Pagudpud is a sleepy beach town at the tip of the Ilocos Norte region of the Philippines. No need to call it the Boracay of the North – Pagudpud is a tropical gem all on its own. Really fine creamy beaches, spectacular waterfalls, panoramic scenes and beautiful coastal drives give you a feeling of new discoveries and trails.
You won’t find the glittering party nightlife here. Pagudpud is laid-back. Best time to visit is anytime between November to April. That covers summer in the Philippines and its drier cold season, outside of the wet rainy months.
The two main beaches are the Blue Lagoon (also called Maira-ira Beach), located on the eastern side of Pagudpud, and the other one is the arguably more popular Saud Beach which is on the western side. If you’ve got several days, spend half at the Blue Lagoon and the remaining half at Saud Beach. Read on for the rest of our Pagudpud Travel Guide and plan your Pagudpud vacation and itinerary.
How to Get to Pagudpud
If you’re bringing your own ride and have days to spare, leave Manila early in the morning so that you’re on provincial roads by daybreak. The drive is long, around 12 hours of continuous driving. If you’re going to do this, plan for stops at San Fernando City, Vigan City and Laoag City. If you’ve got several days to spare, then spend a full day or two at each of these cities for an epic road trip.
Getting to Pagudpud by Bus from Manila
Going from Manila to Pagudpud takes 10-12 hours by bus. Bus companies Partas and Fariñas only go up as far as Laoag City. From Laoag City, you need to take another 2-hour bus or jeepney ride to Pagudpud.
But Florida Bus has daily trips to Cagayan, which passes through Pagudpud, so riding them saves you a trip. Tell the bus driver to drop you off at the Pagudpud junction if you want to go to Saud Beach or at the Barangay Balaoi junction if you want to go to Blue Lagoon.From either junction, take a tricycle to your resort.
Call the bus companies below for fares, schedules and reservations.
FLORIDA BUS (G.V. FLORIDA TRANSPORT, INC.) CUBAO TERMINAL
Brgy. West Kamias, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Touring & Exploring – Sights to See and Things to Do in Pagudpud
Plan your Pagudpud adventure tour itinerary around these attractions and activities. You can ask your beach resort or hotel to give you directions, refer you to a tour guide, or put together a tour package for you.
Explore the length of Saud Beach
Explore the length of the Blue Lagoon (Maira-ira Beach)
Rent gear at Kingfisher Resort and go kite-surfing at Caparispisan Beach
The Northern and Southern Pagudpud tours, regulated by the Department of Tourism, are carried out by tricycle drivers using their tricycles as conveyance. They are trained and accredited by Department of Tourism in guiding visitors through the tour attractions. The tricycle drivers carry laminated brochures of the places to visit for the Northern and Southern tours. Some of these places charge a minimal fee outside of the original tour fee.
The rates are 750 pesos (USD 16.00) per tricycle for each tour, with a maximum of 3 persons, since that’s the maximum passenger capacity of a tricycle.
However, the tricycle drivers of Burgos and Bangui, are in talks with the tricycle drivers of Pagudpud for a more equitable sharing scheme of the organized tour operations, since they argue that the popular stops on the tour itinerary are actually in their municipalities. So – expect a tricycle transfer once you cross Pagudpud’s boundary and an additional amount to pay.
Where to Eat & What to Eat in Pagudpud
Try native Ilocano food such as their version of longganisa (pork sausage), Ilocos empanada (stuffed pie) , bagnet (deep fried pork), poqui-poqui (mashed eggplant), igado and dinakdakan. Seafood is abundant and you can have them grilled, fried or stewed (sinigang). Visit the local market in downtown Pagudpud, there are several eateries nearby serving inexpensive local fare or ask a tricyle driver for the best local eatery (carinderia). Pick from a fisherman’s early morning catch and have your resort’s kitchen cook them.
Most resort restaurants in Pagudpud offer standard Ilocano, Filipino and western/continental fare. Also, most resort restaurants are a bit pricey, with prices anywhere from 150 to 350 pesos for an entree. Here are some notable restaurants:
Evangeline’s Emohruo Beach Restobar – try their Orange Chicken, Pinakbet and Bagnet with KBL.
