5 Reasons We Were Disappointed With Pagudpud in the Philippines

Pagudpud was highly recommended to us by fellow travel bloggers and our Filipino readers. It was also described everywhere on the Internet as:

A dream place with beaches which are nothing short of amazing: stretches of white sand lined with coconut trees and crystal-blue water.

Pagudpud boat
Welcome to Pagudpud

After arriving at Manila airport, guess where we headed next… to Pagudpud. The journey was exhausting. We got to the bus station at midnight and found out the first bus going to Pagudpud was leaving at 5 am. We waited 5 hours at the bus station and spent another 13 hours to get from Manila to Laoag. From Laoag we took a direct bus to Pagudpud and we got there before midnight.

local bus from Laoag to Pagudpud
On the local bus from Laoag to Pagudpud

Our bus expenses: Manila – Laoag PHP814/$18 a person (over 13 hour journey); Laoag – Pagudpud PHP45/$1 a person (over 2 hour bus ride).

Tricycle driver, Pagudpud
One of tricycle drivers we saw the next morning

Nearly one day on the road from one bus to another, but we finally got there. The bus dropped us off in the middle of nowhere where we were surrounded by 3 tricycle drivers. It was rainy, cold and, what’s the worst, dark! We asked the drivers for direction, but nobody wanted to help us out. They obviously wanted to give us a ride, but the quoted price seemed to be way too high for us. We decided to walk, but the drivers were shouting “It’s far way! It’s over 5 km walk! It’s dark. Be careful!”

At some point we got scared. There were no lights, we didn’t know where we were going to and a bunch of tricycle drivers were following us. We stopped and decided to take a ride to the “city center.” The driver didn’t listen. He dropped us off at the most expensive resorts and kept waiting for us to book a room (as we guessed, he hoped to receive some commission).

The prices were WOW… very high. The cheapest room for 2 was $50. We walked around the area, but everything seemed to be closed. At last we found a room for PHP800/$18 for two with no hot water, no Internet, no air conditioning, but well… we didn’t mind as we were looking forward to hit the beach the next morning. We went to sleep hungry and thirsty hoping to have an amazing day the day after…

Wooden house in Pagudpud
Our “apartment” in Pagudpud
Room in pagudpud
Our room in Pagudpud

We woke up in the morning and…

1. Rain, rain, go away!

The view from our place

During our stay in Pagudpud, the weather was terrible. It was wet, chilly and rainy every morning. The sun came up late afternoon. We didn’t expect that at all. Manila was hot and quite humid at the same time. There was no way we could go swimming or even stay on the beach. That was very disappointing. So if you are planning to go there in early February, check out the weather forecast!

Unhappy girl
Sun, where are you!?

2. Dirty beach

Pagudpud beach
Pagudpud beach

Where is the white sand? Where are the famous Filipino boats? Where are the palm trees and beautiful view? There were some palm trees, that’s it. Oh, I nearly forgot about garbage strewn everywhere. I was hard to say if I was at the garbage dump or at the beach…

Dirty beach in Pagudpud
Dirty beach

3. High prices

February is off-season month so we thought it was going to be much cheaper than in summer. Unfortunately, not. Staying at the some resorts costed between $50 and $80 a day (the same price people would pay when coming here in June, July or August).  We spoke to some staff members and asked for the discount (as there were no people around), but there was no way to put the prices down.

Empty and dirty beach in Pagudpud
Empty and dirty beach

4. Everything closed

The whole area looked like nobody lived there. It was so empty. There was nobody around apart from some workers. Nearly all bars, pubs and restaurants were closed. We could not get anything to eat for the first 2 hours before we finally got to the downtown. There were 2 buses running around, 1 open shop and local market. This was not what we were expecting, seriously.

Is anybody there?

5. Unfriendly and pushy locals

Our bad experience with locals started from the tricycle driver who took us to the place we didn’t want to go. Nobody smiled there. Everyone looked so miserable. The ladies at the markets were making grumpy faces when they saw us. We didn’t feel welcomed there. Maybe it was the weather, maybe we also had a bad day and everything seemed to be just so disastrous! After two days we decided to leave Pagudpud. Disappointed, but nonetheless full of energy to see the Rice Terraces in Banaue.

Ready to leave this place

Have you ever been disappointed with the beach you were so looking forward to see?


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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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138 thoughts on “5 Reasons We Were Disappointed With Pagudpud in the Philippines”

  1. The Guy @flightsandfrustration.com

    Hi Agness,

    It looks as though you really hit low season here? Poor weather, few workers and facilities? I wonder if the beaches would be cleaner and more activity in high season.

