Pagudpud, (not) the Boracay of the North


At the northernmost tip of Luzon, 560 kms from Manila,  lies the Ivory Coast of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. My first visit to to the then undeveloped Pagudpud was in the mid 80s, when there were yet no resorts. One had to make arrangements with then Mayor Benemerito to be accommodated at the family’s beach house, and when they did allow, the accommodation was for free.

Pagudpud in the 80s

not so many knew this paradise

Many years later, I went back in the company of officemates on an outing. I couldn’t then recall exactly where the old mayor’s beach house stood.

My last two visits, October 2010 and January 2011 allowed me to piece those memories together.


Saud is considered by many as the premier destination in Pagudpud. Unlike the other Ivory Coast resorts, coconut trees shield the cottages from the glare of the white sandy beach, giving the property a real, honest-to-goodness tropical setting. Of the beach restaurants in Pagudpud, Saud has the best view of the ocean, making dining an experience to look forward to. Hammocks hung from coconut trees, inviting guests to a nap.

lazing at Saud Beach Resort

no one knew where the ducks originated, and now there are thousands of them

pristine waters – the Boracay of the North

breakfast with a view of the ocean

don’t miss the bagnet, with bagoong and kamatis

a beautiful restaurant on the Ivory Coast

The rooms at Saud Beach resort are the best in Pagudpud. They are also the most expensive.Room rates start at P3,619 with family rooms renting out for P6,534. All rooms have TV and refrigerators. Suites have bath tubs.

Contact Saud Beach Resort at (+632) 9289953, (+632) 9212856, +(63918) 9208826, and (+63920) 2706075. Visit their website at



On my visit two weeks ago, I found out that Villa del Mar was where the old mayor’s cottage stood. This I learned from an old lady who owns the resort, and is  a relative of the former mayor. I actually checked out this facility last year but stayed in Saud. This time we decided to stay at least overnight.

A rather unique attraction at Villa del Mar are two monkeys, Moymoy and Mamay. I nsaw some staff playing with them. Mustering enough courage, I played with Moymoy, too. I didn’t know what he was trying to do but he was reaching inside my pockets. As it turns out, Moymoy always “steals” hankies, mobile phone, or wallets and plays with them. To make it worth his while, I then put some candies in my pocket. It was fun watching him unwrap the candies.


Vista del Mar shares the same sandy shore as Saud’s with only one big resort in between. The choice of where to stay, therefore, is dependent on one’s budget. Vista del Mar has clean, decent rooms at rates lower than Saud’s.

best spot: family room at absolute beachfront

This resort has a huge restaurant with a billiard table at the far end. They also have a swimming pool, even if no one will probably prefer to stay in the pool when you have a beautiful stretch of white sand before you.


Room rates start at P1,200, with fan, good for 3. A standard aircon room costs P1,500. Family cottages that can accommodate 6 persons cost P3,500.00

our family cottage, good for 6

Contact Villa del Mar at phone (+63921) 2958196 and (+63919) 8995673



This resort sits right in the middle of Saud and Villa del Mar. I will probably stay in this resort the next time. For this visit, I inquired about accommodations and rates, and was pleasantly surprised that they are actually cheaper than Villa del Mar. While standard rooms cost pretty much the same as Villa del Mar’s, their family rooms are cheaper, and are on absolute waterfront.

The room settings are also perfect. Two storey cottages directly facing the beach, an al fresco bar/restaurant, and beach huts dotting the sandy shore. Arinaya could just be a favorite.

the patio for drinks al fresco

long stretch of white sand beach

Rates start at P1,500 for aircon rooms. Family rooms cost P3,000 for a maximum of 8 persons.

family cottage on the beach for P3,000

Contact Arinaya at (+63921) 5581366, (+63916) 3931082, (+63915) 3159899 or email them at

LUCKY SEA: Budget Accommodation on the beach

Tucked in between Arinaya and Villa del Mar is Lucky Sea, a homestay facility. Do not expect a restaurant or any other facility. Oh yes, you can get a tattoo courtesy of its resident tattoo artists.

Henna, anyone?

cheap rooms on the same glorious stretch on the Ivory Coast

Lucky Sea beach huts

Lucky Sea is more of a backpackers’ place. Contact Mrs Gloria Galera at (+63928) 5393086


Other resorts / accommodations:

this resort has a loyal following

THE OTHER PAGUDPUD : the cluster of resorts in Malingay

While visitors to Pagudpud typically know only of Barangay Saud (now known as Ivory Coast) and choose only among the resorts there, there is another cluster of resorts in Pagudpud, in the direction of the Patapat Cliff.


the most advertised – – there is a signage every 200 meters

Hannah’s has the most complete facilities on this side of Pagudpud – –  restaurant, billiards and darts, karaoke, surf boards, banana boat, kayak, speed boats, gym, massage, etc. Contact (+63920) 9834659, (+63920) 6057121, (+63910) 4966525 or email

a friend has stayed here, and the place is beautiful yet very inexpensive


On all my trips to Pagudpud, I always  drive through the Patapat Cliff. I’d say it is the most scenic coastal drive there is in the Philippines, driving through a one and a half kilometer road  jutting out of the mountain edges 31 meters above the sea level. Always a lovely sight.


