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Sharing My Travel Experiences in Cagayan Valley

sunny 35 °C


Summer is almost finished and I have not experienced the beach yet. Of course we have a lot of plans but for some reason, a planned travel never really works. At least not for us.

We initially planned to visit Baler, then moved it to Tarlac and a stop at Zambales for the Beach. Until one night, Fox asked me what my favorite bridge is. I didn't have an answer so i googled my answer and said "Buntun Bridge". This bridge is supposed to be the 2nd longest fresh water bridge in Luzon.

So a decision has been made, we will go to the "hottest place in the Philippines, Tuguegarao City". This travel also marks the start of my "Bridge Series".

We left Manila at 8pm and took the Victory Liner bus bound to Tuguegarao. The bus fare is around Php700. You can also check flights from Cebu Pacific bound for Tuguegarao City.


This is a 13 hours bus ride but with friends, this will be a fun-filled trip.

Didn't I say it will be FUN?!?! Thanks for this photo Fox.

That's Fox, me, JB and Kim. By the way, this is not a "wacky" shot, this are our normal faces. Right Fox and JB?

So we reached our destination at long last. We stayed at "Casa Ludivina" which is the nearest transient near Victory Liner Bus Terminal. It's a few meters walk on the same side of the street.

casa_ludivina.jpg casa_ludivina_2.jpg

The accommodation is very affordable at Php1200.00 per night for all four of us. Let me tell you though, that the transient's parking area doubles as a bus terminal. The location is also not in the city proper and you have to take a tricycle or jeep to get to the town proper. You'll find more hotel, motels, and bed and breakfast in the city depending on your budget.


The first stop on our list lunch. We decided to have pancit batil patong. Now there are a lot of restaurants that serves this local delicacy but we decided to eat in one of the more famous panciteria in town, Jomar's Panciteria.

Jomar's Panciteria

Pancit Batil Patong

After satisfying our hunger, we went back to our hotel and asked the front desk if she can recommend someone to tour us around the city. Now in the spirit of back packing, we tried looking for our own transportation but it proved to be more expensive than what we were expecting, that's Php800.00 to get us to Callao Cave in Penablanca and back to the city. The hotel front desk knows a tricycle driver who offered to bring us there for only Php500.00 round trip, so you'd understand why we choose the hotel's offer.

Cagayan Valley has it's own share of historical churches, and two of them we got to visit on our way to Penablanca. We first visited the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Tuguegarao City.


The next church we saw was the Saint Paul Cathedral.


After seeing the two cathedrals in the city, it's time to head out to Penablanca to visit the famous Callao Cave and its Seven Chambers. Now this is going to be a 30-minute ride, and it is true that the weather is HOT so bring water with you.

So we reached the Callao Eco-Tourism Zone. The place has an entrance fee and provides a tour guide that will give you information about the cave and it's seven chambers.


To reach the entrance of the cave you will have to climb 189 steps. Fortunately, our guide gave us moments of rest to surprisingly cold parts of the climb. According to him, the cold air is coming from the cave's entrance.


The natural cathedral found inside the Callao Cave is what has made this a famous tourist destination. The cave will be very dark if not for the natural light that illuminates the inside of the cave and marks its seven chambers.

Call_Cave_Entrance.jpg Callao Cave Entrance

Callao_Cave_Cathedral.jpg Natural Cathedral

Thanks to our Tour Guide, Gerald Taguinod, for taking the photos. Thanks Fox for letting me me use them for my blog.

Next stop is Buntun Bridge. The bridge cnnects Tuguegarao to the city of Solana. The bridge is to be the longest river bridge in the country. Under it is the majestic Cagayan River which is also the largest river in the Philippines.

Cagayan_Ri..-14-034.jpg Cagayan River

This bridge has never been flooded by the river. It has been the flood basis of Tuguegarao that when the bridge if the bridge gets flooded, the city is also affected since the height of the bridge is similar to the height of Tuguegarao city. ( info from wikipedia.org).

