Mountain With A Hole: Pagudpod Beyond the Ordinary

Bantay Abot
Bantay Abot

A confectionery business once advertised their product as “the candy with a hole.” Well, mine is a mountain, and with a hole too!

Four years and three months ago, our group of traveling ‘barkada’ toured the Ilocos Region part of northern Luzon via the ViganLaoagPagudpod route for four days and three nights. We chose this adventure over a trip outside the country, which eventually I surmised, who wouldn’t? 🙂

Bantay Abot
Sitio Gaoa in Brgy. Balaoi

Piso fares were not a fad yet so we took on a 12-hour bus ride from Manila to Pagudpod. We then tracked our way back passing through different tourist spots from the long beaches of Pagudpod to the majectic Bangui Windmills of the north. Further down the road, we explored the pottery industry of Laoag and the antique heritage houses of which Vigan is most known for.

But just like living one’s life, there are some experience that marks deeper and leaves a lasting imprint in our cherished memories and perspectives.

In true amazement, I will never forget the mountain with a hole located at Sitio Gaoa in Brgy. Balaoi near Ilocos’ Blue Lagoon beach. They call it the “Bantay Abot.”

Bantay Abot Cave
Bantay Abot Cave

Literally meaning “mountain with a hole,” Bantay Abot is actually a cave which was collapsed by a storm. And right beside it is the gigantic Timangtang Rock where the two are said to be lovers usually called “Lover’s Rock” prodded by their structure.

The Mountain with a Hole!
The Mountain with a Hole!

The cave and the rock is easily accessible since it is only about 200 meters from the main road. One just have to walk through a pebble-filled beach and some sea rocks.

It is quite interesting when you reach it and stand right at the center of the hole. Facing one side is a relatively quiet and shallow beach with a lot of scattered rocks. Turn 180 degrees and see a greener and deeper body of water where strong waves hit large rocks of old.

Two sides of the sea seen in two different and fresh perspectives, completely opposite but seemingly complementary.

One-Side View from the Hole
One-Side View from the Hole
Lets Go Sago @ the Center Hole
Let's Go Sago @ the Center Hole

The local’s monicker of it being a “Lover’s Rock” has some explanation to it, afterall. 🙂

I have already been to Bantay Abot twice, but still eager to see it once again. Each visit provides a new experience altogether.

Somehow, a rocked moved.
Somehow, the splash of the waves seem softer.
Somehow, the breeze is cooler.

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