To get to Pagudpud, you can choose to:
1. book a Manila-Laoag flight then board a Pagudpud-bound bus
2. board a bus traveling Cubao-Vigan > Vigan-Laoag > Laoag-Pagudpud
3. board a bus traveling Cubao-Laoag > Laoag-Pagudpud
4. drive your own car
The travel time by bus is typically 12-14 hours from Cubao but since the gods conspired to make our trip hellish it took us 16 hours to get to Pagudpud. It was one of the worst bus rides ever, at par with my Vigan trip in 2005. It was decided earlier on that we were going to stay the night at Blue Lagoon Beach than the more popular Saab Beach.
Upon arriving in Pagudpud (Maira-ira Point), we had to ride a tricycle to get to the beach located several feet below from where we were dropped off. The road to the beach was paved but it was dark and steep. There were no street lights and the moon was nowhere to be seen. I could only see outline of trees in the darkness.
I remember that night staring out into space tired, hungry, and wanting to get out of the clothes I have been wearing for the two straight days when, as we turned on a blind curve, a cluster of light appeared out of the darkness. It was like stumbling on a long-lost city in the middle of nowhere.
I learned the next day that if we had arrived a few hours earlier the view of the beach below would have been jaw-dropping – the white shoreline, the aqua-blue waters, the visible black corals, and the two hills protruding out of the waters like giant bosoms.
We called it a day after taking a bath and eating dinner consisting of rice, sardines, and canned tuna.
We woke before the break of dawn to catch the sunrise but it was raining. When the rain abated , we took off to take some photos of the relatively untouched parabolic-shaped beach. At that hour the sky was overcast. The mist hovering. The waves huge. I even got drenched trying to get that Canon moment with the gigantic waves.
After returning to the house we rented for the night I checked my shots and was sorely disappointed on how they turned out. My camera does not photograph well in bad light. I decided to go back and give it another try. By then, locales and tourists have awoken from their sleep. Some were getting ready for a banana boat ride. Others – young couples, middle-aged men, girls, and a toddler still in diapers – were taking a stroll.
The sun was also finally up, opting mostly to hide behind dark clouds. It would teasingly show itself for a few minutes prompting me to scramble for a nice spot to shoot – behind ferns, atop trees, on top of corals.
My perseverance paid off with nice shots. It would have been better if the weather cooperated. I could have been a blast. I guess the gods deliberately messed up the weather to lure me back to Pagudpud. They need not have done that. I will definitely be back. Probably in the summer. And this time I’m getting on a plane.