Burgos: Transformations Through Time

Earth itself tells us we cannot defy time. Equivalent to rimples, pits, specks, grizzly hair, a paunch and whatnot are the land’s caverns, crevices and formations. Everything goes through the inevitable processes of change.

The hubby and I had the wonderful privilege to be invited to a cave exploration and assessment in the hinterlands of Ilocos Norte’s most visited town, Burgos, hearth of the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, an icon of the Spanish Colonial Era in the Philippines and a perduring beacon of light to vessels sailing along the rocky northern coasts until this day and age.

The call came from the town mayor, Cris Garcia, and Ms. Cora Marie Pugal, Engr. II of the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) Region I Office, who hosted the Caving Management Training and Assessment for Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS), intended to capacitate Local Government Units (LGUs) and stakeholders for cave assessment and cave management planning, and organize a cave assessment team in the 1st District of Ilocos Norte. Ecosystem Management Specialist (EMS) Ronnie Jacinto of the DENR Reg I Office headed the exploration and evaluation crew of spelunking experts, trainees and eco-adventurers.Burgos prides itself with a plethora of natural assets. One exemplification is the Tanap Watershed Forest Reserve, a reforestation area supporting a sustainable water supply in the town and other neighboring towns.Mayor Cris shepherded us to the nooks and crannies of Tanap. Regardless of dull weather and  a damp earth, we were so ready to explore the dark underground cavities far off the beaten path.

A most unassuming (new breed) politician with an eco-oriented leadership, Mayor Cresente Garcia.

We were divided into two teams. The first team descended the Matakwal Cave I,  a 33-meter deep hollow. I didn’t get to see firsthand the wet cave, which they say has interesting formations. I tailed after the hubby, who trekked farther to Matakwal Cave II, which is shorter in length, but nevertheless worth the backbreaking footslog. Not to mention my four-hundred-fifty-pesos-but-efficient Ryder bike/sandboarding helmet saved me several times from near catastropheツAs if the keeper of the cave, an owl-like formation greeted us near the opening. Spelunking affords mere mortals like me to know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites and to learn speleology jargon such as flowstone, column, karst, dissolution, twilight, dead end, etc.ツThe experts snaked their way through two more potholes. The assessment brought about good news for ecotourism in the town. Ms. Cora says that majority of the caves she has surveyed are Class II or III Caves, which are suitable for tourism.The crew had time left for a cliff rappelling adventure within the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation area. The dreary skies rained on my fireworks. On my way to the location, I slipped off the mossy reef right after taking photos of the odd massive white rock. I swam with my left hand up while trying to save my cam. It was one damn fine wet adventure I’ll never forget. Thanks to sir Ronnie, who helped me regain my equilibrium. Just my luck! I was drenched, but not my trusty slave. I didn’t have extra clothing for yet another thrill with matching gusty winds. Rappelling opportunities never cease to come anyhow.Atmospheric factors have contributed largely to the awesome peculiarity of Kapurpurawan. Like all things on this planet, time changes things for better or for worse.Let’s learn to love the world we live in more.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2011

Everyone deserves some sunshine and a little flower…

I can’t remember the last time I went trekking. More than a year ago, I guess. This morning, I woke up with a deep longing for nature. I thought of hiking to the Tanap Watershed Forest Reserve, a place I’ve heard about, but have not had the time to visit. The sky was a bit gray, but I proceeded with my game plan. I’m happy I did, because the sun was up until it rained after we left the lovely forest in the rustic town of Burgos.

On February 1, 1971, through Proc. 803, Tanap-Avis was proclaimed a Watershed Forest Reserve under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau. It is one of the very important river systems in the North.

My two guides and I hiked for more than one kilometer. The trail was narrow, but manageable. In the middle of the hike, something was hurting the sole of my right foot. A thorn got stuck in my flip-flop. With just minor bleeding, I still could walk. I was overwhelmed by the so many butterflies fluttering through the air that I forgot about the little wound. I’ve never seen a butterfly sanctuary before. They came in all colors and sizes. It was a sacred sight!

I planned to go to the topmost level of the waterfall, which was  like 300 meters more. Unfortunately, according to my guides, the wooden stairs got washed away during the heavy rains. I decided to forego seeing the best part. The boulders were so huge and slippery, and I was wearing the wrong footwear. I realized there would be something to be more excited about the next time I visit Tanap. I was delighted with what I had…

Locally known as “busbusilak”. The sap is an alternative medicine for all kinds of wounds, including boils and carbuncles.

I found this poor butterfly with a distressed wing perched on a branch. The tree was on a ridge and I couldn’t take it from a better angle.

It was difficult taking close up shots of the winged beauties. They gaily fluttered everywhere.

This red dragonfly was really gorgeous. The wings, so intricate and delicate.

Life in the city is tough.  A communion with nature is like batteries. In an instant, I feel alive again.


Thank you to Mayor Cresente Garcia, SPO2 Ronald Abian and SPO2 Juanito Abad.

Photos by Blauearth © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED