The Blue Lagoon of Pagudpud
Well, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but… In comparison to the quiet, idyllic Saud Beach and its pristine waters, the blue lagoon came off as touristy, crowded, and overhyped. Definitely didn’t help that we arrived just as a holiday–national family weekend–kicked off and the town and beach was completely packed with excited vacationers.
Holidays aside, I just didn’t like how one particular resort-slash-waterpark dominated the scene. Even with our first glimpse of the cove, the giant hollywood-style letters stole attention from the cerulean blue lagoon; the resort’s open nipa huts litter the beach; and their zip line is strung right above the cove, ensuring its omniscient hold on the beach town.
That said, the blue lagoon is lovely and the local peeps welcoming. The majority of vacationing families all had videoke machines and all day, every day, people could be found/heard singing along to subtitled music videos either in English or one of their many languages. The lagoon is picturesque when the sun is shining, though the water is somewhat cloudy because of all of the activity going on. Jetskis and banana boats were whizzing around, and the zip line was busy with superman figures. Every night, kids were sent off to amuse themselves, teenagers wandered around in giggling hordes, while raucous adults filled the open nipa huts and passed around hard liquor (that shit goes down hard).
Aside from Hannah’s mafia of a resort, there are a variety of hotels and home stays to choose from. Options range from budget nipa huts and concrete rooms to decent three-story hotels to luxuriant resorts, though there are absolutely NO beachfront cottages or rooms to be found near the town center. Only one dirt road goes through the town, and extends far beyond the town center (which, incidentally, happens to be in front of Hannah’s gateway). After 5-10 minutes walking along this road you can find a few hotels that are as close to the beach as you’ll get, set in a barangay and nicely insulated from Hannah’s.
There weren’t many cheap eateries to choose from, presumably because many vacationing filipinos tend to bring their own cooking supplies and food, but there was decent street food to be found at night (mostly seafood). If you purchase your own fish (easily done so through the local fishermen) or have your own meat handy, the street vendors will cook it for you— 80 pesos per kilogram. There are two convenience stores, and the one on the right is cheaper and friendlier.