Cagayan Valley Travel Guide (Itinerary + Expenses)

by Rizanoia

This budget travel guide includes information on how to get there, recommendations on where to stay, things to see and do, where and what to eat, budget breakdown and sample itinerary for your upcoming Cagayan Valley trip.

ABOUT CAGAYAN VALLEY

Cape Engano Lighthouse in Palaui Island, Sta. Ana, Cagayan

Situated approximately 500 Km from Manila, this huge seaside province in Northeastern Luzon needs a 10 to 12 hour bus ride, and an extra hour or two to reach its majestic islands. Luckily, we were able to book a roundtrip ticket from last year seat sale. So from Manila to Tuguegarao we only spent 3 to 4 hours van ride going to Sta. Ana Cagayan.

Some travelers do not plan a visit to Cagayan Valley because of the long distance, but those who strive for fun and thrill, coming here becomes a grand adventure jam-packed with gastronomical amusements, ordinary wonders, and an ironic history that make the extensive travel time actually worth it.

HOW TO GET TO CAGAYAN VALLEY

By Plane
1. Ride a plane from Manila to Tuguegarao.
2. Outside the airport, walk or ride a tricycle heading to the highway where the van going to Sta. Ana Cagayan passes by.
Van Fare: 250 PHP/pax
Travel Time: 3-4 hours

By Bus
1. From Pasay/Earnshaw Sampaloc/Kamias terminal ride a Victory Liner going to Tuguegarao.
Bus Fare: 900 PHP
Travel Time: 12 hours
2. From Tuguegarao City ride a van going to Sta. Ana Cagayan.
Van Fare: 250 PHP/pax
Travel Time: 3-4 hours

WHERE TO STAY

Montana Place
Rates:
Double/Triple Sharing
– 1,200/room (good for 2 pax)
Quad Sharing Room
– 1,800/room (good for 4 pax)
Address: 1A Montana Place, Brgy. Palawig, Santa Ana, Cagayan
Contact No.: 0916 277 6600

Marjorie Homestay
Rate: 450/pax/night (good for 14pax)
Address: Tangatan, Santa Ana, Cagayan
Contact No.: 0995 500 0065

Find Best Hotels in Santa Ana (Cagayan), Philippines according to your budget via Agoda.

WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT?

If you are going to stay in Montana Place, looking for food to eat won’t be a problem. They have an eatery called Ikan Boodle House that serves a single meal and boodle fight in a very affordable price. They are also the one who prepared our seafood lunch during the island tour.

seafood lunch during the island tour in Cagayan Valley
seafood lunch during the island tour

There are also other eateries nearby ranges 50 to 75PHP per meal. From Montana Place walk to the left side going to the bridge. There is a carinderia that serves the popular local food Pancit Batil Patung.

Pancit Batil Patung
Pancit Batil Patung

The recipe is divided into two portions: the noodles and sauce. The sauce is like an egg soup sauce and noodles are topped with local spices. The noodle’s topping include sautéed vegetables, poached eggs and meat. The egg is broken and poured on the noodles.

For ideal flavor, mix these two components well and enjoy your food. The slowly poured sauce increase the taste of food with added vinegar and chopped onion.

RECOMMENDED TRAVEL AND TOURS

Cagayan Valley Traventures
Globe: 0927 9252588 | 0916 2776600
Smart: 0920 2817878 | 0947 3494577
Email: [email protected]

Sta. Ana Motorize Boat Association
0966 379 1811

TOUR DESTINATIONS:
• Cape Engaño Lighthouse
• Punta Verde
• Baratubut Falls
• Anguib Beach
• Crocodile Island
• Gotan Mangrove

TOUR INCLUSIONS:
• Hotel Transfers to/from Port San Vicente
• Boat Transfers in all destinations
• Seafood Lunch during the Island Tour
• Service of an DOT-Accredited Tour Guide
• Use of Snorkeling Set
• All Fees (Environment and Entrance)
• All Taxes and Surcharges

