Travel back in time to a more tranquil time when nature is king and locals happily spend their days fishing and chatting with their families. The peaceful rural town of Pagudpud is a gem of any other destination in the Philippines. This thought-provoking town in Ilocos Norte, on the northern tip of Luzon, encourages you to slow down and make the most of every moment.
There are green hills, rice fields and grasslands everywhere, and the scenery is breathtaking. Blue lagoons full of fishermen feasting on white sand and pebble beaches without the distraction of nightlife parties – it really feels like a hidden escape.
Your journey to this unspoiled oasis will include a 12-hour bus ride from Manila, so an overnight bus ride is a good option. Not only will you save on overnight accommodation, but you can also arrive on time in the morning to start exploring!
Let’s check out the best things to do in Pagup:
For some reason, all of Pagup’s beaches are simply called “Pagup Beaches”. However, if you know the area to look for, someone is sure to point you in the right direction.
There is the official “PagudPud Beach”, which is a small local beach where the tourists are usually fishermen. It was a peaceful visit with some interesting people watching, but don’t expect a postcard view.
Saudi Beach is very beautiful, with white sand, turquoise waters and coconut palms extending towards the water. Half of the beach is private to the resort and the other half is municipal, so expect to pay 20 pesos for beauty maintenance.
Maira-ira Beach is probably the most beautiful as it contains a blue lagoon that seems to be glowing! Great for swimming and splashing!
2. Secret Green Mountain
Bottled water, packed some snacks, got your camera ready, and fastened your sneakers. You’ll follow a scenic one-hour walk through farmland, along rice paddies, and off the beaten path to Secret Green Mountain.
Follow an off the beaten track path up steep grassy hills with views of Scottish-style cliffs, rocks and huge waves off the coast. Explore further and you’ll come to the savanna-like plains where you can see the Caparispisan wind farm – a surprising find in the neck of the woods.
3. Kabigan Falls
To the east of Barangay Balaoi you will find the stunning Kabigan Falls. Surrounded by lush jungle, this 80-foot waterfall purely represents pristine nature in its most beautiful form.
The pool below is perfect for swimming and is considered a rather romantic place. You are completely surrounded by nature in Fern Canyon style, reminiscent of a utopian sci-fi movie. It’s hard not to feel totally, totally alive the moment the turbulent water falls on your side.
To get there, take a tricycle until you reach off the beaten track, where you’ll take a lazy, flip-flop-friendly hike to paradise under wooden bridges and branches hanging in the jungle.
4. Pathapat Viaduct
Rent a motorbike and ride along the coast along the country’s fourth-longest bridge. This well-maintained highway stretches for 1.3 kilometers, wrapping rocky shores over sheer cliffs, all the way to the water below. Spectacular views and a leisurely cruise can be enjoyed on any leisurely ride here.
The highway is wide and not very congested, so it is suitable even for beginners.
Stop for a few pictures, or just gaze into the beautiful distance. After that, use your bike wisely and go on an adventure!
5. Eight kilometers Punan Inn Ruins
Abandoned buildings are always fascinating. This dilapidated structure used to be a tourist hut but has since been left to rot. There are no locks or gates to keep visitors out; in fact, the eight-kilometer Punan Inn site has become a place where local teenagers sneak in and make trouble.
Feels rather spooky as you explore the interior and get your adrenaline pumping as you explore the interior and expect panic at every corner. If you’re brave enough… check it out at night.
Nearby, you’ll find fresh spring water running down the cliffs in the form of small waterfalls, which the locals consider safe to drink.
6. Banteay Abbott Cave
Joker fan? Then you will find this seaside cave very delightful. What appears to be just an ordinary ancient moss boulder actually hides a little secret.
Following a small embankment and carefully over some smooth rocks, you will make your way up the coast until you come to Bantay Abot Cave.
Although it’s more of a hole than a cave, the way the light travels through the Bantay Abot Cave is truly breathtaking. The light is radiant, and this place is like a gate to heaven. Needless to say, this place is great for taking pictures.
There are some rocky areas around the cave where you can climb and become a monkey while looking out at the water.