Buntun_Bridge.jpg Buntun Bridge

Now this bridge holds a very special place in my heart. This is the reason why we went to Tuguegarao. And a special person once told me, that sometimes we meet people because they have a purpose, may be a bridge. Thanks to YOU!

After visiting Buntun Bridge, it's time to go back to the hotel and prepare for tomorrows activities.


Our next day started very early as the travel time to our next destination is around three to four hours. We are going to Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley and enjoy the white sand beach of its coastlines.

So I woke the group up at around 4am and had a quick breakfast at the nearest Jolibee. But not before ensuring that the vans near Casa Ludivina goes to Sta. Ana. So we were told that the first trip will be at 5am.

The fare will be Php 200.00 one way and since it's a Sunday, there were not that many passenger so the trip was very comfortable. Fox and I was able to secure the seat beside the driver. NICE!!!


Now this we find funny, from Tuguegarao, the next Jolibee is in Aparri which is 40 kilometers away. I'll be long dead!


Travelling this far up north brings me back to my childhood, while i sang with a popular noontime show theme, "mula Aparri hanggang Jolo...", who would've known that I'll actually reach the tip of Luzon.

So after almost four hours of travel, we finally reached Sta. Ana, Cagayan. The van driver, who's also from Manila by the way, was nice enough to look for a tricycle that will bring us to the beach. Yet again, the fare price is too high for our taste. That's Php 500.00 one way and since there won't be a lot of transportation from the beach to the town proper we will take the same ride back so that's another Php 500.00.

So we nicely declined the offer and asked the van driver to just drop us off to where we can get tricyle. That's going to be the market. This proved to be very convenient for us because we were able to buy food and water since we were not sure if there are any stores there.

Then we met Kuya Archer who offered a round trip service for just Php 700.00. So everything's set.

IMG_00035.jpg That's our ride. Kuya Archer's center car.

Finally our destination was reached, Anguib Beach is just beyond the gates of Balai Cagayanon. Entrance fee is Php 500.oo each which covers merienda and buffet lunch (boodle fight) and use of cottage.

IMG_00033.jpg Anguib Beach

The place is very beautiful with only two or three cottages occupied. It was a perfect timing for swimming. We didn't care if the sun was too hot, we were excited to swim and take photos. The food was not too bad, everything that you will want to have and eat while enjoying the sun in paradise. The people were also very nice, we even got a chance to talk to the manager of the resort.


Other activities that you can do while in Anguib include beach volleyball, kayaking and jet skiing. Now there are no rooms available in Anguib Beach so an overnight stay is not an option yet during our visit.

The last trip going back to Tuguegarao if you will take the van is 1pm or occasionally there are vans that leave by 2pm. Your last bet will be the buses bound for Manila. The last Florida bus bound for Manila leaves Sta. Ana at 3pm. If you miss that then you have to either stay in a hotel or choose from one of the few home-stays available in town.

Taking the bus stretches the travel time to about 4 hours as there are more stops compares to taking a van. We got back to the hotel at around 7pm. We decided that 7pm is not yet late so we made a short trip to the town to see what's happening at night and to also eat dinner.

Now there weren't that much option except for the usual fast food that we have in Manila. One restaurant found only in Tuguegarao was still open and that was were we had dinner.


The place offers big food servings at a very affordable price. The place is neat and cozy too.

We then headed back to the hotel to get a good night's rest.


Today is our last day of stay in Tuguegarao and we only have until 1pm otherwise we will have to pay extra at the hotel. We woke up 6am and had breakfast again at the friendly bee.

Our itinerary for the day includes visiting the Trapese church of St. James in the town of Iguig and Calvary Hill and buy pasalubong.

So we took a jeep going to Iguig and got off in the town proper. From there you can either ask people for directions on how to get there. This should give you an opportunity to talk to the locals.

