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traveling Sep 27, 2012

Fun Time on Kapurpurawan Rock, Palpalukada Plateau and Paoay's Sand Dunes

Logistics for the 500+ Participants
On the 2nd day, an ambitious outdoor activity was lined-up for all 500+ participants requiring 11 full-sized buses, police escort, civilian grup assistance and paramedics. The student organizers got their bases covered. I was impressed. This was more organized than some professionally managed events I'd been to.

15-Ft Swells
We proceeded to the jump off in Burgos where we prepared ourselves for the trek. Given that there's a storm signal #1 in place, the swell was ideal for surfing. From my vantage point, I could see waves towering 15 feet before they crash into a rocky break. Unfortunately for surfers, it doesn't happen everyday. We started our trek going north along the coast.

Kapurpurawan Rock
Just a few minutes into the walk, we came upon an iconic Ilocos site - the Kapurpurawan Rock. Things have changed a lot since my visit in xxxx. To protect the rock from the onslaught of tourists who climb on it causing discoloration (and increased erosion), the perimeter has been fenced in. The rock's anvil shape, the white backdrop, the pounding waves - all contributed to a semi-surreal experience.

Palpalukada Plateau
Further into the 5km coastal trek, we finally came upon an almost circular plateau broad enough to pitch a hundred tents. From there, we could see the famous Bangui Wind Farm to the north. It was windy, somehow dissipating the heat of the sun. It was an ideal setting for a big outdoor weekend gathering - Sunrise Festival actually came to mind. There stood an old movie set for Pedro Penduco which was already in a state of disrepair. It would seem like the studio left it to rot there instead of cleaning up their mess. Shame on them if that's the case. A beautiful place like that should remain pristine. We stayed there maybe 30 minutes before taking the shorter route back to the bus.

4X4 Rough Riding
Next adventure was the 4X4 ride on the hilly sand dunes of Paoay. There were a fleet of 4X4s waiting for us - one seated passenger and the rest, about 5 would stand behind holding on to the roll bar. The driver would gun it on the flats, climb steep ascents and take us down the descents much like a roller coaster ride. It was trippy having that burst of adrenaline and excitement. So far, this is the biggest crowd-drawer I've seen for a tourism offering.

Part of the sand dune experience was doing a Paoay original, sand boarding. I've seen posters and that has been talked about much in the convention. I was expecting mountain-size sand dunes like the Sahara with riders linking turns on sandboards across miles of sand dune, very much like snow boarding. Well, it wasn't exactly like that. The tallest sand dune was maybe less than 40 feet and it was just a straight ride down. I don't think you can link turns - besides, the downhill wasn't long enough to allow linking. Since it rained, the sand was wet and the speed was sluggish. I see a lot of potential here, but it still needs some thinking to make the most of what it can offer.

Ending Thoughts
The entire time I was trekking or doing the sand dunes, I was also talking to the student organizers who unselfishly shared their thoughts, aspirations and vision about their career that loom promisingly on the horizon. I shared as much as they did. It threw me back to my student days when the air was full of excitement and fear of the unknown - when you leave the comfort and familiarity of the school campus to brave the new world. I've always been an outsider looking in. But with my new friends from Ilocos, it didn't seem that way. I connected with them in a deeper way. It was new ground for me as well. Even as I stepped on the plane departing Ilocos, it came more as a new beginning. I look forward to crossing paths with them again. As I travel the country I'm sure to bump into them in their new roles as stewarts and pathfinders in remolding the future of the country's tourism landscape. I left Ilocos enriched by their friendship, their warmth and their kindness. I am profoundly grateful.

--- TheLoneRider

(my hard drive crashed and I lost all the pictures. If you have any pictures at all of the trek, the sand dunes, the karaoke night, I'd be happy to post them here....and many thanks!)

pictures for posting here

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Reader Comments:

Maydawn CariagaMaydawn Cariaga
(Oct 3, 2012) Thanks for the kiss :) You're the best! I heart you.

Yhanna DuYhanna Du
(Oct 3, 2012) Thank you! See you when I see you :)
Kasz Chan LuyunKasz Chan Luyun
(Oct 3, 2012) Thank you Gigit! You're the best! :)
Maja ApostolMaja Philippines
(Oct 3, 2012) I'm going to miss you, LONERIDER.
Cullen AbellonCullen Abellon
(Oct 3, 2012) I want to enjoy life like you do, Gigit. May all your dreams come to reality. Good luck on all your travels. See you soon!
Gigit SulitGigit Sulit
"Thank you so much Kuya Gigit!" -- Sherwin Lemon
(Oct 3, 2011) I should be the one to thank you. I thought I would just fly there and make the speech and then come back. I got so much more from it specially bonding with the students for the 2 full days I was there. I left with fond memories of Ilocos and great connection with the organizers. This would not have been possible without you. Maraming maraming salamat.
Sherwin LemonSherwin Lemon
(Oct 2, 2012) I heard you really did great during the convention. Thank you so much kuya... You've touched and inspired each and every student during your stay with them. Everyone's missing you. Hahaha...even my wife was planning to visit you the night you stayed at the hotel just to take picture with you. Yna was really amazed... talagang ibinida ka nya sa akin. Nauso na rin ata sa school nila na gawing profile picture sa fb nila ung kasama ka. haha. They're all missin u sir..."ang hirap magmove-on...." hope to see you also...maraming maraming salamat muli Kuya Gigit! The best ka...
Jyan Alonzo BeliganJyan Alonzo Beligan
(Sep 29, 2012) Wow, really amazing. Meeting someone like you is a really worthwhile experience. And grabe, you stayed and helped us throughout our 2-day convention.
Yna AdinaYna Adina
(Sep 29, 2012) Have a safe trip:) Mami-miss ka namin sobra!
Zyrelle ViloriaZyrelle Viloria
(Sep 29, 2012) Nakakalungkot isipin that you're leaving :( I am really looking forward to see you again. Your life is very inspiring. Thank you very much for sharing your life with us. See you soon. We are missing you already.
Jim Paul BateJim Paul Bate
(Sep 29, 2012) Thank you for imparting your knowledge to us. We've been blessed by your talk during your convention proper. We've learned a lot. Thank you for sharing your valuable time with us. Thank you for the laughter we've shared and the thoughts you've given us. Hinding-hindi ka namin malilimutan. Ikaw ang totoong idol!
Ferd AguilarFerd Aguilar
(Sep 26, 2012) He-he, there's probably more to your Aha Moments than you know.


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