7. Hannah’s Zipline
Soar on the 1.2km zipline overlooking the Blue Lagoon. Fasten your seatbelt, lie on your stomach like a superman, and you’ll be thrown out to sea with nothing but blue underneath. You’ll land unharmed on the other side of the beach.
You can find this professionally run extreme adventure station (as you face the water) at the Hannah Resort and Convention Center to the right of the beach.
You have the option to buy souvenir photos, but most tourists are fine to bring their own cameras or Go-Pros, as the staff’s cameras are a bit tedious.
8. La Cocina de Consuelo by Casa Consuelo
Go to eat, go to the beach. La Cocina de Consuelo at Casa Consuelo has a lot to offer in terms of taste and hospitality.
Not only will you find some of the freshest seafood around, caught straight from the sea, but you can also get it at a lower price than in more touristy areas of the island. Try the garlic butter grilled lobster, or indulge in a whole seafood platter.
Afterwards, take a stroll on the private beach, which features an interesting landscape of flat sand, scattered trees and scattered mini rock islands.
9. Dos Hermanos Islands
Along the west coast of Pagudpud, Barangay Balaoi, lies the rocky island, affectionately named the Dos Hermanos Islands or “Two Brothers” in English. Folklore tells of two fisherman brothers who were swept up by the waves and started a new life like rocks in the sea.
When the tide goes out, you can see underwater caves beneath the rocks that are home to colorful communities of fish and vegetation. The Dos Hermanos Islands are also home to a delicious local seaweed.
10. Water Sports at King Fisher’s Resort
King Fisher’s Resort is home to extreme water sports, offering kitesurfing and paddle boarding in a scenic setting. During the day, you can enjoy stunning views of the wind farm, and at night, the sunset in front of the resort dyes the sky a bright orange glow. This gives you a unique environment when you are on the water.
If you’re into extreme sports, consider staying in one of the resort’s beachfront bungalows or guesthouses, where puppies will follow you around the hotel waiting for your pet.
11. Blue River Kayaking
Are you brave enough to tackle the rapids of the Blue River? This 20km stretch of crystal clear water rolls around rocks and down steep slopes for an exciting day. The Blue River is popular with professional kayakers or kayakers traveling the world looking for their next solution.
The point is: this river kayaking adventure is only for serious kayakers who provide their own kayaks. It doesn’t matter where you rent them from, it’s just that there aren’t any nearby places that offer tours.
12. Paraiso Ni Anton
Paraiso Ni Anton is a forest trail and delicate waterfall believed to have healing powers. Climb up a set of concrete stairs to the shrine of the Virgin Mary, with Jesus on the nearby cross. Locals visit Paraiso Ni Anton because they believe that drinking the waterfall can cure sickness and disease. You will see locals come to fill water bottles with this amazing water.
There is an area near the road that sells Pagup souvenirs such as mini wind turbines and Pagup key chains, as well as fruit and drinks. Cars will drive past and honk as if to say hello and pay homage to this fascinating area.
13. Agua – Rio Grande
Another environmentally friendly area of Pagudpud is the Agua-Grande River, which is a small hydroelectric power plant that also produces non-carbon. The electricity created and collected by the Agua-Grande River is enough to power 17,000 homes in Pagudpud and the surrounding area.
In addition to being a completely progressive initiative, the Agua Grande is very beautiful. The waterfall flows over mossy rocks while falling into the sea below. You can enjoy the view and there is a small spring water pool to swim in.
You will also have the chance to try one of the most popular desserts in the Philippines, Halo Halo.
Did you know that coffee is actually grown and harvested in the Philippines? You can get fresh beans and bold roasts anywhere in the country, including at Pagudpud.
Check out Tartaruga’s Hotel, where trained baristas use local beans to create amazing lattes, cappuccinos and espressos. You’ll find quite a few Filipino beers that might surprise you. Hotels and cafes might not seem like the fanciest establishments out there, but if you want to load up on caffeine, this is the place for you!
15. Living with a host family
To truly connect with the Pagudpud culture and its people, consider staying with a local family in a homestay who will feed you, interact with you, and possibly take you around the area.
There are many host families to choose from, some more experienced than others. They are cheaper than hotels and the money goes directly to household livelihoods. You will have your own room but the facilities will vary.
You can do some research online or ask around when you arrive at your host family.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Pagup, Philippines
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