Casa Consuelo Island Reef – Pagudpud’s Tropical Resort Hideaway
We left Manila at 8:30 PM. By 7:00 AM the next morning we were at the Pagudpud junction with the seashell marker. We headed to the center of town for a breakfast of Ilocos longganisa-silog with coffee at the Papa Nard’s eatery.
A lot has changed from 10 years ago. New town hall, new market, other new structures and paved streets. A decade ago, tired of resort food at Saud Beach, I asked a tricycle driver to take me to what he’d consider the best restaurant serving local fare and he took me to the lone nameless carinderia (eatery) in town, dirt floor and all, but the home-cooked fare was great for an astonishingly low price. We walked around to see if that carinderia was still standing. We couldn’t find it – probably gobbled up by one of the new concrete buildings.
We left town and went on to find Casa Consuelo (Island Reef), that’s supposed to be near Maira-ira beach, more popularly known as the Blue Lagoon. We found it near the end of the road. Having eyeballed and gone past almost all the resorts, we felt very lucky to have booked at Casa Consuelo – the best ocean view any time of the day. It’s far from the hustle of the touristy beach segment of the Blue Lagoon. Homey, tranquil and secluded enough to give off that vibe of discovery. For us, this turned out to be the best beach resort and hotel we’ve stayed at in Pagudpud.
We were welcomed by Chad, the resort owner, bearing fresh coconut juice as our welcome drinks and checked us into our cozy cabana.
Taking the rest of the day easy, we gingerly walked on the reef in front of Casa Consuelo to the Dos Hermanos Islets and made a nuisance of ourselves by joining in with the local folks, scraping for oyster-like thingies. We earned back plus points by turning over everything we collected to them after we were done. Chatting with them, we were told that they’re called sait-til and that they make for a delicious local delicacy. A shame we didn’t get to try them though.
Back at Casa Consuelo for dinner, we had bagnet, ilocos longganisa (my second order of a lot, lot more during our stay) and, as Chad urged us to try, gamet omelet. Gamet is the vernacular for seaweed. Chad says they also call it the Black Gold of Ilocos, since it brings in a very good price when it’s exported to countries like Japan.
We spent dusk taking photographs and the rest of the evening catching up on our back episodes of Homeland and Breaking Bad. Woke up at 5:00 AM to shoot Dos Hermanos Islets at sunrise. Spectacular sunrise. For breakfast we had bagnet and longganisa again with orange juice.
Chad later took us for a quick 15-minute trek up the nearby hill behind the Casa Consuelo for a gorgeous panorama view of the whole of Pasaleng Bay. One of his guys, Delmar was with us clearing the trail. Chad mentioned that Delmar surfs really well, and he moonlights as a surf instructor during the surf season at the nearby Kapuluan Vista resort.
Our visit to Pagudpud was made even more relaxing by staying at Casa Consuelo Island Reef. Cozy rooms and cottages, excellent location, gorgeous view of the ocean, great food and fantastic hosts. Truly a tropical hideaway!