As for our group, we took a backstreet and because of this, we saw a garden that boasts of a 4-century old well. How's that for old?!? Of course we took pictures.


We then headed to St. James Parish. This church has a giant statue of Jesus Christ. You can ask the caretakers of the church if you can go up to the foot of the statue as it has been closed to public. At the back of the giant statue one will also have a good view of the Cagayan river and the ruins of the brick-staircase. This part has also been closed to the public.

Now the Parish of St. James is a beauty on its own. The front may have been renovated already but the back and the sides of the church gives you a glimpse of how it used to look.


At the side of the church will see the entrance of the Calvary Hills. You should not miss visiting this as it features the 14 life size sculptures of the Station of the Cross.



This is our last destination in our visit in Tuguegarao City and the other towns of Cagayan Valley. There are still a lot of places to visit, many churches to see, and food to try.

We promise to be back. Maybe before the year ends.

Posted by josemazn 18:01 Archived in Philippines Tagged valley cagayan tuguegarao Comments (0)

Lugar Lang!!!

Sharing my Travel experiences in ILOILO...

overcast 29 °C

Day 1

It was my birthday, and I am going on another backpacking travel with Fox that she has arranged months ago, with another dear friend Sugar, to Iloilo. We were excited and a little bit nervous because we are once again going to a place where we know not a soul and a typhoon on it's way.

I have been preparing for this travel, checking places to see and things to do. I have already called two different hotels were we can stay and by the direction I got from both hotels, it shouldn't be difficult to find them. We just need to decide on what we want to do.

Yes, we still have not decided yet because of the weather. One hotel will give us a good starting point if we decide to explore Iloilo and a cheap stay at that, while the other is in the City and is near the port to an entirely different plan, which is to explore Guimaras.

We arrived in Iloilo International Airport and got into one of the pubic airport van that should bring us to Manduriao, Iloilo City. The weather was just fine, there was a little rain but we didn't want to brave crossing the sea so a decision has been reached, we will tour ILOILO instead in the next 3 days and 2 nights.

Our first stop was the Ong-Bun Pension house located in Ledesma, Iloilo City. We took a public jeep to get there and that was when it started raining. The room was okay for the price that we paid, if not for only having two beds, but we were okay. We got to the room and left our things, washed a little and prepared for our first experience in this city.


We went out and had our very first Ted's Oldtimer Batchoy. We went to their branch located at the Diversion Rd. near SM City which is said to be the biggest in the city according to a local.


A big bowl of steaming batchoy was perfect for this rainy weather. Yes, it started raining while we were eating. Like I said it was my birthday, and I received a gift while we were having lunch. I got my very first scrap book.

We then visited a gothic-inspired church in Molo, Iloilo, the Parish of St. Anne.


We went home after the small celebration and I slept from 4pm until midnight. When I woke up I decided to plan where we are going the next day so I checked a few itineraries and came across four different churches worth visiting. So it is set, tomorrow will be a Food for the Spirit day and so I went back to sleep with a map of these churches.


We wake up the next morning in a weather fit for traveling. Today we will be visiting the churches of Iloillo, a few historical places, and satisfy our hunger for authentic Iloilo FOOD.

We took the jeep going to San Joaquin after a quick breakfast from Sari-Sari Store, which is actually a bakeshop that has a small dining area that offers bread, pasta, silogs, and some other local dishes. These jeepneys are located in Super, which is the city's market place. It should not be very hard to find as everyone knows where it is.


We began our food for the spirit trip by going to San Joaquin, Iloilo which took around an hour and a half. We passed a few churches along the way but my plan is to start at the farthest one. Fortunately, we reached the Parish of San Joaquin in a good weather. An interesting part is found in the facade of the Church which is the infamous Rendicion d’ Tetuan or the Battle of Tetuan, where the victory of Spanish soldiers under the leadership of General Leopoldo O’Donnel against the force of the crowned prince of Morocco, Milley Abbacas is immortalized.


