Santa Ana, Cagayan: Palaui Island Paradise

March 24 – 25, 2016

Palaui Island is one of the places that listed on my bucket lists. This is the Cagayan’s northeastern island that instantly bounded from an unusual destination to one of the Luzon’s most desired tourist spots.

It is characterized by scenic cove, dramatic rock cliffs, precious meadows and perfect mangroves.

This island was recognized by CNN as one of the Top world’s best beaches. It was also the location of the 2013 Survivor US reality show.

Lagunzad Trail

There are two ways to explore Palaui Island: first and easiest would be by boat which would take you to most attractions in a shorter period, second, by hiking into Palaui’s dense jungle to vast clearings, and traversing beaches to assaulting for peaks, via Lagunzad Trail.

Due to the considerably bad weather condition, we took the trail instead of taking it by boat. Coastguards did not allow everybody to go by boat. Rick and I were glad because this is our advantage and we love trails.

Taking this two-hour route gives hikers a closer look into the island’s wide range of flora and wildlife.

Cape Engaño Lighthouse

Cape Engaño Lighthouse also known as Faro de Cabo Engaño, stands on top of a 90-meter cliff guiding sea vessels passing by the raging waters of the northeastern coast for over a hundred years.

The breathtaking view of rolling green hills and jaw-dropping sea cliffs surrounded by the vast blue ocean what really attracted me and made me visit this island.

It serves as the guiding light from the Pacific to the extreme northeast point of Luzon, and the channel between the Babuyan Islands and the mainland.

Among the lighthouses found in the north coast of Luzon, it is the easternmost among light.

 

Costa Carina Beach Front Resort

We stayed overnight at Costa Carina Beach Front Resort for the next day’s activities.

The resort is not a white sand beach but I believe that this is a very good place for sunset viewing though we did not witness that.

Costa Carina offers basic comforts such as small rooms with fan/aircon and bathroom. They also have small bar, gift shop and coffee shop.

Siwangag Cove

We descent from the lighthouse to Cape Engaño Beach, from a flight of stairs to the white-sanded shores. We spent a few minutes there before going to another attraction in the island.

Baratubut Falls

Palaui has another well-known waterfall, Baratubut Falls, accessible via Leonardo Trail to Cape Engaño. We took a dip to freshen up and to cool down in this mountain water shower through huge rocks that approximately measured 10-15 feet high.

Anguib Cove

It is located in Santa Ana Cagayan which is the northernmost town of the province. Anguib beach has become the pride of the town.

It has blue, clear water that touches the fine, white sand near its shore. Being in a cove, the waters are calm and display stillness as the waves are mild, making the place safe for swimming. It reminded me of the Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte. Its waters are so clean and prestine. The scenery was more than incredible.

Crocodile Island

Crocodile Island is also known as Manidad Island. It was named such obviously because of how it looks like a crocodile with its head above the water.

Crocodile Island was actually a rock that formed the reptile’s head.

Punta Verde

The long stretch of Punta Verde serves as the main entry point of Palaui Island’s hiking and camping visitors. Travelers are required to register on a marine detachment unit based within the island.

People lived there were selling souvenirs like keychain, necklace, etc. We bought keychain made in seashells.

GETTING TO SANTA ANA, CAGAYAN FROM MANILA

By Passenger Bus

  • Take a Florida bus bound for Aparri or Santa Ana Cagayan
  • You may also take a Victory Liner bus to Tuguegarao then take a shuttle van going to Santa Ana, Cagayan

By Plane

  • Fly to Tuguegarao. We got incredibly low promo fare flights from Cebu Pacific: http://www.cebupacificair.com
  • Just outside the Tuguegarao Airport, take a tricycle going to the terminal for the shuttle vans going to Santa Ana, Cagayan
  • Shuttle vans are only up to 5:00 pm. If you past 5:00 pm, you may spend the night in Tuguegarao and leave the next day.
  • The last trip of vans going to Sta. Ana from Tuguegarao is 5:30 PM
  • The last trip of vans going to Tuguegarao from Sta. Ana is 1:00 PM

Social media Event Pages

  • We joined our trip thru GalaPH event on Facebook. We took van provided by the organizers.
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Peñablanca, Cagayan: Magnificent Callao Cave

March 24 – 25, 2016

Callao Cave is one of the limestone caves located in the municipality of Peñablanca, Cagayan province.

It is located in the Barangays of Magdalo and Quibal in Peñablanca about 24 km northeast of Tuguegarao City, the capital of Cagayan.

We started our caving with a short orientation by knowing the background of the Callao Cave and how to maintain and preserve the cave.

Before reaching this cave, we climbed 184 concrete steps.

