The province of Cagayan is located in the northeastern part of Luzon with the City of Tuguegarao as its capital, also considered as the regional center. Surrounded by the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Kalinga and Isabela, as well as the Pacific Ocean, this province is situated in the valley between the Cordilleras and Sierra Madre. Farming and fishing are the main means of livelihood.
For a faster option going to Cagayan, one may take a 45 minute air travel to Tuguegarao. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific both have daily flights to Cagayan’s capital. Wait for the airlines’ seat sale for a cheaper ticket.
For a cheaper option, you may take a bus going to Tuguegarao but you have to bring with you a bag full of patience as the travel time is almost 12 hours. The best option is to take the night bus schedule to save a day for your tour. Bus options include Victory Liner, GV Florida Bus and Dalin Liner. Fare costs around Php 600.
Via Air + Land
This for me is the most flexible option, taking the plane going to Tuguegarao and going back to Manila via bus. Because you won’t have to worry about making it to your return flight if there’ll be unforeseen changes in your itinerary and you’ll be more relaxed.
Tricycles or traysi as what locals call them are the most popular mode of transportation in Tuguegarao, and in Cagayan in general. For short distances, the fare costs Php 10 per passenger or Php 50 per tricycle for special trips. Other towns may also be accessed via tricycles, jeepneys or vans and busses for farther towns.
Languages and dialects commonly used in Cagayan include Ilokano, Ybanag and Ytawes which according to locals are similar to each other. Here are some basic Ybanag words:
Good morning – Magandang umaga – Nakasta nga umma
Good day – Magandang araw – Nakasta nga aggaw
Good evening – Magandang gabi – Nakasta nga gabi
How much? – Magkano? – Piga yaw?
How to go to…? – Paano pumuntang…? – Kunsi y umay ta…?
Thank you – Maraming salamat – Mabbalo
I like you – Gusto kita – Ayayatat taka
I love you – Mahal kita – Iddedukan taka
WHAT TO DO
Island/Beach Hopping – this activity is done in the northernmost town of Cagayan – Sta. Ana. Popular destinations include Palaui Island, Anguib Beach and Crocodile Island.
Chase Waterfalls – located in Palaui Island, Baratubut Falls is a multi-level waterfall which may be accessed via Leonardo Trail.
Trekking – this is one of the options you may take going to Cape Engano Lighthouse. On your way to the lighthouse from Punta Verde, you’ll pass by a forest, a grassland, a mangrove area, a beach and a hanging bridge. Trekking time varies but it may take 3 hours on the average to reach the lighthouse.
Spelunking – Cagayan is home to more than 300 caves, but only 75 of these have been documented. The most famous one and probably the most photograph destination in the province is Callao Cave which is known for having a church inside. Scenes from the movie The Mistress were also shot here.
Visita Iglesia – almost all of the towns in Cagayan take pride in their century-old catholic churches. One common feature of these churches is the usage of red bricks.
Pilgrimage – Piat, a quaint town near Tuguegarao City, is a famous pilgrimage site for the devotees of Our Lady of Piat.
Food Trip – any visit to a destination wouldn’t be complete without trying the local cuisine. Gastronomic finds in this part of Luzon include pancit batil-patong, pancit Cabagan, longganisang Tuguegarao and papaitan.
WHAT TO SEE
Sts. Peter and Paul Metropolitan Cathedral
Sts. Peter and Paul Metropolitan Cathedral or Tuguegarao Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tuguegarao City located in Gomez cor. Rizal Streets. One prominent feature of the church are the monuments of Saints in the church patio.
Palaui Island is known as the location of the 27th (Survivor: Blood vs. Water) and 28th (Survivor: Cagayan) seasons of the US reality show, Survivor. It has also been tagged by CNNGo as one of the Top 10 beaches in the world. This is where you’ll find the Cape Engano Lighthouse, Baratubat Falls Siwangag Cove and Punta Verde.
You may have to face huge waves before arriving in this paradise but it’s all worth it. Upon docking, you’ll be welcomed by the pristine water, creamy white fine sand and the luscious tress in the beach. There is also a sea grass area but we were discouraged by our guide to go there because we might step on sea urchins or stone fish.
Buntun Bridge is the longest river bridge and the second longest bridge, overall, in the Philippines. Connecting the City of Tuguegarao and the town of Solana, both in Cagayan, the bridge measures 1.098 kilometers and spans the Cagayan River, the largest river basin in the country. Buntun Bridge is best visited during sunset.
Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat
The Basilica is where the Nuestra Senora de Piat or Our Lady of Piat is enshrined. The end of a drought is just one of the said miracles of The Mother of Cagayan. Piat is known as the Pilgrimage Center of Cagayan Valley.
Callao Cave is a 7-chamber limestone cave located in Penablanca, Cagayan. There are ongoing excavations to study the Callao Man, believed to be 67,000 years old, even older to the 47,000-year-old Tabon Man. The most famous and most photograph section of this cave is the chamber where a church was built and parts of the cave lit by the rays of the sun.
Punta Verde is a small community where the boats of those who’ll trek to Cape Engano Lighthouse dock. An orientation is also held here before exploring the rest of the island.
Baratubut Falls may be reached around 30 minutes from Punta Verde via Leonardo Trail. This multi-level waterfall is also a source of irrigation in the area.
Cape Engano Lighthouse
Cape Engano Lighthouse or Faro de Cabo Engano was built from 1888 to 1892. Aside from the 11-meter octagonal tower where the lantern is, the lighthouse complex also has several rooms which served as offices, kitchen and stockroom.
Siwangag Cove offers a different experience since the beach area is filled with shells and coral stones. This is best viewed when you are at the stairs on your way up to the lighthouse.
Dos Hermanas are two uninhabited islets best viewed at Cape Engano Lighthouse. A closer view of these land masses may be achieved on your boat ride from Cape Engano Lighthouse to Anguib Beach.
Crocodile Island is a land mass with a rock formation in its center that resembles the shape of, yes you got it right, a crocodile!
Catholic Churches of Cagayan
On your way to Sta. Ana from Tuguegarao or vice-versa, you may opt to drop by some of the most beautiful churches in the region. These include the churches in the towns of Camalaniugan, Lal-lo, Alcala and Iguig.
WHERE TO EAT
Jomar’s Special Batil Patung – after your trip to Buntun Bridge, you may recharge and indulge yourself with one of the best pancit recipe in the Philippines – Pancit Batil Patung. We’ve tried their best seller, the super special pancit topped with pork liver, ground beef (or carabao?), egg and lechon kawali. It’s also interesting how this is eaten. t is usually served with soup and kalamansi-sibuyas-toyo combo mixed in the pancit when it’s eaten.
J-Ren’s – although we were not able eat here, this is also one of those panciterias usually recommended by locals. Aside from the batil patong, they also serve other ulam.
RGT’s Fastfood and Bulaluhan – RGT’s is in Rizal cor. Gonzaga Streets near Hotel Lorita. Aside from the bulalo specialty, you may also try other Ilocano specialties including papaitan and dinakdakan.
Natan’s Pancit Cabagan – Natan’s is a panciteria located about 50 meters from the airport that serves pancit Cabagan.
Carinderia/Street Food Carts – you might also want to try local dishes that various carinderias and food carts offer.
WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
Feast Day of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Piat
Piat, July 1-2
Aggao Nac Cagayan
Cagayan, June 23 – 29
Piat Sambali Festival
Cagayan, June 23 – 30
Aparri, May 10
Gonzaga, May 5 – 10
Lasam, May 15 – 21
Buguey, May 14 – 20
WHERE TO STAY
52 Aguinaldo St. Centro 6, Tuguegarao City
Landline No.: (078) 844 7318
Cellphone No.: (63) 917 553 8556
52 Aguinaldo St. Centro 6, Tuguegarao City
Landline No.: (078) 372 0560
Cellphone No.: (63) 906 478 1270
Eden Lodging House
No. 29 Arellano Street, Centro, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
Cellphone No.: (63) 916 790 4177
WHAT TO BRING HOME
- Tuguegarao longganisa
- Milk candy from Alcala and Lal-lo
- Chicha-rabao (Carabao Chicharon)
- Peanut Products from Alcala
- Carabeef frozen products (tapa and longganisa)
- T-shirt, ref magnets, keychains
WHO TO ASK FOR ASSISTANCE
Department of Tourism Cagayan Valley Region
Address: #2 Dalan na Pavvurulun, Regional Government Center
Carig Sur, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan 3500
Contact Number: (078) 373-9563 / 373-0785
WHERE IN THE PHILIPPINES
By Eugene Alvin Villar (seav) – English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=245237