DAY 0: Leave for Tuguegarao City

How to Get There
There are terminals in Sampaloc (Earnshaw), Cubao (Kamias), and Caloocan. The fare starts at P600. Each terminal has their own schedules, so it is advisable to check with them your options several days before the trip. When I went in February 2014, Florida Bus was suspended due to the accident in the Mt Province. I would have taken their bus from Manila straight to Sta Ana, which is a 15-hour trip. Many passengers went to the Victory Liner stations, and I was surprised by the mob! I had no reservation, so I ended up sitting beside the driver.

Of course, you can book a flight to Santiago, Isabela and take a van from there.

Things to Bring
Of course, pack light. Bring only the essentials.
1) clothes
2) jacket, blanket
3) shoes, slippers
4) cap, sunglass, shawl
5) toiletries, sunblock, insect repellant
6) phone charger, extra battery/Powerbank
7) food, canned goods
8) lighter, knife, trash bag

DAY 1: Explore Palaui Island

The trip to Tugegarao lasts for 12 hours. If you leave Manila at night, you will arrive early morning in Tuguegarao City. Grab some breakfast in the fast food chains. Drop by the market at Don Domingo and catch the vendors selling farm-fresh harvest of fruits and vegetables. Then, take a tricycle to the van station. The trip to Sta. Ana lasts for 3 hours, so it’s just good that you had a stopover in Tuguegarao to eat and freshen up. The fare is not more than P200.

If you’re lucky, you can buy fresh catch of lobster and crabs along the highway in the towns of Baggao or Lallo. If not, you can check the public market in Sta Ana, where you can do your last-minute shopping for the things you need in your overnight stay at Anguib Beach. Don’t forget to buy drinking water enough for your stay. From the market, take a tricycle to San Vicente Port. That will take 10-15 minutes.

San Vicente Port
When you arrive, you need to register at the visitor’s center. The fee is P50 per guest. You will also meet the boatman and and your guide here. They will also ask you to pay all dues at once, and that includes the boat fare, which I listed below:

Crocodile Island—P500
Punta Verde—P1,000
Anguib Beach—P1,500
Siwangag Cove—P1,500
Cape Engano—P1,800
Island hopping—P3,500
Overnight stay—P300
Guide per 4 guests—P300

You can contact Kuya Edwin at 09269064657. He can give you a lot of details for your itinerary, and he can arrange having your packed lunch prepared.

These are the attractions you can visit:

Cape Engano—Our guide, Ate Prosy, said there’s one family overseeing the island. No one else is allowed to stay overnight and have a dinner date with the Spaniards in the lighthouse.

The Lighthouse—This lighthouse is on top of the hills in Cape Engano. Besides having a great view of the lush green mountains and the deep blue sea, you also get a nice dose of the Pacific wind—cool, cool wind whistling in your ears.

Punta Verde
—If you want a good trek to the lighthouse, instead of getting there by boat, Punta Verde is the starting point. There are two trails available: the mountaineer’s favorite is the Leonardo trail, which crosses hills and takes you deep into the forest, and the Lagunsad trail, the almost-mountaineer’s path, which is a long walk in the endless shore.

Anguib Beach
—The sea is adorable. Its color changes from light blue in one part and deep blue in another. The sea doesn’t sleep. Its waves don’t slap and gargle, they roar endlessly and make white frothy lines in the middle of the ocean. The wind whistles. And the milky white sand sparkles in the sun.

Crocodile Island
—South of Palaui and very close to San Vicente Port is an island that has baffled many: the Crocodile Island. Officially named as Rona Island, this massive boulder in the middle of the ocean got its name from the reptile, which is what the island looks like from a distance.

DAY 2: Explore Tuguegarao City

So, after your drinking spree under the moonlit sky, you wake up to the sound of the roaring waves of Anguib. Time to get up. Walk along the shores and enjoy the morning breeze. Take selfies.

Leave for San Vicente port in the morning. Then take a tricycle back to Sta. Ana where you can catch the van that will take you to Tuguegarao. On the way, drop by Calvary Hills and marvel at the life-sized Stations of the Cross, and of course, the beautiful church of Iguig, which was built more than 200 years ago. From here, you can catch a van along the highway to finally get to Tuguegarao City.

Here’s what to do in Tugue: At Lebron’s Place, you can have a taste of the celebrated pansit batil patung, then drop by the St Peter and Paul Cathedral before heading to Buntun Bridge to catch the sunset and have a good view of the Cagayan RiverFreshen up at Ivory Hotel in Buntun (they have a swimming pool) and probably catch some sleep, then before 10PM go back to the city to get a taste of the nightlife. I suggest you try Gracie’s Bar, which is at the same building as Goto King. They have an open bar, and that’s the best place to grab some beer and catch up with friends.

DAY 3: Explore Callao Cave

The road to Callao Cave is long, but worth it. I was lucky that my friend Rox, with the rest of her gang, was quite generous to drive me from Tuguegarao to Penablanca. If you’re taking public transport, however, there are two options to choose from: 1) You can hire a tricycle for P300 per way. This will take about an hour. 2) At the city terminal, take a jeepney bound to Penablanca. The fare is between P70-P100. You will need to wait for the jeepney to have enough passengers, however. Then you will cross Pinacanauan River through a boat, and that’s for a minimal fare between P50-P100. At the entrance to Callao Cave, you have to register and pay P20 per guest. You may also give some tip to the local guide. You can go back down to the river and have fun in the clear, cold, fresh water of Pinacanauan.

Now, you might have forgotten that it’s the end of your holiday from work. Head back to Tuguegarao to catch the bus back to Manila. Say bye to newfound friends, with the hope of seeing them again for more adventures, buy pasalubong, and live the memories of your unforgettable journey in Cagayan Valley.

ArisMape

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.