In my last post about our 2nd day in Ilocos, I mentioned about Paoay’s best secret. It’s none other than their famous sand dunes and Kuya Jeremy really urged us to give it a try as it’s an experience that we will never forget.
When we made a brief stop over at the Paoay Lake Viewdeck, Kuya Jeremy by then has sold us the idea of seeing the sand dunes and going for the adventures there. But he wanted more – he wanted us to see the sand dunes at sunset for a more fulfilling experience. So we rested at the viewdeck for some 15 minutes – savoring the serenity and peace in the area. The lake water was very still all throughout.
At around 4:30 p.m. we finally traveled to the site of the Paoay Sand Dunes, where adventure finally kicked in! We took the Sand Boarding and Dune Bashing Tour, which costs P1,500 for a 1-hour tour (and P2,500 for a 2-hours tour).
A little info about the Paoay Sand Dunes: they are not in static form, and changes in shape, size and location depending on the strength and direction of the winds coming from the South China Sea. The sand dunes are a product of wave action during high tides which causes the sand and silt deposited offshore to form sand dunes. During low tide, sand bars close to the beach are dried by the winds and sun, which are then transported by strong winds toward the land, finally building up sand dunes. These sand dunes have been made popular too by the Panday movies and recently, Temptation Island. It was one of the locations used for Tom Cruise’s movie, Born on the 4th of July (source: flyer provided at the Paoay Lake Viewdeck).
Without further ado, here are the magical sand dunes of Paoay, Ilocos Norte:
Kuya Jeremy took this photo of me and AJ. A perfect shot! And he’s no photographer, mind. Para kaming nasa Dubai nito hehe!
Now the adventure part: dune bashing! Our tour included a ride in this 4×4 vehicle which we used in the whole duration of the trip round the sand dunes. There are 7-8 hectares of land covered with sands which we explored riding this vehicle.
I love this shot by Kuya Jeremy. AJ tried his hand at the wheels but only for pictorial purposes hehe!
We were standing at the back of the 4×4 for the whole duration of the trip. We held on to the thick steel bar just behind the driver’s seat to support ourselves. The ride was a pleasant experience, and the afternoon winds will keep you nice and cool.
Another must-try adventure: sand boarding! I skipped this and let AJ have all the fun hehe! He tried it 2x – he was a kid all over =)
Two thumbs up for our sand dunes experience!
Our last stop for the day was the Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag. It was already dark when we reached Laoag but still enjoyed the night view of the bell tower, which is said to be sinking every year because it’s standing on a soft land.
By this time we were feeling hungry already so we asked Kuya Jeremy to take us to the best Ilocos restaurant in town. He took us to La Preciosa – which looks very simple outside but turned out to be Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ favorite and has even been featured in Yummy Magazine for their famous bagbet (bagnet + pinakbet). Wow!
I love, love the homey feel of this place:
Our picks for dinner: Pakbet Ilocos, Bagnet with KBL (kamatis, bagoong and lasuna (an onion variety found in Ilocos)) and a special kind of Miki Bihon (not a winning dish, though):
We thought we can have room for La Preciosa’s famous carrot cake but we were so full already (especially after ordering another round of the Bagnet hehe!).
Kuya Jeremy took as back to the hotel after our dinner. He doesn’t want to have his picture taken with AJ (color contrast k’se haha) but agreed later on upon my insistence hehe! We love this guy and his very reliable trike!
We slept very soundly that night and wished we could have stayed longer in Laoag. There are other fantastic places to visit there (we missed the Kapurpurawan Rock Formations and Kabigan Falls) but we have to travel back to Manila already the following day.
Nonetheless, we were very happy that our trip turned out well – the weather was generally good (save for the rains in Pagudpud) and we were able to squeeze in so many trips for the 2 full days that we were there. On our 3rd day, we traveled back to Vigan to buy pasalubongs for our relatives and friends, and boarded the Partas bus there going to Manila.
We had a pleasant stay at Isabel Suites, and if not for this hotel, we wouldn’t have met Kuya Jeremy hehe. I personally recommend this if you are looking for a nice, clean hotel in Laoag. The rates are very affordable too.
We love, love Ilocos and we hope to see more of Laoag and Pagudpud in our next visit there! And this time, we’ll have our more powerful camera with us (Panasonic Lumix LX5) to capture the wonderful places there at their grandest.