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Stopover Surprises in your 14-hour Road Trip

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Are you going on a road trip to Pagudpud? Download this Infographic Guide before you go...
Infographic: Your Awesome Journey to Pagudpud

Enroute to Vigan -013

Introduction
If this was your first time to go on a long road trip to the North, this article will save you a lot of time in being prepared for your roadtrip. This also documents all my key learnings based on my experience to avoid frustrations and mis-adventures during your tip. Although, I must admit that its the mis-adventures which makes the trip fun and memorable.

If you have been to Pagudpud or Ilocos Norte already, I do hope you learn a thing or two from this guide. I would also sincerely appreciate it if you can contribute your own learnings and perspective by commenting on this.

The best part of going to Pagudpud and Ilocos Norte is the long road trip. I enjoy it very much and I encourage you to plan it very well to make it enjoyable. I won't be covering using public transportation to go to Pagudpud since I don't have a lot of experience on this.

Enroute to Vigan -011
Make sure that you make a beauty stop over hear at Suso Beach, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur. This will be the first beach you would see that is visible and near the national higway.

1. Stopover Strategy

It is certainly possible to drive straight from Manila to Pagudpud but you need to leave as early as 3am. The main reason is that you don't have to arrive in Pagudpud at night because there are no street lights. It would be dark and it would be difficult to find your way going to the resorts. I did this once already and it was tiring, and you cannot enjoy the road trip.

On the way to Pagudpud, I would suggest that you stopover and stay for a night and take advantage of exploring one city in the North. Here are my recommendations:

  • You can either stay in Vigan, Ilocos Sur (3 hours away from Pagudpud), or
  • Fort Ilocandia in Laoag, Ilocos Norte (1 hour away from Pagudpud), or
  • Recently, I heard of this new place called Sitio Remedios in Currimao, Ilocos Norte. I have not stayed here yet but the pictures were great. You might want to check it out (mobile: +63917-3320217 or email: sitio_remedios@yahoo.com).

On the way back, my favorite stopover is Baguio which is the half way point between Manila and Ilocos Norte. You can easily get accommodations in Baguio without prior reservation and you get to enjoy the city's beauty and its restaurants for a night. Most people would drive straight back to Manila since you are already familiar with the place even if you arrive at midnight.

2. Where is the best place to eat Breakfast and Lunch?

It would be sad if all you eat during your long trip would be fastfood from Jollibee, Mc Donalds or Max. I was surprised when I was in Vigan to find these fast food chain among the antique houses. You have to maximize you're long road trip and there are three places that I would recommend that you eat:

A). Breakfast/Lunch @ Isdaan in Gerona, Tarlac.
Isdaan -004.jpg
Isdaan is the home of the tacsiyapo wall. Where you buy stuff to throw and shout "TACSIYAPO" which is "shame on you" in the local dialect. It serves very good Filipino Food since they are a sister company or the same owner as Barrio Fiesta. It is a floating restaurant concept where you eat in huts floating in the fish pond. One other unique thing about Isdaan, is that you can cross the San Kilo bridge which is a narrow cement bridge while bringing one pail of water. If you are able to successfully cross the bridge and come back, you get a free 1 Kilo of Fish!

Check out my blog post on this place --> Tacsiyapo Wall @ Isdaan, Gerona Tarlac. This is just along the national highway, you'll never miss it once you are in Gerona Tarlac...

B). Lunch @ Cafe Leona in Vigan
Cafe Leona Vigan Lunch -008

The old house ambiance was great and sets the mood for a good lunch. It serves good filipino food turo-turo style where the food is displayed buffet style and you have to point the food that you like. Prices are almost the same as in Manila restaurants but still eating in capiz style vigan houses is quite an experience.

Cafe Leona is very popular and right in the center of Vigan. Just ask around and it is near the Max Restaurant along Crisologo street. I don't have a full blog post on this but I have a more photos here --> Cafe Leona, Vigan Lunch.

