Tuesday, May 6, 2014


"Sheltered in a cave. A work of art of craftsmen for the departed"

I went to the Alilem Municipal Hall of the province of Ilocos Sur on May 6, 2014 just to inquire on their tourist spots particularly on how to get to the Apang Hot Spring and the Daddaay-Batbato Rice Terraces and do the main hike the following day (i did not slept well last night) but ended going to the Ken Ngilawen Burial Cave that same day.

At the Alilem Municipal Hall, I got to talk to some employees like Gyver Fabro of DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), Danilo Lorenzana of MPDC as well as Marde Pangaoil also of MPDC (Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator). They all helped me get answers to my queries.

If you find this story/blogpost interesting and/or had helped you in any way (in your researches, works, travels, blogs, adventures, homeworks at school, a personal project and more), I'd like to hear a word or two from wonderful people like you or simply Like "pagnapagna" in Facebook. I'd be very thankful. It gives me inspirations. Cheers!

-my pagnapagna-

From the Municipal Hall of Alilem, I rode a passenger motorbike going towards East (11:14 am). We (together with the driver) passed by the drop-off point to Baey Anito Falls at around 11:20 am, passed by the Hanging bridge  area to Barangay Apay at 11:28 am and finally arrived at the Hydro Power Plant some few minutes later.

My designated hired driver and his motorbike c/o Mr. Marde Pangaoil of MPDC
 department at the Municipal Hall of Alilem.

Unfortunately, at the Hydro Power Plant, a sign says "We are on security alert, no visitors allowed". Obviously, I did not got inside the facility so i just settled for a photo at the entrance gate and went back to the road where we passed by at the Hanging Bridge area to Barangay Apay.

At the Hydro power plant, the sign says "We are on security alert, no visitors allowed".
I got down from the motorbike and my companion said that i'll just cross the river through the hanging bridge while he went down the river to get the bamboo raft at the other side so he can cross the river with the motorbike on the raft.

The hanging bridge is the alternate route when you can not literally cross the river below.
But since the river swelled a little (it must have rained upstream) which explains the muddy color of its waters, the river is difficult to cross with the motorbike. He told me to just go on to the other side and ride another motorbike while he waits for me in the area.

The view from the Hanging bridge. That's him the motorbike driver below.
At the other side of the bridge is this make-shift shed where the
passenger motorbike's drivers take a rest and serves as terminal area
Some of the motorbike drivers at the shed.
I rode another motorbike (11:53 am) and arrived at Barangay Apaya proper at 12:02 pm. From there, we walked some few minutes going up to the side of the mountain and into the burial  cave.

Inside the Ken Ngilawen Cave
This is my ride's driver from the Hanging bridge area who accompanied me
to the Ken Ngilawen cave.

After I took some photographs (with selfies of course) and videos we departed the area and went back to the road again.

-end of pagnapagna-


Located at the mountainside of Barangay Apaya, just few minutes walk from the residential area is a huge boulder about 3-storeys to 4-storeys high rock with a crevice or a wide space underneath. This space underneath it, serves as a burial cave.
The two log coffins has a sculpture of a head that  resembled that of a serpent, cow or lizard.
It also has a inscriptions at its side. For a moment it read like an Ilocano or Spanish. That must have been where they got the numbers 1888-89 as dates denoting that it was from the 18th century.
Some recent improvements where done like the patches of yellowish paints on the surfaces of the rocks and cave's wall that served as decorations.
Along with the recent offerings are some coins and metal spears which are now rusting.

Subject : Ken Ngilawen Burial Cave
Location: Barangay of Apaya
               Municipality of Alilem
               Province of Ilocos Sur

How To Get There :

From Manila, ride a bus bound for any of these North-west Luzon areas: Laoag City (Ilocos Norte), Vigan City (Ilocos Sur), Candon City (Ilocos Sur) and Bangued (Abra) but you must to get down at the town of Sudipen of the province of La Union.
At Sudipen, La Union (about an hour ride from San Fernando City, La Union) look for the passenger motorbikes. (There is also jeep but very few). And you may take a backride on one of these going to downtown Alilem, Ilocos Sur (going east with around 80 pesos fare) and then ride another motorbike going to drop-off point where a hanging bridges crosses a river (or ask the driver to get you from Sudipen, La Union all the way to the drop-off to barangay Apaya, Alilem, Ilocos Sur). At times, the motorbike can pass the river through a bamboo raft but most of the time just cross the river by foot through the hanging bridge and ride another motorbike going to the Barangay proper of Apaya. At barangay Apaya, walk just a few minutes to the Burial cave.

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