Welcoming the heat and the sand

Since I missed the Ilocos Sur leg (yes, Amazing Race lang ang peg!), I was bent on making the most out of the remaining one and a half day of our road trip. We were in some sort of time constraint (our schedules didn’t match and we just force-squeezed this trip into our common vacant days) and the goal was to visit as many places in as little time as possible.

First agenda of the day was to visit La Paz Sand Dunes and go sand boarding. This is becoming a popular activity up north and through internet searches, I was able to get in touch with possibly the most famous operator in the field, Glenn Guerrero. We agreed to meet up at McDonald’s Laoag at 6 AM. Unfortunately, nobody heard the alarm and we all woke up at 6:30. Good thing no one was booked for 7 AM so we hurriedly packed our bags. Never mind hygiene, we can deal with that later.

Upon arriving at the vicinity of the sand dunes, the first thing we did was to of course, sign a waiver. Waivers like this practically means that if something bad happens to us, it’s not the service providers’ fault but ours. In Tagalog, “ginusto namin to, kami may kasalanan“.

SONY DSCWe rode a blue 4×4 truck and we toured around different areas of the sand dunes. The ride is bumpy and you need to hold on tight for dear life. The key, according to kuya Glenn, is to keep your knees flexible. If you’re too stiff, prepare to suffer the consequences afterwards.

SONY DSCSome areas didn’t have any form of plants while others had a bush here and there. The sand wasn’t as yellow as the kind you see on deserts but the temperature surely made us feel like we were in one. We were there at around 7:30 and I could only imagine how scorching the heat could be at 12 noon.

sand dunes (12)According to kuya Glenn, the sand is fine because the area is formerly a body of water. Earth science taught me that Baguio used to be underwater so this one was believable. You see, even the landscapes of the world is constantly changing!

x (10)At one of the highest places in the area, a burst of green can be seen on one side, a strong contrast to the sand dunes on the other.

x (4)After the tour comes the sand boarding and this was where we were supposed to do the activity.

sand dunes (4)Kuya Glenn’s assistants. Wasn’t able to get their names but they can double as photographers.

SONY DSCI went first and the same with any other adventurous thing I did in the past, the scariest part is the moment before the descent. It’s the moment before you’re dropped from 90 feet high, the moment before you jump off a waterfall, the moment before the staff pushes you into the clouds and in this case, the moment before kuya slides you through the slope. After that, you just let out that scream, savor that feeling and pray to God that everything will be alright. It was fun actually, and a bit bitin because it’s done in a matter of seconds. And thanks to my headware, I didn’t munch on as much sand as my friends. Hehe.

sand dunes (15)Actually, the real challenge was climbing back. We were joking that this could be an adventure of its own and it deserved a name. Sand climbing it is. Seriously, it was taxing to the body (especially if you’re overweight and you haven’t had breakfast), comparable to having a cardio made even harder by the heat.

sand dunes (18)I also tried descending in a supine position, head first and it would have been more fun if only my ponytail wasn’t stuck in between the board and the sand. It felt like someone was pulling my hair. Ugh. Tip: When doing this, make sure you’re hair is in a bun, or better yet, cut it off.

sand dunes (20)The last thing we tried was to sand board while standing. One of the kuyas demonstrated and it seemed very easy. As in he went down the slope smoothly. If he can do it that effortlessly then we can accomplish the same, right? WRONG! Even after all the tips they gave (distribute our weights equally between our legs, keep our balance and etc) none of us managed to reach the bottom without falling down.

sand dunes (22) sand dunes (26) sand dunes (23)With me being the worst. I fell down the second after kuya let go of me. I didn’t even reach one fourth of the distance. Surprisingly, the fall wasn’t painful at all.

sand dunes (27)There was a higher and much steeper slope but the four of us were too tired to accept the challenge. We have a long day ahead and it was enough that we had our money’s worth. If you don’t mind trying something new, getting dirty, being a tone darker, bumpy rides, and eating some sand, sand boarding at La Paz is a must.

sand dunes (31)ATVs are available for rent but they were way out of our budgets so we just took pictures with the thing and pretended we were badass.

sand dunes (34)The package is 2,500 pesos for a maximum of 5 persons and it includes the 4×4 ride, tour and sand boarding activities. Kuya Glenn was friendly and always smiling plus he understands the need of Filipinos to take tons of pictures for social networking sites. You can send him an e-mail at glennguerrero76@yahoo.com or contact him at 09088853669 or 09109474129. Also, they post pictures of you and your group on their facebook page, Ilocos Sand Boarding Adventures!

sand dunes (30)If I were you I would try to book for 5 PM for the sunset. I’m not sure if he accommodates customers at 5 AM for the sunrise though I wish he does.

*Some of the photo credits go to Charisse Socan. Thanks Cha!

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