Have a taste of Batanes here in Palaui Island. It's almost up there and so you can feel the breeze and the laid back charms of Batanes. In here you can pitch a tent for your stay. Visit the waterfalls and Cape Engano Lighthouse.
We visited the following churches of:
1. PIAT - Basilica Minore of our Lady of Piat
2. Tuguegarao - Sts. Peter and Paul Metropolitan Cathedral
3. Iguig - Parish of St. James the Greater
4. Amulong - Our Lady of Victories
5. Alcala - St. Philomene Church
6. Gattaran - St. Catherine of Alexandria Church
7. Nassiping - Church of St. Michael the ArchAngel ruins
8. Lal-lo - Parish Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman
9. Camalaniugan - Church of San Jacinto de Polonia, Santa Maria Bell (oldest bell in the Far East)
10. Aparri - St. Peter Thelmo
The centuries old churches really amazed me. I had no idea about all those churches before we left for Cagayan.
Claveria is the 2nd town of Cagayan when coming from Ilocos Norte. A 5-km long white sand beach, easily accessible waterfalls, and fresh seafoods await any wanderer in this northwest tip of the province..
Callao Cave was what inspired me to visit Cagayan Valley. In going there, we rented a trike for P500.00, roundtrip. It took us almost an hour to travel from Tuguegarao City to Callao Cave Tourist Zone (CCTZ) in Penablanca.
The sight of the serene Pinacanauan River was more than enough to recharge us. We took a small boat to the cave as the cave is located across the river. Entrance fee is P50.00/head. Then we were joined by a smart 11 year old boy named Jerrick, who surprisingly was our tour guide. Before entering the cave, he gave us the rules and qouted, 'Leave nothing but footprints....' and so on.
At the cave, we went through five of seven chambers; the second chamber was where we find the chapel. The hole up above provides natural light to the cave.
See more pics of the river in my travelogue, Picturesque Pinacanauan River.
It was just an easy climb but we all had a very exciting experience. When we reached the top, the view was really awesome and breathtaking. The clouds that went down the seas looked so....dramatic. What surprised me most was that the hill reminded me of the movie, The Sound of Music.
I had no idea about this Bantay Kalbo until I got there. I should have reviewed bike_packer's Claveria page before gearing up, but, I guess I was busy updating my Bora page.
Its fun reminiscing how we rushed and quickly got out of the car just to take a picture of the picturesque sunset, while some local bystanders watched us with wonder, all smiles but seemed totally had no idea about us all. All these happened when we were on our way to Claveria, when we passed by Magapit Suspension bridge - a Golden Gate look-alike bridge in La-lo, Cagayan.
Centenela Beach is a small crescent shaped cream sand beach below Bantay Kalbo and the stone formation Ubing-Ubing (little child) which looms large in the folklore of Claverians.
The warm waters of the cove seduce swimmers to linger and wait for the coming of sunset! The dramatic sweep of colors is worth waiting for! Oddly enough, the thought of Ubing-Ubing watching over me is a comforting one.
*According to the local legend, Ubing-ubing is the abandoned child of Lakay-lakay and Baket-Baket, two rock formations located on the western end of Claveria Beach. It is said that he stands there waiting patiently for his parents to come back to him.
Callao Caves is one of the main tourist destinations in Cagayan. We visited it towards the end of the day in time to catch the circadian flight of the bats. It is better to visit the caves at noon time up to early afternoon when sunlight is directly overhead. This will give you more dramatic pictures and will aid you as you explore this series of 7 caves 5 of which has a skylight. :) BTW, you will have to climb up around 184 steps to reach the caves, an easy walk up as the management have installed a lot of seats where one can rest along the path up.
The caves are about 40 minutes away from the city of Tuguegarao. It cost us P500 to rent a tricycle. It is better to get a four-wheel drive to take you to the site as the road deteriorates as one nears the caves.
