The Laoag Sand Dunes By Heart


The Bantay Bimmaboy of our childhood grows with age. But better. In August 2, 2009, a new culture was born. This sandy part of Sunshine City Laoag blossomed into the first ever playground for Ilocos’s indigenous sandboarding and offroading adventure. I think writer Eleanor Leyco of View Travel and Lifestyle magazine October 2013 edition got her geography all wrong when she wrote “Paoay [a town south of Laoag] is the only place where this kind of natural sand formation exists.” In the spirit of fairness, Ilocos sand adventure was born in the Laoag La Paz Sand Dunes.

I had a blast with local kids last Sunday. My dear Raine Calucag brought along Norman Cualteros to enjoy sunshine before he gets swamped at his post in the Senate this week.

Brought Alexa for her first 4×4 adventure. I never even noticed she hasn’t rode the toughest FJ40 on earth (hahah, still hunky after 4 years of continuous service). Eugene and his elementary friends were also there. Nina Luis helped me relive memories of our first 4×4 rides in La Paz pre-sandboarding era.

MomentumPhoto by Raine

Norman, the hardcore sandboarder:)

Photo by Raine

Raine’s photos of us are cool. You might want to check out her glossy blog named Soveraine. We are planning on our next adventure with Marianne Pasion, another talented young photographer in Ilocos.

Miss you, Raine!

Light, Cameras, ActionPhoto by RainePhoto by RainePhoto by RaineLa Paz Sand DunesPhoto by RaineThree is a CrowdMutedScreamReunionBacklitIn the Middle of Nowhere 2In the Middle of NowhereTender SunsetPhoto by Raine
Photos by Raine,  Norman and Blauearth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

In Memory of Former Laoag Mayor Cesar A. Ventura

Ventura Highway Cruisin'

A few days ago, Ava Ventura, daughter of Cesar Ventura, left a comment in this old post. Though Ana Ventura-Remigio is a FB friend, I think I’ve never met her sister Ava. In my lifetime, I’ve talked to their dad only once, at a kids’ school program when he was still mayor. The former mayor of Laoag City left to be with his creator today.


Before sand adventure in Ilocos (La Paz, Laoag, to be exact) became a big hit, the dirt road leading to the Devil’s Drop, where most of the action takes place, had a sign that read Ventura Highway (check out the old post for the street sign post). This year, the road built by the late Cesar Ventura has already been improved to the tune of millions, but the beat-up Ventura Highway sign was never replaced.

When I was researching for the old post, I couldn’t find any article connecting to the Ventura project. I followed my instincts.  Why is it so hard for other people to give credit where credit is due?

Ventura Highway

Times may change, but history can never be altered. To many of us who have regarded La Paz as our weekend home, the legacy of the late former mayor Cesar Ventura remains.

Thank you, sir, for your vision of the La Paz Sand Dunes.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

The PEGA Sociocultural and Adventural Exchange

Cultural Exchange 2

The formation of the Philippine EcoGuides Association is a unique story. We are such a tiny group, but assuredly, the different regions in the country are well-represented. It’s that thirst for adventure that keeps us connected. We may live on the opposite ends of the country, but we breathe the same air.  We practically live on the same thing. like Chisum Factura is the pioneer white water rafting outfitter in Cagayan de Oro; Reina Bontuyan, besides being a true-blue adventurer, co-manages Viajero Outdoor Centre, the leading outdoor shop in Northern Mindanao; Tsunami Valenzula is a seasoned kayaker as well as the best tour guide Bulacan can ever have; and Paul Calizo and Jonathan Estrella are assiduous tour guides in Davao. Together with Eric, Reina’s hubby, and new friends, adventurers Jason and Cham Garrido from Leyte, we exchanged ideas about the latest trends in adventure tourism, over Ilocano food at Saramsam, followed by coffee and beer at Johnny Moon. They got me Cagayan de Oro’s famous pastel (yummy yema-filled buns) and Paul brought over mangosteen and durian yema balls and a lovely silk pareo. More than the pasalubong, I appreciate so much the invitation to represent PEGA in the 4th National Tour Guides Convention held in Norte earlier this week.

In addition to the food adventure, got them stoked for LEAD Movement’s indigenous adventure in the Laoag Sand Dunes in La Paz, my turf. It’s that sense of place, pride and ownership that defines the very first sandboarding in Ilocos.

Promised everyone to attend the next convention in CDO a year from now.  Mark Yañez offered to be my river guide! White water rafting, hell yeah!

Cultural Exchange 3Over coffee and beerCultural ExchangeMissy BonBon PastelLaoag Sand DunesLaoag Sand Dunes 4x4 AdventureLaoag Sand Dunes 4x4 AdventureLEAD MovementRagga Mindanao!Wipe'outLa Paz Sand SurfingHeavy Duty SandboardHeavy Duty Sandboard 2TsunamiTsunamiLeyte and CDOSouthern Mindanao Visitors in the North
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013