ILOCOS NORTE: CAPE BOJEADOR LIGHTHOUSE
Managed to wake up in time to watch the dawn break over Laoag. But between taking turns in the bathroom and the conversation over breakfast, it was past nine in the morning when we left the hotel to head out to Burgos, Ilocos Norte. This was the second day of our tour. Everyone has managed to get a restful and a good night sleep.
Before leaving Laoag, we bought drinks, ice, chips and yema bread. Di naman kami masyadong takot magutom while on the road. We drove north and passed by the towns of Baccara and Pasquin. I didn’t take note of the time it took us to get to the town of Burgos. I was trying to take in the scenery as we drove past from one town to another… tobacco farms, cows grazing in the fields, rice fields, old houses, old churches… people going about their daily life. There was a section of the highway that sold salt — or rather Pasquin Salt. Stall after stall… after stall… they displayed kilos of salt packed semi-transparent plastic bags.
Driving along the coast of Burgos, we watched the clear blue waters of the South China Sea, stretching beyond the horizon. We took a turn east, off Maharlika Highway to an uphill climb. It was a well paved winding road that led to the base of the light house. We found parking space beside a cliff, shaded old Bignay trees… there were also other trees, but I didn’t know what they were. There were several groups of tourists who came before us. Some were about to leave when we arrived. Others were, just starting to climb the flight of stairs that led to the lighthouse. Yes! there are still more stairs to conquer.
Set high on top of the Vigia de Nagpartian Hill, overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador, the Burgos Lighthouse also known as the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse has guided and brought vessels to safety since it was first lit on March 30, 1892. After over 100 years, it still functions as a welcoming beacon to the international ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago from the north and guide them safely away from the rocky coast of the town. The light marks the northwestern-most point in Luzon. The northeastern-most being Cape Engaño Lighthouse on Palaui Island,Santa Ana, Cagayan. The 66-foot-tall octagonal stone tower, is the most prominent structure in the vicinity. It can be seen from as far away as the town Pasuquin in the south and Bangui on the east on a clear day.
In a country with more than 7,000 islands, there are numerous lighthouses scattered all over the archipelago… but the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is the most visited in the country. Probably because it is one of the most accessible.
I was excited when Atty. Leezl told us the night before that our first stop on our second day of our tour was the lighthouse. I’ve always been fascinated looking at photos of lighthouses… they always appeared to be sentimental… romantic even. Part of my excitement vanished when I saw the flight of concrete stairs we needed to climb to reach the perimeter wall. I just tried to imagine the rusting ornate wrought iron gate, the faded wooden window slats, and the peeling white-painted brick walls… Oh well! Up we went.