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Wednesday, July 12

Sta. Ana’s Anguib Beach—A Must Visit White Sand Haven

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Frolick in the ever white sands of Anguib Beach in Santa Ana, Cagayan
Did you know that Anguib (or Angib) Beach in Sta. Ana, Cagayan is not really a public or a “no-one-is-owning” white sand beach but a semi-private venture in the island? Did you also know that Anguib Beach can be reached by land via private vehicle, by passing through fields of rice crops and greens of mountains, as opposed to other tourists who say that it can only be reached by boat when coming from Port of San Vicente also in the town of Santa Ana? Did you also know that there is also an adjacent secret beach called Gotan Beach which is exclusively only for elite visitors and casino gamers? Did you also know that other than Anguib Beach, there are also other coves with white sands, accessible by local tourists and some are still pristine because of their difficulty in accessibility? Did you also know that Santa Ana is also a place for scuba divers, kite flyers and adventure lovers? And did you also know that as opposed to the usual etymology of town’s name, Santa Ana was not named after a saint nor the name “Santa Ana” is religious of any sort?

Part 10 of The Northeast Diaries

Okay, let us start with the town’s name. Contrary to names of other towns in the country such as San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, San Jose in Nueva Ecija, San Manuel in Tarlac or San Fernando in Pampanga, Santa Ana in Cagayan allegedly doesn’t root in any of the saints in the Catholic religious faith. The “Ana” in the town’s name Santa Ana was actually an acronym of the three provincial officials in the old times—A for Arranz (Governor Nicasio Arranz), N for Navarro (Federico Navarro) and A for Avena (Roberto Avena). The other two guys were Provincial Board Members. Wondering why it does have the “Santa” before it? Stories say that it was prefixed because of the Hispanic influences in the country. However, when I went there with some colleagues, we were not able to visit the central church which is typical in a town. If ever the building is existing.

From TPLEX Carmen Exit, we took all the way to San Jose then Nueva Vizcaya. The signage in Nueva Vizcaya still says it is still far though!

Sta Ana, Cagayan map
Santa Ana in Cagayan is a very small town. Aparri in Cagayan is already a small (but busy) town; this on the other hand is even smaller, in terms of its population, quietness of the town and business (town being busy). It is a town perfect for tourists who want to escape the noise and tiring movements in the capital of Manila. But it is not for those who don’t want long travels, well, unless of course your place is near Cagayan or you have the budget to book a flight to Tuguegarao then ride a bus going to Santa Ana.

Anguib Beach vicinity in Sta. Ana
The down part of this rising tourist town (yes, Sta. Ana in Cagayan has the potential to become a tourist town, just like Sagada, Baler and Vigan) is the distance from any central point or city in Luzon. The nearest city is Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan, and that still is about a hundred of kilometers to Sta. Ana.

If you love long travels and scenes of road trips, then this is for you. I definitely enjoyed the long travel, although at times exhausting because we went all the way from Quezon City at around 5:00 in the morning and arrived in our inn in Sta. Ana, Cagayan by 9:00 in the evening. The reason it became around 16 hours because we took some stopovers in NLEX Bocaue for breakfast, Santa Fe in Nueva Vizcaya for lunch, SM City Cauayan for light snack and a town somewhere between Tuguegarao and Santa Ana for dinner. Additionally, some of the roads were under construction during that time. So just when we arrived in the quiet town of Sta. Ana, we just kept our things a bit and took time to rest and sleep.

We had our light breakfast here in Tedds (Sta. Ana, Cagayan)

Inside SM City Cauayan, it looks like SM Mall of Asia
This Santa Ana leg tour is not complete as I wasn’t able to document all the other places we went to, and I won’t be able to feature any inns or resorts of any sort. Actually when we went there, I enjoyed my stay in one of the inns (I’m sorry I wasn’t able to neither take photos nor get the name of the inn) which is near the sea and Sta. Ana Beach (not the Anguib Beach). Sta. Ana Beach is not white sand beach though (like Aparri Beach). I also enjoyed my stay in a small rest house in Anguib Beach. I also enjoyed the seafood in Sta. Ana, it’s also a must, but again I wasn’t able to save any photos but I can recommend Country Inn in Santa Ana (although it’s a bit expensive and not for budget travelers) and Cagayan Resorts (it’s an expensive casino/hotel with a good menu of Chinese dishes where you can also order century egg). I’ll find to post articles related to these resorts if I find the photos. Santa Ana, Cagayan I guess has some list of pretty good inns and resorts ranging from budget wise to the higher tiers, so you just need to figure it out. I loved the seafood there, don’t miss it. If ever I get the chance to revisit it, I would do this as a traveler and make it a travel series in the future. Santa Ana is a promising tourist haven. Some of the recommendations you need to do here are:

  • Enjoy your stay in inns or resorts in Sta. Ana
  • Visit different tourist spots via tour package departing from the San Vicente Port, including Palaui Island, the popular island where Survivor USA once took place
  • Enjoy frolicking and swimming in Anguib Beach
  • Enjoy quietness and jetski in Gotan Beach (exclusive to higher tiers)
  • Play casino in Sta. Ana
  • Taste the seafood in the town, either from Cagayan Resorts or Country Inn, but do not forget those little local eateries too
  • Don’t forget to savor the rich sceneries of the river, the mangroves and the seas
  • Taste pansit, if you’ve never tasted the pansit Cagayan before
  • Enjoy 4x4 ATV ride and tour the complex, visit the local tourist haven and the pristine beaches which people don’t visit

You won't resist this white sand beach in summer. Kids enjoy it.

