Cagayan is a humble province of the North that welcomes you to its bountiful abode. I have been to many destinations as promising as Boracay, Cebu, El Nido and so much more.
But, I never thought that the most picturesque location that I have been looking for is found in my backyard. There are something and someone that invites me to visit an island full of memoirs during its Survivor America’s stint on 2013 or the Cape Engano’s 123 years of withstanding any storm of the history.
I knew Cagayan is breathtaking. From the southern to the northern coast and the Sierra Madre that stands still, there is so much to be discovered. On the last weekend of September, one typhoon was expected to hit Northern Luzon again.
But, fortunately, it changed its direction towards Taiwan and the time we heard that good news we continued our journey to Palaui Island.
On today’s blog, I will be listing down the most important things to consider and do while worshipping the sun in Santa Ana.
HOW TO GET THERE
The easiest way to get to San Vicente Port, Santa Ana, Cagayan is by renting or driving your own car. Sounds great, right? From Tuguegarao City, it is a three (3) hour ride traversing the shortcut to Santa Ana via the newly installed Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA) highway in Lallo, Cagayan. Getting to San Vincente Port from this route is the fastest so far. If you are commuting from Tuguegarao, plenty of public utility vehicles (PUVs) like vans and buses are available near big malls.
If you are coming from Manila you can hop on to a Florida Bus Line, and choose a direct trip to Santa Ana, Cagayan, (please see the fare matrix on their website). Whether you fly from Clark International Airport or Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Tuguegarao City Airport fret no more because it is just an hour away to this buzzing and premier city. Take note that should you want to stay in Tuguegarao City or visit the famous Callao Cave in Penablanca, Cagayan I highly suggest that you can do it once you are done with your island adventure.
WHO TO CONTACT BEFORE VISITING THE ISLAND
Let’s go back to the basic. Planning your itinerary will help you ease any hassle that you might encounter on the road. Please refer to the photo below.
Now you can use this as a reference for bookings. I personally can vouch that PASAMOBA Cooperative has helped us to achieve a smooth travel. I recommend using and availing these packages. This is a map that can be used to plan your itinerary for the day.
Since we arrived late, we chose a day tour to Cape Engano Light House that cost us 1700 pesos only. I have been to Calayan Island and I must say that it is one of the best and most picturesque beaches I have ever had in my entire life but, the best thing about is the seclusion among all of the beaches in the country. Kudos to Mother Nature, she made a right choice to keep Calayan Island clean, secluded, and beautiful.
Relating it to Palaui Island, both islands are secluded and not easy to go to. Roughly a 100 meters away from our boat was a raging wave approaching us in the middle of the sea at 10 a.m. Mention something scarier than that. Nothing! All of us held whatever things we could hold because of that experience. It was a “Life of Pi” experience in the middle of nowhere. We just prayed to our Good Lord. Viola, we arrived safe and sound after a 45-minute boat ride.
Look at the waves kissing the shore.
Soothing and relaxing were the words I first said when we arrived. I said to myself “what a wonderful world it is”. I survived Calayan Island so I should be prouder this second time around.
On 2013, this secluded island in the north was featured in a television show in the US. All of us know what is, I guess. Yes, it is the Survivor US who first premiered and filmed in this island. Palaui Island has been renowned to its pristine beach, the beautiful 126 years old Cape Engango Light House, serene feeling while praising the sun, also it has been a protected seascape and landscape by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Sample itinerary for Palaui Island Day Tour (700 pesos challenge)
*NOTE: FOOD IS NOT INCLUDED. Via own car.
Before ending this blog I want to call out those irresponsible tourists that we saw during this exploration. Please be with nature and do not destroy, grab or pick any habitat in the island or anywhere you go.
Be a responsible tourist as you are in your own homes. And also, I experienced first hand that there was so much rubbish on the island. I proactively asked Kuya Ruben, our tour guide, why the island experienced so much trash. He said that plastics along the shore were bought by the recent Typhoon “Ompong” which was alarming in our part as tourists have been paying fees.
I can finally confirm that I am home. I have been to beautiful destinations like this before in my entire journey as a traveler but this place has some soft spot in my heart.
A home for me is where I can truly feel most alive and the freedom that I am enjoying. Welcome to the Smiling Land of Beauty — Cagayan!