Kapurpurawan Rock Formations (Ilocos Norte, PH)

Every rock they throw, I use it as a stepping stone.

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A big percentage of the earth is said to be made out of rocks. Rain, wind and other geophysical factors have worn down the Earth’s land surface through the years. Interestingly, these forces of nature have shaped inimitable and striking rock formations across the world,

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The Philippines does not only boats off some of the world’s most stunning beaches. We fortunately also have some outstanding geological features that have amazed visitors. One particular rock formation that has graced several various travel magazines in the Philippines is the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation,

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Kapurpurawan is located along the rocky coastline of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. Its name was derived from the Ilocano word “puraw” which means white. True enough from its etymology; this geological formation is creamy white in hue making it standout from where it perched. The stunning limestone formations are believed to have been sculpted by various oceanic and weather forces.

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Today, this natural wonder stands proud of its rugged beauty. The grand scenery of the West Philippine Sea and the windmills built around the undulating area has added charm to the entire place.It is definitely one of the must-see destinations in the province and in the Philippines.

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When we were kids, our grandparents used to bring us to this place. I could hardly remember those memories. My most vivid encounters were my visit in 2010 and 2014. I was fortunate to have experienced Kapurpurwan up-close and personal since visitors were still allowed to climb the rock. In recent years (like my 2014 visit), clambering to the area is no longer allowed due to some irresponsible visitors who would vandal the place. But don’t worry; one can still admire its beauty from a distance where a viewing deck was constructed.

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This is just one of the numerous tourist attractions if you decide to pay Ilocos Norte a visit. Great thing about visiting Kapurpurawan is that, it is free. An ethereal place to marvel at natures gifts to mankind indeed!

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How to go to Kapurpurawan Rock Formation”

Ilocos Norte is a 10- to 12-hour drive or bus ride from Manila. Visitors may also take a one-hour flight from Manila to Laoag, and rent a van (or even a tricycle tour) to reach Burgos. If you’re using a private car, just drive along the main highway of Pan Philippine Highway in Burgos Ilocos Norte. Once you reach Bangui and Cape Bojeador, it’s easy already as there are signboards going to the place.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

The Pristine Beaches of Burgos (Pangasinan, Philippines)

Artist Jason Mraz once shared, My home isn’t about being grounded in one corner of the planet. It’s about being in love and being lost in the middle of an amazing adventure, witnessing sunbursts over horizons of every time zone”. I couldn’t agree more… Spot on words that have never been spoken.

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There’s nothing like the joy you feel when on the road, heading off to a strange new place, either alone or with friends. And so one weekend, I decided to hit 2 of the beaches in Burgos, Pangasinan — each possessing a unique character to boast. These 2 beaches are not frequented by people. Moreover, they are tucked in the outskirts of Western Pangasinan making them a little kept and more pristine.

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TIMAPOG na BATO

First stop – the gigantic, screaming rock towers of Timapog na Bato. (Timapog, a local term, as I understand it, could mean “water that strongly splashes through the rocks”). The humongous rock formations, carved by nature’s elements and time, are the main features of the coastline. Nestled between the towns of Dasol and Burgos in Western Pangasinan, the place is a perfect avenue for relaxation and serenity. No houses, no crowded sight of people (only a fisherman and his boat) – instead, the sound of the waves, the gentle wind whispering to my ears and the shutter of my camera were the only reverberation I could hear. It was perfect, just the way I wanted!

CABONGAOAN BEACH

Next stop is a white sand wizened beach in a cove-like shape. Cabongaoan Beach is pristine and paradisiacal. It is indeed true that some of the most beautiful sights are found in the outskirts, continuously being protected by Mother Nature from being exploited. Crystal clear, aquamarine waters and fine, ivory sand greeted me when I arrived at the place. It was yet another unspoiled beauty of nature. It made me realize that Pangasinan really have a lot of hidden getaways getting ready to be discovered. This is definitely one place a beach enthusiast would love to bum around.

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The trip to these beaches reminded me to rekindle the waning spirit of serenity in me.  And bumming around for a few moment made me felt stress-free and glee. Reminiscing how serene these beaches are, made me realize to be more optimistic in life. And the reason for this particular blog was to share the beautiful things I have experienced and seen, that eventually brought about positive effects

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So if you feel like life’s just becoming one big grievance session; when you feel like you have not looked for the serenity in your life for the past years; when you feel like you have been focused on the downbeat things and you’ve lost sight of your confidence – take that less traveled road. There, you might just find what you have been looking for. It might not be an obvious inspiration, it might be a hazy spark that is yet to be discovered, but it is there, somewhere.

