For our last day in Ilocos, our team went off to witness the beautiful sunrise atop the Laoag Sand Dunes. While many are familiar with the more famous Paoay Sand Dunes, Laoag has its own version located at Barangay La Paz, offering a panoramic view of the West Philippine Sea. Apparently, this was more famous as a television and film location, with Panday and Mad Max (the older version) shooting in the area.
Quick pose at our 4×4 (Photo credit: Kuya Driver)
Since we were to catch the sunrise, our call time was nothing but early. We peeled ourselves from bed at 5:00 AM, took a quick shower, gulped down some morning coffee, and off we went to the dunes. While it was interesting to see the view on our way to the dunes, Mark and I decided to take quick naps instead (we’re obviously not a morning person). It took us roughly 30-minutes from our hotel to the dunes itself.
Quick stop by the beach
According to our guide, the sand dunes are somehow the same as deserts, thus, it would be best to explore the area early in the morning or late at noon. The dunes are located right beside the beach, and it’s mesmerizing how everything just blends in perfectly. Imagine dryland and all sorts of sand swirling around, and then seeing a large body of water when you finally arrive at the top — it was definitely a perfect dramatic scene for an action/adventure flick.
Featuring my morning face
While the sunrise and the hilltops sound fun and relaxing, the way to go around the dunes was definitely adrenaline pumping. You would be asked to stand up behind a 4×4 jeep, holding on for your dear life (no seat belts!) as you go up and down the hills, which ranges from 10-meter to a whopping 30-meter dip. It was fun, but I could definitely feel my stomach going around. The adrenaline was rushing through my veins (I felt like I was riding the anchors away!), and I was laughing all the way as we went around the ‘course’.
The Sand Boarding Area
The last stop of the tour was the slope area for sand boarding. We were given unlimited trials, which was a great deal if you have a leg power of a horse. I was not sure of how tall the slope was, but I clearly remember how much of a struggle going up was. There were bamboo stilts that you can hold on to, but it was not enough for you to easily haul yourself up again. Imagine running by the beach. Now imagine doing that but instead you’re climbing up a 10 or 20-meter slope. That was a hell of an effort, I tell you. I was able to try standing up and sitting down on the board (sitting down was way more convenient, obviously) and gave up after 5 or 6 tries. I tell you, my legs were aching by the end of it.
Photo from top of the Sand Boarding Area
If you are paying a visit to Ilocos, I highly recommend that you drop by at the Laoag Sand Dunes. It’s a very thrilling and exhilarating experience, and I know that you won’t regret it. Although you’d definitely have to face your fear of heights if you’re about to try this (spoiler alert: it’s worth it).
Laoag Sand Dunes
Barangay Talingaan, Barangay Lapaz, Ventura, Laoag, Ilocos Norte