I love the sights, sounds and aura of the Ilocos region. It’s where my parents are from and get the highs every time i get the chance to visit the place. Ilocos Norte in particular, is a popular destination that has a lot of historical, cultural and lately, eco-tourism allure, thanks to its old churches, ancestral houses, beaches and now an expansive system of clean energy projects like those massive windmills located in Pagudpud, Bangui and Burgos towns…and this is new and exciting for me.
One such impressive project i saw last weekend was that of the North Luzon Renewables, (NLR) a renewable energy company which operates 27 Siemen Wind Turbine generators and they are huge! Located in Brgy. Caparispisan, in the beach town of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, it has a total rated generation capacity of 81 MW. With a total land area of 625 hectares, NLR through its vibrant reforestation program is fully committed towards forest protection, green local enterprises and sustainable development.
Pagudpud, and its famous Saud beach fits many people’s definition of a beach paradise; long stretches of white sand, warm blue waters, kite surfing and homey resorts characterize this most popular part of Ilocos Norte so most tourists here indulge in the beach scene. However, the NLR Windfarm is seeing beyond these commercial ventures by providing jobs to the locals, especially those living around the site of the windmills who are now able to earn a living and support their families without moving out of their town to find work in bigger cities.
Lately, NLR is embarking in promoting sports eco-tourism within the NLR Windfarm premises which could host trail running, mountain biking and triathlon, among others. Last March 24-26, I and a host of other sports enthusiasts were invited to test run the route of a proposed 10k race inside the NLR compound.
I was fortunate enough to be invited by runner/triathlete Menchi Dizon, runner-blogger Franc Ramon and Lai Tuba-Principe, Stakeholder Relations & CSR Manager of NLR ENERGY CORP. I was with about 11 other runners together with some officers of NLR and members of the BFP Pagudpud. We were led into the compound’s hilly mountain terrain, wide and maintained gravel roads shadowed by the gigantic turbine-powered windmills whizzing around our heads! The views around were simply amazing, seeing glimpses of the long stretch of Saud beach down Pagudpud and parts of the Cordillera mountains.
The magnet of this route to runners should be overwhelming as this presents a uniquely different feel of what running under the haze of spinning propellers around you is all about! Here’s some more sneak peek of the route.
Hope to be back to run and explore more of this paradise soon!