TOUR RATE: 1,800 PHP/pax

Other Tours They Offer:
• Eco Adventure Tour (Sinago Cove & Buwacag Falls, Casagan Hanging Bridge)
• Fishing Tour
• Scuba Diving Tour

DIY RATES

  • Buwacag Falls
    500 PHP/guide – 4 guests is to 1 guide
    20 PHP/pax – Eco Fee
    250 PHP – Cottage
  • Palaui Island
    50 PHP/pax – Palaui Day Pass
    20 PHP/pax – LGU Eco Fee
    300 PHP/guide – Ratio 4 guest is to 1 guide
  • Anguib Beach
    150 PHP/pax – Entrance Fee
  • Boat Rental
    3500 PHP/boat – 4 destinations: Cape Engano Lighthouse, Punta Verde, Crocodile Island, Anguib Beach

CAGAYAN VALLEY TOURIST SPOTS

The fascinating province of Cagayan Valley alone is quite an epic experience in itself. There are so many untamed places to visit, wild things to do, traditional foods to try if it is your first visit to Cagayan.

This guide is going to cover a list of tourist spots, although the list is no way complete but provides you an idea of what to see and where to go to relax your itch for adventure.

  1. Sinago Cove
  2. Buwacag Falls
  3. Casagan Hanging Bridge (skipped)
  4. Anguib Beach
  5. Palaui Island
  6. Cape Engano Lighthouse, Palaui Island
  7. Punta Verde, Palaui Island
  8. Baratubut Falls (skipped)
  9. Gotan Mangrove (skipped)
  10. Crocodile Island / Manidad Island
  11. San Jacinto De Polonia Parish (Oldest Bell)
  12. Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary
  13. Aparri Signage Marker

SINAGO COVE

Sinago Cove, facing the Pacific Ocean, is still waiting to be revealed completely. The attractions and views of the cove are similar to the James Bond Island in Thailand and Halong Bay in Vietnam.

You can stay here for weeks as the cove is just perfect for a digital detox. You can come here and relish the marvelous natural beauty of this place.

Say goodbye to the internet connection and enjoy the isolation for some days. Many beautiful attractions here are beyond the range of phone or internet signals. The reason is the huge size of Santa Ana, the north part of the Philippines.

BUWACAG FALLS

Another attraction of Cagayan Island is the Buwacag Falls. In order to see the magnificent view of these pristine waterfalls, you have to undergo a 30-minute hike to get to the mother falls (the only accessible area of the falls).

According to the residents, Buwacag means the rumbling sound of rolling water from a high-level stream dropping over a cliff like a step in solid rock.

Travelers like to observe the carrying capacity of the falls, so they are allowed to stay for a maximum of three hours in the fall area.

Tourists can also relax in huts situated near the bottom of the falls. Cooking is permitted only in selected areas. It is advised to bring your cooking utensils and tools because the use of firewood is severely banned in the falls area.

Guide Fee: 500 PHP/guide, max of 4 pax per guide
Eco Fee: 20 PHP/pax
Cottage: 250 PHP

ANGUIB BEACH

Another great place to visit in Cagayan, Anguib Beach never disappoints. Beach’s cream white coastline spread around two Km long with one side ending in a woody forest hill. Though the one-hour boat-trip here can be creepy in the amihan months, it’s actually part of the journey.

Primeval and Pristine waters, attractive view of the aloof reef breaks, white sandy coasts, and fertile hills at the back adds beauty to the location.

This place is like heaven if you want to relax and avoid those prolonged party calls from the city. Travelers can cherish swimming, glamping, or just laying around in a hammock by the woods.

The place can prove to be a fascinating experience when you stay for more time and go offline from busy city life.

Entrance Fee: 150 PHP/pax

PALAUI ISLAND

Palaui Island, Sta. Ana, Cagayan

Palaui Island is perhaps the most well-known of Cagayan’s attractions and for good reason. Requiring a two-hour boat ride by the Philippine Sea’s wild waters, this distant 7,145-hectare island is marvelous. According to some travelers, the beauty of Palaui Island can be compared to Batanes.

