I tossed up whether I was going to write about this place. I loved it so much I wanted to keep it just for myself. Forget the palm trees and the white sands and the calm transparent water of the beach, a big attraction of this place was it was largely unoccupied. Just the break I needed to get away from the smog, people and energy of Manila.
The beach rivals that of Boracay in the Philippines, yet does not have all the tourism that goes with it. No merchants trying to sell their gear every two steps, no noise pollution of motorcycles blowing their horns and no loud western tourists demanding all and pushing their way around. We had arrived at Saud Beach in Pagudpud.
I discovered this paradise quite by accident. Paradise might be a word that gets thrown around a bit in the travel blogging community, but this place was as close as I have been to it. It is at the northern most tip of the main island of the Philippines, Luzon.
Arriving at night, we were whisked away from the bus terminal, via an unsealed road and dropped off at this ‘resort’. Not a resort that I was used to, more like a more motor inn, but the location could not be rivalled. When we awoke and walked the twenty metres to the main building of the resort we were confronted with a fantastic view of a picture postcard perfect beach. Palm trees as far as you could see. Majestic water you could play in for hours at a time, being just the right temperature.
We liked it so much we extended our stay from one day to three. At just P1500 ($35 AUD) per night it was a steal. One tip though, the town does not have any ATMs we are told the closest is an hour bus ride away. Not that you need lots of money, but take enough cash so you don’t come up short.
There is not much to do here, activity wise. You could hire a boat and be taken for a ride for P1500, not from any special tour group, just one of the local fisherman, who would supplement his income. In the three days we were there, I saw just one other westerner, with most of the visitors be Filipino, coming from Laoag City and surrounding areas. It was very relaxing spending time on an untouched beach.
No high rises to be seen. The first night we were there, we went for a stroll on the beach just looking at the stars. I had forgotten how many stars were out there. We found an isolated spot on the beach, which was not too difficult, plonked ourselves down and just looked at the sky. In the span of an hour we saw three shooting stars, one being the longest I had ever seen. The Milky Way certainly did look milky from our vantage point. We saw the lights of an lonely aeroplane making his way across the sky, and I imagined where they had come from and where they were going. I attempted to take a photo, but just being my iPhone, of course it just turned out black.
One day the resort let us take the plastic table and chairs onto the beach, where we set up for the day. They would bring us drinks right onto the beach. Two ladies approach us with a bucket full of crab like crustaceans that we would call Balmain Bugs in Australia and some scales. We negotiate a fair price and before too long the resort is cooking us lunch. The husband of one of the ladies had caught them that morning. They were delicious.
Watching the fishermen was also another past time. There were these large wooden surf ski type of craft, built from binding six or seven lengths of bamboo together. The fisherman would stand up as he paddled. When he found the right spot he would lie down and shoot his home made wooden spear gun. They were quite successful and caught small fish, crabs and one was quite proud to show off a large octopus he had speared. Other methods used were dredging large nets through the water, into the shallows near the shore to capture what they could. I have a feeling that the locals diet consisted of a lot of seafood.
Everyone we met was extremely friendly and tried to make sure we enjoyed our stay. Not just the resort workers, but locals just on the beach. Please whatever you do, do NOT visit this place and ruin my secret paradise getaway. Go to Thailand or Boracay or the Gold Coast, because this is my place :-)