Sharing My Travel Experiences in Cagayan Valley
13.04.2012 - 16.04.2012 35 °C
TUGUEGARAO, CAGAYAN VALLEY
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.
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.
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.
Callao Cave Entrance
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.