The water around the island is home to various fish species and pristine coral reef. It is also surrounded by shrubs, woods, wandering birds, and other widespread flora.

The raw beauty of the island makes him a location for the TV series “Survivor” and one of 100 best beaches around the World.

The island is very isolated that only a few explorers come here per year. The following attractions are noteworthy in Palaui Island.

Facts About Palaui Island
When traveling to Palaui Island, consider the following facts and tips about it.

  • The island is a rural area where major community members are fishers and most houses are illuminated only by solar panels and generators. That means no electricity is available in the island, so bring a fully charged emergency light to avoid trouble.
  • It is advised to plan a trip during March to May because in these months, the sea remains calm. In other months, waves on the island can be wild and dangerous.
  • All the trips to island are monitored by tourism authority and coast guards. In a bad weather condition, you may not get permission to sail around the island.
  • There is a tourism office in San Vicente port where every guest register himself before exploring the Palaui Island. It is mandatory for security reasons. After registration, you can find a boat from here to roam around Palaui.
  • There are less or no singles at all in the island. Only Smart Mobile devices work with one or two signal bars.
  • The only available ATM is in Tuguegarao, so, bring on some extra cash before heading to the island. You will need some as everything has to be bought with cash.
  • Palaui Island is also home to many species of marine. So swimming would need special gear and expertise.

CAPE ENGANO LIGHTHOUSE

The Cape Engaño Lighthouse is positioned on topmost of a summit mountain in the stunning island of Palaui. Constructed in 1892, during the Spanish Colonial era, the lighthouse is considered an admired National Traditional Treasure. It also worked as a guide for any arriving ship. After reaching the top, the remarkable outlook of Hermanas Islands, Babuyan Island, and the Pacific Ocean will surprise you.

Guide Fee: 300 PHP/guide, max of 4 pax per guide

DOS HERMANAS

Dos Hermanas in Palaui Island, Sta. Ana, Cagayan

Dos Hermanas Islands is situated in Cagayan, Philippines. The approximation height above sea level is 10 meters. The island’s name is in Spanish language which means “Two Brothers”.

The rocky glimpse of this island should not be missed while being at lighthouse. There are perfect terrains around the island for pictures. The rock formation and mountains would also add in visual beauty of island. Being a home to many ecologies, the disparity of colors and the rare attractiveness of countryside is a natural scenario of this island.

PUNTA VERDE NATURE VILLAGE

Placed on Palaui Island’s south-eastern landfill, Punta Verde helps as a camping ground and boat-dock for guests who would like to spend the night. A six-kilometer hike from Punta Verde to Cape Engano takes around three to four hours. An attractive waterfall is nearby to amuse you. The name of the island also reminds me of the resort in Batangas.

CROCODILE ISLAND

This stony isle is named by the residents as Manidad Island, but from outside view, it is identified as the Crocodile Island. The reason is the resemblance with a crocodile when sighted from afar.

The island is a rock formation that vanishes during high tide. There are no trees and you have to enjoy the sun’s sizzling heat. When explored during low tides, the island’s white sands are visible. The other side of the island is facing the Pacific Ocean and is constantly attacked by sturdy waves.

Above the marble cliff, the mountain of Northern Luzon, as well as other neighboring islands, can be noticeably seen. It is wise to be very cautious when hiking because a few parts have sharp edges.

SIDE TRIP TO CHURCHES AND LANDMARKS

Before going back to the airport on our last day, we visited churches and popular landmark in Cagayan. Even I’m not a Catholic, I am always amazed on the structure and history of these churches.

SAN JACINTO DE POLONIA PARISH

San Jacinto De Polonia Parish and the Oldest Bell

San Jacinto de Polonia Parish is situated in the town of “Camalaniugan Cagayan” which is named after the “Malaniug” trees. These Malaniug trees or coconut-like palm trees grew in great quantity during the early years.

