Pagudpud Travel Guide
In a nutshell
Pagudpud is an idyllic town off the northern coast of Luzon Island known mostly for its unspoiled beaches and accidental man-made tourist attractions.
Why go to Pagudpud
Just to set your expectations, late night partying and live entertainment simply do not exist in this bucolic coastal paradise. What you will find here is peace and solitude amidst the beauty of pristine beaches and natural attractions.
The stunning rock formations really prove that time and nature are truly the world's greatest architects. There are fine sand beaches beneath a row of coconut trees which is perfect for swimming and lounging. There are also rocky shores where you can spy a rich diversity of marine life as well as surf spots with good swells running.
Some resorts offer a variety of water sports activities like stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and snorkelling. The best thing here is what they call the Tricycle Tour. For a fee, a three-wheeled vehicle will take you all around the famous spots in town such as Patapat Viaduct, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Bangui Windmills, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, Agua Grande River Park, Kabigan Falls and a lot more.
For a different kind of thrill, visit the Bagong Lipunan Lodge Ruins. There's nothing like a creepy walk inside an old, abandoned building for some spooktacular fun with your friends. Whether you seek adventure or some lazy days in the sun, this pastoral haven will show you how to slow down and savour each passing moment.
When to go to Pagudpud
The northern part of Luzon is frequently impacted by typhoons so it is best to avoid coming here during the rainy months of June to September. During this period, the waters can be really rough and dangerous even for the strongest swimmer.
It is best to visit during the dry season from November to May. Ideally, summer would be the best time to go when the water is calm and the sky is blue. Based on experience though, the weather here is really unpredictable and it is not at all unusual to get some rain and an overcast weather even in the middle of summer.
Where to stay in Pagudpud
Pagudpud presents a variety of accommodation options to suite your budget and needs. Whether you are traveling by yourself, with your family, or the entire office in tow, you can find dorm beds and rooms that can accommodate a large group of people.
If budget is a concern, most affordable resorts are concentrated along the west end of Saud Beach. Many local homeowners have also made their spare rooms available for transient visitors. Homestays are really cheap and you can even cook your own meals. Some hosts also offer meals for an additional charge. This is great if you wish to have a more in-depth interaction with the locals and see how the people live. Although some may not have the prime beach front location, some homestays are located near Saud Beach or the Blue Lagoon. The only downside to this is that it is virtually impossible to book and/or prepay online. You will have to contact them over phone and they normally require a partial down payment deposited to a bank account. This is true for most low end and even mid-range hotels. In fact, only a handful of mid-range and high-end hotels are available on hotel booking sites.
If budget is not an issue then there are certainly nicer resorts a stone's throw away from the white sandy shores of Saud beach.
Where to eat in Pagudpud
For some reason, dining out in Pagudpud can be expensive. Even those supposedly low-key restaurants charge between PHP200 to PHP300 per dish and servings are not even big enough for sharing.
If you wish to eat on a budget then you will have to settle up with the roadside joints and the various eateries located near the public market.
There's also a marked absence of restaurants specializing in international cuisine nor are there any coffee shops around.
On the bright side, Ilocano cuisine presents some of the most delicious and exotic dishes in the country – a perfect balance of cardiac inducing grubs and a healthier mixed vegetable recipes. When you're here, do not miss out the following culinary stars: dinengdeng (grilled or fried fish with mixed vegetables); longganisa (Filipino-style sausage); dinardaraan (pork blood stew); bagnet (deep fried crispy pork belly); poqui-poqui (eggplant with eggs and tomatoes); dinakdakan (grilled pig's head, brain, and offal mixed with onions, chillies, and ginger); utong (string beans); and kabatiti (sponge gourd with tomatoes and fish paste). You don't have to go to a particular place as they are pretty much available everywhere.
How to get around Pagudpud
Getting around Pagudpud is very easy and straightforward. It is definitely convenient if you have your own car but if not, some resorts offer bike or van rentals. If they don't, we're pretty sure they can link you to someone who does.
There is however a more exciting and fun alternative: the tricycle tour! Thankfully, you don't have to go through a tour agency to arrange this. The tricycle drivers themselves will offer their services and they even have a laminated sheet showing the rate and the attractions covered. There are two such tours and each costs PHP600 for the entire day. A tricycle can accommodate up to three people although it might be a bit of a squeeze if one of you is not on the slender side.
The North Tricycle Tour covers Pagudpud area and will bring you to Kabigan Falls, Patapat Viaduct, Timmangtang Rock, Blue Lagoon, Agua Grande, Dos Hermanos Islands, Bantay Abot Cave, and Paraiso ni Anton. The South Tricycle Tour meanwhile covers both Burgos and Bangui and will take you to Bangui Windmills, Bangui View Deck, and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. If you wish to visit Kapurpurawan Rock Formations, you may ask the same driver to include it in your itinerary for an additional fee.
How to get to and from Pagudpud
If you're coming from Manila, you can reach Pagudpud via air or land travel.
Philippine Airlines have daily flights to Laoag International Airport which is approximately 45 minutes away. Airfare should be somewhere between PHP2400 to PHP5600. From the airport, take a jeepney bound for the town proper and then a bus to Pagudpud. Total travel expenses should be around PHP130 while the travel itself should last roughly 2 hours.
There are also direct buses from Manila to Pagudpud although travel time could reach 12 hours. Depending on the bus liner and class, tickets should cost between PHP700 and PHP1000. Partas Bus Transit have terminals in Cubao, Pasay, and Sampaloc. Florida Bus terminals are located in Cubao and Sampaloc while RCJ terminal can be found in España. You can also hop aboard a Maria Deleon Transit bus in Sampaloc.
Is Pagudpud a safe place to visit?
This sleepy town is very safe for tourists unless of course, you go looking for trouble. People are extremely friendly, approachable, and always happy to help. When engaging in water sports activities, do make sure you wear life vests and always check the weather before heading out.