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.
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.
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?
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.
As I was prepping the camera on timer mode, I noticed a staircase leading to the rocky shore below. Who can resist?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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?
Read about another Marcos property in ruins I visited here.
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.
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….
Thank you Ilocos!