VICTORY IN PAOAY


Sand. Images that come to my mind are beaches. And litter boxes. Far from the unique expanse of the Paoay sand dunes. 

So. Much. Sand. Hollywood could have shot Hologram for the King here. 


Two hours from Vigan, the town of Paoay in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte is unassuming, almost sleepy. But surprise! 

Here lies the sole dessert-like terrain in the country. Incredible. Gray everywhere. Like freaking Saudi Arabia. And the birds that live here! Beautiful fat flying creatures. 


Two things to do in this dry playground: ride a 4×4 and go upwards, downwards, and sideways along the dunes, and surf the sand. Thrilling!

Before heading here I made like a reptile and did wall climbing and rapelling at the Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone, but that is nothing compared to the adrenaline rush the Paoay Sand Dunes brought me. 

The 4×4 ride I underestimated. I yawned, thought it would bore me. But I have been wrong before and mistaken again now. It is like a roller coaster ride, only more unsafe and out of control. 


The safety features of the 4×4 begin and end with a metal bar, and as the vehicle revs, drops, and drifts here, there, and everywhere, with my feet spectacularly un-planted on the floor, all I can do is hang on to the dear bar like a cat avoiding a bath. And scream. I screamed, too. I loved it.

Sand surfing, meanwhile, gave me ingenious joy. On top of a steep mountain of a sand dune I stand on a pink board. Without any idea how I will make it down not on my ass. How I will make it down, period. It is a goddamn long way from the top. 

But when you are told to jump in, you jump in!

Twice I landed on my ass but the third time I surfed the sand like the waves in San Juan, La Union. Victory! 

Happy to say I did not eat sand or face planted. Lots of sand on my ass though. But nothing that won’t come off in the wash. 

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24 thoughts on “VICTORY IN PAOAY

  1. Aside from the sand dunes in Pampanga, this would be a good location for those Pinoy-style westerns popular back then (if in case any director would be interested in reviving the genre).

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  2. So you enjoyed the dunes? I had the chance to ride the dunes in dubai… worst experience ever… i am glad i came away without a dislocated neck. My aunt however had a knee injury as she flew from her seat and rammed ther knees on the metal bar infront of us. The only good thing about that was the desert dinner afterward and belly dance show. My back was done the next day though

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    1. that is unfortunate for you and your aunt. yes, i did enjoy it but i can see how one can come out of it on a wheelchair. the dunes in dubai must be bigger! did you do sand surfing? i enjoyed this more!

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  3. I knew it was going to be one hell of an experience, but I did not expect it to be that wild, to think that our driver and his companion seemed like they were just teenagers. And I AGREE, It was a roller coaster ride on dirt that made me wish I could get through with alive!

    Love how you write and share your experiences, btw! 🙂

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    1. many thanks. i am glad you had fun. i am happy to have experienced it but i do not think i want to do it again. sand surfing is a different story though. if i lived there i will do it every day.

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        1. it is scary up there. at the drop off, my heart pounded like mad. but it only adds to the thrill. i have to do it! so you pass on activities that involve heights?

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          1. Maybe those that would only involve jumping/falling off high places. Mountain climbing involves heights, but it isn’t as scary. I don’t like getting butterflies in my stomach, but I do like to try them at least once in my life. I did try cliff diving once and I’m proud of that, but I’ll never do it again! haha!

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