Palaui Island is located off the northeastern extremity of Luzon Island, the largest island in the country. It is a part of the town of Santa Ana, Cagayan. A protected area with unspoiled and pristine beaches, uninhabited islands, scenic and breath-taking view. A Spanish era lighthouse built during the early spanish times is located at the highest point of the island. It is still functional powered by solar batteries and an automatic switch with time delay.
With only a small community living in the island, it is largely uninhabited. Since its declaration as a protected area, no additional inhabitant was allowed on the island eversince.
Visitors can go to the island through outrigger boats which can be rented off the main island port. Boat rental fee is PHP1800. Hire a boatman who you can tag along with rentee or can pick or drop visitors on a given time.
One can choose to go directly to the popular beach called Anguib or go directly to Cape Engaño Beach. If you are up for a challenging and adventurous trip, one can trek to the summit of the island. Trek time is approximately 3 hours depending on the trekkers pace.There are no hotel accommodations at the island but visitors can bring tents to camp on one of the beaches. There are also snorkeling areas around the island, just ask the boatman to take you there.
Day 0 – February 22 (Friday)
08:00 PM – Meet-up at Victory Liner Kamias
So when the opportunity arose for me to join a group of travel bloggers, I never had to think about it and said YES with the thought of an early summer holiday for the year 2013. With a series of group travels I joined in the past it’s not relatively new to me so I did not turn around and decided to join an early summer adventure up North. The itinerary for the Palaui Island + Anguib Beach I settled on was simple yet impressive.
Who would have thought I would embark myself on a long 14 hour bus ride. Crazy isn’t it?
But I decided to go for it anyway.
I might hate it actually but guess what? I survived the longest bus ride I have ever experienced in my life. It was, however, challenging trip of my life but definitely worth it. We all agreed to meet up at the terminal of Victory Liner along EDSA in Kamias.
09:00 PM – ETD Manila to Tuguegarao (P600)
Travelling at night really save us our vacation time. I ended up sitting next to a new friend, Smarla.
Day 1 – February 23 (Saturday)
I seriously did not have a clue exactly what to expect there aside from the information I gathered like pristine beaches, century old lighthouse, a Teletubby island and friendly locals. I made a lot of research about Palaui from different travel sites and blogs but the feeling is really different when you are in the actual destination. I had a clue though of what to expect with our accommodation before this trip. But I was delighted to find out where we would be spending our nights.
11:00 AM – ETA in Tuguegarao, Lunch (P100)
It wasn’t long before we got so hungry so we ended up ordering a local dish called Pansit Cabagan. It is a local dish that originated from the nearby province of Isabela, in the town of Cabagan. The food might have taken a while to arrive so everyone talked about their summer plans. I was seriously staring at my flip flops thinking if it was edible I would have eaten the whole thing.
01:00 PM – ETD Tuguegarao to Sta. Ana (P200)
Our long bus ride did not end there as we need to travel 3 more hours to Sta. Ana, Cagayan. Our van was comfortable enough that one can feel and smell a bit of fresh air but struggled at times with the ridiculous heat).
04:00 PM – ETA Sta. Ana
Hey I just met you Sta. Ana!
Santa Ana is a second class municipality in the province of Cagayan, Philippines. It is also known as the Game Fishing hub of the Philippines. It has hosted international decathlons, where athletes run through the strenuous and rugged terrain of Punta Verde to Cape Engaño, then plunged in the crystal clear water of the Philippine Sea.
04:30 PM – Boat to Anguib beach
We paid for our tickets and finally met our boatmen.
05:00 PM – ETA Anguib Beach, set-up camp
I saw some cerulean blue sky and a little bit of sun that day but we were still being tormented by light rain showers.
I experienced the scary boat ride during our Nagsasa- Capones Trip so I know exactly the feeling when the boat is extremely fast. Which is very fine to me, if the weather is good and calm. But it was a different story when the slightest bit of rough and your boat is slamming from the tiny waves. A memorable experience to be freaking wet as hell!
