Sun Soaked: The rise of a promising annual beach festival in Ilocos


The first Sun Soaked on the warm sandy beaches of Cabugao and Magsingal brought both jolt and encouragement to the otherwise serene coastal villages at the northern end of Ilocos Sur. Without much fanfare prior to its staging, the festival of sea, sand and sun challenges that included kiteboarding, surfing, beach volleyball, frisbee and dragon boat racing was able to attract droves of beach sports enthusiasts from the National Capital Region and the capital of beach events, where else but Boracay?

Pug-os Beach

I lingered at the Cabugao Beach Resort to cheer for the PDRT Fireblades, one among the country’s leading dragon boat teams that made the 8 slots for the first ever dragon boat race on the shores of Ilocos. The race was held in cooperation with the Philippine Canoe and Kayak Federation, headed by Ms. Jonne Go.

Congressman Ronald Singson

As head organizer of Sun Soaked, Congressman Ronald Singson of the 1st District of Ilocos Sur mingled with the participants, and along with brother Gov. Ryan Singson, they hosted an after beach party and concert following the awarding ceremonies.

Cong. Ronald said when asked if Sun Soaked is the start of more sports activities to come in Ilocos Sur, “Yes, this is going to be a yearly thing. With our many beautiful beaches, we see the potentials of fun events in Ilocos Sur.”

Looking back, Ilocos Sur has successfully organized individual sports competitions, particularly motocross and enduro dirt bike challenges.


I crossed paths with the Sports Unlimited team covering the events. Hahah, first, it was Gene, the executive producer. Only until Marc Nelson holds the mic before the camera, he is incognito as always. I was happy the super friendly host remembers me and my family. The last time we hosted him and Dyan Castellejo in Norte was almost a decade ago.

Marc NelsonPhilippine National AnthemThe Chinese Monk

A monk blesses the dragon boats on Pug-os Beach.

TailsSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestLea and JonneManila DragonsLa Salle PaddlersPaddlersPDRT FirebladesSun Soaked 2014 Dragon Boat RaceTeddyBeach MatInoue, Charlie and AlexThe moms

With Duch Gamboa-Co and Pinky Co, supportive mom to PDRT Fireblades paddlers Duch and Phil.

Sun Soaked Dragon Boat Race

Moody winds threatened the races. La Salle’s boat overturned at one point, but made it back to the race.

Manila Wave beat Boracay All Stars at the 300m dragon boat race. PYROS came in close third while Manila Dragons made the 4th top spot.

Being an adventure junkie myself, looking forward to experience more action-packed events in the years to come.

Happy Kannawidan, Ilocos Sur!

Manila WaveSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestFrisbeeSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestPhil

Phil Co, an Ilocano paddler.

Alex and Charlie
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Surf’s Up in Sabang, Cabugao

Sabanf Surf Scene

Yesterday was a great day to explore the second most northern town in Ilocos Sur. Only then did I discover that Cabugao is home to the newest surfing destination in the north. Through the twists and turns of the Salomague Road, with no signs, it was easy ending up in another village. The locals were helpful, however, in leading us to Sabang. To surfers, the quiet, less crowded Sabang is Kido’s Point, named after its pioneer surfer, Ronald “Kido” Cabasug.

Kido was trained by visiting Australian surfer, Rene Hodgens, in 1993. He continues to be the big influence in the growing culture in the fishing village where surfboards are paddled most, next to bancas. The swells from the north and south produce quality waves.

Sabang, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur

Kido heads the group of Sabang surfers known as Surfing Ilocos. A local competition around the coast  is slated this Saturday. They also teach beginners the sport. (For inquiries, contact Kido Cabasug at his number, 0905 778 4292.)

Next year, the group is again also assisting the Philippine Surfing Federation with a national event scheduled on January 28-February 2.

NeutralityOut to the SeaSurfing IlocosSt, Benedict Island, Cabugao, Ilocos SurBoard WalkSurf Lights

No waves, no glory. ‘Tis the season to get stoked in Sabang.

Cabugao SurfersYoung Surfer

The youngest, cutest surfer in Sabang.


I’d go boating to St. Benedict Island, a private island off the coast of Sabang, when the winds are down.

Other Points of Interest in Cabugao

St. Mark the Evangelist Church, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur

At the side of the Cabugao Municipal Hall is the St. Mark the Evangelist Church.

Sunset at Salomague

Not too far from the surfing capital of Sur is the historically significant Salomague Port and fishing village. Salomague Port was the foremost entry point of the Japanese Imperial Army during the WWII Japanese Invasion.

BancaThrough the BoatSakada Centennial Memorial

The Sakada Centennial Memorial, situated in Salomague, was built in commemoration of the first Ilocanos who left for Hawaii in 1906 to work as sakadas in sugar cane plantations. In Ilocos, the old-timers and their descendants are commonly referred to as Hawaiinos.


Sundown at Pug-os Beach, known for its white pebble sands. Beach resorts can be found around the area.

*With special thanks to Barangay Captain Eduardo Cobangbang, Sr. Ronald “Kido” Cabasug and the friendly surfers of Sabang.

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