Ilocos Norte

Sandboarding at the Paoay Sand Dunes

By on July 12, 2010

Paoay - sandboarding 2

The sand dunes of Ilocos Norte seems to be the most ‘unnatural’ geological formation that I have seen so far. One would normally expect desert-like stretches like these in the Middle East but not in a tropical country like the Philippines. It is for this very reason why the 85 sq kms sand dunes (which covers those in Currimao, La Paz and Paoay) was declared a National Geological Monument by the National Geological Committee on Geological Sciences in 1993.

It is now an emerging playground for adrenaline junkies who want unique and unparalleled adventures – 4×4 and sandboarding. These activities have recently picked up considerable mileage from local media outfits such as GMA-7’s Jessica Soho and ABS-CBN’s Trip na Trip.

Paoay - sandboarding 3

We tried sandboarding during Day 2 of Project Windmills or our recent 3-day adventure in Ilocos Region. John-john, our lone group/photographer4x4 off-roader/guide demonstrated first how to glide gracefully along the intimidating slope. The key trick then is to put the right amount of your body weight on your rear foot. This would allow easier balance and swift movement through the loose sand.

Paoay - sandboarding 4

It is safe to fall over as the sands would also double as soft cushions for every failed attempt. But it is easier to board all the way down than climb up the mound. We enjoyed nonetheless the surprising afternoon work-out cycle of breezing down and then hiking all the way up the slope.

Paoay - sandboarding

The ladies were a little bit hesitant at first. But once they got the hang of it, they bravely took turns in riding the boards. If I remember it right, they even rode more times than I did. They also became willing subjects for an accidental magazine-esque photoshoot session.

Paoay - sandboarding 5

It may take longer before sandboarding becomes a competitive sport in the Philippines. There may be other locations in the world for extreme versions of the sport, but our unique experience at Paoay could be the closest to the real deal, especially in this side of the planet. Indeed, there is more to the Paoay sand dunes than just being another picturesque tourist destination or a favorite shooting location for international and local movie outfits.

Paoay Off-Roaders and Adventures Group (PORAG)
Gilbert de los Santos

  1. Reply


    July 12, 2010

    Just a week before I heard about your trip, sand dunes were featured in Nat Geo and found out champion snowboarders practice on the sand during off season.

    I terribly wanna go there someday… 🙂

  2. Reply


    July 12, 2010

    Really Kim? Wow. So we can be champion snowboarders someday too? 🙂

  3. Reply


    July 12, 2010

    in your dreams.. hahaha 🙂

  4. Reply

    Jan Ryan

    July 12, 2010

    nice bren…have you tried running in sand dunes? that would be fun running the 84km stretch, all your excess fats will loose and your dreams of becoming a sand boarding champion will be become closer to reality. btw i was drooling seeing these pictures.

  5. Reply


    July 12, 2010

    Oh I missed this. The snowboarding would have been fun! But I shall return… there are still a whole list that I want to see and do in Ilocos. This is now added to the list.

  6. Reply


    July 12, 2010

    Hi Jenn, this is definitely a worthy addition to your Ilocos list. I'd be looking forward to your Ilocos follow-up series then.

    Welcome to Baktin Corporation!

  7. Reply


    July 12, 2010

    Hey Rye, I haven't thought of that. But this guy did just that. But you made it sound like I'm made of gelatin or blubber.

    Bring it on. >:)

  8. Reply


    July 12, 2010

    Hi Mike, thank you for the encouragement. 😉

  9. Reply


    July 14, 2010

    I agree with Jan Ryan. We should be champion sandboarders first. 🙂


Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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