And that beautiful sunset too!

Tomorrow morning came and we took the time to have our early breakfast in one of the restaurants or carinderia there. Well, this time I ordered another pancit batil patung. Although Jeff’s and Dodie’s pansit batil patung are incomparably better than Tedd’s, it is already good for those who want to taste a version of this noodle dish in this northern part of Cagayan. You see, this province has an undying love of noodle dishes aka Philippine ramen.

Another version of pansit batil patung in Sta. Ana, Cagayan

There is a small marketplace in Sta. Ana, but it is recommended that if ever you visit Anguib Beach, you precook your lunch there as it will not be allowed to grill or cook your own food inside. The reason it’s “inside”, you need to secure a permit getting in there if you are a group going to Anguib via private vehicle. There will be a checkpoint in one part of the only road going to Anguib Beach of which the “environmental fee” will also be collected. I’m not knowledgeable on the price of such though because when I went there, I was with a team working for one of the owners (who is a big political name in the country), so our access was free.

Wonderful river and mangroves in Sta. Ana town in Cagayan

We had a project there before, a luxurious beach house and a cliff house that is owned by that powerful political entity in the country. I won’t be mentioning any names for privacy though. The road leading to Anguib Beach (and Gotan Beach) was beautiful. The sceneries were good for pictures. The travel time from Sta. Ana town center to this beach is approximately 25 minutes.

To picture Anguib Beach “complex”, it is an estate where public can access the white sand beach which is Anguib Beach itself (for an entrance fee of P150 per pax), casino buildings, Gotan Beach which is off to general public, roads leading to public beaches also and some beaches where it is still pristine as it is seldom visited. The nearest I can think off in comparison is the part in Subic (SMBA) leading to Camayan, Zoobic Safari and Treetop Adventure. Yes, there is an entrance fee going to the public white sand beach mainly for the maintenance of its facilities although a part of these is accessible for free if you are with a group coming from the Port of San Vicente via boat tour to Palaui and Anguib Beach.
Cottages are available in Anguib Beach, Cagayan. Not only that, restrooms and showers also.
There is a part leading to Anguib Beach where you can see portions of Babuyan Channel and its islands (that is where the Cliff House will be built). It was beautiful. By the time we reached Anguib Beach, the white sand shores are just awesome.

Of course who am I not to take pictures? Thanks for these times I haven’t paid any single cent to enjoy the tours. The setting in Anguib Beach is also unlike the other beaches in the country, it has several “pine” trees, or more appropriately called the aguho trees which do look like the pine trees. It’s like the Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales.

The white sand haven of Santa Ana

The tire hammock in Sta. Ana ,Cagayan

Swimming in the beach is a must. Although some parts have the grassy portions, you can still enjoy it because in April, the waves are gentle and it is only waist deep. However there are several activities in this town, you can visit in February to witness kite flying and some water activities. Scuba diving activity is also present here. If you come here in January or February, bring a jacket, it is the cold season here and the waters are cold.

Some activities as followed are also offered in Anguib Beach, Santa, Ana, Cagayan:

Banana boat: 8-seater
Php 3,000 per 30 minutes
Banana boat: 5-seater
Php 2,000 per 30 minutes
Jetski, Yamaha wave runner
Php 400 per 30 minutes
Kayak, 2 seater
Php 200 per 60 minutes
Kayak, 1 seater
Php 350 per 60 minutes
Solstice Bali
Php 400 per 60 minutes
Airhead, jetski included
Php 2,000 per 30 minutes
Wakeboard, jetski included
Php 2,000 per 30 minutes
Waterski, jetski included
Php 1,500 per 20 minutes
Island hopping tour
Php 4,000 per tour (6 pax)
Intro to Dive Class
Php 12,000 per pax
Open Water Dive Class
Php 14,000 per pax

*Prices as of 2016

The jetski is waiting in Anguib Beach.
I really enjoyed my two days in Santa Ana (actually it’s three days but the other day is spent to travel) and hope to visit again one day soon.

Put Sta. Ana on your checklist for travels in the future. You won’t regret the scenes in Anguib Beach. Gotan Beach, the beach adjacent to Anguib Beach is also good so let’s talk about it in our next post.

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