The Cagayan Valley
This is the Pride Of The North, a massive countryside brimming with eventful tourist spots. Situated in just the north of Luzon, Philippines. Cagayan Valley as I learned, is the second largest region in the country. My adventure to this place was enlightening, it was boasting with Ancient Christian History, Filipino Culture, and Rich Archaeological Sites! I believe that it is a genuinely pristine site in the Philippines. The valley is composed of 5 provinces and 4 Cities.
#TrueFacts! Within this valley runs the longest and largest river of the Philippines known as Rio Grande de Cagayan or Cagayan River.
Wanderlusts’ dream! Adventures in Cagayan Valley are also jam-packed with activities and attractions! from snorkeling, fishing, hiking, trekking, kiteboarding, windsurfing, to white water rafting! Amazing destinations full of adventures ahead! It’s famous for having magnificently long rivers, white beaches, exceptional caves, old sophisticated churches, vast farmlands, and many species of fishes and fauna. Another thing special about this place is that it is one of the only spots in the Philippines where tourists can enjoy Dolphin Watching. When the season is right, lucky locals and tourists can watch Dolphins naturally as they put on a show!
The Island of Palaui, Santa Ana, Cagayan
Since Cagayan Valley is extremely humongous and will probably take weeks even months to fully explore, I only got a glimpse of the breathtaking tourist spots it had to offer, and the beautiful Island of Palaui was one of those spots.
In this article, I get to share my fun adventure in Palaui Island! Located in the northwestern part of San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan. While wandering around such stunning scenery like this island, I really felt like it brought me more down to earth. I was also happy to have the chance to learn so much more historical facts part of my home country’s past that I didn’t learn in school.
# TrueFacts! Palaui Island is about 642 km northeast of Metro Manila, City Capital of Philippines.
Palaui Island, as I learned, is a tremendous and biodiverse island embraced by forests, grasslands, and a variety of wildlife animals. It is a tourist spot in view of the fact that it has such a fascinating natural landscape and seascape. A tour around the island allows any tourist to see its extensive coral reef, diversity in species of fishes, and its rich forest environment. It’s such a perfect place that all pictures I took looked so good!
The Attractions & Adventures
| The Pretty Beaches |
What do we look for in beaches? White sands & clear waters, of course! I always look forward to paradise-like beaches whenever I go to a vacation, and no doubt, Palaui did not disappoint my expectations! The serenity of the pretty beaches in this paradise surely satisfied my water-baby self! The locals obviously take good care of this island.
#TrueFacts! May 2013, Because of the “RAW BEAUTY” of Palaui Island, it earned the 10th spot in the CNN’s World’s 100 Best Beaches list.
| Trekking & Hiking |
It is certainly obvious that the Island has beautiful sceneries, and exploring around Palaui Island is definitely a must! Trekking up to the lighthouse took us through a small community, mangrove jungle, endangered trees, and some grassland. Surely this allowed us to see so much many photo-worthy spots! Going up the hill was also a bit exhausting too, but good thing there are places where you can sit, drink water, and breath for a minute. It’s all worth it, the view was extremely gorgeous!
#TrueFacts! Some of the plants, shrubs, and trees around Palaui Island are rare and endangered. The tour guides will strictly prohibit you to touch any of them.
| Farol de Cabo Engaño |
Also known as Cape Engaño Lighthouse, this is a historical lighthouse situated at the top of the hill, what we trekked for! It was built during Spanish Colonial Period (1888) and apparently served as a gateway lighthouse for approaching ships from the ocean. When we entered the premises of the lighthouse, I have observed that the trees of nature were actually already swallowing the debris of the lighthouse and it no longer had roofs. It was clearly just ruins of the past, as I walked around, I wondered who stood in this place and what work did those people do there. It was beautiful and lonely at the same time to think about!
Reaching the lighthouse was a long and exhausting trek up, but rest assured, the effort is definitely worth it! The view behind the lighthouse was beyond doubt mesmerizing! The tour guide was also awesome enough to take really decent photos! Look at these shots! They probably qualify as professional photographers too!
#TrueFacts: On top of the Cape Engaño overlooks the stunning landscapes, the nearby islands of Dos Hermanas, and the vast blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and Babuyan Channel.
| Punta Verde Village |
Huts! Huts! Huts! Punta Verde is the only village in Palaui Island, Tourists can relax and eat in the Bahay Kubos in the village. Boodle Fighting for lunch was a way to celebrate our success in conquering the Cape Engaño Trek! that trek was hard!
#TrueFacts: In 2013, Punta Verde in Palaui was used as the filming location for the reality show ” Survivor: Blood vs. Water” and “Survivor: Cagayan”
How To Get There & Tips
| Tour Planning |
It’s best to plan the itinerary for the tour before the tour! I recommend that other tourists do it too! Do a good research on which Travel & Tours Agency would fit your standards for the tour, it’s a good idea because that way I got to get the most out of my money, enjoy the trip with no worries, and surely save time and energy! I was actually lucky that I had accommodations already because I was actually staying at a friend who resides in Tuguegarao, Cagayan Valley. Anyway, Tour Agencies usually offers tours with these following tour inclusions: Air-Conditioned Van, Accommodations, Entrance Fees, Motorized Boat, Gas, Toll Fees, Meals, Taxes And Surcharges.
| Bound to Cagayan Valley |
My transportation to Cagayan Valley was through a bus ride. Since I’m from Metro Manila, I booked a bus with Victory Liner in Cubao going to Tuguegarao (A province in Cagayan Valley). It was a good decision that I decided to get the night transit because that ride was 9 hours long! It was incredibly butt-numbing. It was best to just sleep through the ride and arrive at the destination in the morning. This is a selfie inside the bus.
| Tuguegarao Bound to Santa Ana |
Now the tour begins! We left for Santa Ana early in the morning because it was another 3-hour car ride from Tuguegarao, and my companions and I wanted to make the most out of our day. Before we left, I made sure to take Bonamine before I go, just so I’m sure I wouldn’t get sick throughout the ride. The van included in our tour package arrive before 6:00 A.M. and we left around 6:30 A.M. In transit to Santa Ana, we stopped by to eat breakfast at a restaurant beside the river. When we arrived in Sta. Ana, we made sure to stop and take a photo of the City Sign Entrance of Santa Ana. After that, we went straight to San Vicente Port in Sta. Ana to catch our boat. We probably arrived there around 10-11 A.M.
| San Vicente Port to Palaui Island |
This is it! That’s how I got to Palaui Island! We were on our way to the mystical island of Palaui! The ocean was so beautiful that day, the tour guide also said that at the right season, Dolphins would actually show up there, unfortunately, we didn’t see any Dolphins. Our boat was actually just a medium size boat that could only carry about 10 people, there were 7 of us and 3 other staffs who guide us. It was such a beautiful sunny day, good thing we brought caps & sunnies!
My Appreciation for Palaui
In the north, I believe that it is truly worth being proud of! The air is so refreshing, the beaches are so clear, the places are so special, and the locals are so welcoming! I might sound extra, but I do dare say that Cagayan Valley is the whole nine yards! More folks should come because everyone should know that Cagayan Valley showcases just about the aesthetic of the Philippines’ Motto, which is “It’s More Fun In The Philippines!”
Honestly, The Island of Palaui was such a great place that I got to explore with my family and friends! And don’t forget that this was just a glimpse of the beauty of Cagayan Valley. There are more places worth exploring that I’ll surely explore in the future! Till next time!