos Sur. I got off the bus - not to eat - but for me to step on my 16th province.

The stopover in the town of Bantay was quick. We left after the driver finished his breakfast. Back at the bus, I just stared at the window and didn’t go back to sleep until we reached Laoag, Ilocos Norte 6:30 in the morning. I immediately got off the bus for me to step on my 17th province.


Welcome to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte!
Museums, churches and beautifully decorated buildings dotted the city. My officemates and I were wandering around, and I told them that I was hungry so we stopped at Jollibee Laoag and I ordered fried chicken for breakfast. After we ate, we headed straight to GMW Bus Station and rode an airconditioned bus going to Pagudpud. The bus left at 7:30 AM, and we managed to get to Pagudpud 09:15 in the morning. We got off at a waiting shed along the highway in front of a giant clam monument where the words “PAGUDPUD” is inscribed. From there, we had to ride a tricycle that would take us to Blue Lagoon, where Agua Seda Hotel is located.

Sharp zigzag roads and mountainous terrain were what we saw on the way to Blue Lagoon. It was already 11:00 in the morning when we checked in, and we only paid P5000 for a three day/2 night stay (off-peak rate). That room was good for four, and the place? Outstanding. I was mesmerized at how beautiful the beach was. It was serene, and the wind from the sea was very relaxing. What the people who managed to get here said was right – that Pagudpud was the Boracay of the North.

Photoshoot on the beach with these dogs
I asked my officemates to go out and have a short walk around the beach. The place was not that developed, and there were few hotels. The biggest of them all was Hannah’s Beach Resort, and the rest were just homestays being managed by local families. There was also a long zip line that crosses the sea, but I never had the chance to try it because it cost P700.


Agua Seda Hotel Entrance Spongebob Squarepants Characters Statue

Lunch came, and we asked the hotel crew what their available menu for that day was. It is possible for the guest to ask them to cook something, and what we chose that time was Sinigang na Talakitok. They didn’t fail us because the food tasted good! We went to the beach after eating and began to swim and have fun.

Evening came, and we decided to look for a place to eat. This time, we tried the food served at Blue Bar, inside Hannah’s Beach Resort, and we ordered lomi for dinner. We were the only ones inside the bar that time because it wasn’t peak season, and we had a blast that night. We went back to the hotel after having our dinner, and tomorrow, we’ll be starting our trip around Pagudpud and the nearby towns of Bangui and Burgos.

We all had a good tan that day
This post is part of my Ilocandia Trip that took place between August 28 - September 01, 2013. This is the first entry. Proceed to the next destination here.

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