Some Horror and Porn from Cape Bojeador

Immense height fascinates me.

Back in the days when I was just beginning to develop an interest in photography, I noticed that I liked taking pictures of tall structures. Church towers. Lighthouses. Skyscrapers. When I visited Hong Kong and Singapore, I wasted a lot of digital space taking photos of the city, simply because I was so engrossed with buildings—reflections against the seemingly countless windows, crisscrossing lights from the city’s financial institutions. I loved them. Obviously, I couldn’t do that in Makati or BGC (people are so judgmental, they’d call me inosente hahaha) but just the same I like seeing similar stuff here.

So while planning this trip to Ilocos, seeing the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse excited me. Not only was it a phallic architecture, it was also an ancient one. I don’t know what’s with these mammoths—there’s something about them I find awe-inspiring, especially when I look at them from the base up, with a bit of a squint because of the sun’s glare. I guess it makes me amazed at the greatness of human hands—which is especially true for old constructions.


Don’t miss any of these posts in the Ilocos 2014 series:


Cape Bojeadar Lighthouse, also known as Burgos Lighthouse, is a centuries-old structure situated atop Vigia de Nagpartian Hill in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. The octagonal tower was established during the Spanish colonial period, a part of the Spaniards’ plan to illuminate the entire archipelago. Today, it still serves as a beacon for ships entering the Northern part of the Philippines.*

We braved the furious heat and climbed the steps that lead to the lighthouse, trudging carefully as the steps were a bit too high, and slippery because of windswept soil. After a few minutes of panting and grunting, we finally reached the gate.

The steps were, like, knee-high. Are you serious?!
Our tour had just started and I was already drenched in sweat. Yuck!
The caretaker didn’t ask for any fee, but didn’t bother to share Cape Bojeador’s history either. He kept on ranting about how he didn’t want to tell any more stories because of some unpleasant past experience (which he also didn’t want to talk about), but after what seemed like an eternity of his prattle, we finally concluded that he wanted us to beg him to tell us .. so we didn’t, hahaha! I wasn’t in the mood to say “please”, I was too fucking tired and hot and sweaty.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse exuded an eerie and mysterious feel, with its boarded-up windows, rickety doors, and ceilings with missing panels. The walls are periodically repainted white to keep that “old” look when the paint starts to peel off. A T-shaped staircase leads to the veranda and main entryway. Near the entrance was the museum, which holds old photos and a replica of the lighthouse.

Had there been no other tourists aside from us, I would’ve thought that we were in ghost town. It was as if some ghoul would jump right at you any minute, or when you turn to the next corner. I was actually a bit anxious to take pictures for fear that I would see some hazy whitish shapes on the JPEG. Haha!

The lighthouse itself was a bit disappointing, since (1) nobody was allowed to climb to the top anymore and (2) it was newly painted. No rustic, peeling-off tower pictures for me. However, I did manage to satisfy my lust for tallness, so here you go, some tower porn:

Since we weren’t allowed to climb, we just admired the view of Cape Bojeador and South China Sea from the stairs leading to the tower.

Left: steps leading to the tower; right: spiral staircase to the top (I had to beg to take this picture)
Cape Bojeador and South China Sea on the horizon
I’m pretty sure my visit to Cape Bojeador would have been much better if climbing to the top was permitted, but since this tourist spot was along the way from Laoag to Pagudpud, it would be a shame not to see it. It’s not something I would go see a second time though.

How to Get There:

Burgos is a town about 40km (1.5 - 2 hours) North of Laoag. Coming from Laoag, you can take buses headed to Pagudpud. Passing along Maharlika Highway, you can see a sign to your right, which is the starting point of the winding road that leads to Vigia de Nagpartian Hill. From there, it takes about five minutes to get to the lighthouse.


If you’re planning to visit Cape Bojeador and the two other popular spots—Kapurpurawan Rock Formation and Bangui Windmills—a rented tricycle or van is preferable, since they are far from each other and not easily accessible along the major highway.

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