A suggestion was given by a local that is worth visiting in San Joaquin, the Garin Farm. It was not in our places to visit so we gave it a little consideration. After taking pictures of the Church, I decided to get information about the place from the net (thanks to SUN Cellular's TRIOPLUS 100 which came with 420 minutes of free internet service).

Garin Farm is actually a vacation place of it's own with rooms and restaurant available for a day tour or an overnight stay, and activities that include swimming, kayaking, and others that you can enjoy during your stay with family and friends or even by yourself. It is a little bit expensive for us during that time so we decided to include this on our next visit to Iloilo.

Next, we took a bus heading to Iloilo's most famous Cathedral found in Miag-ao. The Parish of Miag-ao is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Baroque Churches of the Philippines. The parish is located near the University of the Philipines Visayas (UPV).

DSC_0071.jpg Maiag-ao_Church_Side.jpg

Of course, it is fronting the the town plaza. You can miss visiting the UPV but make sure that you visit this church.

After Miag-ao, our next stop will be another church in Guimbal, Iloilo. This church is one of the oldest in the Philippines being around 400 years old.


One would also enjoy enjoy a walk in Guimbal's Plaza which is found just across the parish.


We ended our our church visit at the Our Lady of Candles or more commonly known to visitors as the Jaro Cathedral, which is found in the municipality of Jaro, Iloilo.


The Cathedral has the Our Lady of Candles right above the entrance of the church. The patrons and tourists can see Her by climbing the stairs, very easy right?

One will find it unusual that this Cathedral's Belfry is separated from it by a major road.


After all of this travelling from one cathedral to another, it is now time for us to eat something that is original to Iloilo. It's a choice between two famous restaurants found just behind the Church. You are just going to need a little more patience finding them.

TIP! From the Cathedral, exit at the right gate; from that street you will find [SM Hypermarket[/b] and if you continue on that road you will soon find an intersection.

Going left on that intersection then on the first right corner you will find Afrique's which serves pasta and pizza. We were there on a Sunday and it was closed. Ha!

We found Perri Todd's on the right side of the intersection. Here you will find giant burgers. You can share it, as well as the pasta. Very budget friendly, if you ask me.


After that hearty meal, we decided to stop by Biscocho House which is one of the most famous Pasalubong store in Iloilo. Buy biscocho, butter scotch (they come in different flavors, COOL), pinasugbo, merengue, etc.


This branch is conveniently located at the ground floor of the Jaro Bellevue Pension Haus. When buying from this store you have an option to put your pasalubong in a plastic bag or a Biscocho Pasalubong Box which is priced depending on its size.

Our last stop for the day is to try Iloilo's famous dessert/bakeshop, Duldies which is just a few blocks away from our hotel. It's just across SM Delgado.


If you don't have time to visit the store in Delgado Street, you can always try their desserts as it is also offered in Ted's Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy Diversion Rd. Branch.


Our day three allowed to visit only three places because our schedule to back to Manila is at noon.

Our first stop is the Museum of Iloilo. Find you way here by getting in a jeep that passes by the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.


Next stop is a visit to the Aduanna Tower. Go to this tower by getting to the street across the museum then take a Jaro-CPU Jeep that will pass by JM Basa Street. Get off at the Aduanna Street.

TIP! People may not know this tower by its name, so ask for directions going to the Post Office and beside it is the Iloilo Bureau of Customs. The tower is actually part of the Bureau of Customs.

On this tower you have a view of Iloilo City and the Island of Guimaras.


Our last stop is to the first branch of Mang Inasal. We wanted to take our picture at the store's Monster Cock before it took the city by storm. Unfortunately the store was still closed but we were able to take a picture of the cock.


Since it's closed, we had our lunch at Fiesta which serves affordable meals. This is just across Mang Inasal.

Posted by josemazn 05:05 Archived in Philippines Tagged city jaro manduriao iloilo_city Comments (1)

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