SUNSET AT THE SAND DUNES OF ILOCOS NORTE

I never knew that one day I’ll be setting foot exactly to the set where superstar Nora Aunor once shouted a reverberating epic line “Walang Himala!”, the same location used to film that Joey Gosiengfiao’s classic movie Temptation Island. If I never traveled far north to Ilocos Norte, I would have no inkling of how vast and picturesque the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte are. If I never braved that 13 hour long journey to this Province, the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte will forever remain a part of my classic Filipino movie experience.

Still on the second day of our Lakbay Ilocos Norte adventure, we hurried towards the town Paoay to take a glimpse of the most famous sand dunes in the Philippines – the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte.

The Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte stretches widely from the municipality of Currimao in the north and curves it’s way to La Paz in Laoag City then to Suba in Paoay and lastly in Pasuquin in the south.

The home of Ilocos Norte’s Sand Dunes in Paoay is located in Suba. Suba has the most extensive and unbroken stretch of coastal sand dunes compared to the other towns of Ilocos Norte. With an extensive stretch averaging to 800 meters wide, I felt like I am in a real desert.

It was nearing dusk when we get there – a perfect time to chase a glorious sunset setting at calm waters of the vast West Philippine Seas. As the sun retired, the whole place was slowly swathed by the hypnotizing sunset hues. It was so enthralling we were all at loss of words. Glorious! Glorious! Glorious! The only adjective I kept on murmuring as I glued my eyes on a glorious sunset that was laid before me. I was like staring at a stairway to heaven. To be honest, I was carried away. I wept for no reason. It was just so glorious.

Lured by this spectacle, I seized the moment. While the remaining hues were still there, I playfully posed in front of my camera hoping to own an epic sunset photograph of myself romancing the most beautiful sunset in the Philippines. And it never failed me.

With BFF Sarah

Contended by what we saw and experienced, we left Suba so delighted. I knew it was the pleasing view of the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte and the glorious Sunset of Suba that just made our long day on the second day of our Lakbay Ilocos Norte!

THE SUNKEN SUNSET OF CAMIGUIN ISLAND

Perhaps one of the most dramatic and breathtaking sunsets in this tropical Island of the Philippines is the sunset at the Sunken Cemetery of the Volcanic Island of Camiguin.
John Lubbock was right when he said, “Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven”. These were the same thoughts running in my head when a spectacular view of a glorious sunset was laid before my eyes. At that moment, I worshipped God for such a stunning view to behold. It was the most vivid sunset I’ve ever seen in my life. I called it “The Sunken Sunset”.
When I travelled to the Island Province of Camiguin, visiting the famed Sunken Cemetery topped my list. It is one of the Island’s most important and historic tourist spots. Remarkably, my visit to the Sunken Cemetery gave birth to my passion for sunset photography that until now I am so obsessed.
The Sunken Cemetery is located in Bonbon, Catarman. It is the greatest evidence of the fatal volcanic eruption of Mount Vulcan that happened many years ago in this volcanic island. According to history, the whole capital of Camiguin including its cemetery, sunk under the sea during the destructive volcanic eruption in 1871. Following that eruption, part of the sunken land and the gravestones were still visible when low tide. But in 1948, Mount Vulcan erupted yet again sinking the whole area deeper to around twenty feet. From then on, the gravestones can never be seen.
In 1982, the Provincial Government of Camiguin built a huge cross marker on the waters of the sunken cemetery to mark the site they considered the sunken graves of their ancestors. From then, it was called the “Sunken Cemetery”. Today, it is considered one of the most interesting diving sites in the Philippines.
Visiting the Sunken Cemetery allowed me to appreciate more the many interesting things about the whole Island of Camiguin. The history of the sunken cemetery is undoubtedly tragic but the way the people of Camiguin valued this historic site and its heritage made me see the kind of people they are. It truly defines their courage, resilience and faith to survive the challenging tests of times.
As a photography enthusiast, SUNSET IN THE SUNKEN CEMETERY by far is the most scenic amongst the sunsets I’ve seen in the many places I’ve been. Is it because of its history? Or because of what it is now? Whatever it is, until now, that Sunken Sunset still lures me to come back to the Island and once again capture its glorious scene. And I know I shall be coming back. Again.