Kapuluan Vista Resort’s Restaurant – fresh seafood and organic vegetables.
Our favorite place to stay in Pagudpud since it is in a quiet and less populated location. Casa Consuelo is a cozy bed & breakfast right on the beach, also in front of the Dos Hermanos Islands. The rest of the resorts in the Blue Lagoon, Barangay Balaoi area are separated by a road parallel to the beach.
Though the pristine waters are not that “swimmable” because of the reefs – for us this place offers the best view of the ocean. The “swimmable” areas are right in front of Punta Azul, Aqua Seda and Hannah’s.
If you aren’t able to get a room, you can rent a tent and pitch it anywhere on their expansive grassy beachfront lawn. Very good restaurant with reasonable prices on their menu.
A very large resort. With all its concrete, it has that urban subdivision feel to it, like you never left the city. The place to be if you want to be in the middle of all the action in the Blue Lagoon area. Try out their very long 1.2 kilometer zipline spanning over the waters of the Blue Lagoon. They have various water sports equipment available to rent like banana boats, pedal boats, kayaks and jet skis. The resort caters to the packaged tour crowd and conventioneers.
Saud Beach, dubbed the Boracay of the North, is what put Pagudpud on the map. The resorts below marked with asterisks are clustered at Burayoc Point, which is the southern end of Saud Beach.
Burayoc Point is a rocky outcrop, so they don’t have a sandy beachfront, but it offers a great sunset view with the rocks in the foreground. Standing on Burayoc Point, you’ll see the windmills of Bangui lined up on the horizon.
Saud Beach Resort, which has the best beachfront in our opinion, is just a few steps away from Burayoc Point for those wanting to take a dip. Tartaruga’s is inland, but the beach is just a short walk away via the municipal beach entrance. Click on the links for current rates.
Saud Beach Resort and Hotel
Probably the largest resort in the area, with the best beachfront. Probably the oldest too, since we first stayed here in the late 1990’s, but it is still well maintained.
Beach Resorts & Hotels in Barangay Caparispisan, Pagudpud
Barangay Caparispisan is about 7 kilometers north of Saud Beach. Not that frequented by tourists yet, however you’ll bump into intrepid local and foreign backpackers now and then. The way there after Saud Beach, segues into a dirt road all the way. Click on the links for current rates.
Beach Resorts & Hotels in Barangay Pancian, Pagudpud
Barangay Pancian is east of the Blue Lagoon, towards Cagayan Province, past the Patapat Viaduct and near the junction road going to the mountain town of Adams. The Panziann resort is nestled between the sea and the mountainside.
Click on the links or contact the resorts directly for room availability, actual prices and reservations.
These are the seasons that affect resort prices:
Non-Peak Season – June – November
Peak Season – December – May
Super Peak – Christmas, New Year, Valentines, Holy Week (prices spike during these days)
Homestays & Guesthouses in Pagudpud
If somehow you’re unable to get a room from any of the resorts above or would like to spend less on accommodations (especially if you plan on being outdoors most of the time) try bunking at homestays.
Local residents free up their guestrooms or their own rooms for visitors at rates significantly lower than resort rates. Often you get home-cooked local cuisine and an immersive experience with the amiable residents of Pagudpud. Some homestays have grown into full-time B&B’s.
Homestays though are generally not beachfront in Saud Beach, but a handful in the Blue Lagoon area are almost beachfront.
Below’s a small sampling of homestays in Pagudpud. If all are full, just ask any local resident for recommendations, especially tricycle drivers, and they’ll point you to a house where you can get a roof over your head.
Homestays in Saud Beach, Pagudpud
Pearl’s Transient Homestay
Hannah Lou Homestay
Tita Nora’s Homestay
Homestays in Blue Lagoon/Maira-ira Beach, Pagudpud
Wally’s World Surf Homestay
Wally’s World offers surfing lessons when the waves are right.
Arnold’s Blue Lagoon Homestay
Any new discoveries in Pagudpud? Would you agree that it’s the Boracay of the North?