ourphilippines.tv Traveler's TalesTRAVELERS' TALES

The Blue Lagoon (Philippine Edition)

Maira-ira Beach aka Blue Lagoon

The Philippine's own version of the Blue Lagoon lies at the top-most part of Ilocos Norte (a short ride away is Cagayan province already). It's official name is actually Maira-ira Beach (Blue Lagoon, however, is a lot catchier). In the early 90's, this spot was a secret amongst backpackers and budget travellers. Super hush-hush. This was our own version of THE BEACH (Oh Leo!). Nowadays, it's not so secret but that still doesn't take away the gorgeousness of the place.

The Way to Blue Lagoon
(minus the shipwreck and marrooned-on-an-island part)

The gateway to Pagudpod and Maira-ira Beach is the capital city of llocos Norte, Laoag City. Oh you can google how to get to Laoag from Manila, can't you? We'll skip that boring part.

From Laoag, take the tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the bus terminal. Once there, find a van or bus that goes to Aparri, Claveria or any point in Cagayan. Ask the driver to drop you off at Gaoa (gaw-ah), it's about a 2 hour drive to get there.

Warning: Don't take the Pagudpud-bound buses since it will only take you to the center of Pagudpod. The Blue Lagoon is farther north. Unless you want to spend additional money, I repeat, don't take the Pagudpod-bound buses.

Sole Sister Trip Tip#1: When picking a seat, choose the one on the left side of the bus/van. Make sure you're cameras are on stand-by because every turn leads to some pretty kick-ass landscape. The view only gets better the closer you get to Pagudpod.

Once you get to Gaoa, don't panic if you don't see any sign of a lagoon, beach umbrellas, sand or lounge chairs. Relax. Maira-ira is actually at the bottom of the cliff that you're standing on.

Photo Credit: bryannys

There are lots of tricycles waiting to take you to the Blue Lagoon. During the ride, hold on to whatever you can because i'm telling you the ride down is a rollercoaster adventure. Once you manage to catch your breath, you will see this:

At this point, you'll realize that it's hard to hold on to the trike for dear life, catch your breath, gape in wonder and focus your camera all at the same time.

Where to Stay
(definitely not in a hut or under a coconut tree)

Several years ago, there were no accommodations in Maira-ira. You could either: a) Do a daytrip then go back to the more popular Saud beach at dusk or b) Pitch a tent right on the beach. I certainly didn't want to stay in overcrowded Saud beach. It's a good thing that you can now find several cottages, homestays and (unfortunately) even a high-end resort around the beach.

Photo Credit: bryannys

The best place to stay here is Kapuluan Vista Resort, hands down. Although the resort is a 15-minute walk from the Blue Lagoon and the beach in front of the resort is not that great with big epic waves (perfect for surfers like Sole Sister Lois, not so perfect for a beach bum like me), the resort's interior and restaurant more than makes up for those minor details. Even though a room costs more than what I'm normally comfortable paying (cheapskate Chichi, that's me), I still loved it anyway!

Photo Credit: bryannys

Kapuluan is rustic yet stylish, native materials are used all around the resort. It's intimate and cozy, a perfect place to get away from it all. The resort has a zen-inspired theme and decor is simple yet striking. Ok, I'm starting to sound like an ad. Can't help it! I fell in love with the place.

I would have fallen deeper in love with it if we actually stayed in the resort. Unfortunately, all rooms were booked at the time of our trip (it was early May). We had no choice but to stay in that overpriced high-end resort (which I won't even mention or even link to) that was the complete opposite of Kapuluan Vista.

If you can't get a room at Kapuluan Vista, the next best place to stay is at Agua Seda Beach Resort. It's right beside that ugly commercial resort, which means it's right on blue lagoon. Plus this is one of the cheapest resorts in the area with rooms at Php1,500 per night for 5 people. You may contact them at:
Ms. Letty C. Garvida
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Things to Do in and around Blue Lagoon
(that doesn't inlcude first-time menstruation, spearing and frolicking around naked)

Maira-ira Beach has been hailed as the Boracay of the North. Now unlike the 13423 other beaches who claim to be the Boracay of the [insert geographical location here], I really think the Blue Lagoon has the goods to back up this claim. I would go so far as saying that Boracay can't compare to this place.

We wanted to rent a motorbike to go around Pagudpod. For me, this has always been the best way to see a new place. It's just way more fun! We found a bike for rent but the guy was trying to rip us off by charging Php1,000 PLUS we had to pay the gas. Owcamon!

We had no choice but to take the tricycle tour for Php600. You can choose to do the South Tour (Bangui Windmills, Kaparparawan and Cape Bojeador) or the North Tour (Kabigan Falls, Paraiso ni Anton, Patapat Viaduct and Agua Grande). Or you can complete both routes for a whole day (I wish we had the time).

The trike tours are pretty popular in Pagudpud. Just look for one with the offical tour guide seal. Or you can contact Kuya Jomar at 0920 318-3945. Shout-out to Kuya Jomar, I'm still waiting for you to add me on Facebook...

First stop: Bantay Abot Cave

Photo Credit: Kriztel Lorbes

2nd stop: Agua Grande
A picnic park with a stream of crystal clear running water from the mountains that eventually leads to the sea.

3rd stop: Patapat Viaduct
I had to wiki viaduct but it doesn't matter what it means. It was beautiful.

4th stop: Kabigan Falls
This is my 2nd favorite spot. Local residents wearing an official guide shirt are stationed at the entrance along the highway. They will just ask for a guide fee, but it’s really up to you on how much will you give. Be generous, think of it as help to local tourism and economy.

From the main road to the falls, it's a 30min trek through local scenes and landscape. It's worth every step, Kabigan Falls

Photo Credit: gezelle

5th stop: Bangui Windmills (My absolute favorite spot in Ilocos Norte)
The Bangui windmills aren't normally included in the north tour packages. Without a hint of shame, I used charm, wit, sweet talk and all-out persuasion to convince Kuya Jomar to take us there. (There might have been some eyelash batting involved too) Poor Kuya, he didn't stand a chance.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
We missed these amazing white-rock formations since it was too far away and we didn't have enough time. I also don't think I could have charmed my way into asking Kuya Jomar to give this as another freebie. Definitely coming back for this!

Photo Credit: cessable

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
My charm spells still didn't work so we missed this iconic landmark too.

Photo Credit: bingbing

BONUS: Kapuluan Vista Restaurant

You think i was done extolling the virtues of Kapuluan? I haven't even started on the food.

Even though we were staying 1.5km away, that didn't keep us from walking 30mins to and from Kapuluan to have dinner. I'm telling you it was that yummy!

- Kapuluan Kilawen ( Unlike any kilawen i've ever tasted. They use the freshest fish fillet, vinegar, onions, lots of tomatoes and a little bit of sesame oil, which we figured was the magic ingredient.
- Lambanog Margarita for only Php75
- Big-ass burritos
- Home-made vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup
For this Sole Sister, same as with the movie, there will definitely be a return to the Blue Lagoon. Abso-effing-lutely.

Photo credit: jblandscape

Until the next trip,
Sole Sisters Chichi

Lois and Chichi are friends, cosmically aligned, unique in their own separate ways and united by the same passion for travel. Both of them, at some point in their lives, have had to jump in feet first, take risks and see where their itchy soles take them.

Read more about their travels at
Sole Sisters