If you are used to Philippine's coastal scenery of fine white sand beaches with swaying palm trees, then the Kapurpurawan rock formation found in Burgos, Ilocos Norte is surely a unique treat. This astonishing geological formation could easily pass for an English coastal vista (the chalk cliffs comes to mind in this one).
From the town of Burgos, its a short but rough tricycle ride to Kapurpurawan. Inside the cramped side car (which can only fit two people if you squeeze them in really hard), we literally bounced our way down to the coast. I hit my head several times on the roof of the car.
From the drop off area we had to hike down a cemented trail that leads to a wide open field. The first glimpse of these wind blasted white rocks simply blows one away.
The field looks like hardened lava. It is dotted with small pools which I suspect are mostly underwater during high tide. You'll also see numerous natural bonsai trees stunted by the harsh conditions of the Ilocos coast. The winds here are strong, a reason why there is a wind farm nearby.
One group was leaving as we neared the white rocks. Kapurpurawan (from the root word "puraw" which means white in the local dialect) , because of its uniqueness, is a popular destination. Hordes of travelers and sightseers flock there to take pictures. The popularity of the place is also made evident of the trash that had started to accumulate in various nooks and crannies. You can say its been "photographed to death". But for a moment we had the place all to our small group.
The porous rock is totally different from the usual cheese like, sharp coral rocks found nearby. The formation has smooth flowing curves. Some portions of the rock formation are soft like chalk. After a few minutes of wandering about I noticed cream colored dust covering my gears and clothing.
It was a harsh realization, but by stepping on the soft rock we were giving Mother Nature a helping hand in accelerating the erosion process. If the winds can shape this natural monument, imagine the effect of a thousand sandals and shoes treading on it. I, of course, are one of the guilty.
It is however still possible to enjoy this natural moment and somehow preserve it at the same time. Designated trails and wooden walkways are pretty common in national parks in other countries such as Japan and the US.
If the natural progression of things related to tourist attractions here are to be expected of Kapurpurawan, I would not be surprise if one day those white and cream colored walls are filled with various graffiti, "X was here" included.
Do I want to return there? Of course I do, very much. It such a photogenic place I would love to shoot sunrise or sunset there. And I hope by the time I will be back there I would be able to figure out how to strike a balance between enjoying the place and minimizing my impact.
I was able to return to Kapurpurawan to shoot sunrise. See photos here.
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