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Pagudpud is an enormous place to visit if you’re looking for the comparatively perfect charms of the Philippines. Pagudpud is a wide and beautiful town on the northwest tip of Ilocos Norte, Luzon, bounded to the south by the town of Bangui and to the east by the Cordillera Mountain Range, the town of Adams and the province of Cagayan. The South China Sea lies to the west and north.

It is considered the largest island in the Philippines. The hills and mountains are luxuriant, the valleys productive. It lies 45 miles north of Laoag City, the provincial capital, and about 350 miles north of Manila — about the equal distance between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Creeks, streams and waterfalls splash the landscape and spill into the South China Sea. All around, the ocean and sky are awash in varying shades of blue.

Pagudpud Beach, 2 hours north of Laoag City, has powder-white sand, but it’s hard to tell which is bluer: the sky or the sea. While you are making up your mind, you might also consider a stop in Pasuquin, where the famous biscocho (Ilocos biscuit) is a favorite take-home delicacy for local visitors. But don’t forget to check your watch, for while you play in the waters of Pagudpud, you may not notice how much time you have spent on these delightful shores, which are at the very tip of Luzon Island.

This is the second most popular stretch of white sand beach in the town of Pagudpud aside from the Saud stretch. It is not commercialized though (as of January 2005) compared to the beaches in Brgy. Saud. It has no hotels and accomodations, only cottages made of nipa and bamboo.

Inexpensive resorts are located along the shores of Pagudpud. They normally charge a fixed fee about US$5.00 for a nipa hut where you can hide under the hot sun. But for those who want to relax in more luxurious surroundings, the spacious Saud Resort beckons. Even then, rooms go for about US$35-40 a night. Saud Resort is the most secure of the resorts, with 24-hour security manning the entrance. But it doesn’t mean that the place is dangerous. On the contrary, Pagudpud, as elsewhere in Ilocos, is very safe, and the people are friendly and hospitable.

Tagalog (renamed Filipino) is the language you’ll hear most often, but don’t be afraid – a lot of Filipinos speak English, even if some can be a bit shy. The more-educated and more-traveled people aren’t shy at all and will be more than able to amaze you with their English.

While Manila is a wonderful place to spend a day or two, you’ll soon most likely want to get away from it all. Pagudpud is an excellent place to go. It’s clean and green and apparently in a different world. In fact, Pagudpud is the farthest geographical point from Manila without leaving the island of Luzon. This has its advantages.

A struggling economy means a good exchange rate for most tourists. Of course, that means Filipinos already struggling to make a living have to struggle even more. So go easy on the bargain with street vendors. And, though it’s not always expected, leave your waiter a tip.

It’s always wise to check ahead to make sure there’s room for you at one of the resorts. While increasingly popular, you shouldn’t have a problem finding accommodations in Saud — unless you plan on visiting during Holy Week in April, when the entire country seems to take a holiday. Rates vary widely. Some resorts are more plush than others, but all are excellent. Check with resort proprietors for room availability and prices.

To get here from Maharlika Highway, turn left on a low road as the highway approaches the seaside. Road improvement (concrete) is underway as of January 2005. Along the road to the left are the rolling hills of Pagudpud and to the right is the rocky seaside. At about 3/4 of the road, one can see to the right a sea arch, a large chunk of rock outcrop with a hole in the middle. Then the road goes up slightly and winds to the left and goes down again, the Blue Lagoon with its white sand can now be seen.