The town is famous for the Oldest Christian Bell (circa 1595). Camalaniugan Bell is reserved on the highest part of a 3-story rectangular tower concealed with red bricks. The bell is also called Bell of Antiquity or the Santa Maria Bell, was made in 1595 making the traditional bell, the ancient in the Philippines, and in entire South-east Asia.

Brick walls constructed parallel to each other in a park settled right near Cagayan River. For almost 100 years, these walls belonged to the former San Jacinto de Polonia Parish Church till earthquake and typhoon of 1845 hit it and resulted in hefty damages.

The church was rebuilt from the bank to save from further threats. Nowadays, Ruins of the Old Church worked as a heart to a public park where residents and visitors could relax and spend time.

Address: Sapping, Camalaniugan, Cagayan

ARCHDIOCESAN SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY

Archdiocesan Shrine of our Lady of the Rosary

Tourist not only visit and take memorable photos but also pray here in Archdiocesan Shrine of our Lady of the Rosary for their wishes to come true.

Address: Aparri, Cagayan

APARRI SIGNAGE MARKER

Aparri is a first-class city in the province of Cagayan. Located at the mouth of Cagayan River, this city is famous for coastwise trade. We had a quick visit to this multicolor Aparri Signage Marker.

Aparri Delta, Cagayan is a remarkable area of land in Aparri, where both the West Philippine Sea and Cagayan River meet each other. Walk there and experience the powerful beauty of the Aparri Delta.

Aparri, Cagayan where the river meets the sea.

You can enjoy the following things while in Aparri Delta:
• At your left side view, you can enjoy a glimpse of Cagayan River.
• At your right side view, you will see the crashing waves of water.
• On the coastline, you will see tiny shrimp.

The Aparri Delta is different than other tourist attraction of Cagayan. The reason is its majestic beauty, size of the island, and crashing waves on the river.

Address: Loriga Gallarza St, Aparri, Cagayan

SAMPLE 4D3N ITINERARY

DAY 1MANILA TO TUGUEGARAO
13:00ETD Manila to Tuguegarao
14:10ETA Tuguegarao
14:30Van from Tuguegarao to Sta. Ana Cagayan
18:00Arrival in Sta. Ana, Check-in
19:00Dinner, end of Day 1
DAY 2LAND TOUR (Sinago Cove and Buwacag Falls)
7:00Breakfast, prepare for land tour
10:00Arrival at Sinago Cove
10:30Go to Buwacag Falls
12:00Lunch
13:30Trek to Buwacag Falls
15:45Buwacag Falls, swimming, photo opp
15:45Trek back
16:00Rinse off
17:00Arrival at homestay
18:00Dinner, end of Day 2
DAY 3ISLAND TOUR
6:00Breakfast, prepare for island tour
7:00Start of Island Hopping
• Cape Engaño Lighthouse
• Punta Verde
• Baratubut Falls
• Anguib Beach
• Crocodile Island
• Gotan Mangrove
17:00End of Island Hopping
19:00Dinner, end of Day 3
DAY 4SIDE TRIPS, BACK TO MANILA
7:00Breakfast, early check-out
8:00Start of side trips
• San Jacinto De Polonia Church
• Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary
• Aparri Signage Marker
11:00Van from Aparri to Tuguegarao Airport
14:50ETD Tuguegarao to Manila
16:00ETA Manila

ESTIMATED BUDGET BREAKDOWN

Here’s an estimated breakdown of expenses for 4 days and 3 nights and assumes the following:
– You’re a party of 4, splitting some expenses.
– Your group is coming from Tuguegarao.
– Airfare excluded.

ACTIVITYGROUPPER PAX
Van from Tuguegarao to Sta. Ana Cagayan v.v.
250 x 2 way
500
Accommodation (Montana Place Quad Sharing Room)
1,800 x 3 nights
5,4001,350
Island Tour1,800
Food (50-75 PHP/meal)600
GRAND TOTAL4,250

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