Kingfisher Beach: Ilocos Norte’s new hideaway

The view from the Kingfisher Premier Casita

Perhaps, an inadverdent staycation, all by myself, is exactly what my being was looking for after a straight 5 years of blogging.

Kingfisher Beach, elsewhere between Saud Cove and Blue Lagoon, is a low-key spot, ideal for people whose idea of a vacation is serenity, relaxation, sun worship and water fun. It’s a jerky 12-km tricycle ride from the Pagudpud clam marker along the National Highway, but in my case, there is nothing more absolute than a hermetic, unperturbed beach, with a charming bohemian vibe, water sports access, cozy casitas and fabulous food.

Kingfisher Beach Premier Casita

At present, apart from rustic tiki huts and well-furnished casitas, there is only one casa with a pool. Owner Mon Manotok calls it the Premier Suite. It was where I spent the night, but I regret that I wasn’t totally prepared for this assignment. In my weekender was a sarong, a big shirt, an outfit for the next day, sunglasses, lipstick, hair cream, my D90, of course, and a bag where I throw in my scribbled notes. And just before writing this piece, someone mistook my notes for trash. But I brought home all the beautiful details — for you, dear readers. By the way, if you can get your hands on the in-flight magazine of Philippine Airlines, the October 2014 Mabuhay Magazine issue, I wrote about the new adventures in the two Ilocos provinces, hope you get to read the feature.


Having been extensively featured in international kiteboarding magazines and given TripAdvisor Excellence certificates, Kingfisher, equipped with a kiteboarding and windsurfing center, with only Cabrinha kites and gear, attracts pro kitesurfers and Western and Asian leisure vacationers. Surfing season is from October to middle of April. Says Lisa, a recurrent visiting Dutch expat who works in Boracay, “It’s a good place to learn kitesurfing.”

Side onshore wind and shallow, flat water, with reef breaks inside, bring beginners safely back to the shore. Costs of kiteboarding lessons will vary according to length of the course. Kingfisher offers other ways to bask in the sun — SUP boards, kayaks and snorkeling gear are up for rent. It’s a relatively friendly beach.

MJ CahiligKiting instructor MJ Cahilig doing what he does best.Kingfisher Beach

Watch this video by pro kitesurfer Fabrice Beaux, who used to teach at Kingfisher.A Cup of CoffeeThe Beach Restaurantsteak a la pobreBig BrotherMonKnowing exactly what he wants, visionary and keeper Mon Manotok keeps office at this spot.Community

Sociability is remarkable in this place — everybody is talking to each other. Zarah Chua, the attentive, neighborly manager says, guests naturally mingle with each other.

The food. A great discovery! From my simple countrified kahel juice to the beachy lobster kilawin and steamed fish – there was always something refreshing about it. Kingfisher has made an excellent cook out of Jomel Vidal. Their bestsellers are homey continental entrees, yet the meat dishes, beef tapa, baked pork and steak a la pobre, among others, are delightful. The kitchen is well-stocked — pressed coffee, premium coffee, fruit shakes, ice cream, pica-pica, burritos, beer below zero are readily available.

Dinamita and Lobster KinilawBeach FoodPressed CoffeeKingfisher Beach CasitasDroneKingfisher KitesurfingKingfisher Premier Casita 4Warm SandsSandySouvenirsPicture 206The RoomBeach Dreami lost my notes, but i will never forget all the soulful details...

One can get both picture-perfect sunrises and sunsets from the Premier Suite.

I lost my scribbled notes, but the sweet, warm, wild scent of Kingfisher Beach will forever linger in my mind.

Evening at KingfisherShorelinePicture 416

Lisa and I took shots of the newly-installed UPC windmills nearby. The area is closed to the public for rehabilitation of the vegetation in the next two years. Something to explore next is Ayoyo Cove at the end of the road.

Day tours like picnics within the camp are not allowed. It’s not exclusive, but Kingfisher wants to maintain the very idea behind this bed and breakfast that started as homespun. Perhaps, for diners, you can call in advance or get in touch with them through their website and Facebook page.

Ayoyo and Capirispisan

With special thanks to Eastgate Publishing Corp., Kingfisher Beach, Mon Manotok, Zarah Chua, MJ Cahilig, UPC project mananger and friends I met during my Kingfisher stay.

Kingfisher Beach Caparispisan, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Unobstructed View

Ice Crumble

For once, I felt like a stranger in my own turf. In a span of months, windmills takeover the landscape in the gorgeous, idyllic northern towns of Ilocos Norte. We’re seeing an ugly maelstrom, just the tip of the iceberg of the targeted 400 MW power generation capacity by five different energy companies.

Enjoyed the remaining clean vistas, save for that one tacky statue guarding the Blue Lagoon.

ButtonBlue Lagoon, PagudpudCrawfishPicture 164NinaLobstersThe Dried Octopus OwnerNative Fish SaucePicture 110LiliesPicture 050RambutanThe Coconut CutterTwo HutsKoi Pond
SeedlingsVivid Pinks and CoralsUntitled
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

How much is too much?

I've been to paradise!

Palpalokada was the most picturesque place I’ve ever photographed. It captured the imagination of people when I first posted it on Facebook.

Three weeks after Ilocos Norte’s best-kept secret came out in the news, a television crew arranged a shoot for its inclusion in a feature story about the country’s paradise-like places.

Some people who have visited Palpalokada would compare, it’s the nearer alternative to say Batanes or Hawaii.

I’ve grown attached to the blog header. I still get a lot of inquiries about the location.

Several weeks ago, an in-flight magazine wanted to borrow my old photos they stumbled upon in the net. I declined on purpose. What is there to promote to the world when that perfect, unusual landscape that Ilocanos thought they never had has been altered and can never be enjoyed whole again?

Fresh Perspective

I liked the Bangui windmills when they were the only ones standing along the windy coastline. They launched a million photographs. Those were the first in Southeast Asia.

Burgos and Caparispisan, Pagudpud, are the next hosts to industrial wind turbines. With a second and a third wind farm in progress, the appeal of wind turbines has turned cloying.

Wind is free, we know. But to the larger majority of residents in Ilocos Norte, there is no direct benefit. Power is sold to the grid and we buy power from the coop.

The turbines reduce greenhouse gases, we understand. But has it even occurred in the minds of the leaders that their constituents need to be consulted when hundreds of hectares of land to accommodate these gigantic turbines are compromised?

Is it enough that the project is labeled green?

What happens to an ecosystem that has been disturbed?

I say goodbye to the unsullied beauty of Palpalokada. Forever blown away in the wind.

PalpalokadaPalpalokada Rock FormationsTrekking in Palpalokada
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014