    Also a little bit of a shame on the accommodation prices. At least you looked around to find something within your budget.

    As for the ride, well that was one long journey to explore somewhere which didn’t make a good impression.

    Do you think you’d go back and give it another try in high season?

      1. Hi agness, I think they’re talking about Hanna’s beach resort. Did you went to Hanna’s beach resort also in pagudpud? This is in Saud beach. Hanna’s is way more beautiful than in Saud. you can search. :)

      2. You should have visited HANNAHS BEACH RESORT in PAGUDPUD instead… I think you have gone to the wrong place …

      3. Hi Agness,
        i am very proud that you captured the negative sides of the beaches in pagudpud ..although i live in pagudpud. Good Job Agness : Very well

        for the blah blah blah of pagudpud
        as a commentator.
        about the beaches: :)
        the picture published on this site is true. pagudpud is named as a tourist spots because of views and cleanliness..all of us didn’t know what,where, when the tourist will be arrived at our own beaches/ resorts. we have a tourist everyday.. we should respect them,. OK.

        about the tricycle drivers:
        what is that kind of attitude..that you are showing to the tourist. huh.. before you get your passenger, you should asked where did they go… and after that you will charge them a lot of fare .. what a shame..


      4. Hi Agness,

        I am really sorry for that bad experiences that cause your disappointment. Next time you travel to Pagudpud, i would suggest you better travel on a plane, that’s an hour, then get a bus going to Pagudpud, that is about 2 hrs. and yet visit Hannas, i am certain you’ll enjoy your stay there, sorrounded with the longest Zipline, crystal clear beach, and swimming Pool, and a beaming cottages. Don’t let your bad experience rot your urge to go back one more try. Good luck.

      5. I think philippines just doesnt like you guys as tourist….u guys are very cheap tourist and full of negativeness about philippines thats why lol

      6. Hey!agness,most of your blogs are full of negativeness …being negative in one place is that your way to make people comments so you can earn money from your blogs…u might get lots of attention for being negativeness and earn more money but people think of you are negative too which is not good…i red many bloggers which they wrote mostly positive thats why people feed back with them are positive as well.I might say i can call u a good traveller as backpackers if u leave your negativeness in one place….becoz u just gonna ruin your travel moment if u keep bringing all your negativeness in one place.Well people not gonna follow you if u always like that.They might comment just becoz u attract them of being you as nega person .Wish u luck from a positive blog next time.

      7. You came at the wrong time. So sorry for that experience. If you really did your research, you shouldnt be reacting that way. Pagudpud has a lot to offer and you should be respecting it instead doing this kind of blog. I am really sorry for that experience but i am never sorry for your experience. ;) you’re always welcome here.

  2. I always hear that going to be a place off season is a bad idea…but I didn’t think it was going to be like that. The beach view looks good (if you ignore that trash) meaning like the water and the sky together and everything. Also, I know you make sacrifices when you go cheap but that sounds like a lot of sacrifices to make. Maybe it’s better in the summer? I have no idea. I always get nervous hearing about bad experiences going places, it’s sad to hear about! :(

  3. thats so disappointing. I hate being really excited for a place and then feeling so let down. That’s so strange about the locals not being friendly. I can’t handle being places if I don’t feel wanted.

  4. Vanessa @ The Travelling Colognian

    OMG, I am sorry to hear that you had a bad time in Pagudpud, Agness. It reminds me of my visit to Golfito in the far Southwest of Costa Rica a few years ago. I went there during an extended Easter weekend and the bus also dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately there were quite a few others including local people so we managed to find our way to the city. But due to the holidays everything was closed and deserted and you hardly didn’t see any people in the streets. Fortunately I had met an italian guy on the bus with whom I continued to the beaches of Zancudo. Definitely saved this trip, otherwise it would have been a letdown.

    I hope, your time at the Rice Terraces in Banaue was much better.

  5. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    We didn’t go to Pagudpud, but we were similarly unimpressed with the first beach we went to in the Philippines (Alona Beach on Bohol). There was so much trash and it was very overdeveloped, but I must say that at least the locals there were friendly!

  6. Being of Filipino background, I apologise on behalf of the unfriendly reception you received. Honestly, Filipinos (aka pinoys/pinays, filos) are usually more accommodating. Sounds like a low season experience that I’ve read in many blogs. Hopefully, you will have better luck in other beach towns in the Phils. Looking forward to reading more.

