Tag Archives: tourism

Bantakay Falls

December 26, 2015

The Bantakay Falls, which still forms part of the Quezon National Forest Park, is just magnificent. Our one-hour trek through the cemented trail, and under the rain was truly worth it.

If you need a place to stay in Lucena City, click on the following link for our suggestions: Hotels/Bed and Breakfast/Inns

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Bangkong Kahoy Valley

December 26, 2015

Between Mts. Cristobal and Banahaw in Dolores, Quezon is a sanctuary called Bangkong Kahoy Valley. We only stayed there for a short while, enjoying the magnificent view, the cool breeze, and some appetizing Shiitake Mushroom Burgers.

Bangkong Kahoy Valley

Bangkong Kahoy Valley

Nikko

Mt. Cristobal

Mt. Cristobal

Bangkong Kahoy Valley

Mt. Banahaw

Mt. Banahaw

Mt. Cristobal

Bangkong Kahoy

Mt. Banahaw

Mt. Cristobal & Mt. Banahaw

Dambana ng Kagitingan, Mt. Samat & Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

December 20, 2015

We had only the afternoon to explore the historical province of Bataan, having left Manila at around noon. We headed to the Dambana ng Kagitingan, a memorial shrine dedicated to the brave Filipino and American soldiers, who fought during World War II. We were surprised to see the 92-metre high cross, which also has a viewing gallery inside.

Thereafter, we went to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, a heritage park, which showcases mansions from the Spanish era, which were dismantled and subsequently reassembled.

Dambana ng Kagitingan

Dambana ng Kagitingan

Dambana ng Kagitingan

View from Top

View Deck

View from Mt. Samat

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Dinner at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Aparri, Iguig, Penablanca, Cagayan

November 20, 2015

This was the last leg of our 6-Day North Luzon Backpacking Adventure.

From Santa Ana, we had to get to Tuguegarao City to catch a bus going to Manila. But we decided to ride one of the night-sleeper buses so we could explore more of Cagayan Valley in one day.

In the morning, we hopped on one of the UV Express vans and went to the sleepy town of Aparri, which was two hours away from Santa Ana. We just checked out the Aparri Delta, where the Cagayan River meets the sea, the Aparri Park, a church, and had Pancit Cabagan in a local panciteria.

Then we were off to Iguig, which was another two hours from Aparri, to  check out the Calvary Hills, where life-size statues depicting the stations of the cross lie.

After spending less than an hour in Iguig, we then proceeded to Penablanca, to explore the Callao Caves. We chartered a tricycle (P1,000) because we were pressed for time already.

The beautiful Callao Caves had religious formations, and even had an altar inside. They hold Holy Masses there regularly.

Our Tour Guide also suggested we ride a boat along the Pinacanauan River and wait for the colony of bats that fly out of a cave every 5:30 in the afternoon. Our three-minute experience watching the bats was surreal.

When it was already dark, we headed to Tuguegarao City to get to a bus terminal. Buses were fully booked but after having another variant of Pancit Cagayan (Pancit Batil Patong) for dinner, we were able to ride a bus as chance passengers.

12 hours later we were back in Manila.

If you need a place to stay in Tuguegarao City, click on the following link for our suggestions: Hotels/Bed and Breakfast/Inns

Aparri Park

Aparri Church

Aparri Delta

Aparri Marker

Shrimp

Pancit Cabagan

Calvary Hills

Calvary Hills

Calvary Hills

Calvary Hills

Callao Cave

Callao Cave

Church inside Callao Cave

Callao Cave

Callao Cave

Callao Cave

Callao Cave

River

River

Bats

Palaui Island and Santa Ana, Cagayan

This is still part of our 6-Day North Luzon Backpacking Adventure.

After hopping on a bus in Claveria, Cagayan, we arrived in Santa Ana, Cagayan three hours later. We were greeted by a random tricycle driver, who offered to bring us to the Nangaramoan Beach, which has extraordinary rock formations.

In the morning, we explored the exquisite Palaui Island (Punta Verde, Cape Engano Lighthouse, Falls). Words won’t do justice to the beauty of the island so we’ll just leave you with pictures. In the evening, we were able to take a photo in front of the 642-kilometer marker (away from the Rizal monument), which is the last one up north.

If you need a place to stay in Santa Ana, click on the following link for our suggestions: Hotels/Bed and Breakfast/Inns

Nangaramoan Beach

Nangaramoan Beach

Sea

Cape Engano Lighthouse

Palaui Island

Palaui Island

Palaui Island

Palaui Island

Majestic

Palaui Island

Cape Engano Lighthouse

Lighthouse

Islet

View

Palaui Island

Falls

Lobster

Sky

 

 

 

Adams, Ilocos Norte

This part was the best part of our trip. We’ve never had any other experience like it before. Read until the end to know why.

We didn’t really know where to go on Day 4 of our trip until the night before. If you would recall, we allotted one whole day for Bangued, Abra but finished early (after just three hours) and was able to do the Vigan trip on Day 1, too. Thus, we had an extra day in Ilocos before heading to the Cagayan Valley.

Upon googling other places of interest in Ilocos Norte, we were intrigued by this little town called Adams.

Adams, Ilocos Norte, is a one-barangay 5th class municipality. It is the sixth smallest town in the Philippines considering population, as it has only 1500 inhabitants.  According to some writers, it was named after the Biblical character Adam, as the place is reminiscent of the Garden of Eden.

