Getting to Know Padre Burgos in Time of Covid | Quezon


During this pandemic, I was fortunate to sandwiched far in between my self-imposed lockdown at home, a few working trips that strictly followed safety protocols, to the Cordillera highlands, the organic farms in Quezon and the picturesque Lake Lumot in Cavinti, Laguna. The only thing missing was a socially-distanced jaunt to the beach. Just when I was starting to wonder if I’ve to wait for this damn pandemic to end before I could dip my toes again in the ocean, a travel writing assignment arrived on my inbox.

Sara Abdollahi

Sir Gadja from the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines (TPB) invited me to join a small group for a 4-day assessment trip upon the invitation from the LGU of Padre Burgos in Quezon. Their objective is to highlight places in their municipality that are ideal travel bubble destination, as well as the safety protocols they are enforcing in accordance with the guidelines set by the IATF.

Kiara Lagrisola

“Since our objective is to thinly spread out tourists to avoid over-crowding in one destination, we need to promote other options especially the ones near Metro Manila because right now, flying to other provinces still have a lot of requirement” Sir Gadja explained to us.

A bit about Padre Burgos

Padre Burgos is where a stretch of shoreline known among backpackers and beach campers as Borawan Island, is located. Even this fact escapes most travelers as a lot of them thought the island is still part of Pagbilao—Padre Burgos’ neighboring town.

Sandra Santiago

It turns out Borawan Island is just a saxophone player in a jazz band comprising of other must-see places in Padre Burgos. An unassuming and quaint town blessed with a spectacular shoreline facing the marine-rich waters of Tayabas Bay, the charms of Padre Burgos, is already evident even way back the late 19th century when historian and writer Juan Álvarez Guerra raved about the places he visited here in his book “From Manila to Tayabas”.

Bianca Villoria

According to town historian Ryan Panganiban, the former name of Padre Burgos was "Laguimanoc"—a reference to the coastline's shape that resembles a chicken or a 'manok'.

Gretchen Filart and Mujee Gonzales

Another version of the origin of its former name, is that hawks ('lawin') used to fly around the area to snatch young chicken. Therefore, locals would warn other locals raising chickens whenever hawks would appear, by yelling "Lawin-Manok".

Audrey Trinidad

A decade after Padre Burgos became a municipality in January 1, 1917, the town council changed its name to Padre Burgos in honor of Fr. Jose P. Burgos (one third of the martyred Gomburza priests).

Moha Barakat

"We don't know yet the decision to name our town after Padre Burgos since he was from Ilocos Sur and we don't have much record of his connection to our town" Panganiban told us. "My guess is, because during that time, the United States who still governs us, used to prohibit locals from displaying Philippine flags. So maybe, as an act of defiance and to show patriotism, a lot of towns were named after Philippine heroes" he adds.

Borawan Island

During the next four days we visited a lot of places around Padre Burgos—mostly aboard a motorized boat—from one coastal barangay to the next. Of course, there’s Borawan Island which the locals named as such because they likened its white sands to Boracay and its rick formations to those of El Nido in Palawan.

Sophie gianan

To set you expectations clearly, while I find the sands of Borawan Island as fine and light colored, you still cannot compare it to the powdery sands of Boracay. Plus, the rock formations and limestone cliffs of Borawan isn’t as many as those found in El Nido.


The comparison can be well off, but still, the island, especially with its circling stretch of shoreline, is a good substitute and a wonderful place to just chill and unwind from the anxieties of the real world. No wonder on the day we visited, we found tents being pitched on the other side of the island. “We’re pitching tents for incoming guests but don’t worry we’re setting up each tent away from each other. There’s still social distancing even with tents”, a local guide told us.

Aly Barzaga

The island’s carrying capacity has been greatly lessened since the pandemic. Visitors are required to reserve a slot online and at the time of our visit, Covid rapid tests are needed. I just hope that even after we beat the pandemic, the LGU will still maintain a lower number of island capacity at any given day.

Mangayao Beach

Faith Calimlim

A sense of quietness spreads over 700 meters of shoreline in Mangayao. This quiet camping spot leads to a mangrove and migratory bird observation area and a view deck where one can also spot several migrant bird species.

St. Rita de Cascia Parish Church

Sandra Santiago

The old parochial church of the town was also built on top of a hill more than a century ago (on the other side of the town). When Padre Burgos celebrated its 100th founding anniversary in 2017—following a tradition of building a new parochial every 100 year—they opted to construct the now Sta. Rita Cascia Parish Church atop this hill. 

Levy Amosin and Celine Murillo

My favorite part of the church is its mountain-range facing balcony that summons a perfect meditative vibe.

Hinguiwin Falls

Borawan Island travel guide

This waterfalls is located inside a 10-hectare farm owned by a retired OFW couple who spent three decades in Libya. The farm itself is a good picnic destination but to be able to cap it off with a dip on the soothing waters of Hinguiwin Falls, would make your pit-stop here more memorable. Oh, chat up with the lovely owners if you chanced upon them, their such accommodating people to talk to.

San Vicente Beach

Abby Wright

Almost bare-looking and inhabited only by a small community relying on fishing, its long stretch of shore line screams of solitude bliss with nature. Pitching a tent under one of the trees while facing the calm waters should gift you with a Zen-kind of escape.

Dampalitan Island

Next to Borawan, Dampalitan Island is another favorite beach camping site thanks to the rows of pine trees lined up parallel to its shores facing the turquoise waters of Tayabas Bay. 

Sandra Santiago

This beach gets crowded most weekends during the pre-pandemic days. Nowadays, tents and campers are properly distanced from each other thus giving everyone more space to frolic and relax with nature. I hope they keep up with this current set-up of socially-distanced beach camping to preserve the beauty of the place and maintain its peaceful vibe.


Simply referred to as the ‘Burol’ or a hill, this spot is the perfect spot to wait for the sunset while sitting or lying over a patch of grass accompanied by friendly cows. 

Cheekie Albay

From here, you can see the magnificent view of Tayabas Bay, Pagbilao and Borawan. You can also catch sight of a cemetery situated on the opposite hill facing the sea. It is interesting to note that location of the cemetery plays into an old age belief that when a person dies, their soul must cross the ocean to the other side.

Woven Buri Fan

A very interesting local product here in Padre Burgos, Quezon is the woven fans made of the Raffia fiber sourced from the Buri Palm (same family as the Anahaw palm). 

Krizette Chu

Its circular shape and popping colors are a welcome variation from the classic and typical heart-shaped Filipino pamaypay we're accustomed to. These are made by the members of the Kinagunan-Ibaba Women’s Association (KIWA) in Brgy kinagunan-ibaba, Padre Burgos, Quezon.