The Untold Adventures in Quirino Province, Philippines

January 1, 1970

by Ardys Gladden Soriano

You are probably the kind of backpacker who has visited the famous places in the world and did what others did. Well, it’s time to make a shift. Experience new things that are yet to be published in the mainstream media. Go to untold places yet to be discovered. Embrace untold adventures and stories yet to be told. And your first place to go? Quirino Province in the Philippines.

Quirino Province, situated in the southeastern part of the Cagayan Valley in the Philippines, has diverse natural resources unspoiled yet by tourists from mountains and valleys to amazing caves and breathtaking rivers and waterfalls. As I visited these lovely beauties, I was completely in awe when I found out that nature has more to show off than we thought.

Waterfalls inside a cave

Who would have thought that I’ll get to experience nature’s two beauties (cave and waterfalls) in just one place? Yes, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I swam in the cold waters of the hidden waterfalls inside a cave of Governor’s Rapids. While the caving experience was already awesome, having been led to breathtaking waterfalls was truly a great added value. And upon exit of the cave, I got to experience a bit of rappelling going down. The passage was steep and small that going down has to be done one person at a time. There were no stairs thus, the only way down is through a rope.

Governor’s Rapids is located in the town of Maddela, Quirino, which takes part of the tributaries of the Cagayan River, the longest river in the Philippines. The tale of where the name Governor’s Rapids came from is as interesting as its clear and rushing waters of the river. The story goes as far back as World War II when Quirino province was governed by a Japanese general. At that time, rivers were used as the main transit since road networks were not yet developed. It has been told that the Japanese governor had a tragic death where the rapids took his life and his body was never found. It was then that the river has been called Governor’s Rapids and the governor’s tale lives on.

Need not to be scared though as the river is safe and secure with well-trained people who organize the river tours. The local boat drivers, who also serve as tour guides, are expert swimmers and have been chasing the rapids their whole life since they just live nearby. A life vest is required and briefing is done before the boat ride starts.

After our caving experience and swimming in the hidden waterfalls, we continued to chase the waters of Governor’s Rapids. While we were in our boat ride, rock formations of limestone walls can be seen on the sides. The water is also clear that you can see different species of fish.

Cliff jumping in Governor’s Rapids

It was my first time to do cliff jumping and I have never been this happy. So, I climbed the cliff again and jumped. More than the jumping adventure, it’s the view of the place that adds beauty to the experience. The waters are as green as the trees in the forest just a few blocks away from the river. The cliff and its rock formation were perfectly created by nature. If you’re up for more adrenaline rush after a challenging caving experience, then you wouldn’t want to miss cliff jumping in Governor’s Rapids.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like cliff jumping adventures, you may also opt to have a picnic on the side and enjoy the view among others. Cottages made in nipa hut are also available and you can bring and cook your own food.

Rock formation in Bimmapor and Siitan River

Sitting along Siitan River, Bimmapor is a rock formation that proudly shows its massive limestone wall. Bimmapor in Siitan River is located in Nagtipunan, Quirino, which is about 23 miles away from Governor’s Rapids. This river is the same river connected to that of Governor’s Rapids – the reason why Cagayan River is the longest river in the country.

The rolling hills in Landingan

Water activity is done and we’ve captured the untold beauties of the province’s waterfalls, rivers, and caves. Next stop is to visit Landingan Viewpoint in Nagtipunan, Quirino. It has an overlooking view of the rolling hills and mountains and Cagayan River. Being on the top spot while staring at nature’s beauty from the skies above to the mountains, hills, and rivers down below – the panoramic view was just heaven.

The specialty: pancit cabagan

Quirino Adventure won’t be complete without the province’s famous specialty: Pancit Cabagan, a dry noodle dish mixed with veggies and meat. The restaurant that serves pancit cabagan is just located in Nagtipunan. This is a perfect stop before going to Landingan Viewpoint as this is just along the way.

The restaurant has 3 types of servings: Special (good for 1 person); Super (good for 2, but just 1 if you’re hungry), VIP (good for 2-3). All these are generously served with a lot of veggies, hard-boiled chicken eggs, and crunchy lechon kawali. Lechon kawali is a popular Filipino dish made with simmered pork belly and then deep-fried to achieve a golden and crispy result.

Are you up for a water action, extreme caving, cliff diving, and a bit of trekking for an experience worthy to be shared? Then, make Quirino Province your next adventure.

Truth to be told, every backpacker’s dream is to go to a place away from the noise of the city and be one again with nature. Yet, most of the time, one’s bucket list is filled with a list of places other people have already visited. When you experience going to a place that’s new to the pack, nothing compares to the awe that you feel when you gaze at the unblemished beauty of nature. So, be one of the few who experienced new adventures in Quirino. Savor each moment of a fresh encounter with nature that at the moment, perhaps, only QuiriKNOWS.


Ardys Gladden Soriano

By Ardys Gladden Soriano

Ardys Gladden is a leadership and management business professional who trains and mentors leaders in the corporate industry. She has been invited to speak at different events to share her passion for leadership as well as relevant topics on life, love, and faith, from a biblical perspective. While Ardys is committed to her work, she is also a dauntless traveler who visits untold places and then shares her numinous adventures through writing.


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