Ilocos Norte has always been a part of my bucket list. Thanks to North Luzon Renewables, I’m happy to tick that off as well as be able to have an intimate runs around their windmills at Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte. It was a great eat and run weekend that had us awed by the beauty of Ilocos Norte.
Ilocos Norte has been illusive for me even if I spent most of my lifetime in the Baguio City. Well, I’ve got the chance to join some influence-rs to run and explore the potentials of eco-tourism and race-tourism in the facility of North Luzon Renewables Energy Corporation. North Luzon Renewables operates 27 windmills with a maximum output of 81 MW to power the area and the rest of Ilocos Norte. The place is just awesome, you have the view of the beaches of Pagudpod, the nearby mountains and the windmills. I was really honored to be part of the group to test out the place. There’s so much potential in the area in terms of eco and sports tourism with wide trails, an access to the beaches and magnificent views.
Upon arrival at the airport, our first stop was La Preciosa. The place won me over with the ambiance and of course, my all-time favorites bagnet and dinuguan. It was the start of our eat and run weekend. It really does make sense having an eat and run event here with the cuisine and a lot of run-able locations in the region. We then headed to Java Hotel, which would be our home for the day. It had a Bali and Morocco inspired interior complete with Cogon Roofs and also had a river at the side of the restaurant.
The first part of the tourism part was checking out the Paoay Sand Dunes. We just walked along our way to the sand dunes and it was impressive. The place had a dessert like feel like Tatooine and the artworks display added to the charm and mysticism of the Sand Dunes. It felt great running in the sand dunes and just appreciating the art displays that established the dessert-feel of the place. I’m glad we walked and ran this part just to burn all the bagnets in our bellies.
There were also people riding 4×4 vehicles screaming their hearts out every time they had to encounter a really steep slope. We awaited for sunset and spent some time at the beach area.
We then headed home for dinner and some drinks at Java Hotel. It was really nice spending time with these creative bunch as we had so many ideas to share over dinner.
The Road to Pagudpod
The next day, I was up early and so was Coach Ige and his daughter Yana. We took the time to explore Java Hotel. We also had breakfast and when in Ilocos, go for Longanisa. That’s what I had for breakfast before preparing my stuff on our way to Pagudpod to visit North Luzon Renewables.
We took the PIN Road heading to Ilocos, which was rough roads and trails. The whole stretch of the PIN road was about 15 kilometers of rolling trails with some steep section, which made our ride extra exciting. PIN Road was really scenic. It’s forested and you get to see some birds and butterflies along the way. The route was really scenic. We were really tempted to get off our car and just run the course. This can really rival the Salomon and TNF courses in terms of beauty and challenges. When we got out of PIN Road, we were off to lunch.
Bergblick Restaurant is a popular stopping point for those on the road. After our group, several groups also came in to have lunch here. It’s a Dutch restaurants and we got some really tasty chicken, meat, sausages and a lot more. I liked that it was a totally different meal experience from the previous day.
North Luzon Renewables
After meals, we were off to North Luzon Renewables facility in Pagudpod. We were briefed on the regulations of the place and how windmills work. I learned so much about the technology and also realized the importance of going for renewable energy. We then had a tour of the facility, which would be our running ground the next day.
The facility was impressive and the views were just magnificent. You had the beaches of Pagudpod, the mountains and of course, the windmill. It’s an up and down route, which would really be a challenge the next day.
They’ve mapped out a 10K route for us though they also have a 21K loop available. It’s gonna be an epic run tomorrow. We then headed to Kingfisher, which would be our home for the day.
Duyan with a beach view is just the perfect place to chill. The beach had fine white sands and we spent the rest of the afternoon just chillin’ in the water. Come dinner time, we had a Pizza Party. It was make your own pizza kind of a night.
Run With The Windmills
It wasn’t really a race but they made it feel like one. We had a gun start, a formal warm up, route marshals, water station and route markers. It was a run around the course on a rolling terrain that had a lot of climbs.
When the race started I sprinted over the first 100 meters and yehey, I’m first on the first 100 meters. Ok, time to walk. => Well, it was a long climb after the first 100 meters so I shifted to a more conservative approach. I walked on the climbs and ran on the descents. The race was pure climbing on the first 3 kilometers so I just went at a consistent pace without stopping. After the first 3 kilometers, I went more aggressive with run on the descents and to the portion of the climb just to make the walking breaks much shorter. The views were just amazing. I had to stop from time to time to have my photo taken. The terrain was rolling so the route remains a challenge but I like how even on a test run, we tried our best to have a good time. I finished the 10.35 kilometers in 1:42, which was a good time for me considering that this was a hilly course. There were finisher snacks available on the finish line.
We also did some tree planting after the race. Funny how the one assisting me was already doing the planting while giving instructions. It was a nice way to cap our day by contributing to the reforestation efforts. We then headed to the Jetty area to see where materials are delivered. It’s always an awesome view to see the blue of the waters.
We then headed to Kingfiisher to change before proceeding to the post race hilot, which was another holistic experience. Felt so much relieved after the hilot in all aspects. We spent the rest of the day at the resort before heading back to Laoag for Dinner at the White House. They probably have the most glamorous rest room ever. After dinner, it was finally time to head home. That was an awesome weekend.