The downside of sightseeing in Ilocos during Typhoon Mina at storm signal number 2: you don’t get shots of blue skies in your photos. Of course, there’s also the danger of being swept away by 80-kilometer-per-hour winds and dying in a horrible road accident but who’s thinking about that when you have the critical problem of not getting pretty pictures?
On the second day of our Ilocos road trip, our all-powerful itinerary dictated that we visit Cape Bojeador lighthouse and Kapurpurawan so that’s exactly what we did, to hell with the deadly storm.
The lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte dates back to the late 1800s and is still operational until now. It’s only a short uphill drive from the main road. There were at least three other tourist-filled vans by the time we got to there. We were partly relieved that we were not the only idiots touring Ilocos in bad weather but also a little annoyed that we had to wade through 50 other people for the touristy photo ops. The caretaker who was supposed to be on duty had enough sense to stay home because, you know, there’s a freakin’ typhoon so the gate was closed.
The other caretaker however, who was on a day off, decided to show up just as everyone else was leaving. He happened to live nearby and saw the flurry of people going up the lighthouse. We were the only ones hanging around when he arrived and because we were a bunch of selfish assholes, we decided to keep the glorious opening of the gate a secret from the other tourist groups. They were about to leave anyway, we certainly didn’t want to delay them. *evil grin*
We had a blast having the place to ourselves, for a few minutes at least. (Another batch of tourists arrived afterwards. Pfft.) Never mind that it was raining by then and the strong winds at the base of the lighthouse had us gripping the rails for dear life. The interior of the lighthouse itself was off-limits so we had to content ourselves with just running around the base and going up and down the stairs.
After the requisite photos were taken and souvenirs were bought, we headed off to the famous Kapurpurawan rock formation. While asking for directions on the way there, a conversation with a local went like this:
Me: Saan po yung Kapurpurawan?
Old man: Doon pa sa unahan. Pero maulan ngayon. (Translation: We’re being battered by a storm at the moment in case you haven’t noticed. Don’t go there, it’s dangerous.)
Me: Okay lang po. (Translation: We are a bunch of clueless airheads who are risking our necks just to see a giant white rock.)
We soon found out why going there in the rain was not the best idea. From the highway, it’s a three-kilometer drive on muddy, rough road littered with potholes and sharp rocks. Since we were on our own, it took all of my friend’s driving prowess and every inch of resilience from her Kia Sportage for us to survive the trail.
When we got there, my three companions decided it was too dangerous to go down to the rock formation which was located by the seaside and was still a few minutes walk from where the road ended. We were cold and wet and the strong winds were whipping us around like we were paper dolls. I may have mentioned though that I’m the biggest idiot of them all so while they took shelter in the dilapidated nipa huts, I took my chances and ran down the trail leading to the shore. I figured I came this far anyway so why not at least catch a glimpse of the damn rock and see how far I can go. Turns out I couldn’t go very far and only got this:
There was another hut near the shore where I waited until the gustiness died down so I could climb back up.
My friends were pleasantly surprised that I didn’t come back with a broken neck. Before I could run off again and do something more stupid, we piled into the car and got out of there.