One of the main reasons why I wanted to reach Ilocos is to admire the beauty of these towering colossi which harness 40% of Ilocos Norte’s electricity needs. A common misconception is that the windmills are located in Pagudpud, but during my trip here, I found out that they are located in the town of Bangui, a quaint, coastal town bordered by rivers that dry up during the summer season and the Bangui Bay, where the windmills are facing.
It was midday when our group reached Bangui, and definitely not a good time to check out the place. Apart from the searing hot sand of the beach, you’ll get toasted from the dry wind which blows from the sea — not to mention the sun looking down on you!
How to get there: From Laoag town proper, you can ride a bus to Pagudpud (just ask for directions of the terminal, it’s just a street behind the Municipal Hall, i think). Fare is around 60php per head, and it’s an ordinary bus, with no aircon. I suggest you ride this one so you could appreciate the view on the way while enjoying the fresh air. From pagudpud town proper, a lot of tricycle drivers are offering a South loop tour for 600php (max of 4 persons per trike). It will include a tour to Kapurpuraoan rock formation, Bangui Windmills, Bangui Viewpoint and Cape Borjeador Lighthouse in Burgos.
From the National highway, the windmills are visible jutting from the trees that line up the shore. One has to turn left if coming from the south, after which you will pass a series of dirt roads until you reach the coastline. These windmills, officially called as the Northwind Bangui Bay Project, is an effort by the local government of Ilocos Norte to promote and practice renewable energy.
Getting an opportunity from the wind that blows from South China Sea toward the land, the location is optimal enough in generating enough electricity and windbreaks. Also, the location of our country being near the Asia-Pacific monsoon belt is ideal for installing these wind turbines. PAGASA attests that the Philippines has a mean average of about 31 watts per square meter of wind power intensity. If only all these factors (wind resources) are considered in developing renewable energy in most parts of the country, then the people won’t be bothered by the rising prices of power consumption because we are already a self-sustaining country. (Not to mention these things are considered an international tourist attraction for being the largest wind turbines in Southeast Asia!)
Upon observing a single turbine, the 50-meter column is made up of metal coating painted in white. Diameter ranges from 5-7 meters and sturdy enough to hold the three vertically-oriented rotor blades. There were even scary sounds emanating from the wind turbine.
We had our lunch under one of the wind turbines, seeking refuge from the heat of the sun via its shadow.
While these giants are great to be with up close, nothing beats the experience of viewing them from afar, most especially if you’re like a bird flying over it. So after checking them out, you might want to proceed in the Bangui viewpoint, a few kilometers west and going up into the mountains before crossing the Burgos-Bangui boundary. Here a few souvenir vendors will offer a much discounted price compared to the ones sold in Pagudpud! Too bad I bought my windmill souvenirs for double the price in Saud beach. 😦