C). Lunch/Dinner @ S.O.U.L Cafe in La Union

I have never been to this place but I'm hearing a lot of good things about this from different people. This is owned by Amboy Guevara, and located beside their family's Shell Gas Station. This is the first shell gas station in La Union and the first one before going up to Baguio via Kenon road. S.O.U.L means Spice of Urban Life and people rave about the food which are priced reasonably well below P200. ( Check it out --> S.O.U.L Café Camp One, Rosario, La Union. Tel: (072) 712-0852 )

3. Road Trip Final Reminders

  • You need to make sure that you're car is well tuned up, have the right tire pressure with a good tire spare, and with the gas HALF FULL all the time.
  • If you are going on convoy, I suggest that you agree on a meeting/ end point because it is useless to go on a convoy like a parade in this northern part of the Philippines.
  • Cash is King so make sure that you withdraw enough money for your trip. P1,500/ day is a good rule of thumb.
  • Buy an atlas so that you can follow your road trip in the map. It is interesting to see where you are in the North. Also, this gives you added confidence that you will not get lost.
  • You should look at your trip as a two phase road trip: a 6 hour road trip to Baguio and another 6 hour road trip going to Ilocos Norte. Just follow the signs going to this places and you won't get lost.
  • If you have short range two-way radio, bring them because this might be better for coordination between two cars or groups.

That's it for now. I do hope by now, you would have an idea on what your Road Trip itinerary would be. I'll update this entry from time to time based on readers inputs and as I remember them.

Other Places to Visit along the 14-hour Road Trip:

Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur - One of the Four Baroque Churches in the Philippines listed in the UN World Heritage Sites!

Do you have any other suggestions and comments?

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i've been to S.O.U.L. cafe in la union. the place is cozy and quaint and the best part is that it has a great view of the mountains. food is good too. definitely a must try!

your guide, as always, is very informative. good job! i agree with your recommendations a hundred and ten percent!

merry Christmas!

hi guys!im planning to go to pagudpud this wednesday till fri then overnyt in baguio till sat then back to manila.a lot of people are telling me that its really more expensive if ill bring a car tho more exciting coz of the road trip and cheaper but less fun if riding a bus.any comments?whats really the travel time going there from qc?some are saying 10 hours some say 14 hours.wc s wc?if i arrive pagudpud can i just look for a resort there or i should have a reservation beforehand?wers a gud place to stay saud beach itself wc they say is the best there or the farther and cheap beaches?thanks!:)

i suggest you go there by renting a van with a driver who lived in Ilocos. I know someone from QC who rents out vans. I tell you, you won't have a hard time looking for the places you want to visit.

14 hours with stopovers. 10 hours no eating and urinating! duh, can you do that?! We left Las Piñas at 4:30am, arrived in Batac at 9:00pm. With stopover at Vigan. We ate empanada and Okoy. But Batac's empanada is better!

ngak! 7pm! sorry!

thanks a lot!my pagudpud vacation was great!

planning to go to pagudpud soon using a private car. how much do you think fuel consumption is? back n forth to manila. thanks! help! 1st time to go to pagudpud! :)

just some tip for pagudpud-goers: take heed of the advise of local folks especially those going to Mara-ira and Blue Lagoon. whenever you see that the waves are so big especially during the cold months, never attempt to go swimming. recently, a couple died when they went swimming despite the advise of the local folks. the guy is a new bar passer and i am not sure if the body of his partner has been found. there are other resorts which are quite far from the highway, about 14 kms from the town proper passing through Saud going towards Brgy. Caparispisan through endless (?) all-weather road and pine trees (who would say pine trees do not thrive well in ilocos)and sandy soil. the place is called hidden treasure. very scenic and such a relaxing place, out of the city noise and all. bring your food provisions as the prices are quite expensive (probably because of its distance).

burgos town, with the its numerous coral formations, boasts also of its "gamet", a seaweed which is quite expensive but delicious and nutritious. local folks get "gamet" from stony corals and have to practically "race" with the big waves for safety. i think "gamet" is being used also for sushi wrap?

try also a decent "turo-turo" restaurant surrounded by rice fields and a fishpond, along the national highway in currimao. it is called jade karla, on your left side going north.

hi.. we were planning to go out of town and we just opted to go to pagudpud.. since this is our first time to go there we have no idea on the fuel consumption on how many full tanks are we gonna spend? thanks..

nica, it depends on what car you will be using. i have a friend who went to pagudpud using his '96 Toyota Corona Exsior 2.0 , and he spent 2 full tanks qc-pagudpud and back.

