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November 20, 2009

burgos: kapurpurawan rock formation

Kapurpurawan Curves and Shadows

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.

Related Post: Sunrise in Kapurpurawan

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.

Kapurpurawan Bonsai
Kapurpurawan bonsai

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.

The Lady and the Resting Dragon
the lady and the resting dragon

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.

Kapurpurawan Icon
iconic head

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.

Take One for FB

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.

Kapurpurawan Dragon
like a resting dragon

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.

Beyond Kapurpurawan
beyond Kapurpurawan

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.

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luna miranda said...

such a gorgeous place, and yes, quite unique than the usual Philippine beachscape. the "cradle" is my favorite...great perspective. each photo is a gem!

Marites said...

been to Ilocos Norte twice and passed by Burgos town twice. It was only when we returned home that we heard of this place and now, I wanna go there!!! I really do hope that the local government and the people in this area are doing their share to ensure that the place won't get abused. Of course, the visitors should do their part too.

Gaelyn said...

This place is breathtaking and certainly worth protection while still allowing people to visit. Don't want to love it to death.
Looks like layers of limestone, sandstone and lava eroding into natures sculptures.
Very nice job of capturing the flow.

Lantaw said...

@luna, yup, looks like its the only one of its kind, in terms of coastal rock formations, here in PH

@marites, the local government are quite passive when it comes to ensuring a sustainable tourism program for this area

@gaelyn, currently there are no initiatives but I hope they come up with some soon. the place is getting more and more popular

Sylvia K said...

What a fantastically beautiful place! I do hope they do something to preserve it. Any place this different and breathtaking does deserve to be protected! Your photos are totally stunning as always, Lantaw!

Have a great week!


J Bar said...

fabulous formations
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Japa said...

I agree the place should be protected. These photos are awesome. With erosion and everything, the rock formation changes over time.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

When I first saw these in another blog, I thought they were taken elsewhere in the world. Quite an oddity but strangely beautiful!

Benjamin said...

We just went there almost a week now, and I really Loved the place, I will surely love to go back there from time to's really beautiful and unique...I love my country Philippines...full of natural richness....MABUHAY PHILIPPINES!!

ademar rosario said...

Yes, indeed the place is sooo beautiful. I was there. It's a long road ahead but its worth the trip.

Too sad, there are so many thashes and garbages in the ground, that I can't do anything but to pick them up and took it inside the car. Simple practices like this can make this small paradise live forever...that our kids and their kids will enjoy as we did.
I took some photos in my Facebook. I'll be posting it

Ademar Rosario

Lantaw said...

@ademar - yes its a pity about the garbage. I think the local government should regulate the visitors there and provide a predetermined trail for viewing the formation

Anonymous said...

helo! my name is ria, i've been to this place once, and i have to agree, the view is truly breath taking. i'm a tourism student at mmsu. and ryt now, we are doing a physical development plan for this site. could you please suggest things, you think could further improve and sustain it as a major destination in the country? thank you and God bless!

Lantaw said...

@ria, thanks for dropping by. what's your email address? i can directly email you some ideas i have.

Anonymous said... we're in a series of planning right now. our output will be presented by mid-march. thank u so much.. God bless u

Donato said...

i've been here last april and it is a breathtaking place. we visited this as part of the "south trip" offered to us at Pagudpud.

makes me miss the philippines so badly!

baktin said...

I hope then the Burgos LGU would properly identify the middle ground between the development and preservation of the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation.

Until then, I look forward to your return to the place to take a breathtaking sunrise/sunset (similar to what you have done at Bangui).

Anonymous said...

a reason why i really miss my hometown so much... proud ilocano "_" !!!

Anonymous said...

it is a beautiful place and something the filipinos must be proud of, our government should protect or at least do some investment to ensure that this place is preserved. sad part is this place does not even have any reminder to any visitors for any precautions or not to leave trash and so on.

Anonymous said...

My family will visit this place on summer, and it's our first time in ilocos, so I don't want to miss all the beautiful sceneries, in Ilocos, that's why I make my itinerary. Nice picture, thank you for sharing it! God Bless

Anonymous said...

i love this place!!

mozilla said...

wow, para siyang version ng antelope sa US, amazing yung rock formation.

Anonymous said...

you are right, assigning a location to appreciate this awesome view should at least slow down its "uglification". I was there a couple of days ago and was brokenhearted by what I saw to be the work of vandals - graffiti where it is possible. perhaps the LGU can collect minimal fees from visitors to pay for "nature" guards who will police vandals and other violators in the area.

Rachelle Cook said...

Beautiful place!!!sana matuloy kmi this holy excited....

Anonymous said...

Just went there last April 15. It was awesome! However, we've noticed that there were vandalism on the rock formation itself. We just don't understand why some people doesn't have decency and trying to destroy the beauty of the place by writing their names around the wall.

Anonymous said...

I've been to this place last weekend with friends and it's so captivating. I can't imagine how mother nature carefully molded this work of art on her own hands. This is something we Filipinos can be proud of.

iyes said...

Visitors are no longer allowed to go up the cliff.They put a sign and a yellow police line below.

Lantaw said...

@iyes, thanks for the info, its about time they do something like that. I step on the rock once and promised not to do it again. So during my return visits I just took photos from a distance.

Anonymous said...

omg~!y? :( weve been planning to visit the place :'(

Lantaw said...


its the right thing to do, IMHO. The rock formation is so fragile, imagine hundreds of feet trampling on it daily. It could hasten the erosion several fold. Plus not to mention people vandalizing the place and leaving their trash.

Anonymous said...

we just went there yesterday, the tourist guide just told us that abs cbn is having their shoot up the cliff.hmm.they are still allowing tourists to go up the cliff in the other side.(back of the white rock formation).

Lantaw said...

@Anonymous, so its not really closed because they want to protect it, but just closed temporarily? (for some other entity to abuse it)

Yang said...

Where did you stay po in Burgos?

Lantaw said...

@Yang, we stayed in Bangui,the next town

Anonymous said...

Yes! it's such a beautiful place to visit. Nice pix. For more information about the white rock formation, yes, it is not allowed to go up at the front cliff but you can go at the back with the presence of a tourist aide. The LGU is planning some ways to preserve the area by putting a trails and some hanging bridge around it. Actually the LGU started already. The LGU also started the horse back riding in the place.

Marlo Flores said...

This place is so amazing. I'd been there last April...

Best shot...

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