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Sunday, July 9

Aparri Beach, The Park, and Sigay (Fishing in Cagayan)

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The waves are crashing onto the walls in Aparri Beach, Cagayan
After our motorcycle episode from Tuguegarao, we finally arrived in this far town of Aparri, still in the province of Cagayan. Although it took us hours to reach my friend’s uncles, I did not feel the long back ride trip because of the laid back sceneries and the “doon po sa nayon” feels of the vast and long fields of rice, corn and crops. Although the time passed by in the hours, I felt as if the trip from Tuguegarao to Aparri was just in a matter of seconds.

Part 8 of The Northeast Diaries

It took us nearly three hours to reach Aparri from the city of Tuguegarao. We have done some stopovers—to buy some snacks and to visit my friend’s dad who hails in the town of Amulung, still in the province of Cagayan. The trip was worthy. The weather was cool so even if we did the motorcycle ride along the highway of about more than 80 kilometers, it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it was at times drizzling and windy so the sun and the heat was not an issue.

We arrived in Aparri town and in his uncle’s house nearly getting dusk. We settled for a while and kept our things in his uncle’s house, paid a short visit to the shores of Aparri beach and went on forward to visit Aparri Park in the town center.

Aparri town is a small town. In fact, the plaza in Camiling, Tarlac was even bigger in size, although both towns are classified as “first class municipality” which is defined by the population, income, etc of the town profile. The size of the park did not stop us to take a brisk walk and a leisurely laid back stroll inside the park. Although there were figurines and modern statues of popular Disney characters and the like (just like the Snowman, because it was Christmas season when we went to Aparri), the park seemed dreary for the fact that, 1) it was already 6pm when we visited the park, thus sunset was already hidden, 2) the cool weather makes up a jacket weather which in turn is a bit chilly and 3) the trees and shrubs inside the park, and in most parts of the town  have already shed down their leaves, hence, the park looked like a setting in one of the thriller suspense movies. It was a spooky setting actually seeing those trees without leaves, as if it was autumn time in this part of the country.

Uncle's bicycle in Aparri

Naks ng drama!

See these trees, they have shed off their leaves like autumn

Aparri, Cagayan

Fountain inside Aparri Park, Cagayan

They say Batanes has actually four seasons—summer, fall, (dry) winter and spring. Well, I don’t need to go to Batanes region just to prove or to believe this one, because, as a matter of fact, the town of Aparri, I interestingly guess also experiences such. When we went there it was December 25 and it was all day cool, not just at night time. The weather is calm. His relatives even told us that it’s even colder in the months of January and February. Well I believe it because when I was there, the weather already feels like the normal days in Baguio. How much more in Batanes which is even closer to Taiwan?
Kids enjoying bike in Aparri Park

These guys are wearing jacket too

Welcome to Aparri Park, Aparri, Cagayan

There was a small carnival beside Aparri Plaza. It is called “perya” in Tagalog. We took time to spend a little of money spending activity and after that we bade goodbye to those roulettes, Ace cards and Ferris Wheel. No, we did not dare ride the Ferris Wheel because my imagination was wild that time that upon thinking, the Ferris Wheel setup looked like it will disassemble soon from the levers and become a real wheel like the tires of a car, rolling onto the sloping sides of the rodes. I’m not saying it’s unsafe, but my mind tells me not to try it this time haha.

There is a small church near Aparri Park. We took a few seconds to check it out, however, I wasn’t able to get some photos because the darkness of the night already devoured the setting such that it would be ever pointless to take snapshots of the building and process the photo as simply “black” plus spots of fluorescent lamps.

Sea shells

I ate one of the best seafood dinners that night. And some old good stories in Ilocano. Agyamanak (thank you) for this opportunity to see the other sides of the Ilocano-speaking regions. I already enjoyed the weather when I was there. Because of that, I had a good night sleep. (I am really biased to places which has cooler climates that’s why I always love Baguio and the places up North.)

Sigay in Cagayan ocean (Babuyan Channel)

Aparri beach sands

Aparri beach view

It's Christmas time with the Snowman
The morning came after, we visited the seashores of Aparri Beach. It wasn’t a white sand beach to what tourists are accustomed to or what these guyrs are expecting when they say “the beach”. Aparri beach is a fishing village. When I was there, we were supposed to swim the ocean waters but because the sea waters are freezing (like seriously!). we decided to just take a walk tour along the shores and watch the Ilocano guys do the “sigay”, or fishing in the waters.

Actually, me and my friend helped the guys to catch fish, and it was an awesome experience. #ExperienceTheLocal. We indeed caught some fish I’m not sure of their species, and all to me, they just looked like bangus. My friend told me of a special fish called “Ludong”, which can only be caught in the parts of Cagayan river and has a season to catch them. And Ludong is the most expensive fish in the country! Shelf out Php 4,500 for a kilo of this fish, local price.

Inside Aparri Park

After visiting the shores, that morning, we came back to his uncle’s house to eat lunch. After lunch, we already packed are things, as this will be the last day in Aparri as well. I actually want to visit more in Cagayan, however I was constrained with the budget I have. If only I have more budget that time, we would have visited Anguib Beach in Santa Ana, Cagayan as well.

We caught some fish! (Aparri, Cagayan)
Although, we weren’t able to visit Santa Ana on this leg of the Northeast Diaries, I was still lucky to have the area visited more than a year after I first visited Cagayan. But for now, it’s time again to do the long ride to Tuguegarao where our mouths were salivating for the best pancit batil patong in town, and bid goodbye to Cagayan a day after.

The local doing sigay in the ocean.
The Northeast Diaries Series:

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