Hello,

Veru inspiring, My family would like to travel north to pagudpud. Can anyone here give me a contact number of a resort/hotel where we can stay there for at least 2 days/1 night stay. Thanks and you can send it trhu my e-mail add.


Peace!!!

hi, my family is planning an out of town trip. my brother decided to go to pagudpud this late march or early april. im looking for a trnsient house or a cheaper resort. siguro mga more than 10 persons kami including driver. can you recommend something? kailangan b agad ng payment or ok lang kung doon na mismo kami maghanap at the same time magbayad? thanks

Can you refer a good place to stay in Pagudpud? Somewhat romantic ... I'm bringing my fiance there. Thanks

from Pagudpud how do we get to Vigan?

is there a soooper cheap transient (in Pagudpud) to stay overnight?

14 hours travel includes urinating stop-overs and refuelling.

emkei, the sooper cheapest way to spend in Saud Beach is to do Beach Camping. Beach resort entrance just cost less than 100 per head. You can use the showers there to take a bath.

sa mga naghahanap ng cheap transient house s pagudpud mtutulungan kau ni jun (ctg) 09292510709, pwede nyo din xang maging guide qng balak nyong puntahan lahat ng kilalang pasyalan dun. (saud beach, blue lagoon, kabigan falls, bangui windmills, cape bojeador lighthouse, etc. )

Hi Isabel,
can you please provide the name and contact number for van rentals? we are planning to go this May and we called around, 12 seater van about 4k a day...hoping we could a more affordable one.
Thank you much n God bless!
-Che :)

we're going to fort ilocandia on apr25-27. 5500 for two 3d/2n with buffet breakfast and 1 dinner. we're thinking of leaving QC at 2am. mga what time kaya kami makakarating sa fort ilocandia? ilang hrs ba from vigan to fort ilocandia, then fort ilocandia to pagudpud?
thanks!

Can you refer a place to stay in Pagudpud and also their contact number? Thanks

Can you refer a place to stay in Pagudpud and also their contact number? Thanks

you should go to vigan! santa maria may host one of the baroque churches listed in the UNESCO (it's actually unesco, not UN) world heritage list but vigan is the only city from the philippines listed in the world heritage list as A WHOLE CITY. :)

That link saying "Sexy Filipina are seeking men" off your blog. It doesn't match your wholesome content. It's anti-women and exploitative.

hi! we're planning to go on a road trip to pagudpud this friday.

we plan to leave at around 7pm on apr 3... can anybody help guide us?

i need to know kung merong mga gas station along the way na open for us to gas up...

maybe you can also help us kung anu-ano mga bus stops na pwede naming pag stop-ver-an...

thanks!

Hi Yeng,
Yes there are gas stations along the way, so everytime you get below the
half way mark sa gas tank, better gas up.

not sure if there is any guide that can join you. You can call or text me if
you need help: +63917 5683627.

Anton

Hi Anton,

I am travelling in June with my friends. We are bringing a car with us. Our itinerary is Manila - Pagudpud - Laoag - Vigan - La Union - Manila.

Have a few questions:
1. Reading above article, is leaving at 10pm too early then? Our first stop is Pagudpud and we're staying overnight at Kapuluan Vista Resort.
2. Is there a specific brand/publisher of Atlas that you'd recommend we use for this trip?

Thank you so much.
Christine

From Fort Ilocandia to Vigan it will take one hour and 20 minutes (or half hour).

If you want to enjoy the whole road trip experience it is better to rent a van, preferably Grandia or better still Super Grandia if you can afford it. Using a cramp car will not be fun for such a uber long road trip. If you take the wawa (my slang for provincial bus) you would be wasting a lot of travel time (the waiting and all) and it would be a hassle plus you can't go to out of the way tourist destinations with a bus...unless you are being accompanied by someone who lives there. If you can find a driver who knows his way around Ilocos that would be ideal. We found such a very experienced and knowledgeable driver who has been to Ilocos several times already. Biterano na talaga. He knows most of the tourist spots there. But he came with a steep price. We paid him P24,000 for ONLY four days. But he drove almost non-stop. We also went to Baguio after 3 days of being in Ilocos Norte. The price, by the way, includes gas and toll fees. But you have to feed the driver and include him when you check in to a hotel.

