On our way to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, we passed by three famous tourist spots along the road. Camera and smile-ready, we went to these spots and had a very wonderful, fun-filled, complexion-ruining afternoon.
First was Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, the oldest functioning lighthouse in the country.
It’s not as high as I imagined it to be but it’s situated on top of a mountain so the structure can be seen as far as the nearby towns south of Bangui on a clear day. Upon ascending the concrete stairs, you are welcomed by a great view of not only the lighthouse but South China sea as well.
This is the transcript of a radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95.
Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a Collision.
Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Americans: This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States’ Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand that YOU change your course 15 degrees north, that’s one five degrees north, or countermeasures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.
Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call
The tower is under the care of the Philippine Coast Guard and unfortunately, one cannot go inside possibly to preserve the edifice. We just appreciated the building from outside. If you’re lucky, go there during lean months, look for the caretaker and beg him to tour you up to the lantern room.
And even though I don’t know them personally, I already hate these people. How dare they vandalize the lighthouse with their names and stupid signatures? Ugh. I was irritated when I saw these. Vandalism is tolerated and sometimes even accepted on certain structures like old dilapidated buildings and bridges and classroom chairs but
not NEVER on a hundred year old cultural heritage! People should be taught Tourist Ethics 101.
Next stop was Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. From the highway, the coast is still a 4 kilometer drive on rough roads but on our way to the shore, we saw concrete roads being built so I guess this spot is starting to get a lot of attention and visitors.
After parking your car, you need to descend a flight of stairs and then walk for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on your speed) to the rock formations. If you’re too lazy to walk you can rent a horse for 100 pesos each. If you’re uncomfortable with horses and are prepared to burn some calories, umbrellas are also available for borrowing in exchange of donations.
Halfway through the stretch of the road and you still cannot see anything worth appreciating so you sort of think twice about your decision of going through all the hassle just for the rock formation but don’t fret and lose hope for there is always sunshine after the rain (ano daaw?).
On our way to the view deck, we saw a statue of Lam-ang defeating an alligator. Lam-ang of course, is the protagonist of the Ilokano epic poem “Biag ni Lam-ang” (The Life of Lam-ang) transcribed by Pedro Bucaneg. We discussed the work of literature for our Filipino subject back in high school but I have already forgotten most of the details except that Lam-ang was an extraordinary being, more like an Ilokano version of Hercules, and that he chose is own name.
From the view deck, you will see the “White Dragon”, the more famous of the rock formations and the poster boy of the tourist spot. It is already prohibited to climb the formation to prevent vandalism and promote rehabilitation of the natural attraction (thank God!).
The locals told us that we should walk further behind the white dragon because the view was more stunning on the other side.Though tired, we gladly followed the advice of the goodhearted Ilokanos and we’re welcomed with beautiful formations that are still open for climbing. By the way, “puraw“, the root word of “kapurpurawan” is Ilocano for “white” and true enough, the rocks were as white as the sand. It was magnificent, mother nature’s work of art. Basing from my minimal knowledge about geology, I assume these formations are sculpted by the ocean and it took hundreds of years (or longer) for them to take their bizarre-looking forms (yay for the Rock cycle!). It’s a haven for photographers and vain people because every angle is photogenic and profile-picture-worthy.
By this time though, my camera was running out of battery so I was only able to take half-assed (no offense on the animal) selfies before it totally died on me. That’s okay, my photos wouldn’t be able to give justice to how magnificent the formations looked in real life anyway. Tip: go see them before our fellow humans destroy another one of God’s gifts.
Last stop was Bangui Windfarm. According to Wikipedia, it is a wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines which uses 20 (though I hear there are 23 as of the moment, wasn’t able to count sorry) units of 70-metre (230 ft) high Vestas V82 1.65 MW wind turbines, arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the West Philippine Sea. It was wonderful to look at and though the windmills appear to be near each other, they are actually 326 meters apart! And they’re not only for tourist-related purposes for the farm actually supplies 40% of the electricity of Ilocos Norte. Thumbs up for renewable energy!
Since my battery died on me (boo!), I had no choice but to rely on my friends’ cameras for photos. And I am present in all of the pictures because they’re souvenir shots. I was travelling with serious photography enthusiasts at that time and they were very particular with rights and all so no scenic pictures for me because it’s their property.