Boat fee: P10/pax/way
Entrance fee: P25/pax
This is a part of the Callao adventure you don't want to miss. After enjoying the caves you can rent a boat (P300) to take you to the miniscule beach where you can wait for sunset and the, what the tourist office call, "circadian flight of bats" ;D If you visited the Callao caves in the early afternoon, you can while away the hours till sunset by swimming in the clean and lukewarm water of the Pinacanauan River. The depth of the river varies from 7 ft to 2 feet and the water is so clear you can see the fishes and other water creatures.
Be sure to bring something to eat and drink while you wait though.
We enjoyed swimming here to the max. We got here by 3:00PM, the water was lukewarm and very relaxing. The sorrounding green mountains was breathtaking.....really beautiful.
The best time to be here is before sunset, don't miss the magic. Sunset was awesome.
The highlight of our caving activity - watching the circadian flight of bats. We waited patiently for their spectacular showdown at 6:00 pm.
Before our boat ride to the bat cave, the locals were bragging about the waterfalls.....we found out it was just a bluff.....enjoy the scenic boat ride anyway.
I regret not being able to swim at the clear waters of Pinacanauan river. So for those who would want to visit here, try to bring your swimwear.
Our boat ride cost us P300.00.
Cagayan is a perfect place to do your Visita Iglesia. The province has beautiful old Spanish churches all over. If you like to cover all in one day, you could try this route (start early):
Piat - Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat
Tuguegarao City - Sts. Peter and Paul Metropolitan Cathedral plus San Jacinto Chapel
Iguig - Parish of St. James the Greater and Calvary Hill
Amulung - Our Lady of Victories Parish
Alcala - St. Philomine Church
Gattaran - St. Catherine of Alexandria Church
Nassiping - St. Michael the Archangel Parish (ruins)
Lal-lo - St. Dominique Parish plus the 300 year-old cross
Camalaniugan - San Jacinto de Polonia and it's bell (oldest in the Far East)
Aparri - St. Peter Thelmo
For more photos of Spanish-old churches.
From the looks of it, Portabaga Falls is one of the most famous swimming spots in the province. So many people here when we came for a visit.
At 15 meters, it is considered one of the tallest falls in the whole Province of Cagayan. Man-made pools are constructed at the base of the falls to accomodate the people who wants to take a dip. Unfortunately, the water is too cold for Grandma Isa to bear :0(.
Bring your own food and rent a cottage for only P200.
WARNING: Shower room has no curtains and toilet is dirty.
This is a worthwhile activity when visiting the national park. The Minoran River is clear and inviting...you may take a dip while waiting for the bats to appear.
The short boat ride from the front of Callao Cave Resorts up to the Bat Cave cost P300.00 per boat. Boatmen would boast about a certain Minoran Falls ... DO NOT expect too much, the falls is more like a drip and does not in any way contribute to the beauty of the river.
For more photos of the Minoran River
The visit to the Callao Cave in Penablanca is definitely one of the highlights of our Cagayan trip.
It was made more interesting by a boy named Gerric Apattad. He is a witty 11year old student from a nearby public school who is trained by a teacher to guide visitors of Callao. We met him at the foot of the cave right after alighting our boat. He served as our photographer and guide for this short trip. (Tipping is not compulsary but it would be nice to give him a few bucks for his school money).
The cave has 7 major chambers and we managed to see 5. At the first chamber is an altar especially placed under a beautiful skylight. The reflection of the sun hits the altar at certain hour of the day and makes for a dramatic view. Second to fifth chambers have impressive rock formations like stalactites, stalagmites, columns, etc.
Going there from Tuguegarao, we rented a trike for P400.00 (after much haggling) for a 1/2 day tour. It is important to make this kind of arrangements when doing a free-and-easy tour if you want to see the flight of bats at dusk. Jeepney's and tricycle's last trip from Callao is at 4:00pm while the bats go out of their cave around 6:00pm. Contrary to what we expected (what we read from other blogs), the trip to Callao takes about an hour from Tuguegarao. The road is rough halfway going there so if you have a choice between renting a jeepney and a trike, choose the jeepney! We gave a tip to our trike driver after the long scary ride home :0)
For more photos of Callao