The thing you must also know is if you go directly to Pagudpud you will be wasting one whole day on travelling. By the time you'd get there it would be dark. We stayed in Laoag on our first night and proceeded to Pagudpud the following morning. Start early. In Pagudpud we visited two beaches: Hannah and Saud.
Both beaches are in a cove. But Hannah is windier and the waves are turbulent which makes it ideal for surfing. You will see some of the local boys there doing that. Saud is far more placid and the wind is calm. Also, Hannah has a beautiful luxurious resort/hotel and on the side of the mountain facing the beach there is a huge "Hannah" sign similar to the Hollywood sign in California. Hannah also has the longest zipline in the world, so they claim. If you're going to Saud, look for the sign that points to Evangeline's. They have a very nice hotel there and restaurant by the beach. We had lunch at their restaurant. It's a good place to hang out and chill with a glass of cerveza.

Other places to see in Ilocos is the BIRTH HOME of Marcos (they turned it into a museum), Fort Ilocandia, the Bangui Windmills, Bojeador Lighthouse, Malacanang of the North, the Paoay Church, Vigan of course (several museums here, the BORNAYAN which is the pottery factory, their oldest church but not the one in the town proper, the watch tower near that church), Marcos Museum (where they have a wax replica of McCoy) and the Patapat Viaduct and Bridge.

If you're going to Baguio from Ilocos you will definitely be taking the Naguilian Road which is definitely worth the trip. There are points on that road that cradle the clouds. If you're scared of heights sit on the left side of the van/car...hehehe. Going home it is better to take Kennon Road because it is half-hour shorter going to Manila. But if you want absolute safety then Marcos Hightway is it.

When in Vigan take the calesa tour. Might as well experience everything that Vigan has to offer.

From Fort Ilocandia to Vigan it will take one hour and 20 minutes (or half hour).

If you want to enjoy the whole road trip experience it is better to rent a van, preferably Grandia or better still Super Grandia if you can afford it. Using a cramp car will not be fun for such a uber long road trip. If you take the wawa (my slang for provincial bus) you would be wasting a lot of travel time (the waiting and all) and it would be a hassle plus you can't go to out of the way tourist destinations with a bus...unless you are being accompanied by someone who lives there. If you can find a driver who knows his way around Ilocos that would be ideal. We found such a very experienced and knowledgeable driver who has been to Ilocos several times already. Biterano na talaga. He knows most of the tourist spots there. But he came with a steep price. We paid him P24,000 for ONLY four days. But he drove almost non-stop. We also went to Baguio after 3 days of being in Ilocos Norte. The price, by the way, includes gas and toll fees. But you have to feed the driver and include him when you check in to a hotel.

The thing you must also know is if you go directly to Pagudpud you will be wasting one whole day on travelling. By the time you'd get there it would be dark. We stayed in Laoag on our first night and proceeded to Pagudpud the following morning. Start early. In Pagudpud we visited two beaches: Hannah and Saud.
Both beaches are in a cove. But Hannah is windier and the waves are turbulent which makes it ideal for surfing. You will see some of the local boys there doing that. Saud is far more placid and the wind is calm. Also, Hannah has a beautiful luxurious resort/hotel and on the side of the mountain facing the beach there is a huge "Hannah" sign similar to the Hollywood sign in California. Hannah also has the longest zipline in the world, so they claim. If you're going to Saud, look for the sign that points to Evangeline's. They have a very nice hotel there and restaurant by the beach. We had lunch at their restaurant. It's a good place to hang out and chill with a glass of cerveza.

Other places to see in Ilocos is the BIRTH HOME of Marcos (they turned it into a museum), Fort Ilocandia, the Bangui Windmills, Bojeador Lighthouse, Malacanang of the North, the Paoay Church, Vigan of course (several museums here, the BORNAYAN which is the pottery factory, their oldest church but not the one in the town proper, the watch tower near that church), Marcos Museum (where they have a wax replica of McCoy) and the Patapat Viaduct and Bridge.

If you're going to Baguio from Ilocos you will definitely be taking the Naguilian Road which is definitely worth the trip. There are points on that road that cradle the clouds. If you're scared of heights sit on the left side of the van/car...hehehe. Going home it is better to take Kennon Road because it is half-hour shorter going to Manila. But if you want absolute safety then Marcos Hightway is it.

Hey! Thank you for sharing your experience! You really made a nice job. Very good tips, informative and interesting to read.

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