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Paoay Sand Dunes

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A trip to the north wouldn’t be complete without experiencing sand boarding. Yes, you read it right — sand boarding. It’s a sport that makes use of a skimboard to slide down sandy slope (like surfing on sand!).


Sand boarding at Paoay, Ilocos Norte

The province of Ilocos Norte is particularly well-known for being the hometown of former president Ferdinand Marcos and the stunning white sand and clear blue waters of Pagudpud. It is a destination that is not only blessed in geography but also played a big role in our country’s rich history.


Pagudpud beach

Part of our itinerary was a stopover at the now famous Paoay Sand Dunes. It is strategically located near Fort Ilocandia and the Malacañang of the North, which are also included in our itinerary. So after much exploring, this place offered us the chance to do extreme sports.

M of north

Malacañang of the North

88 kilometres of pure sand adjacent to the Suba beach welcomed us when we arrived at Paoay. It reminded us of those sand dunes in Dubai but in a much smaller scale.


A 4×4 truck was our main mode of transportation. Just the ride alone was an adventure in itself. My friends and I stayed at the back and we were standing the whole time. The climb up and down the sand slopes was very thrilling!


Next up was the actual sand boarding. Seeing the slopes (there’s an allotted area for sand boarding) was a bit intimidating since I’ve never surfed or skated before, luckily the instructor was very patient with us. First thing they do is to wipe the board to remove sand residue for a smoother ride. Then they strap you in and give you a slight push downwards. You have to bend your knees and push your weight forward to get more traction.

The ride down the slope was scary and exciting at the same time, especially for first-timers like me. I even landed on my butt after the first try!

The second slope was much steeper and the ride was definitely faster. For those who couldn’t handle it, you can try sitting on the board (still fun but not as thrilling!).

After our sand boarding session, our driver toured us around the hard trails and he even accommodated our request to take photos near the beach. The view was definitely breathtaking!


An interesting hut in the middle of the desert

The 4×4 ride and sandboarding session cost Php500. Not bad at all! It is advisable to start here early in the morning because it gets really hot at noon.

So next time you travel to Ilocos Norte, make sure that you drop by Paoay Sand Dunes. This is worth a try!



Author: Alexandra Salcedo



Photo Source:

The Malacañang of the North and Pagudpud beach photos – courtesy of Andre Dagdag

Sand boarding and hut in the middle of the desert-

4×4 truck overlooking the beach –

4×4 truck atop the sand –





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