It was Valentines Day. Instead of asking friends to set me up for a blind date, I decided to leave the metro and go on a trip to one of Survivor‘s famous locations: Palaui Island in Cagayan. So, at noon of Feb 14, I finished all the packing up. I was ready for another adventure to the north. 

That time, the Florida bus line was temporarily closed, so all passengers flocked to the Victory bus terminal in Cubao. No seats, so I had to make do with that cute folding chair beside the driver. Couldn’t be choosy.

After some hours on the road, the bus made the first stop in San Miguel, Bulacan. To fill my stomach, I bought some hot noodles from one of the stalls.  Tasty! And then after a few spoonfuls, I noticed a caterpillar in the bowl. Wow! That’s why it was yummy.

The bus continued with the long trip. We passed by Nueva Ecija, and then Nueva Vizcaya. The night was deep. The sky was lit with the moon, I could see the silhouette of the trees and the mountains from my window. The winding roads brought to mind my first travel to this region in 1999. It felt like deja vu, like they were the same road, the same trees, the same mountains I saw then.

At 4 AM, after 12 long hours, the bus stopped in Tuguegarao City. I took a tricycle to the public market of Don Domingo and roamed around to look for food and charcoal. And then in the morning, I took a van for the last leg of my trip to Palaui Island, Cagayan.

* Palaui Island, Cagayan was the filming location of Survivor: Blood vs Water and Survivor Cagayan in 2013. The reality show was a big venue for the Philippines to showcase the natural beauty of the islands which was listed on the Top 25 of CNN’s World’s Best Beaches list.
* Victory Liner has several terminals in Manila, including that in Kamias, Quezon City. Check the current fare and schedules, and book your trips here.
* Fare to Tuguegarao is P647 as of Sep 2016.
* Travel time from Manila to Tuguegarao is 12 hours.



ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.