The Ilocos Sand Dunes Stretches encompasses the towns of Currimao through to Pasuquin in Ilocos Norte. The La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag City is one of the more popular sand dune destinations in Ilocos Norte. But more recently, the PAOAY SAND DUNES is remarkably gaining popularity to tourists travelling up north.
To start your Paoay Sand Dunes Adventure, hire a 4x4 Rough Riding vehicle at the base of the site. A fleet of these 4x4s are at your disposal and a professional driver will be your guide to the vast sand dunes. For 1,500php for a maximum of 5 people per car, the driver will tour the group at the Sand dunes for 30 minutes. Sightseeing and photo sessions can be done for this package.
For the more adventurous type, rent the 4x4 for an hour which will then include sand boarding and thrilling drops on steep sand ridges that will make you scream in excitement. Hold on to the steel bar while standing on the 4x4 for the most exciting adventure in Paoay. The sand ridges can go as high as 10-20ft at the most, while the most thrilling ride is the “rollercoaster”, where a series of sand hills will make you hold on to that bar of steel for dear life.
After these rides, try sand boarding where a plank of wood is your equipment to slide over sand folds in the vast landscape. It has the same discipline as skate boarding, such as balance is the key to the sport. My first try was, of course (with my inborn uncoordinated self), a fall but it was not painful at all. The soft sand is your cushion and your defense to the fear of trying again. If you do it once and get over the fear, I can assure that you’ll do it over and over again. It was that much fun! The hardest and most tiring aspect of the sport? Going up again the sandy slope after sliding down, but this will not prevent you to try and try until you do it perfectly. This package will cost 2,500php.
After the thrill, the guide will then drive the group down to the beach shores along the sand dunes. It is a perfect way to end a beautiful and exhilarating adventure. Plan your trip either in the early morning to welcome the sunrise (open as early as 5am) or late afternoon (5-6pm) to glory on the sunset not only because it’s marvelous but also to avoid the heat of the afternoon sun that can reflect to the sand.
The Paoay Sand Dunes Adventure is not one to be missed up north. For reservations, contact the Paoay Off-Roaders and Adventure Group here:
Gilbert Santos, +63 928 9473518
To get there:
Laoag is the gateway to Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
Philippine Airlines flies between Manila and Laoag daily. Book your flights now at:http://www.philippineairlines.com
· From the Laoag Airport, Paoay Sand Dunes is just 20-30 minutes away. Vans and tricycles are available outside of the airport.
· Travel time is around an hour
There are hourly bus rides to Laoag via Farinas, Florida and Partas.
· Travel time is around 10-12 hours
· Price range: 800php ($19) and up
· From the bus terminal, Paoay Sand Dunes is just 20-30 minutes away. Take the tricycle to your destination near the terminal.
For more information and assistance:
Ilocos Norte Tourism Office Provincial Capitol +63-77-772-1211 loc 119 + 63-77-770-4242
www.ilocosnorte.gov.ph[email protected][email protected]
Himala: The Miracle at Paoay Sand Dunes9Share
Philippine summers are full of festivals. Almost all major cities and provinces celebrate certain feasts of their local patron saints, complete with buntings, marching bands, street dancers, kids in flower costumes, and beauty pageants. But the provincial government of Ilocos Norte ditched these traditions during the feast of La Virgen Milagrosa and came up with something new: giant artworks at the desert that were later burned.
Held on May 10th as the highlight of week-long La Virgen Milagrosa Festival, Himala sa Buhangin (Miracle at The Sand Dunes) awed more than 5000 people with its massive art installations, Moroccan inspired setting and unusual car racing.
Paoay Sand Dunes is the location of a Filipino classic film Himala/Miracle. Released on the same year I was born, this 30-year old movie starred superstar Nora Aunor with a scene shouting “Walang himala!” (“There are no miracles!”). Other movies shot there were Oliver Stone’s “Born on The Fourth of July,” Australian action flick “Mad Max” and Roger Corman’s and Cirio H. Santiago’s “Stryker.” Thus, there are actually miracles in this place.
Revolutionary artists Gerilya Artist Collective created murals with the scene and face of the iconic Nora Aunor, as well as Lam-Ang, a character in a local epic.
The sand dunes is already a tourist spot, and some of the reasons people go there is to go 4×4 leisure driving, sandboard and roll down the dunes in a Zorb! Crazy, right? We were not able to check the sandboarding because it was in a different spot from the festival area. With an enormous land area, it would be tiresome to walk in a desert on a high noon. Riding 4×4 is an option but most of them were already on standby for a racing competition.
Moroccan-inspired tents were set up fronting the stage, giving the VIPs a perfect view of the performers that night.
The major attractions of the festival are the gigantic installations by Leeroy New. Leeroy, an avant-garde Filipino artist, made them using bamboos tied by abaca fiber. Chrysalis is the biggest of the four, it acted as the scenic background for the stage. It was designed and made with the galleon that brought the Virgen Milagrosa to the province on as the inspiration.
The first idea was to set the Chrysalis on fire on the festival night ala The Burning Man, but they found it too amazing to be charred. So Leeroy New created three more bamboo installations, a scene in the sea with a capsized boat.
In a desert there is usually an oasis, but in sand dunes of Paoay there is a beach. Yes, a beach! About a couple of hundred steps from the tents are sand castles created by teams from different towns in Ilocos Norte for a competition. While looking at the sea and facing the sunset, you will realize you can have the both worlds there.
When the sun has set, people started gathering around the stage and watched the performances of local bands. Then, belly dancers suddenly appeared and danced with the crowd including Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos. Few more bands performed and then it’s time for some fire dancing. They fire breathe for five minutes or more then they started running to the three other bamboo installation.
I panicked because I was on my last two shots on my Canon SLR. The most important part of the night is going to happen in few seconds, and I still need to look for an unexposed film inside my bag and run hundred meters to capture the burning of the bamboos.
Well, I was sure I can photograph the burning installations but I want to atleast capture how the dancers start setting them on fire. Luckily, I got there on time for the fisherman and the boat.
Ending the festival with an elegant firework display.
The Himala sa Buhanging Festival was one event I cannot forget. It was something new and memorable. Who cares if it was too hot, atleast I was able to experience gigantic arts upclose
written by icuresick on 2012-06-29 #news#videos#event#festival#desert#fiesta#sand#icuresick#ilocos-norte#belly-dancing#paoay#leeroy#himala-sa-buhangin#leeroy-new#art-installations#imee-marcos