I am lucky enough to find myself on the road a lot lately. After a quick trip to Baguio (which I haven’t blogged about yet), I was heading up north again to Pagudpud (this time with my one of my BFFs, Rein). In fact, the 3 trips I made so for were all north-bound (La Union, Baguio, Pagudpud).
I guess I am “making up for lost time”, as I haven’t traveled much last year. Well, this year is going to be different!
After a stressful start to March, I was really looking forward to unwinding in Pagudpud, the so-called Boracay of the North. Think endless stretch of white sand beach and clear waters, minus the noisy crowd. Just the kind of place for me.
To get to Pagudpud, we could take a Florida bus direct (I’ve always wanted to go on their sleeper bus) but this company NEVER answers their phones and they do not have a functional website so it is virtually impossible to get a schedule of their buses unless you personally drop by their terminals. But then, there’s that bit of an unfortunate incident with Florida back in January when Jin Cullen and I were headed to La Union.
Fortunately, there’s always the reliable Partas Bus, which has regular trips going to Ilocos, Cagayan and Abra. We took the 10pm bus to Laoag from the Cubao terminal and we were informed that it will take some 10-12 hours to get there. Thankfully, we were comfortable enough as the bus had enough leg room and had reclining seats that had leg support as well. It cost P917 per person on the deluxe bus, which does not have an onboard bathroom but has 3 stopovers en route.
During the first couple of hours on the bus, we were just chatting and chatting, catching up on each other’s lives – you can’t blame us, we haven’t seen each other in years! We were the only noisy ones aboard, while the rest were just snoozing. It was night time, after all. After a while, my head started to ache and I was really sleepy so it was good night time for both of us.
I love land travel in the morning, because I get to enjoy the views outside my window. But nighttime travel also has its merits. For one, it is so much faster! After only 4 hours on the road, we were already in San Juan, La Union — I remembered it took Jin Cullen and me some good 7 hours. Then after another couple of hours, we were in Vigan. I stayed awake for a few minutes, hoping to get a glimpse of some familiar places I’ve been to but tough luck for me since it was still very dark so I went back to sleep.
It was 6am when the conductor woke us up — we were in Laoag, 2 hours earlier than expected. Nice! The city hall of Laoag is gorgeous and has a very nice plaza right in front of it. Then there’s the church to the right and everything about it is so grand and beautiful and I made a mental note to take a separate Laoag trip in the future.
At the Partas terminal, we took a tricycle to another station where the Pagudpud-bound mini buses stop to pick up passengers. Unfortunately, the first bus didn’t come until 8am, so there goes our 2-hour early arrival in Laoag. We killed 2 hours by chatting, eating taho that tasted bad, and watching old PBA games on the terminal TV. I missed you, Boybits Victoria! Haha.
The non-aircon mini bus costs P80 per person and it will take an hour and a half to get to Pagudpud. Unfortunately, this is not guaranteed as the bus will stop by along the way to pick up more passengers and it took us another half hour to get there. Still, between sleeping and enjoying the view and the fresh air, I didn’t mind. It was 10-ish when we got to the Pagudpud market, where we took a tricycle to get us to Saud beach. The trip costed us P55 and our driver Manong Vincent took us directly to Villa del Mar (Ha! Get ready for my post on THAT hotel).
We also arranged a tour with him for the next day. In Pagudpud, you can hire local tricycle drivers to take you on tours for P600 (2-3 persons max). Not only will they drive you to various beautiful locations, they will also act as your tour guide AND photographer. Hooray for local tourism! I am loving the north more and more
More Pagudpud goodness coming in the next posts so watch this space ^_^.