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Tuesday, August 2

To the Northeast! Cagayan Tour Tips

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Cagayan is the northeastern most province in the Philippines
The Northeastern part of the Philippines is less traveled by tourists and experience travelers as compared to the more widely known tourist haven of the region of Ilocos (which comprises of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, for the northwestern parts of Luzon). If you will ask me and it will be your first time to travel to the North whether you go for Ilocos or Cagayan (Region I vs Region II), I would say you go for Ilocos. However, Cagayan tour also has blessings for us tourists to discover but well it is not as bounty as what Ilocos has. But it has some things for us to experience.

Part 1 of The Northeast Diaries

If you plan a trip to the northeastern province of Cagayan with your family, loved ones or friends, this handful of realizations (things and tips) may be helpful to you:

    The long journey from Manila in a night trip will take at least 11 hours to the capital city of Cagayan. However, if you will travel to the northeasternmost town of Santa Ana, then you will need to add another three hours to complete your journey. Be also reminded that it will only be the scenario if and only if there are not much road constructions ongoing along the Asian Highway 16. The bus I rode on when I went to Cagayan was Everlasting Bus Company with its terminal in Welcome Rotunda, Quezon City.

    The 11-hour ride is a different story when you plan on a day trip to Cagayan. Said trip already took the route NLEX-SCTEX-TPLEX (Pura Exit). A lot of bottlenecks you will encounter during the trip.

    Cagayan-Isabela area is a flat plain. Traveling to Cagayan means you will be traversing 2 recognizable mountainous areas in Nueva Vizcaya. The ride will go up as high as Santa Fe with an elevation comparable to Baguio City. If you still see any big mountains around site area, then you are still far from Tuguegarao.

    I cannot recommend any inns or hotels in Tuguegarao, but we did see some for your accommodation particularly in the downtown area. This particular trip of mine is not the typical travel-all-the-Cagayan-tourist-spots leg, because I only hitchhiked with an officemate who is from Tuguegarao City. I stayed in their house. Though far as it seemed, Santa Ana, Cagayan, where the popular Anguib Beach and take off point to Palaui Island is located, there are several inns and resorts can be found in the downtown area near beach fronts. One of the best is The Country Inn where we had our dinner for two nights (this is a different Cagayan tour).

    Food in Tuguegarao is typical Ilocano food. Do not forget to taste their Pansit Batil Patung or the Pansit Cabagan. In Aparri where I stayed for a night, seafood is two thumps up. Of course, Santa Ana, Cagayan cannot be taken off the list.

    Dialect in Cagayan area is Ilocano (and Ibanag, Itawis). However, if you hailed from a place somewhere in the northwestern (La Union) or central western (Pangasinan, Tarlac) parts of Luzon where Ilocano language is also spoken widely, you will notice the difference in the accent. No schwa sound in Cagayan. “Wen” in Cagayan is pronounced as / wen / as compared to / wuhn / of the western provinces. And most of the times ‘t’ sound is dropped as in /me/ for “met”.

    To conclude that Cagayan is the hottest province is a misnomer. They may record higher temperatures during the months of April and May, however if you will visit this area sometime in  late December, January or early February, you will be surprised that it is cooler in Tuguegarao. When we went there sometime in late December, dusk and early morning was jacket weather (like Baguio) and noontime seldom exceeded 26 degrees Celsius. You may also see locals wearing their jackets as early as 4 PM when it’s a bit drizzling. Cooler season in Tuguerao (Cagayan) as Dec-Jan-Feb months is noticeably cooler than Manila.

    Places of interests in Tuguegarao are far from each other and mode of transport is a bit disappointing (mostly trikes only). Moreover, outside Tuguegarao, Callao Cave is kilometers away from the city and all other points of interests are already located further north of Tuguegarao (like Santa Ana, Cagayan).

    Budget? You will already need to save at least Php1000 for the fare itself (550 to 630 pesos one way). Although entrance fees to different tourist destinations are minimal (P 30 and below) it is the transportation that you need to give a chunk on your budgeting.

    The Northeast Diaries Series:
    Part 1: To The Northeast! Cagayan Tour Tips
    Part 2: Short Stop at Tuguegarao Cathedral in Cagayan
    Part 3: Tuguegarao Breakfast: Dodie’s Pansit Batil Patung
    Part 4: Of Chambers, Light and Darkness: Callao Cave, Cagayan
    Part 5: Short (But Worth It) Mororan River Cruise, Callao, Cagayan
    Part 6: Braving the Cold Waters, Swimming in Cagayan River
    Part 7: Castle, Cagayan Churches and Suspension Bridge—A Prelude to Aparri
    Part 8: Aparri Beach, The Park, and Sigay (Fishing in Cagayan)
    Part 9: Jeff’s Pancit Batil Patong and Nueva Vizcaya’s G&B Buko Pie are the Best!
    Part 10: Sta. Ana’s Anguib Beach—A Must Visit White Sand Haven
    Part 11: The Secluded Gotan Beach in Sta. Ana, Cagayan
    Part 12: How to Go to Sta. Ana, Aparri, Tuguegarao, in Cagayan (with Maps)
    Part 13: Cagayan Suggested Itinerary (Three Days-Two Nights 3D/2N)
    Part 14: Sta. Ana-Cagayan Itinerary (Two Days-One Night 2D/1N)

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    1 comment:

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