The cave consisted of seven chambers but because of earthquakes in 1980’s as per Wikipedia, it was cut off to two chambers. As we entered, we were welcomed by the first chamber. It is a cathedral-like room has been turned into chapel by the locals.

A rock formation served as the altar of the chapel lit by a stream of light coming from a rooftop opening.

After we prayed at the chapel, we headed to the next chamber. It was indeed magnificent.

The light that was coming out from the rooftop opening was superb and really breath-taking.

As we headed to our next activity, we took our short meal with the Cagayan’s Batil Patong.

Camalaniugan, Cagayan: The Oldest Bell, Ruins of San Jacinto de Polonia Church, and a Brick Kiln

March 24 – 25, 2016

One of our destinations brought us to Camalaniugan Cagayan. It is named after the “malaniug” trees (coconut-like palm trees) which grew in abundance during the early years. The Ybanags and Ilocanos who were the early settlers and peace-loving citizens built their houses along the banks of Cagayan River.

It is in this town where the oldest Christian bell in the Far East is located (circa 1595).

Oldest Catholic Church Bell

Camalaniugan Bell is kept on the topmost part of a 3-storey square tower covered with red bricks. The bell, also called the Santa Maria Bell or Bell of Antiquity, was forged in 1595 making the antique the oldest in the Philippines, and in the entire Southeast Asia. A significant heritage passed down by our Spanish colonizers to the proud townsfolk of Camalaniugan.

Ruins of the Old San Jacinto de Polonia Church

Brick walls built parallel to each other in a park nestled right on the banks of Cagayan River. For a century, these walls belong to the former San Jacinto de Polonia Parish Church until typhoon and earthquake of 1845 hit with heavy damages.

Loss poses another threat to the site so the church was rebuilt further from the bank.

Today, Ruins of the Old Church served as a centerpiece to a public park where locals could relax and spend time.

Brick Kiln
“Horno“, a term used by the Spanish referring to huge kiln, a type of oven used to process materials such as hardening clay into bricks, in town not too distant from the church.

Iguig, Cagayan: Calvary Hills & San Antonio de Galicia Church

March 24 – 25, 2016

Every Holy Week, the quiet town of Iguig gets busy with tourist and pilgrims visiting the famous 14 Stations of the Cross called Calvary Hills. Iguig’s attraction features life-size statues portraying the suffering and death of Christ. The site was built on a hill slope which offers a scenic view of Cagayan River flanked by vast plains located in San Antonio de Galicia Church or also known as Iguig Church. Since it was established in 1982, Calvary Hills has been one of the major pilgrimage destinations in the Philippines.

Though we had time constraints during our trip, we were able to capture each station and of course we did not forget to talk to God for a moment at Iguig Church.

Antipolo: Pinto Art Museum

December 11, 2016

The day after we visited Philippine National Museum in Manila, seemed like I am craving for more artworks. I would still like to visit other National Museums. I started to search one until Pinto Art Museum caught my attention on the Facebook feeds.

There’s this one artwork that I saw online, the Swim Bike Run work of art.

I immediately relayed the information to Rick since we are somehow both sports enthusiasts.

We visited this place until we got a chance to explore Pinto Art Museum. We got off to Antipolo Church.

Since it was Sunday afternoon when we arrived, we decided to attend a mass first. After hearing a mass, we went up to the altar of Mama Mary to touch her dress, pray for a moment and ask for guidance and blessings.

We took tricycle to bring us to the Pinto Art Museum. We paid our entrance fee and left our bags to the baggage counter.

They gave us a map and followed it.

The place was like it brought me to the other side of the world. There’s a touch of Santorini that made it more pleasant and peaceful.

There were some couches and chairs too.

I was really overwhelmed and excited to see and explore all masterpieces. I didn’t know all the persons behind those artworks but I really admired them. I loved their ideas and their talent. Rick is also good in art but in a different perspective.

Here’s my most favorite Work of Arts among all masterpices that I have seen. I mean all of them are perfect but here are my top picks.

Rules and Policies for Visiting Pinto Art Museum

  1. Admission Fee
    • Adult – P200
    • Senior Citizen/PWD – 180
    • Student with valid school ID – 100
    • 8 yrs. old below – FREE
  2. Baggage
    • All bags are subject to Security inspection
    • All backpacks are not allowed inside the galleries
  3. Artworks / Sculptures
    • Touching and leaning on the artworks are prohibited
  4. Mobility Access
    • Persons with disability are requested to seek assistance from our museum staff to access the Museum PWD entrance
    • The management is always conscious of your safety, but due to the natural terrain of the Museum, all persons with disability and children must all times be accompanied by a responsible person.
    • Ladies (are suggested to wear flat shoes and slippers)
  5. Cameras and cellphones
    • No flash photography is allowed inside the museum
    • Pictures for personal use is permitted but no video shoot is not allowed inside the galleries
  6. Food and Drinks
    • Food and drinks cannot be brought inside the galleries
  7. No changing of clothes and no props allowed inside the premises
  8. No smoking
    • Cigarettes or E-cigarettes are not permitted anywhere in the Museum premises.
  9. No pets
    • Pets are not allowed inside the Museum
  10. School Project

