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Photographer's Note

This place in the northern Philippines has truly captured my heart. Eversince I set foot on the La Paz Sand Dunes of the City of Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte, I knew I found a home, a playground, a refuge for my pilgrim soul and a “Muse” for my writing with light.

"Laoag", which has been on the record of the Spanish colonizers as early as the 16th century, means "light" or "brightness" in the Ilocano dialect. How very apt.

This area is part of the 85-square km Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes declared and protected as a national geological monument because of its unique land formation.

The first impression I got on my first trip five years ago was the culture and history that is woven in the bustle of a city. The second was how clean the pavements were. It has remained true to its label as one of the cleanest and greenest places in the country.

But what even impressed on my psyche, as I watched from the window of my room, is this land of many faces that kisses the South China Sea. Before, I have only delighted in looking at photos that show patterns in the desert of some Arab lands and can only imagine what the Sahara Desert feels like. Until I stumbled on that local 'desert' and got lost. Literally lost.

Alone, and close to sunset I couldn’t find my way back to my lodging. A voice in my head said, the desert can be tricky. In common sense or fear, I decided to find the coast instead and from there hope for the best. I did find my way to a small fishing community of Barangay La Paz which generally spoke in the dialect I couldn’t understand. They sent for some people whom can speak with and after a while of amusing stares and giggles, they, a jeepney-load, in their generous and happy spirit brought me back to Barangay Navotas. Apparently I’ve wandered a village away.

That night, I was the main event and maybe the news for a couple more days. Last year, the Catholic sisters with whom I’ve stayed whenever I visit the City, told me the people of La Paz remembers this woman who got lost in the sand dunes and found her way to them. And I imagine it's a story with a chuckle.

I’ve yet to find my way back to the “Manang” and “Manong” and “Ading” of La Paz and say once again my thank you.

This shot again was taken with my loyal poin&shoot, a little before sunset, on another trip a couple of days before New Year 2005.

KevRyan, Nols, MiguelP, ngythanh, Gix, wmoraga, cjcampbell ha puntuado esta nota como útil.

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