Leaving Ilocos Via Patapat Bridge

Pagudpud is around 570 kilometers from Manila. It may be a long travel, but it definitely won’t disappoint you. For a motorcycle rider, this town is extra special because it is the edge of mainland Luzon. Getting here on two wheels feels like: “What now, Luzon?! Is that all you got?” And there’s no better way to celebrate that achievement than to pose in the French Riviera of the North. The usual shots on the bridge are very common so I’ll have mine UNDER it.

patapat_cover

Wait! How can I be talking about an achievement when the previous post ended with me stranded on Maira-ira Beach with an empty gas tank?

I’m sorry I have to be so dramatic about that. I have extra fuel on a separate container so I got out of that bad situation without breaking a sweat. I even got an extra liter on a “bote-bote” station to make sure I have enough until I can find the next gas station to top up.

Not the first time a bottle Coke 95-octane saved me :p

Not the first time a bottle Coke 95-octane saved me :p

The northern tip of the Cordillera mountain ranges ends in Pagudpud and Claveria. A few kilometers from Blue Lagoon, the mountain extends out to the sea with a terrifying slope that a road can barely get carved out of the rock face on the mountain. Even when that got done, it has been prone to landslides. The solution?

PATAPAT VIADUCT

patapat_viaduct

This bridge was constructed under the Marcos Administration and was opened to traffic in October 1986. It is 1.128 kms long comprising of 76 spans and rises 31 meters above sea level. The two-lane winding bridge hugs the slopes of the mountains as it connects Ilocos and Cagayan hence the name. Patapat means “belt” in Ilokano. It is said to be the fourth longest bridge (in general) in the Philippines but I think Marcelo Fernan Bridge is longer.

Read about my ride to the longest bridge, San Juanico Bridge here.

My first visit here was during the stormy months on October-November

My first visit here was during the stormy months on October-November

During my visit on April 2013, I made three passes on the bridge.

During my visit on April 2013, I made three passes on the bridge. One of which is on video! CLICK HERE!!.

As I was prepping the camera on timer mode, I noticed a staircase leading to the rocky shore below. Who can resist?

I found the stairs at the eastern end of the bridge (Cagayan side)

I found the stairs at the eastern end of the bridge (Cagayan side)

the strong 30-foot pillars separating the motorists from the debris tumbling down the mountain and the crushing waves of the sea.

the 30-foot pillars separating the motorists from the debris tumbling down the mountain and the crushing waves of the sea.

Mr DJ, Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers please..

Mr DJ, Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers please..

the bridge offers a refreshing view of Pasaleng Bay and it's rocky shoreline.

the bridge offers a refreshing view of Pasaleng Bay and it’s rocky shoreline.

Patapat is also home to Mabugabog Falls which also serves as a mini-hydro power plant that can only operate with a substantial amount of rainfall.

It's all dried up during Summer because it only relies on the rainwater from the mountain.

It’s all dried up during Summer because it only relies on the rainwater from the mountain.

Lucky for me, I was also here during a different weather.

Lucky for me, I was also here during a different weather.

Early 2010, a Korean cargo vessel Nam Yang 8  encountered rough waves and wrecked in Pasaleng Bay near Patapat. We still saw the ship somewhat intact when we passed by it October that year but not it was gone. Piece by piece, it has been sold as scrap metal.

Kutz and his sniper snapped a photo of it.

Kutz and his sniper snapped a photo of it.

Agua Grande is like a resort or rest area just right at the end of Patapat. It’s main feature is the water flowing from the mountain out to sea, hence the name. I rode past it and into paradise…

PARAISO NI ANTON (KALBARIO-PATAPAT NATURAL PARK)

OK, maybe not really a paradise – at least from what is usually visited. And in our time when we have Zombading, Patayin sa Shokot si Remington, and now My Husband’s Lover, Paraiso ni Anton  can easily be misinterpreted so let’s use it’s official name – Kalbario-Patapat Natural Park. It is a 5,373 -hectare protected area in Pagudpud and Adams, Ilocos Norte.

The marker near a grotto has nearly been covered by ferns.

The marker near a grotto has nearly been covered by ferns.

At the side of the road, there is what the believe to be miraculous water flowing from the mountains.  If I got it right, a local said it is called Matarongtong Spring. This part of the natural park has what’s been known as Paraiso ni Anton. Many travelers and locals stop here to drink and refill their containers. When I got there, some was taking a shower O_O I never got off the bike.

It can become a busy stopover sometimes.

It can become a busy stopover sometimes.

"Devotees" of Paraiso ni Anton. hehe..

“Devotees” of Paraiso ni Anton. hehe..

But who is this ANTON, anyway? With the Filipinos superstitions and claim the waters here are miraculous, I was very sure I had it figured out. I was expecting something like “…young man….fell in love…she vanished….never found….turned into….” kind of folktale. To get specifics, I called the Pagudpud Tourism Office. I laughed in disbelief as I learned that it was named after 1966-1968 Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications Secretary Antonio V. Raquiza. Mayon Volcano of Bicol was like, “Weh? Di nga?!”

 BAGONG LIPUNAN LODGE

Directly across the street from Paraiso ni Anton is Bagong Lipunan Lodge. If Saud and Blue Lagoon are full, you may book here instead, for FREE!!

...you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.... #HotelCalifornia

…you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave…. #HotelCalifornia

It is a property of the Marcoses that was neglected after EDSA Revolution in 1986. If it’s already in ruins, then what is it good for?

THIS! another view of Patapat Viaduct

THIS! another view of Patapat Viaduct

and also THIS! Even if it is over 8 kms away, Bantay Abot and Dos Hermanos can be easily recognized from here.

and also THIS! Even if it is over 8 kms away, Bantay Abot and Dos Hermanos can be easily recognized.

Read about another Marcos property in ruins I visited here.

Notice a "line" or a change in the terrain above Patapat?

Notice a “line” or a change in the terrain above Patapat?

As shown in the photo above, the old road that was used before Patapat is more recognizable from here. Bagong Lipunan is perched on the mountainside like a balcony so it could offer a magnificent view of Pasaleng Bay. I said “could” because the vegetation around the building has already covered most of the view and is slowly hiding Patapat too.

When you see it, you'll S#it brix.

When you see it, you’ll S#it brix.

I bravely stayed for only a few minutes and didn’t dare go down the hall. The photo may look harmless but the scaredy-cat in me dragged me away even if it was 10 in the morning.

13 kms later….

patapat_byeilocos

Ilocos-Cagayan boundary in KM 589

Ilocos-Cagayan boundary in KM 589

Coming soon...

Coming soon…

Thank you Ilocos!

Hello Cagayan!!

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About Dom de la Torre

The rider is a 20-something Filipino that rides a Honda Wave 125cc underbone. He knows little about motorcycles yet loves the experience going places on two wheels. Rider Ako is a motorcycle-slash-travel blog. The rider not only shares to you travel destinations and what to see there but also the experience of getting there. You will read about the thrills and adventure when he rides solo, the romance of riding in tandem, the camaraderie riding with a group, the excitement participating in events, and anything that he thinks you might find interesting.When he's broke and the fuel's empty, he will share stories about motorcycling how he sees it through his helmet visor.
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One Response to Leaving Ilocos Via Patapat Bridge

  1. Pingback: Leaving Ilocos Via Patapat Bridge | The Bridge Club Too

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