Pagudpud lies in the Ilocos Norte province in the northern-most point of the island of Luzon (Philippines).  It Is a popular destination among local tourists and kite surfing enthusiasts.  Its location and generally windy conditions make Pagudpud the ideal place for wind surf and kite surf, having a long season that goes from October to May.  This 4th class municipality of the Ilocos region, also offers some great surfing opportunities and as opposed to most other surfing destinations with seasons defined by the Amihan (neortheast winds) or the Habagat (southwest monsoon), due to the different orientation of its various breaks, it is not strange to encounter a good swell, almost any time of the year.

Pagudpud is, however, not only a haven for water sports lovers.  Just 2 hours to the south (and about an hour and a half north of Vigan), one can find the Paoay sand dunes and Suba beach.  Here, one can ride a 4×4 through the dunes and also have a go at sandboarding for around php2500/hour.

Also in the vicinity of Laoag, the St. Augustine church is a must if you are looking to learn something about the history of the Spanish colonial era.  Built in the early 1700’s, St Augustine church stands as one of the few remaining Baroque structures in the Philippines.

If you are looking to lose yourself hiking and admiring the breathtaking natural sights, Pagudpud counts with a great number of amazing waterfalls (around 18 in Adams alone) and some unforgettable sunsets.

Where to eat in Pagudpud?

Kingfisher is tucked away along the coast in between Saud beach and the Blue Lagoon and not only is an amazing place to stay, but also a great place totaste some of the local delicacies.  Staff is friendly and the place is just gorgeous.  Not to mention it is THE PLACE if you want to throw a kite in the air and be literally blown away by the experience.

The Blue Lagoon is somewhat a little bit of a cocktail of feelings.  The horrible eye sore that is called Hannah’s Beach resort, makes you want to turn around and ride away as fast as one can go.  However, once one turns to the sea and avoids the ridiculous statues of superheroes and Egyptian pharaohs, it is possible to enjoy the beautiful colours of the bay.  Ride up north past Hannah’s and get to Casa Consuelo, where you will be able to enjoy a great, fresh, local meal with very nice views of the sea (and an amazing wifi connection).

For a healthy option, head to Adams for a dining experience around sustainable farming and eco friendly farms.

Pagudpud is the perfect place for those looking for something a little less travelled than your usual destinations in the Philippines, and in addition too the countless activities available in the area, to ride through the famous Patapat viaduct and the grand wind farms in the area, will make your ride, a difficult one to forget.


The Ilocos Sur capital, Vigan City, first got its name from the Chinese settlers who originally called the area Bee Gan which means “Beautiful Shore.” When the Spanish came they spelled the Hokkien Chinese name, exchanging B for V, and wrote Bee Gan as Vigan, which is still the name used to this day.

The influence of both Spanish and Chinese can also be appreciated in the architectural fusion of old buildings that have been preserved and have also earned it a place in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List.

Crisologo St., in the Mestizo District, houses the finest surviving examples of a Spanish Colonial town — cobblestone streets, two strorey buildings made of stone on the ground floor and wood with capiz-shell windows on the first floor. Explore closely by either walking the length of the busy street or hiring a horse-drawn carriage, called a calesa, to take you directly to the must-sees which are spread in the grid of streets between Plaza de Burgos and Liberation Boulevard. Some of the buildings are now hotels, shops, restaurants, musuems and private residences.

Aside from the old part of town, Vigan has a little-known surf scene. Head down to the area around Playa de Oro and Choco Surf Point if you are looking to catch some waves and prefer some place a little less crowded than the more popular surf spots in the Philippines. You will most likely be surfing by yourself here in some pretty good waves.

Where to eat in Vigan?

As Vigan is a popular destination among tourists and most of its sights are concentrated in a small area, one must be cautious of tourist traps. At the time of writing, McDonalds was listed as the 5th best restaurant on Trip Advisor, which made us wonder. The popular Cafe Leona is an easy choice and if you can ignore the rushed, impersonal service and limited dessert selections, it may be worth a quick bite. Here you can treat yourself to the traditional Ilocos longganisa and bagnet, as well as an extremely wide variety of foreign cuisines, such as Japanese and Italian.

Unfortunately, the lack of good service and quality of food should not come as a surprise in many of the recommended places catering to the tourist masses, but seeing tempura, bento boxes, pasta and pizza next to the more traditional options, makes one wonder what the real specialty is.

Our pick for a better meal, quieter atmosphere and more personal and pleasant service would definitely have to be St. Marthas Cafe, located in the Ciudad Fernandina Vigan Hotel.

Coffee Break Vigan is also worth checking out to cool off and satisfy your sweet tooth while stroling around Crisologo St.

If architecture is your thing and you have bagnet and / or longganisa cravings then Vigan is definitely worth the trip!

La Union

San Juan is a small surfing town in the province of La Union in the Ilocos Region of the Philippines.

It is roughly a 5 hour ride from Manila, depending on traffic, and is a very popular destination for locals to spend their weekends and ride the waves in its various spots.

There are 2 surfing seasons in La Union, the north swell (October-April) and the southwest monsoon (habagat) (July-September), during which one can expect consistent waves.  If in La Union between July to September, know that it is also rainy season.  But if you are going to be in the water anyway… who cares?

If you are in La Union to catch some waves, you have a good selection of spots availabble no matter your level.  Beach break is where you will find most surfing schools and is beginner friendly.  Monaliza Point is on the north end of the beach and is a very enjoyable right hander over a rocky coral bottom and a little further south of the beach, about a 5-10 minute ride, you will find Carille/Jesus Point, another very long right hander.

If surf is not your thing, lazying by the beach is not in your plans and you are in the mood for hiking, you can check out Tangadan Falls which are located aproximately 20km east of San Juan in San Gabriel.  Alternatively, head over to Tapuakan River, just over 50km south from San Juan, in Pugo, where you’ll be able to go for a dip in it’s shallow stream, relax and enjoy the scenery.

If you are out for some great coffee or if you have a sweet tooth, we highly recommend El Union Coffee.  Friendly staff, nice atmosphere and its really close to Monaliza Point, if you feel like catching some waves before or after.

If you are up for a good ride, Bessang Pass is one of our favourite roads in the country.  Nice winding mountain roads which twist up the mountains on the way to Sagada.  It has absolutely stunning views and you will pass innumerable waterfalls and very little traffic.

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