The famous windmills of Bangui can be seen from Saud Beach on a clear day, which is almost everyday in this bright and sunny place.

Read more about the windmills of Bangui :


Provincial buses ply the Manila-Ilocos Norte route, with some going directly to Pagudpud. You may also want to stop in Laoag, the provincial capital, before another ride of about an hour and a half to Pagudpud. From the town center, tricycles can take you to the resort of your choice.

By car, take NLEX-SCTEX, exit in Tarlac, and drive all the way north passing thru Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, and finally Ilocos Norte. Drive time to pagudpud from manila is approximately 13 hours.

24 thoughts on “Pagudpud, (not) the Boracay of the North

  1. WoW great reviews! Many thanks
    for the complete info..parang you opened the door to Pagudpud right in front of our computer.

  2. Thank you so much for great reviews for a beautiful place. We are planning to spend our Christmas at Pagudpud this weekend. coming from Baguio, how many hours?

    • Oh, that is still a long way. You can drive down via Naguilian to take you to San Fernando. La Union. That drive is approx 1 hour. From San Fernando to Pagudpud is another 6-7 hours depending on traffic conditions and how fast/careful you drive. If you are planning to meet anybody there, safe to assume 8 hours from Baguio to Pagudpud, including quick lunch and restroom stops.

  3. Wow, great and helpful post on Pagudpud! Thanks for the info, I am planning to go to Pagudpud this January! I am an Indonesian traveler and really excited to go to Philippines! My plane will arrive at Clark, is it possible to go to Pagudpud by bus from Clark? I dont want to waste time going back and forth from Clark to Manila and then heading north again 😦 do you have any suggestion? thanks 😀

  4. hi!great help me to make my iteneraries.i have some questions lang po. is the bus from laoag going to pagudpud operates 24hrs?if we land on laoag by plane at 6pm,is it possible to go straight to pagudpud or we have to stay in laoag for a nyt?pls help me.thank you so much.

    • The honest answer is ” I don’t know” as I went there by private transportation. And I only included the local transportation based on what I saw on the road. Since Laoag to Pagudpud is a short trip, my hunch is that you might still be able to take a ride. But in case I am wrong, then I think you can plan to enjoy Laoag at least overnight. laoag, after all, has many things to offer visitors.

    • Hi! We’ve been to Ilocos last Ocotber. Actually we have the same flight schedule during that time. We landed at Laoag around 7:30 since there is a delayed in flight then right away we ride on a shuttle (there a free shuttle at the airport provided by the government). We asked the Guide if they could drop us to the bus station going to Pagudpug. Luckily up to the last minute were able to catch the last trip going to Pagudpud.

  5. Very informative, it has all the information I needed. Thank you so much for a very cool and excellent write up. More power to you!

  6. Hi there. Im from Baguio and planning to be in Pagudpud in wondering if there’s a tricycle from 4am going to Pagudpud since my travel approximately is 8pm-4am baguio-laoag then 4am-6am laoag to pagudpud…or if there’s a tricycle around 4am or 5am.. thanks

    • The honest answer is “I don’t know”. All the times I went to Pagud[ud, I was in a private vehicle. I only reported what available public transport there are. Having said that, I guess you will find one. Why? If there are Laoag-Pagudpud trips that arrive at 6am, surely there will be tricycles by then since not everyone who alights in Pagudpud have private transport. Otherwise, have coffee somewhere while waiting for a tricyclr. Enjpy Pagudpud !

  7. Id been here in pagudpod. well the beach is blue and wonderful but with lot of seaweeds in the shore hehe, I think the true boracay of the north can be found in cagayan the ANGUIB BEACH.

    • Thank you for the information on Anguib Beach. Many who have been there say so, and I intend to finally go. It is unfortunate that there were seaweeds when you went to Pagudpud. Been there many times and never had the misfortune of waters with seaweeds.

  8. Hi. Can you help me to decide if i’ll get travel agency for 3k per pax, all in except food expenses and 4×4 rather than commute and book for our own. I’ll go this summer with my family and hesitate to do on mu own search. Baka kasi onti lang diff less hassle pa. Thanks in advance. Your suggestion will help alot to decide.

  9. Hello, can I ask po what kind of sand pagudpud has, is it like boracay? Some sand po kasi na looks white in photos but the “quality” is not the same. Have you been po ba asa anawangin cove, in Zambales? is it like that?

    • The sand in Pagudpud is not like that of Boracay. It is not as white, in fact it is classified as ivory. Anawangin has white sands, but not as powdery as Boracay’s white sands.

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