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Ilocos (La Paz Sand Dunes)

I travel because I want to see things, feel things, taste things and experience things. I want to collect memories and store them in a safe vault inside my heart. Something I could keep for a lifetime or as far as my memory could hold on to.

Ilocos is now one of my favorite places in the Philippines. The adventure, the breathtaking landscapes, the rich historical places. They have it all.

Our first Ilocos stop is in Laoag. We took a plane from Manila to Laoag. From Laoag airport, we availed of the free shuttle bus that will take passengers to the town proper. It was surprising how the shuttle bus would drop every passenger on each destination (in our case, in Texicano Hotel). I admire whoever came up with this idea. For a tourist destination, it is one good thing to promote tourism.

Texicano Hotel is one of the cheapest hotels we could find. We paid 400 each and there were 7 of us (you do the math). We got two spacious interconnecting rooms. But it doesn’t come with a complimentary breakfast. The good thing is, we never paid any down payment. We just contacted them from the phone number we got online and we’re booked!

We had to make sure we get to taste the Ilocos cuisine so we roamed the town, asked for directions and they led us to Dap-ayan food court where we tasted our very first bagnet, Ilocos chorizo, and the not so fresh empanada. If you want to taste the fresh empanada, try it in Vigan.

The next day, we woke up at 5:30am to prepare for our sand boarding adventure. Our contact was Glenn Guerrero of Ilocos Sand Boarding Adventures (contact #: 09088853669). We only paid 500php for down payment. The sand adventure (includes the thrilling 4×4 ride and the exciting sand boarding) costs us 2500php (good for 7pax). Glad we fit in, all 7 of us, in the 4×4 so that saves us a lot. We also availed of their van for rent for the Laoag-Pagudpud (costs 3500php) and Laoag-Vigan (costs 3500php) tour. They picked us up at our hotel at 6:30am then off we go to the La Paz Sand Dunes.

It was a perfect time for sand boarding. The place was picturesque. The universe loved us so much that it gave us a beautiful weather.

We have no idea how the 4×4 ride would be like. We only do what we’re told which is to hold on tight and our thrilling ride began. We bumped on to each others elbows, arms, head and to the bars that are keeping us from falling as the 4×4 goes up and down some low and steep slopes. We couldn’t stop screaming. But this isn’t a nonstop ride. They allowed us to catch our breath and enjoy the view in every stops.

After the 4×4 ride is the sand boarding!!! This is what we looked forward to since the very first day we planned this trip. We were scared at first but we were able to overcome it after our first try. Sitting position first to standing position. I just love this group. I love the courage they show that has influenced me. We would love to do it again and again but the difficulty of climbing back up to the top of the hill made us decide to stop after 4 tries. It is safe to fall or tumble because you’ll land on a smooth sand. If you’re unlucky, you will only get small scratches.

with Glenn Guerrero

We may have gotten some bruises, wounds and weary legs; we still couldn’t help but smile and laugh from that experience. Those bruises and wounds wouldn’t matter if what you get is a memory you’ll never forget.

Watch our sand dunes adventure below:

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