07:00 PM – Dinner and socials (P100)
Anguib beach– A beautiful pristine white sand beach that can fill your soul and recharge the spirit with the promise of a new day. If you’re spending your summer holiday in the Anguib Beach area, acquaint yourselves with the beauty of nature.
Day 2 – February 24 (Sunday)
07:00 AM – Wake-up, breakfast
Make sure to wake up early in the morning to catch the sunrise at the beach with a blanket to sit on the cool white sand of Anguib.
09:00 AM – Leave for Palaui Island (P50 + P360)
09:00 AM – Start trek to Cape Engaño Lighthouse (P65 tour guide)
The trek started with an easy and steady climb towards all the bushes and trees. It will be a perfect day for those who are interested in wild plants and birds. Bird watching is really more fun in the Philippines. It is a great and fun learning experience. Bird watching will get you outdoors and also makes you think and develop you observational skills. I actually have seen a king fisher bird during the trek.
THE HOBBIT FEET
Been wanting to try the barefoot hiking experience so here’s what happened. At first, I did not like it but suddenly I was loving it. I was out there walking barefoot. And that point, I realized, it was a pure exploration and self-discovery. Every step I made gave me the strong sense of gratitude and acceptance. I was touching the surface of the earth and the earth was embracing me back. There was a constant communication as we built connection.
02:00 PM – ETA Cape Engaño Lighthouse
05:00 PM – Boat back to Sta. Ana
06:00 PM – Check-in at Jotay Resort, Sta. Ana (P360)
07:00 PM – Dinner (P100)
OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Jotay is a small and friendly resort located at the north eastern tip of the Philippines in the Cagayan Valley – offering: modern and comfortable accommodation.
Day 3 – February 25 (Monday)
07:00 AM – Breakfast (P100)
08:00 AM – ETD Sta. Ana to Tuguegarao (P200)
12:00 NN – LUNCH in Tuguegarao (P100)
01:00 PM – ETD Tuguegarao to Manila (P600)
01:00 AM – ETA Manila
Safe budget: P3,500
THINGS TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE PALAUI, CAGAYAN
-Camp at the Boracay of the North, Anguib Cove
-Trek to reach the 18th century lighthouse Cape Engano at Palaui Island
-Side trip to Callao cave
HOW TO GET TO PALAUI ISLAND:
For your convenience one can hop on a bus from Manila-Sta Ana (florida) one way per passenger Php 750 or search for a cheap flights to Tuguegarao and ride a public van to Sta. Ana. Head to the tourism office and hire an outrigger boat. Tell the boatmen to bring you to the Mangroves – It’s a very nice mangrove forest but only accessible during high tide if you’re lucky enough you’d take a glimpse of those wild birds flying around the mangroves.
Other option is Plane ride from Manila to Tuguegarao City – Approximately an hour which is faster. One must hop on a van from Tuguegarao City to Santa Ana – Php180-Php200 fare – Approximately 3-4 hours. Take note that the last trip of the van going to Santa Ana leaves Tuguegarao at 5pm.
No ATM in Sta. Ana- bring enough cash.
Bring underwater camera for snorkeling.
Take a picture of the coral reefs.
Best transportation is Florida bus to Sta. Ana.
Ride a bus with comfort room.
Buy Carabao’s Milk candy and carabao’s chicharon.
For other tips get in touch with the tourism office.
Camping equipments (tents, headlamp,mess and emergency kits)
Personal drinking water
Clothes for swimming, Sunblocks, Off lotion
Snacks, food and plastic bags for your trash
Looking at our own experience makes me think how beautiful the Philippines is. One has to personally witness and go there to see for themselves what this natural wonder has to offer. This is a hidden paradise located at the Northern most tip of Cagayan in Northern Philippines. The Philippines is an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands.
So what are you waiting for invite your friends to a great summer holiday in the Philippines. You can always find cheap travels online from cheap flights to the Philippines to cheap travels and cheap tour packages. To help plan your summer destination, here is the guide to the popular destinations for a summer holidays in the Philippines in no particular order.
DISCLAIMER: Last photo courtesy of Byron Jeff(Y) Datinguinoo.