La Paz Sand Dunes is a unique site in the city of Laoag for being a protected sandy coastal desert and beach with an area of approximately 85 square kilometers(52 square miles). This was identified as one of the National Geological Monuments or significant geological formations in the Philippines by the National Committee on Geological Sciences (NCGS) on November 26, 1993 because of its uniqueness being a desert environment. La Paz is just a part of a long stretch of the Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes. It spans from Currimao to Pasuquin. The area is known locally by the name "Bantay Bimmaboy", a name which refers to the common perception that the dunes resemble pigs in shape. The area is also popularly known as the "Desert of the North" and is a popular location for shooting several local and international films. Himala and Panday are the classic local movies that were shot in the area and so with the segments of the Hollywood films Mad Max and Born on the fourth of July where Tom Cruise had a fight scene and rolled over the sand dunes.
The sand dunes were formed by the interaction of the wind, sea and river that together cause erosion and deposition. Most of the heights of the dunes ranges from 10-30 meters depending on a number of factors, including the currents, weather conditions, nature of winds, amount of sediment, and type of vegetation in the area; but sand dunes in some of the more sheltered areas in the site can reach as high as 90 meters.
Some of the exciting activities that the dunes offer aside from trekking for an hour to traverse the entire stretch of the beach, one can drive a rugged 4-wheel vehicle or the exciting all-terrain vehicle. The latest craze is the sand boarding where one can use a board to slide down the dunes. This site is accessible by tricycle and jeepney and its just 15 minutes away from the city proper. This is indeed another world class treasure of Ilocandia.
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