The First Eight Hours
Just handed a hundred peso bill to the guy in yellow uniform who’s standing behind the clear, glass cabinet full of doughnuts when I turned around and saw the bus was out of sight.
“Oh shoot!” They left us.
We realised it’s almost 1 in the afternoon. We’ve been on the road for straight 4 hours I think. Our stomach was crying in despair, and I didn’t have breakfast because I was too excited. There was no local eateries nearby and we couldn’t afford wasting time looking for one. We’re lucky, and hapless at the same time as we had no choice, that a local doughnut store is just a next door away.
“I told you, we should’ve have asked [the driver] how long this stopover gonna take,” my friend complained. It was only 5 minutes ago when the bus driver casually enjoying his smoke saw us passing by as we made our way to the doughnut shop.
Used to instantly think of positive alternatives, I said, “okay, we could just have an easy stroll around“. Besides, this is Vigan City. This is going to be a real epic holiday. We started off memorable…and funny.
Then I remember my backpack was left behind on the cushioned seat of the bus. My clothes, undies and bikinis were all in there.
“Oh, no!” I began to worry.
We spotted a security guard , who seemed to be enjoying some siesta music. While my friend appeared just fine like a 5-year old trying to finish his doughnut, with my worrying look on my face, I think the guard had an idea of what was going on. Thanks to mobile phones (or maybe a walkie-talkie, I don’t know), they were able to inform the bus about our situation and considerably waited for us from just two blocks nearby.
It’s going to take 2 hours more from Vigan City to Laoag City. When we got there, we’re still starving. We had a quick lunch at this local home-styled restaurant called Ranchero’s Cuisine before hopping to another bus to reach Pagudpud, the first of our multiple 2-week getaway destinations.
The Saud Beach Sunset
It was past 5 when we finally arrived in Pagudpud, a famous spot for its white sand beaches, including the Saud beach, in Ilocos Norte. Good, we could still catch the sunset.
After negotiating with the old lady, who was generous enough to charge 500 pesos (US$ 10) a night per room, we gently dropped our backpacks on the side, grabbed our cameras and headed straight to the beach.
Tip: There are many homestays and resorts just a few steps away from the Saud beach. Opt for the former and negotiate until you’re happy with the rate. It’s normally 700 pesos a night for homestay but we had to be strategic to get as low as 500 and it worked!
*For more tips on how to save money backpacking around Luzon or Philippines in general, click here.
Although I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the beach at that time because I couldn’t see how clear the water was, the sun seemed ready to change my mind. Placed my flip-flop on the sand, sat on them and began staring into the distance. The sun slowly glared out of the orange view and it was purely magical. Just looking over the horizon made me feel grateful and blessed to be alive at that moment. What a sight to behold!