Sunday, January 2, 2000

Pagudpud, 1999

A funny thing happened on my way to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte--it was never part of my travel itinerary. But that's going ahead of my story.

Last June, I had filed for a 3-day leave without any idea on how I would spend it. Anyway, I was supposed to go to Baguio, but at the last moment, the person I was going to meet there was out of town. Fortunately, the day before my scheduled leave, a staff from our Regional Office from Tuguegarao suggested that I go there. Although I had been there once, I decided to return just to check out our newly constructed regional office and to see a friend whom I last saw 3 years before. Without any concrete plans and a few thousand pesos in my pocket, I went to Baliwag Transit terminal in Cubao and bought an aircon bus (P355) ticket for one, bound for Tuguegarao. Yup, I was travelling alone and had no idea what I will be doing for my vacation. I left Manila Wednesday night and it took around 12 hours before I got to my destination.

Upon reaching Tuguegarao, I called up our office to be picked up at the bus terminal. During my two-day stay, I spent my first night at the office and the second night at my friend's place. That took care of my accommodation, which usually took a big slice off my travel expenses. The only new place I visited during this visit was The Basilica of Our Lady of Piat, about an hour away from the town. The basilica was supposed to be inaugurated a few days later. Other places of interest to visit in Cagayan, which I had visited before, are the Callao Caves and Calvary Hill. During the stay at my friend's place, she suggested that I visit Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte. Although not having visited the place personally, she said that the beach there was good. She didn't know, though, how I can get there and how long the trip would take. Fortunately, I found a road map at home and finally found out where Pagudpud is actually located. Well, it's the last town of Ilocos Norte before reaching Cagayan.

To reach Pagudpud, I had to take a bus bound for Laoag. I got to the bus terminal at around 5:30 a.m. After waiting for a bus bound for Ilocos Norte, I finally got into one (ordinary bus, P165). Not knowing where to get off, I asked the conductor to drop me off when we reached Pagudpud. The trip took seven hours, passing through some of the most picturesque sceneries of the countryside. We passed through a mountain, where I first saw a view of a beach (which I found out later was not yet Pagudpud). Just the same, it was breathtaking. Finally, Pagudpud! The conductor dropped me off and asked a tricycle driver to take me to a resort. Having no idea about the place, I asked Boy, the tricycle driver, to take me to a resort. We canvassed two resorts, where the price ranges from P1,000 and up. The entrance to the resort is about P50, while the picnic tables are at about P150. If you really are on a budget, you can bring your own tent. For a minimal fee, you can set up tent at the beach. The beach is divided into two portions: the rocky part, which is good for snorkeling; and the sandy part, which is good for swimming.

Fortunately, when I got there, the peak season was almost over so the beach was not crowded. I stayed there for one night, hoping to visit it again soon. Actually, there is an easier route going there than the route I took. There is actually a bus liner going to and from Pagudpud. There are 2 buses leaving Manila every night bound for Pagudpud via Ilocos and the fare is relatively inexpensive: P270 for a 12 hour trip. Upon reaching Pagudpud, one only has to take a tricycle for the resorts. I would say Pagudpud is one of the best beaches that I have been to, considering that one doesn't need to travel by boat nor plane to see it. I will be definitely be going back to Pagudpud.