Here are some important details that may help you on your trip:

  1. Pinto Art Museum is located at the Silangan Gardens, #1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights, Antipolo City.
  2. If you’re commuting to Pinto Art Museum, take a jeepney bound for Antipolo (look for jeepney signages such as Antipolo-Simbahan-Junction, or Antipolo-Shopwise), Tanay (Tanay-Antipolo), or Teresa, and get off at Ynares Center. Take a tricycle from there to take you to Pinto Art Museum.
  3. If you’re driving to Pinto Art Museum, take Ortigas Extension, passing by Cainta-Junction, then Tikling (take the uphill road bound for Antipolo). When you reach Ynares Center, take a right to a hill, and follow the road to Grand Heights.
  4. Pinto Art Museum’s business hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays Closed on Mondays.
  5. Strictly OBSERVE museum rules.
  6. Take time to look at the art pieces. Don’t rush.
  7. Thank you Rick (S.O.) for accompanying me on this ultimate art experience.

It was a well spent weekend with my only love. Another awesome trip again. Pinto Art Museum served as an open door for everyone’s heart especially to the new generation of arts enthusiasts.

Photo credits: Omplongz dela Paz

 

Mt. Pamitinan (426+) and Mt. Binacayan (424+)

June 19, 2016

Major jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA (Pamitinan): 14°43′51.7′′N 121°11′29.2′′ E 426 MASL
LLA (Binacayan): 14°43′30.5′′N 121°11′26.1′′ E 424 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 1.5-3 hours (P); 2-3 hours (B)
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9 (P); 3/9 (B) / Trail class 1-4
Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Sierra Madre and Rizal province
Article history: Created February 8, 2015, last updated June 12, 2015 (pinoymountaineer.com)

I am residing in San Mateo Rizal. Every weekend, Rick and I always have a quick run, LSD run (Long Slow Distance). Whenever we are running in San Rafael, we are always dreaming and hoping that one day, we are able to hike Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan mountains. We are always satisfied of taking a picture of it and even selfies.

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I decided to have an Independence Day hike but it happened a week after Independence Day, not too late though. We came to hike together with Ed Borromeo and his nephew. They stayed the night before our hike in my home in San Mateo Rizal for their travel convenience.

We arrived at Wawa Dam in San Rafael, Montalban Rizal. We registered at the Barangay and we paid P25 per person for the registration fee after we listed our names. We secured our guides afterwards.

These mountains should not be underestimated as there are a lot of challenges that you may encounter along the way going up to the summit.

The summit can be reached in a matter of 1.5hrs-3hrs depending on a person’s pace. Everyone can be rewarded of the view at the top wherein you can have 360 views of the surrounding. This hike is relatively short but safety precautions should be observed first because there is a lot of danger on the rocky portion.

As we started our trek, we passed by the villages where locals lived. We greeted the people as we saw them approaching. We were walking on a concrete road for like 2 kms. We took a rest for a moment.

We bought the local’s best avocado shake, one of their refreshments.

As we ascent back, the road was quite steep until we reached the real trail. The way was quite rocky and sharp. I could say that one wrong step, I am dead as it was very dangerous.

Mt. Binacayan

We first climbed the Mt. Binacayan summit.

Mt.Pamitinan

We descent from Mt. Binacayan to the brgy. We took our lunch before summiting to Mt. Pamitinan.

As we ascent, again same trail as the Mt. Binacayan. However, there were some parts that you need to do 4×4, we had to use our hands going up. The huge formation of rocks were very sharp. Please be careful of holding those for you might get hurt and even be wounded.

At the summit.

Sample Itinerary and Expenses

0500         Take Jeepney from Guitnang Bayan to Crossing bound (P10)
0530            Take Tricycle from Crossing to Brgy. Wawa (P10)
0600        Arrival at DENR-PPL Office, Register, secure guide Reg.Fee: 25php, Guide    Fee:  500php/5pax)
0630        Start trek
0630        Arrival at junction
0800        Mt. Binacayan Peak, photo ops
0830        Descend back to Brgy. Wawa
0945        DENR-PPL Office, BRUNCH
1100         Ascend to Mt. Pamitinan
1200         Mt. Pamitinan peak, photo ops
1230         Descend back to Brgy. Wawa
0230        Arrived at the Brgy, logged out
0300       Tidy up
0400       Headback Home