Jeffer's Odyssey

Road Trip Up North: Kapurpurawan Rock Formations in Burgos, Ilocos Norte

Next week is like a line-up of Christmas parties, luncheons and dinners – quite a long one that, for some, can be quite suffocating and burdensome. In fact, these festive gatherings kinda started for me during the last week of December. I think that explains why, only halfway through the Christmas month, I already feel Christmaxed out. XDD

But hey, I don’t mean that in a bad way. After all, it’s the season to be jolly and all that hoopla. But when you wake up in the mornings and the wind chill seems to mock you so you decide to stay under the covers for “five more minutes”, then I suppose you won’t be so jolly after all. 🙂

Mornings like those, I wonder how the temperature is in places that I know to be warm. (Because I was in Quezon City last weekend, and they say it was a bit cool, but there I was, soaking & dripping wet in sweat because it was so humid and… I dunno, it just felt too warm for me still.)

Like in Ilocos Norte, specifically in the town of Burgos, where you can visit the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation.

I am an advocate of planning when going on trips because I at least would like to know what to expect when I get there. But I do not go so far as to nitpick on the details such that it feels like I’ve already been there.

You see, I still have an appreciation for being able to enjoy the element of surprise.

So when we went there, all I knew was one, we had to go there; two, it has white rocks where you can take nice photos. That’s it. That’s all I knew.

And here we go.

Go Where The Big Whites Are

This is probably the best thing about going on a road trip and having your own vehicle at your disposal. I have nothing against commuting, but if I were to go somewhere with really hot weather, then I’d much prefer having my own ride with me.

At least, it was more convenient to move from one place to another, like when we drove from Vigan, Ilocos Sur to the town of Burgos in the neighboring province of Ilocos Norte. That drive took around 3 and a half hours, and we got there at 10:30 am.

From the side of the road, you have to follow a stony path leading down to the coast. The descent was already quite an experience because you look up, and there’s the blue sky streaked generously with white cotton candy clouds.

Look down far ahead and you’d see the blue waters of the ocean. And between them, the coast with an intermixing of colors white and light brown.

And yes, as you can read above, visitors may also pay to ride on some of the horses and explore the coast. Of course, they have to follow a specific path, instead of just make their way freely.

We decided to just go explore on foot, and there was also a designated foot trail for that. (By the way, the huts and similar structures dotting the path are selling refreshments, snacks and various souvenirs. It was so hot that day I think we all consumed not less than 3 sticks of ice candies each, LOL.)


Along the way, you’d pass by a swampy area that could probably pass off as a pool, if not for the algae and other vegetation visible. It’s also pretty shallow, and the water is clear.

The clear water would have tempted you to wade right in, but then again, as I said, it was pretty shallow, so doing that won’t do you much good.

I guess your eyes would be drawn to this statue; well, at least ours did.

I’m not quite sure who it is supposed to be, but it does look impressive for something… I dunno… mythological?

Rockin’ That View

Even from the road, you’d be able to spot the main highlight of the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. It becomes even more impressive as you go closer.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation got its name from the root word “puraw”, which is Ilocano (the region’s dialect) for the color “white”. So I guess Kapurpurawan can be loosely translate to “whiteness”.

Clearly, the name was derived from the colors of the limestone rocks and other formations on the coast. It becomes even whiter, to an almost blinding degree, when the sun is at its highest.


In the past, visitors can go real close to that white rock formation over there, the one that looks like an anvil perched on that cliff. But several unruly visitors and works of non-art later, the local government decided to restrict anyone from getting on it.

Well, too bad. But I respect their reasons and decision.

But that did not mean that we cannot have our way with taking photos on other areas.

There were also several huge white boulders seemingly intentionally positioned so visitors can fool around and be tourist-y to their hearts’ content.

I’m not gonna lie, though. It was sooooo hot, and it didn’t help that we were surrounded by rocks that were pretty much reflecting the heat right back at us. In hindsight, I think this is where I got my skin burnt, not even if I slathered sunblock generously.

A Side Glance To The Burgos Windmills

You spotted them in the photos, right?

Yep, those are the windmills of the Burgos Wind Farm, which covers 600 hectares of the area by the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. 600 hectares. Quite large, eh?

No surprise there, because that makes the Burgos Wind Farm the largest wind farm in the Philippines and, according to some, maybe even in Southeast Asia.

In fact, it spans three barangays: Saoit, Nagsurot, and Poblacion. And it has 50 Vestas V90 wind turbines, with each turbine having a height of 75 meters.

You can see these giant turbines from the road, and also from the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation.

And We Get Closer

It is so easy to lose track of time when you’re here. Not even the heat enveloping us managed to keep us away from taking a closer look at the “anvil” rock formation, or looking out into the water for more than a few minutes of introspection.

Or, in my case, just emptying my mind of anything and everything else.

This is the closest we can get to the main star of the show that is Kapurpurawan.

…Well, unless you’re a masterful swimmer and a daredevil, then you can probably jump into the water… or scale the cliff walls. But there are eyes everywhere, so I’m not too sure if the authorities would let you.

Except for the blinding lightness of the rocks and the searing heat that seemed to emanate from the ground, the time we spent here was definitely a great one. To be honest, this was not really a priority place for us to visit, but we just decided to throw it in since it’s on the way.

I can totally see this place as a favorite for couples doing their pre-nup shoots.

We spent more than an hour here. Then probably another 30 minutes sitting under the shade of one of the stores trying to cool down by using a combination of cold drinks, ice candy, and profuse fanning.

I am so glad we got to go here. Goes to show how you should never ignore places just because you’ve never heard of them, or they’re not as famous as, say, the Bangui Windmills. (Incidentally, that’s going to be the next stop of our road trip. See you then!

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