Went to see the famous “Blue Lagoon” and the Kabigan falls during our last day in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. The whole trip was less exciting and adventurous than I expected.
The Great Start
He’s pacing back and forth. 6am. That’s the agreed time to meet. The tricycle driver, whom we’ve arranged to take us around, was late.
Got tempted more than one time to say something to my friend. For some reason, I just kept my mouth shut. I could understand why he was getting impatient, whilst I was a bit considerate with the whole situation. Patience isn’t one of my virtues, as one ex-boyfriend told me, but I can let loose and shake off sometimes like this.
As a Filipino, you’d expect a five minute delay or even twenty minutes is fine. But “Filipino time” as we call it is something not tolerated by foreigners. For what’s worth, my friend has more patience compared to other non-Filipino people I know. On the first day, he actually waited for me for thirty minutes (haha my bad!). Okay, enough about him.
Finally, a silver-grey tricycle (not the little, cute trike for young girls but similar to Thai’s tuk tuk) with a short guy wearing grey sleeved shirt and blue jeans on it parked in front of the house where we were staying since day one.
“Sorry, pasensiya kayon ah ading…,” he was speaking in Ilocano (also my dialect) trying to redeem himself.
My friend and I just nodded. Went in the passenger side and once we’re settled, the driver started running his proudest toy.
It’s been ten minutes on the road yet the sun had not appeared in the clouds. It looked gloomy as a matter of fact.
“I hope it’s not gonna rain,” I muttered.
Then it started drizzling. You wouldn’t even need an umbrella for little drops like that. I didn’t think it would be a bad day.
After a few turns to another and the sun was gradually coming out, we were about to pull over when I saw a sign that reads “entrance fee here”.
“Oh, wow, there’s really a fee to the beach?!” I asked myself when the answer is obvious. I don’t get why – beaches are supposed to be free.
We didn’t have to get out of the tricycle. The collector quickly approached our tour vehicle and told us the amount to pay. My friend handed the 50-peso bill from our “common money” like it didn’t bother him at all. Nonetheless, we wouldn’t have any choice, would we? After receiving a 10-peso coin, the driver restarted the engine and headed down left.
The Blue Lagoon and Rock Formations
The scenery here is more welcoming. I was getting a little stoked as soon as I saw the coast. The grey clouds up the sky, strong waves unceasingly crashing on the shorelines and across some huge rocks fascinated me. There were also lots of coconut trees.
As we’re going further down the road, I could already tell that that area is the famous Hannah’s Beach Resort. That also means the beach in front of it is the Blue Lagoon, which is also known as the Maira-ira beach or Maira-ira Point.
“What, no way!” I was trying to second guess myself but I knew in my heart that’s it.
I tried inviting my family two years ago to come down here and was planning to stay at that same resort. With my detailed planning skill, I Googled about it and part of the research was looking at some images. I needed to see how the rooms look like and how big or small they are. Although our family trip never happened, I got a bit familiar with the place just by spending a few minutes on the computer at that time.
“Uggh, how disappointing!” I told my inner self.
So, yeah I was right. That’s already the Blue Lagoon. It didn’t look mesmerising blue as it should be. Maybe I blame the weather?
From afar, my eyes zoomed toward Shrek, Mickey Mouse, some pirate guy, among others – you know some popular kiddie show characters. Hannah’s resort has them all over the place (tapping my own forehead)! I’ve known that too before coming here for the very first time.
“This is a small Disneyland,” my friend smirked looking at me. Hope he was being sarcastic.
We drove through the resort then exited. You do need to get through the first gate, which I believe the main gate, and pass by several rooms of the resort to go to the beach. As I’ve expected, there were quite a lot of people. Vehicles were parked everywhere as well.
You know what other thing is “too many” for a small place like that? Local stores that sell snacks and drinks, key-chains, t-shirts, henna tattoos, you name it. They’ve filled the first 500 metres on both sides of that street.
The tricycle stopped at the beginning of the store chains. We got out and began looking for something to eat. We skipped the first restaurant as I was 100% certain it’s expensive. We’re on a cheap backpacking adventure (had to spare US$200 only, try at least). Found a “resto-bar” and asked if they have pancit. Not sure why I was craving for that, but unlucky me, they had none. The last option was one of the “sari-sari” stores. There was nothing good for breakfast except the bread in the shelves. Not a bread lover unless it’s filled with beef patty or chicken fillet and lots of vegetables.
But, “Okay, bread is then.”
Fortunately for my friend, there were instant coffees packed in sachets. I don’t drink that though. I never like it, not even Starbucks. I had a cup of hot plain water instead, which I still paid for 5 pesos.
We sat down on the side of the pavement, particularly the three-step stairs that lead to the beach, like lost kids. In front of us were a dozen of cottages. Why we didn’t just go in one of those? They only serve for one purpose – to be rented out. We’re trying to spend less, remember?
I actually thought it was nice just sitting there munching on some bland bread whilst listening to the sounds of the strong 5-foot waves, steps of strangers walking around, and engines of motors. I noticed a thick rope line that stretches from a tower in the resort to the other side of the beach a few miles away from where we were.
“Maybe we can do zip-lining?” I asked my friend.
With this gloomy weather and unfriendly waves, I thought that’s the only fun thing we can do here at the Blue Lagoon. He didn’t answer but I think he wanted to. But we both knew it’s gonna cost between 200 and 400 pesos ($40-50) per person.
After filling our stomach, we wanted to check out the zip-line. There’s a separate gate that leads to the amusement park (more cartoon character statutes and pools) but read an engraved sign on the wall detailing the fees. We shrugged it off and explored the street to see how far it goes instead. We were also hoping to find a much better spot to swim in.
When we got to the last store, a twin of hill-shaped rock formations, which can be mistaken for islands (or something funnier, now don’t imagine and hush), came into view. We already saw those whilst in the tricycle before entering the resort, but they look more intriguing as you approach them.
“We should go over there and check it out,” my friend encouraged.
We’re snapping photos of the scenery, a natural heritage site I must say, like every two minutes as we’re getting closer. A few clicks of him, whilst a little more for me.
The sun was really shy today, yet the wind was fierce like we’re not welcome and telling us to go back. With my petite stature, it could almost push me down the ground any second. It’s sort of a good location for photoshoot if you ask me. That is if you find the wind blowing your hair a nice help adding a dramatic effect. But I wasn’t wearing any makeup at that time, and with my messy dry hair, all photos of me including selfies won’t be shared (already deleted haha).
The small twin rocks were surrounded by very shallow waters. It’s only around 8 at the time so the water could still get high in a matter of hours. I was extra careful crossing the water because, in addition to the unforgiving wind, the small waves were strong. I didn’t wanna lose my beloved camera.
That area is isolated. With the current environmental situation, somewhat it’s not a good idea to go in the first place. If anything happened between us, no one would know unless our floating dead bodies drifted toward the shores.
We stayed very briefly there. It was like passing by a boutique store without going in – just looking at the items displayed behind the glass for a few seconds.
We went back to the main beach of the Blue Lagoon. Took a quick stroll until we laid down on the white sand to laze real quick. The wind was still too strong. Had to cover our faces or otherwise endure the sand hitting our skin.
The Blue Lagoon was a total disappointment. No swimming – too windy as if a storm is coming. Let’s see if the Kabigan fall could excite us.