Umbrella Rocks (Agno, Pangasinan)

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. — Michelangelo

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Pangasinan is unquestionably one of those Philippine provinces blessed with seemingly endless nature’s wonders. The western part of the province alone is dotted with stunningand pristine seascapes. From the fascinating rockscapes of Surip in Bani and Timapog in Burgos, to the picturesque Hundred Islands in Alaminos and Tondol Beach in Anda, plus the postcard-worthy beauty of Tambobong Beach and Colibra Island in Dasol and Patar Beach and the waterfalls of Bolinao, Pangasinan is indeed an embodiment of awe. And, there is more!

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Another must visit is the quaint coastal town of Agno, which boasts the astonishingly carved Umbrella Rocks along Sabangan Beach. These huge rock formations are named such because they look like oversize umbrellas from which one can seek shade when the sun is up. Appearing to be mushroom-like to other people, these coralline masterpieces formed by unremitting waves against the shore through time, make the beachside more scenic.

Sabangan beach in itself is a great place to bum around. With its very fine grey to black sandy shores and inviting waters, this could be one of your much needed relaxing getaways. And at the end of the day, the sundown at this side of Pangasinan will surely melt your heart away.

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How to Get to Umbrella Rocks:
From Manila, take a bus bound for Bani or Bolinao in Pangasinan. Drop by the town of Bani, then take a tricycle or jeepney ride to Agno, Pangasinan. There are also direct bus ride  from Manila to Agno, Pangasinan  although it is very limited. The travel time is around 5 to 6 hours. Once in Agno, ride a tricycle that will take you to the Umbrella Rocks.

These are some of the buses plying the Manila – Pangasinan route:

  •  Dagupan Bus Line, Victory Liner and Philippine Rabbit in Cubao, Quezon City.
  •  Five Star Bus Line in Pasay City
  • City Trans in Manila

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

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’.

BIRI Beautiful (Northern Samar, Philippines)

“Rocks are more co-operative than people.”  – ― Barry WebsterThe Lava in My Bones

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Biri Island is the northernmost of the 18 islands collectively called Balicuatro Group of Islands at the northern end of Samar. The island cluster is known as the Balicuartro Islands of San Bernardino Strait. This strait is accountable for moving nearly 70% of the water that flows in and out of the Visayas and hence the tidal current can be cruel.

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Because of this, Biri Island has been subjected to some major pounding by the strength of the Pacific Ocean, coupled that with the vicious currents. The result? Some unbelievable naturally carved rockscapes that stretches some 8 kilometres long across the island. The rock formations are astounding, intimidating even – not only because of its vastness but, more vitally, their grandeur.

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There are 6 primary rock formations with smaller ones and natural pools in between. From the west side to the east, these 6 major rocks are named Magasang, Magsapad, Macadlaw, Puhunan, Bel-at, and Caranas. All of which are results of the thumping waves of the San Bernardino Strait. To date, these natural wonders has been a backdrop to several Filipino movies.

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Aside from the colossal  rocks that entices visitors, the island also boasts a mangrove sanctuary, some isolated beaches and coral reefs that one may marvel at when you go on snorkelling.

How to get to Biri Island?

By Plane
Flights from Manila will take you to either Catarman, which is the closest to Biri Island or to Calbayog, which is on the western side of Samar to the south of Biri Island. Some local airlines fly to these cities.

Upo arrival at either airport you need to get yourself to the town of Lavezares, which is the jump off port, to get you to Biri Island. There are jeepneys and tricycles bound for Lavezares, haggle the fare prior to leaving.

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By Bus

The best way, is to get a bus from Manila that will travel all the way to the port town of Matnog which is on the southern most tip of Luzon. The trip will about 15 hours. From Matnog, catch the ferry to the town of Allen on Samar. Ferries make the crossing every hour or so.

In Allen, get yourself to the town of Lavezares, which is the jump off port, to get you to Biri Island. There are jeepneys and tricycles bound for Lavezares, haggle the fare prior to leaving.

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Once you have arrived in Lavezares, go straight to the town market, and look for the outrigger boats (banca) that are bound for Biri Island. There is also a ferry that leaves at 1:00 pm, however, the outrigger boats are more likely to leave earlier.

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Matnog, Sorsogon – Allen, Northern Samar

– Ro-Ro Ferries ( 2Hrs) 120 PhP/Pax

Allen – Lavezares, Northern Samar

– Tricycle ( 20 mins) 20PhP/Pax

Lavezares – Biri, Island

– Outrigger boat/Banca (1Hr) 50PhP/Pax or not more than 100PhP/Pax for special trips

Cebu City – Calbayog, Northern Samar

– Ferry 12Hrs/ Overnight) 850PhP/Pax/Economy; 990-1,050PhP/Pax/Tourist

– additional 10PhP/Pax for terminal fee

Calbayog – Allen, Northern Samar

– Jeepney (2Hrs)

Allen – Lavezares, Northern Samar

– Tricycle ( 20 mins) 20PhP/Pax

Lavezares – Biri, Island

– Outrigger boat/Banca (1Hr) 50PhP/Pax or not more than 100PhP/Pax for special trips

Cebu City – Ormoc City

– Fast Craft ( 2Hrs) 740PhP/Pax

Ormoc City – Tacloban City

– Fast Craft Shuttle (4H) free for passengers bound for Tacloban

Tacloban – Allen, Northern Samar

– Van (6-7Hrs) 350PhP/Pax

Allen – Lavezares, Northern Samar

– Tricycle ( 20 mins) 20PhP/Pax

Lavezares – Biri, Island

– Outrigger boat/Banca (1Hr) 50PhP/Pax or not more than 100PhP/Pax for special trips

Catarman – Lavezares, Northern Samar

– Jeepney (30-45 mins.) 50PhP/Pax

Lavezares – Biri, Island

– Outrigger boat/Banca (1Hr) 50PhP/Pax or not more than 100PhP/Pax for special trips

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Where do I stay on Biri Island

Biri Resort

Aircon – P1,500; Non-aircon – P750-850

Sunset Villa Amor

Aircon – P1,500; Non-Aircon – P600.00 – 1,000.00

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