  7. I hate going to places only to leave disappointed. Do you think you were just unlucky? Or do you think the locals only keep up their friendly charade during the peak season?

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I was never pleased with the Philippines as to me, people there were very unfriendly. Therefore, I’m afraid they only keep up their friendly charade during the peak season.

  8. Hi Agnes,
    That`s too bad :(
    Yesterday we went to Balicasag Island. Left Alona Beach with a beautiful sun but the weather changed and we got the whole day of rain! My experience in one of my dream islands turn into a cold and wet boat ride :(
    Safe travels,

  9. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    Oh dear, what a shame ya’ll didn’t enjoy Pagudpud. Nothing worse than a bad travel experience, especially being treated poorly by the locals.

  10. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    Such a shame Agness – it’s always harder to be positive about a place if the weather is awful and the costs are so inflated! Hopefully, Pagudpud is much nicer in high season!

  11. Such a shame Agness – the Philippines are up there on my list of places to visit, I’ll have to make sure I go in season!

  12. If you have researched enough, you would’ve known that March-May is the best time to go there. And going there without even knowing the schedule of buses and the shortest time possible to reach pagudpud by bus proves that you’re not really an experienced traveller but an ignorant one. Seriously, if you have taken the 8 pm bus to laoag, you would’ve been there at around 4 or 5 in the morning. Just in time for your Laoag-Pagudpud trip. And if you already have some idea where to check in, then the drivers wouldn’t have dropped you out of nowhere.

    1. It’s true we have not researched every single detail of our journey, but I think that would take too much out of fun. Based on our previous experiences in many countries, the best times were when we didn’t plan too much and went with the flow. This time it didn’t go that well, but it’s the risk we’re happy to take.

  13. Toni - Reclaiming My Future

    I don’t blame you for being disappointed – it sounds like you really had some bad luck going there when you did especially with the weather! I get so sad when you head to the place and you feel let down – I often find that going somewhere with few expectations helps because you’re either pleasantly surprised or not too disappointed!!! Hope you enjoyed other places :)

    1. Thanks for your comment. Can’t agree with you more. We always heard that the Philippines are great on so many levels and we hardly heard any other opinion. I bet it’s because Filipinos overreact when someone points out something negative about their country, even when it’s true. We have enjoyed some other places in Philippines though.

      1. You didnt researched enough. Let me give you tips when going to a vacation:
        Research research research.
        By plane is the most convenient way to travel from manila to pagudpod “you didnt now that”
        There are different beaches in pagudpod, the one you’ve been is saud beach, the most ugliest beach in pagudpod. Blue lagoon beach ia way better and kingfisher beach is the best. “Again you did’nt know that”
        You said that you are never pleases in the philippines? Maybe check your attitude. People usually don’t treat other people badly if they are nice.”time for you to do some self evaluation. Maybe the problem is not them maybe its you!!!”

  14. I’m sorry for the bad experince you got in our beloved Pagudpud, well, you did go on an off season and it rains there alot during dec-feb.. I guess you didnt do much research or didnt plan it very well.. Usually what others do is they take a plane from manila- laoag (45minutes) or they take an earlier bus about 8-10pm so your trip would be cut short to 8hours. From laoag usually the bus takes you there for another hour. Usually the bus drops you near the municipal hall or if you took the Buses going to Cagayan they will leave you to the entrance of Pagudpud proper which I guess where they dropped you off. The $50 rooms are yes expensive but you pay for the amenities too. I bet the one you had are those small lodging houses/home stays which are cheaper but with limited ammenities. As for the trash, you cant avoid that as you said it was always raining and I bet you wouldnt go out and clean the beach during those times, right? But anyway, to cut it short, try going there during the peak seson, you’ll be surprised! Or maybe try Hannahs Place located in Balaoi, Pagupid. Its another 30 minutes from Saud Beach. Again i’m sorry for your tri, and hope you will consider going back specially during long holidays and during summer.. Im from Ilocos Norte and usually I take some tourists there during my free time. They’ve enjoyed it with no regrets.. Best regards.

      1. Detailed planning would be my 1st suggestion for foreign tourists coming to the Philippines. It’s today a country of very impoverished people who would grab at any chance of making A BUCK. 2nd will be, best if you have a very trustworthy local(if you might be able to find one, a not-so-close friend, maybe?) so he can give you a really good idea beforehand. Anyway, good or bad, you found your adventure in some way. Better luck next time. IF, you decide for another.

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