Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Philippines …If you are an adrenaline rush traveler, and you happen to be in the Ilocos Norte province of the Philippines, then take a trip to La Paz Sand Dunes in Paoay. I was there and I confess, my trip in this desert became one of my most unforgettable experiences. We had an awesome 4X4 ride over the high sand slopes and sandboarded without caring about sunburns.
The province of Ilocos is not only about different historical sites or wonders of nature . It also offers extreme activities, for those adventures, thrill-seekers. The Sand Dunes location gained popularity as a ” must visit” location when it was featured on different blog sites, television and films. Some scenes in the local movie, Panday, were shot in Sand Dunes.
By the end of the riding day, my knees were weak.The activity is simple; all you have to do is stand at the back of the jeep, hold on tight for your life and survive. Of course, it helps if you do not fall off the vehicle. Sure, that sounds easy? You will be going over big slopes, without a harness, no knee pads, elbow pads, or even a helmet. You will even have to sign a waiver before you begin. Draw your own conclusions ……
The whole area of the Sand Dunes serves as a trial for the 4×4 activity. There are 3 levels, easy to hard. The easy trail is just a warm-up and the road is just rough and rather bumpy. Next is the medium trail, where there are steeper slopes. You go on top of a platform, the jeep will stops on the edge, the driver steps on the gas hard and you just start to go crazy.!
Then we reached the hard trail. I can still remember the adrenaline rush. The last time I screamed like that I was on a roller coaster. Well, roller coasters have safety gears. In the hard trail, it feels like you drop at 90 degrees. Every time we stopped at the edge of the slope I cursed our driver . I did apologize afterward for my burst of emotion as it was nothing personal. These are professional drivers and know their job very well to be issued a license to drive in Sand Dunes.
Sandboarding is also conducted in the same area. Our driver was also our instructor in this activity. There are two kinds of boards. One for the sitting position and the other for standing. Again, they offered no protective gear for this activity. We started in a sitting position which is much easier than standing.
At first, everyone was hesitant to try this activity. I guess it was because we were still in recovery mode from the jeep ride. Then I took off and 10 seconds later reached the bottom. It was one, great, enjoyable ride. Tip: Don’t open your mouth during the ride, or the sand will give you a meal.
If you are planning to try this activity, I suggest you schedule it early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid sunburns. It was a great experience for thrill-seekers and those with good hearts!