Blue Lagoon or Maira-ira Cove | Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
If the beaches at Saud is not secluded enough for you, then you should travel a few kilometers more for the Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud. It is a crescent-shaped cove in Maira-ira, where one could find the northernmost tip of mainland Luzon. But despite its remote location, more and more people are still flocking to this place to somehow experience being farther from the madding crowd.
It was named as such because of deep blue waters at Maira-ira. Unfortunately the sky was overcast when we arrived there so I did not have stunning photos of the place. But the surprisingly placid sea somehow made up for my gloomy captures. At other times of the year (or perhaps depending on the weather), the cove transforms itself into a surfing destination in Northern Luzon.
We only had a very brief stopover at the cove – seeing the Dos Hermanos islets from a distance and stopping by the Bantay Abot Cave (which is not actually a cave but a sea arch) on our way out. We also bought 2 kilos or so of fresh fish at one of the stalls in the vicinity. We would have these grilled at one of the houses near our resort later in the evening.
Before heading for Saud, we visited the Patapat viaduct, a 1.3 km coastal bridge that connects Ilocos Norte to Cagayan Valley. Along the way, we also saw the ill-fated MV Nam Yang, a North Korean cargo ship which ran aground during the start of 2010. There were oil booms to contain a possible spill, but I wonder what happened to the tons of magnetite ore that it was supposedly carrying. I also wonder if the local government would make it as a tourist destination in the future because there seemed to be no efforts at all to remove the stranded ship from the shore.
So at which beach should you spend an evening in your Ilocos itinerary? It would depend on your preference of course. Saud has more resorts but Maira-ira, is slowly catching up. Both also have homestay options for those who are on a tight budget. We chose Saud for its proximity to Laoag so that we would not miss our flight back to Manila the following day. But if we were not pressed for time, I would have chosen the more secluded Blue Lagoon. I could probably learn how to surf there or finish a book somewhere along its more calming and interesting shoreline.