CATCHING SUNRISE AT CLAVER, SURIGAO DEL NORTE

Friday night. Ten o’clock. I was overwhelmed with excitement as the passenger van started to leave Davao City. Point of destination was the Port of Hayanggabon in the Municipality of Claver, Surigao Del Norte. I was among the group of eleven outdoor enthusiasts heading to Socorro, Surigao Del Norte to explore the famed Sohoton Cove of the Enchanted Bucas Grande Islands. Hayanggabon Seaport is the jump off harbor going to these Islands.
It was one fine evening when we left Davao City. The weather was excellent giving us hope that our journey to the Bucas Grande Islands will be fun and exciting. I have never been to the Province of Surigao Del Norte. But I’ve heard so many beautiful stories about the countless natural wonders of the province. It thrilled me thinking of going there and seeing these wonders in its full glory.
The trip from Davao City to Claver took about 7 hours passing through the different municipalities of Agusan Del Sur, Agusan Del Norte and finally Surigao Del Norte. I was hoping to see the view of these towns but since we were traveling by night, we opted to sleep while on board to gain enough strength for an anticipated strenuous yet fun filled Island Tour in Bucas Grande.
At five o’clock in the morning, I woke up realizing we were now traveling along the coastal road of Surigao Del Norte. The sky was beginning to light up. What was amusing was the amazing view of the seascape blending the pinkish orangey color of early morning sky that appeared like a painting to me. It was a welcoming treat to my eyes. A beautiful dawning of a new day was just in front of me. I learned we were already at Claver, Surigao Del Norte and heading towards the Port of Hayanggabon.
The scene was too perfect we couldn’t afford to miss. We stopped at one side. Grabbed our cameras out and started capturing what I call a “dramatic sunrise”.

This Blogger worshiping this magnificent Sunrise.

When the sky was lighting up, its pinkish orangey color started to reflect on the still waters of Claver Bay. It was a stunning scene. Moments later, the first light of the daybreak came out creating magnificent rays that really struck us. And then another glorious reflection of the rising sun reflected on the waters. It was gradual. The more it rose, the more it became striking. The colors turned more vivid. The scene became so dramatic. I was carried away by a delightful feeling of catching the perfect round shape of the mighty sun rising and shining in front of me. As the sun rose to its full glory, I realized the whole environs became alive. Truthfully, sunrises promise to give hope, light and life to everything.
I was never a sunrise person. I can’t battle waking up early and brave to catch the first light. But I always dream of capturing one beautiful sunrise that I can take pride of – one sunrise I can truly say close to perfection! SUNRISE AT CLAVER made that dream came true! To this day, this is my PERFECT SUNRISE.
As we headed to the Port of Hayanggabon, the rising sun was still in its full grandeur giving us assurance of a good weather for the day. It gave us hope for an exciting Island Exploration. That SUNRISE AT CLAVER was a good start of our day. A good start to begin an unforgettable Enchanted Bucas Grande Island Exploration.

This is the first part of “EXPLORING CARAGA REGION: The Travel Series

  1. CATCHING SUNRISE AT CLAVER, SURIGAO DEL NORTE
  2. SOCORRO AND THE BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  3. CLUB TARA AND TIKTIKAN LAKE OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  4. SOHOTON NATIONAL PARK OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  5. THE SANDY BEACHES AND STUNNING ISLETS OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  6. THE JELLYFISH SANCTUARY OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  7. EXPERIENCING SAN JOSE AND THE PROVINCE OF DINAGAT ISLANDS
  8. THE LEGEND OF DINAGAT ISLANDS