Sandboarding at the Paoay Sand Dunes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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