Life is too short to wait on the highway… Hit the beach, explore the caves, climb the mountains, and discover the unpaved…

Palpalokada (Burgos, Ilocos Norte, PH)

“A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.” — Isaac Bashevis Singer

I was in Bacolod when I’ve heard of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’s feature about Ilocos’ best kept secrets. Since I was on a backpacking that time, I wasn’t able to watch it. When I got back in Baguio, my housemate messaged a link of that episode of Jessica Soho. And LO! I was right there and then eager to go and see for myself this 5-syllable name of a place that thuds totally enthralling to my ears – PAL-PA-LO-KA-DA.

Before setting a schedule, I googled this place and check out what else has been said about it. And there, only a few have been and only a number of blogs or posts were written. I guess its because the place is pretty new and people haven’t heard much of it until that Saturday night when it was first featured on national television.

A week ago, I contacted the Tourism officer of the town of Burgos (Sir Jonas Tesoro), and inquired about Palpalokada. He was very nice and really enthusiastic talking about the place. A few days from the time we talked over the phone, I found myself traveling on an almost 8 hours bus ride from Baguio to Laoag then to the laidback town of Burgos in Ilocos Norte.

This isn’t my first time to visit Ilocos Norte since my dad’s roots are traced in this idyllic province. But every time I come back, I always find myself enamored by its beauty. This province never fails to surprise me with its seemingly endless nature secrets. I was so in awe when I first saw Kapurpurawan a few years ago; and I could still remember how amazed I was when I reached the topmost part of Cape Bojeador.

From Laoag City, its only about an hour to an hour and 30 minutes by bus to reach Burgos town proper. (Depending on how many stops would the bus do to pick up a seemingly endless number of passengers with loads of stuff, wahehehehe… I’m not really complaining… Forgive me if I sound like one but I am just so excited to see Palpalokada). I met Sir Jonas at the municipal hall, and I was right, he was as enthusiastic as he was over the phone as he is in person. Having conversed with him, I must say that the town is very fortunate to have a goal-directed tourism officer like him.

From the town proper, off we went o Palpalokada with some of the Mayor’s visitors all the way from Malabon. We took a dirt path to the left (from the National Highway going to Pagudpud). There were no signposts (yet – the tourism officer have some brilliant ideas on how the post would look like later). It was about a 10-minute ride on a PUV, or if one is keen on walking, I guess that’s possible too but will take you perhaps half an hour to one hour depending on how excruciating the sun’s heat is.

Upon arrival, I was lost for words for a few moments. I was trying to scan my brain for the most appropriate adjective that would describe the place. I ended up saying “wow, it’s beautiful”. It was an understatement. I knew I could utter better words than that but I guess I was too star-struck to have thought of more  apt description like “cinematic”, “amazing” or “spectacular”. It was a cloudy day inspite of the sweltering heat of the sun. But more than the sweat coming out of my forehead, I had gooseflesh…

After it has sank in me that I was really in Palpalokada, I hurriedly set up my tripod and camera. It was yet another dilemma. I didn’t know where to start. With such vast a beauty, I was confused as to which fraction of the place to capture first. I may sound exaggerated but you’ll understand that when you get to see it firsthand. Palpalokada is definitely a photographer’s paradise. Everything is really praiseworthy. At that moment, I’ve seen the most thought-provoking panorama – it was like the coast of Ireland, or a bit of the Grand Canyon and thebeaches of Maui in Hawaii (though I’ve never been to these places, only saw it in pictures)… really mystical, but authentic… as one of my twitter friends would always say – LEGITIMATE beauty!

Sir Jonas told me that it was quite unfortunate that the kabalyeros of the Pasto Communal of Burgos (an association of farmers/horse owners which) are having an important meeting that’s why the horses aren’t available too. It was proposed that a horse-back riding activity is one great pastime to do and enjoy in Palpalokada. But the absence of horses for faster and easier way of moving around didn’t hinder me from exploring the place.

Palpalokada, according to Sir Jonas, was coined from an Ilocano word “paloka” – a term given to handmade slippers out of used rubber tire for the soles and rope for the uppers, and were once used during the olden times. So Palpalokada may translate in to “their slippers”. Once in Palpalokada, one gets to see a 360-degree view of God’s and one of man’s greatest creations. To the north are the humongous Bangui Wind Turbines, the West Philippine Sea, of course on the west, large rocks on the southern part with a view of Kapurpurawan; and jagged mountains at the eastern side. It was a complete package – from stunning landscapes to incredible seascapes.

It was indeed an adventure-filled and quixotic weekend in a surprisingly impressive milieu. Nature aficionados and kibitzers will definitely feel enamored by this place. And so, with the remaining number of days this summer – try to squeeze in and consider Palpalokada a part of your summer getaway. But remember, always always always be a conscientious tourist. Just like what the mountaineer’s creed says – “take nothing but picture”!

For inquiries, contact the Burgos tourism office at +63-77-7861408. Or call Mayor Cris Garcia: 0928-5510452, 0917-5190665  and Jonas Tesoro: 0928-5510381, 0905-3520633, 0915-5211885.) – Believe me when I say they are the nicest!!!

Romulo out —

Take it easy ebrwian.