Dubbed as the “Desert of the North,” the La Paz Sand Dunes is a popular destination for sand boarding, trekking, shooting films, and sightseeing.
The Sand Dunes of La Paz, also known as Bantay Bimmaboy by the locals, is a protected sandy coastal desert and beach near Laoag City in Ilocos Norte. This natural wonder is about 15 minutes away from the city proper and can be reached via public jeepney, tricycle or private van.
The place is not as great as the Sahara Desert of Africa or the Mui Ne Sand Dunes of Vietnam, but it is still stunning in its own right. Driving amidst the sand dunes is an enjoyable experience. Going uphill can give you a picturesque panoramic view of the South China Sea, its vigorous waves, against the striking blue skies and cloud patterns.
Due to its impressive landscape, the La Paz Sand Dunes has been a popular setting both for local and international movies. Among the Hollywood films that were shot there include “Mad Max” and “Born on the Fourth of July”, which starred Tom Cruise.
Besides being a favorite shooting location, it has now boomed into a haven for adventure sports: off-roading and sand boarding. It was still off-peak season when we visited the sand dunes so there were not many thrill seekers in the area. But during the summer vacation, the place is usually packed with folks enjoying “dune bashing” while riding ATV or 4×4 vehicles, and other outdoor sports such as sand surfing and sand boarding. The sand formations and slopes are perfect obstacle courses for those who love extreme, adrenaline-filled adventures.
Don’t ever miss the chance to go to La Paz Sand Dunes if you visit Ilocos Norte! I suggest you go there late in the afternoon to catch the beautiful sunset, wear comfortable clothes, and bring an umbrella to avoid getting sunburned.