Sand, I see it every day and when I was younger built amazing things with it. Like an amazing sunken hole that I believed could have reached the center of the earth, or a magnificent fort with plastic cups to protect the walls from being swept away by the water. As I got older, I still found joy in the sand with its rough and soft feeling between my toes and my feet. The feeling of running and playing it never got old.
As we moved further up north and visited more of Ilocos we happened to stop by the Paoay sand dunes after having gone to the Malacanang of the North. What I saw was something very unexpected, I saw a vast expanse of sand and more sand, and even more sand than I had ever seen in my whole life. It was like a desert just plopped itself in the Philippines and stayed there.
Hopping on a 4x4 truck, our driver had no qualms trying to scare us out of our wits. Climbing steep dunes and hills and then dropping it was a near roller coaster ride experience. I was jostled in every conceivable direction. All of that jostling and climbing was paid off with stunning views of the landscape and the seascape.
The mini desert was beautiful and our timing couldn't have been more than right. The sun was on the wane and it cast beautiful shadows on the surface. The heat wasn't overbearing and the sand not scorching. As we got down from our truck we took countless of selfies, group shots, and jump shots.
Apart from jostling around in the 4x4 truck there was also the the chance to try out sand boarding. At first I was quite apprehensive about this entirely new venture. The only time I ever tried riding a board was in Boracay back in 2010 when my sister taught me how to skimboard.
At best I was able to pull off about 2 seconds before falling flat on my face on the soft sand. This time there would be no water and soft sand to cushion my fall and it didn't help that I was sweating a little bit. The chances of me falling off the board the first time were very high. So high that when I finally tried it and started going down the hill I did my best to make sure I didn't fall. See how I fared in the video below:
Thankfully I didn't fall and despite the shaking I was happy that I still had a good sense of balance. The second time around, I wasn't too good with the board (I had changed my stance in favor of my right foot) and I fell flat on my face. Covered in sand from my arms, legs, face, and hair I felt like I was a kid again in a sandbox playing with friends.
The sand dunes were truly beautiful and otherworldly. The experience was certainly unforgettable, from the roller coaster ride in the truck to my sand boarding attempts I was happy. As the sun slowly set into the horizon and as we played by the shores of the dunes I was happy and relaxed. Playing in the sand, feeling it invade every nook and cranny of your body, or even just feeling it on your bare feet never got old.
The 4x4 truck and sand boarding costs Php. 2,500 with a minimum of 6 people. The package is good for 1 hour.
My name is Alfonso your nerdy history teacher, bookworm and lover of all things cultural and exciting. You can find me in a weekend market, in a bookshop, or eating in Japanese restos during the weekends.