Ilocos Norte's best-kept secret

ILOCOS NORTE, Philippines - I am enamored of Burgos before I even arrive in Palpalokada.

On a recent spelunking adventure in the Tanap-Avis Watershed Forest Reserve in Burgos, I thought I've seen the best the town has to offer. The northern town with a gorgeous coastline is home to the most visited tourists spots in Ilocos Norte.

Being photographed in dreamy places, especially the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and Kapurpurawan rock formation, is becoming a regular bucket list item, more so because of tourists' ever-growing love of photography.

Visitors are also getting to discover that "authentic farm experience" at REFMAD Farms, the first dragon fruit grower in the Ilocos Region.

But Palpalokada is something else. It's a photographer's paradise.

I was awestruck upon seeing Dori ti Kabalyo, a mammoth rock in the form a horse's spine.

The first word I uttered was "outback" and then 3 men on horseback arrived. The men belong to the Pasto Communal of Burgos, an association of farmers/horse owners which, with the help of Burgos Mayor Cresente Garcia, is helping create greener pastures from additional livelihood via tourism.

Horseback riding around Palpalokada and down and up the neighboring cliff and rock formations gives you a powerful view of the West Philippine Sea hitting against Kapurpurawan on the left, and the 20 windmills of Bangui fringing the Cordillera Mountain Range on the right.

Traversing century-old beach forests was extraordinary, like a scene straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean.

I got a great dose of adventure and romance in a splendid primordial-like setting.

As author Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."

(Photos courtesy of Veronica Tina Tan. For inquiries, contact the Burgos tourism office at +63-77-7861408. Or call Mayor Cris Garcia: 0928-5510452, 0917-5190665  and Jonas Tesoro: 0928-5510381, 0905-3520633, 0915-5211885.)


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