ILOCOS DIARIES: PAOAY SAND DUNES

The fact that I already tried the thrill of desert safari in Dubai doesn’t give much excitement at first when I read our Ilocos itinerary which includes sand dunes. I had an idea how it goes. But since that was long time ago with different set of friends in a totally different place I’d better give myself a chance to explore it again. To spot any difference between safari in Dubai and here in the Philippines.

The sun was confidently smiling at us when we reach the base. There I saw less than 1o 4×4 rough riding vehicle and some of fellow tourist who also look like to try the sporty experience in Ilocos. Aha, an open 4×4 will be used to conquer the desert while we had a closed 4×4 Land Cruisers in Dubai. After we register our name and pays Php2500 (we are 5 in our group) as entrance/rental fee we excitedly climb up to our chosen blue 4×4. Since the vehicle is design to match its role in sand dunes it was a bit high for us so riding into it was uneasy at first.Lots of laugh till everybody was up and ready for our exciting adventure.

We're ready to conquer the desert....

We’re ready to conquer the desert….

We enjoy the breeze of air as we pass by on an even land. Not so far from the main base we saw a lofty hill whereas our Driver remind us to take a deep breath and hold as much as we can because this will be the start of our unforgettable riding experience. Unlike in Dubai we are protected with safety belt, here in Paoay holding the bar is the best safety gear you could have on this trip. It might be  a common scenario to heard lot of screaming among passengers especially if they are first-timers. Even our group are loaded with bulk of energy to be a noisy riders, laugh for fun and scream to extreme excitement. Like what we used to shout everytime we saw a hill: “ayaaan naaa…..Kapit!!!”. Well, as we pass to numerous steep we already master the technique of riding a 4×4. It is important to goes with the flow of vehicle. If you are on elevated area hold the bar tightly, bend a little bit on your way down, scream to eliminate the pressure then stand up again to resume your composure.

The Adventure begins here!!!!!

The Adventure begins here!!!!!

Finally, we reach the sandboarding area. There are other riders who came before us. We saw them enjoying their moment in the sand. The hilly sand in Paoay is really good for wonderful experience of sandboarding. This is 1 thing I missed in our desert safari in Dubai because of time limitation. So when our driver parked our 4×4 we quickly jump off to start our much awaited agenda-the never-been-try sandboarding.

At the top...

At the top…

Our driver who assist us all the way is patiently coaching us on how to be a good sandboarders.

Our Driver cum Coach cum Mentor....

Our Driver cum Coach cum Mentor….

After a minute of teaching session, we undoubtedly give it a try. Our coach applied a small portion of wax on sandboard base to make sure that we’ll have a  smooth sailing downward. One by one, we try the most easiest and safest way of sandboarding. Slide down while pretty sitting. Yipee….

We did it!!!!

We did it!!!!

Then we need to venture into high level of sandboarding. We need to practice the sense of balance while standing on the sandboard base. I think it is difficult for a beginner like us but our Coach keep on teaching the correct approach. It doesn’t matter if we fell along the way the important is we never give up trying. See, on our photo below our attempt to balance failed several times. Yet we never stop till we manage to do it even in a short and simplest way. Nothing beats the feeling of satisfaction whenever you did it in a flying color.

Another try....

Another try….

Happy hour with my HS friend...

Happy hour with my HS friend…

After our adrenaline-rush activities in the sand, we inclusively tour the other part of the desert by riding again on our 4×4. Well, the whole vicinity is not only covered with sand because somewhere along our way we saw a bluish body of water. Thanks to our driver who brought us near the seashore to relax and take rest after our tiring but fulfilling session of sandboarding. We almost act like kids who keep on running barefoot. The waves of the sea are like a sound of music in our ear. It was another Heaven’s creation where ocean kissed the desert and where fun is preserved under the sun.

an oasis...no..no.. a body of water...

an oasis…no..no.. a body of water…

Relax with Water

Relax with Water

The best time of doing sand dunes is either early in the morning or before sunset. But our group fearlessly manages the scorching heat even we’re standing there before noon. It’s good idea that I bring my shawl. It has a double purpose of protecting us against wind and UV rays.

Need to go back....

Need to go back….

Time really flies! We didn’t notice that we already spent more than 1 hour just enjoying the sand dunes. Before we bid goodbye to that place we also take an opportunity to have a photo op with our driver. He did a great job. His driving skill will make you scream but end up safe and sound; his coaching will push you to listen so that you’ll have a full enjoyment; and he also serve as our photographer who knows how to capture all our milestones in the sand.

With our 4X4 Driver...

With our 4X4 Driver…

I have been to desert safari before but this trip makes me realize that even you’re doing the same outdoor activities it will give you  a different side of story and unique level of experience. Our Ilocos sand dunes escapade is indeed memorable to all of us—a beginners who never shown any fear, an intense ride that give us a worth pride, and we had our skin half-tan but our adventure is jam-packed with fun.

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