Sunday, April 22, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Discover The Northern Tip Of Luzon

After the usual morning frolic in Saud Beach Cove and with much enthusiasm, my family organized an afternoon trip towards the northern tip of Luzon Island. The drive took us 12.5 kilometers from Evangeline Beach Resort to Barangay Balaoi, Pagudpud – crossroad to the much celebrated Malingay Cove and the Patapat National Park.

There is an emerging tourist attraction called Malingay Cove where a secluded beach cove known as the Blue Lagoon is located. The cove is a paradise of powdery white sand, invigorating South China Sea breezes, verdant mountains, interesting marine life, fresh seafood, and friendly locals. While Pagudpud has been heavily promoted as a tourist destination, Malingay Cove remains a quieter and more relaxing destination in Pagudpud compared to Saud Beach, far to the west, where the majority of resorts and tourists are concentrated.

The "I Love This Place" caption in the brick wall of Apo Idon Beach Hotel 

A secondary concrete road on the north side of the Maharlika Highway is the access to these public beaches. You need to pay a P20.00 (per person) barangay fee to gain access to Malingay Cove. Much of the barangay’s coasts are lined with coconut trees back dropped by verdant mountains. The secondary road is well paved on some parts while some are graded dirt roads. Through this similar path you will not miss the Timmangtang Rock formation, the Bantay Abot Cave and further up north; the Malingay Cove.

Don’t forget to bring along your picnic basket. The area is teeming with picturesque sights that are very ideal for picnic and photo-op. There are outdoor Cabanas along the shorelines owned and operated by local residents which are being rented-out for day-tour guests. The rates range from P350.00 – P700.00 for the full day use. They also offer to cook or grill local Ilocano cuisine or your preferred choice at a minimal fee. Local residents even offer home stays and bed & breakfast for the more budget-conscious backpackers. A few high-end beach resorts operate within the Malingay Cove they are; Hannah’s Beach Resort, Punta Azul Beach Resort and Kapuluan Vista Resort.

Let me share with you some highlights of our day-tour in Patapat National Park and Malingay Cove through this modest video;

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Exploring Pagudpud: the Author's trip from Muscat, Oman to Pagudpud, Philippines was created by TripAdvisor.

Patapat Viaduct

Patapat Viaduct is a concrete bridge winding along the foot of the cliff of the North Cordillera Mountain Ranges. The 1.2 kilometer long bridge elevated 32 meters over sea level connects Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to the Cagayan Valley Region. It is often referred to as the “French Riviera of the North”. Pasaleng Bay offers a scenic view with the many cool, refreshing springs waiting to be discovered within, a view that leads towards wide and pristine beaches backed by mountains with breathtaking waterfalls. On a clear day, Batanes Islands are visible from Patapat National Park.

Along the bridge, you can pass by the Mabugabog Falls that serves as a source of power for the mini hydroelectric plant. It is only during the rainy days when it shows its splendor with its water dropping rhythmically on the rocky shore of the sea below. We were fortunate enough to see the magnificent falls at the time of our visit.

Another very noticeable sight along the shores of Barangay Balaoi is the remains of the ill-fated North Korean cargo ship M/V Nam Yang 8 that ran aground last January 1, 2010 while en route to China from Aparri, Cagayan loaded with 2,615 tons of magnetite. It had some 160,000 liters of bunker in its oil tanks at the time when hit by giant waves and strong rains.

Timmangtang Rock

Timmangtang Rock is an enormous rock formation that stands majestically a few meters away from Bantay Abot Cave. It is located along the shore and embedded by the sea. It was fabled that no one can separate Bantay Abot Cave from the Timmantang Rock for they are believed to be lovers, the former being the female and the later is the male. They are collectively termed as “Lover’s Rock”. Timmangtang Rock is bell-shaped; hence the Ilocano named it Timmangtang. The rock is covered with grass and bushes. On top of it, you could see the calm blue sea and the enchanting view of Sitio Gaoa. Campfire is very ideal at the foot of this stunning rock.

Bantay Abot Cave

Bantay Abot Cave means “a mountain with a hole.” The hole in the middle of the mountain was formed because of the waves’ relentless pounding into its walls. An earthquake in the 1980’s paved the way to break and open the cave completely. It is also called “the underground sea” because on top of the cave are shimmering vegetative swathe. Once inside the cave you do not only hear the echoing sound of the waves, the chirping of the birds but you can also feel the cool breeze of the air. It is a favorite retreat of swallows that swarm to their perch in the late afternoon. It is a very unique creation partly surrounded by the clear blue sea. The shore has white sand mixed with fragments of shells and calcium carbonates which were once remnants of coral reefs. Parts of the shore are rock formations where you can sit, relax and enjoy the lucid view of the wide sea and verdant mountains.

Malingay Cove (Blue Lagoon)

Malingay Cove or “The Blue Lagoon” is a hidden bay located at Maira-ira Point; it is a half-moon shaped cove lining the Nacatnagan cliff in the east and the Dos Hermanos Islands in the north. The place is still tranquil in subsistence but slowly being invaded by commercial establishments. The cove can be reached via a 2.5 kilometer well-paved to rigged road from the Maharlika Highway. While traveling along the way you will be captivated by the majestic view of the thick forest, lush vegetation, and verdant rolling hills. Malingay Cove or Blue Lagoon is famous for its crystal blue water and fine white sand.

Dos Hermanos Islands

The “Twins or Dos Hermanos Islands” are massive rock formation emerging on the northern part of Malingay Cove. Beneath the rock formation are series of caves where various and colorful tropical fishes swim abundantly and can be seen during low tide. Along the enclave of Dos Hermanos Islands, smaller submerged rock formations and stony corals thrive, it is where the famous Ilocano seaweed called "gamet" can be gathered. Motorized outrigger boats can be rented out for a fee if you wish to explore the cove further.

Credit: TripAdvisor - The easiest way to create a stunning travel sideshow

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog Denis


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