Commuting to Adams is very different. There are no buses, jeeps nor tricycles going there, as the area is mountainous, and the narrow road is rough. We got there by riding separate motorcycles, and the ride from the highway to the town proper took around 45 minutes.

When we got to the town proper, we were greeted by policemen, who were very hospitable and helpful. We found out from them that the town boasts of zero crime rate. They advised our motorcycle drivers to tour us around the town and bring us to the jump-off point of the Anuplig Falls, one of Adams’ 18 waterfalls.

After visiting the Lover’s Peak, the view deck, the hanging bridge, we checked out the winery and juicer, which sells fresh export-quality Lemon-Grass, Grapefruit, and Bugnay Juices and Wine. The fruits are of course grown in the rich town.

Then, we trekked for an hour with our guide to get to the 25ft. high, roaring Anuplig Falls. The trek was quite challenging but the view all throughout was magnificent. You could see the peaceful town and hear the birds chirping, and the wind blowing. After cliff diving (which was very scary), and swimming for an hour or so, we went back to the town proper to get our things, which we deposited with the police. Then we rode our motorcycles again to get back to the highway.

The view from Adams would make one believe that indeed there is a God. What made is believe more in God was how he helped us get through weird surprises on our way back to the highway.

During the middle of the trip back to the highway, Nikko’s motorcycle had to stop, as one of the wheels was running flat. Janna, whose motorcycle went first, didn’t know about this, so when she got to the highway, without the sight of Nikko, she got scared that something might have happened to Nikko. After 30 minutes, Nikko and his driver resurfaced at the highway, narrating that they had to borrow a motorcycle from a random town native.

Also, while it was already getting dark, we waited at the shed for a van to get us to the next town to get money from the bank/ATM, as we only had a few hundreds left.  After paying our tour guides/motorcycle driver, we were left with only P80, which we thought was enough for us to get to the next town. However, we found out that we were P20 short, as the fare getting to Claveria, Cagayan Valley, was P50 from where we were. It was just great that there was a good Samaritan, named Mang Ronnie, who overheard our problem and gave us P50. Indeed, God always makes things work.

P.S. When we got to the rural bank in Claveria, the only ATM in town was offline. Without having any money left (as we gave the last P30 we had to the tricycle driver who took us from the highway to the rural bank), and without having any Plan B, we waited for about 30 minutes and prayed hard that the ATM go online. Then, our prayer got answered, and thus had money to get us dinner and to continue the second half of our road trip.

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Burgos, Bangui, and Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

November 17, 2015

On Day 3 of our 6D/7N North Luzon Backpacking Trip, we took the mini-bus from Laoag City and got off in Burgos, where we were greeted by Drex, who was referred to us by our Laoag Tour Guide James. We paid him P1300 to do the North and South Pagudpud Tours (including entrance fees).

We got to explore the upper part of Ilocos Norte, particularly the towns of Burgos, Bangui, and Pagudpud. Burgos is known for its Kapurpurawan Rock Formations and the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, while Bangui boasts of its 1.65 MW wind turbines placed along a nine-kilometer shoreline.

Meanwhile, Pagudpud is famous for the Patapat Viaduct and Kabigan Falls. Moreover, it is where the northern-most tip of the Luzon Island lies. We also got to visit the Blue Lagoon and Saud Beach, which are definitely included in the best beaches we’ve seen — with white powdery sand and sapphire blue water.

Here are some photos:

Lam-ang

Burgos

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador

Burgos

Bangui Windmills

Kabigan Falls

Kabigan Falls

Trek

Pagudpud

Pagudpud Arch

Patapat Viaduct

Rock

Pagudpud

Cave

Pagudpud

Saud Beach

Laoag City, Batac and Paoay

Day 2 of our North Luzon Backpacking Trip was spent touring Laoag City, the capital of Ilocos Norte, and nearby towns, Batac and Paoay. We chartered a tricycle for P700 and it took us to the Sinking Bell Tower, Laoag Church, Malacanan of the North, Paoay Lake, Paoay Church, Marcos Mausoleum and Museum, Ilocos Museum. We even got to try riding a 4×4 and sand boarding in the Laoag Sand Dunes, for P2500 (up to 5 persons).

If you need a place to stay in Laoag, click on the following link for our suggestions: Hotels/Bed and Breakfast/Inns

Here are some photos:

Sinking Bell Tower

Laoag Cathedral

 

Malacanan of the North

Malacanan of the North

Paoay Lake

Malacanan of the North

Malacanan of the North

Paoay Lake

Malacanan North

Paoay Church

Paoay Church

Presidential Museum

 

Presidential Museum

Ilocos Museum

Laoag Sand Dunes

Laoag Sand Dunes

Laoag Sand Dunes

Laoag Sand Dunes

https://flic.kr/s/aHskpE6hqh

https://flic.kr/s/aHskpE6hqh

Vigan City

Known for its cobblestone-covered streets and hispanic vibe, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, has also been declared as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities of the world.

We got to Vigan City after an hour of travel by mini-bus from Bangued, Abra, during the first day of our 6D/7N North Luzon trip.

We had only  half a day to travel back in time and enjoy the World Heritage Site. After looking for a transient house, we chartered a tricycle for P500 to tour the following: Bantay Church and Bell Tower, Baluarte, Hidden Garden, Cristy’s Loom Weaving, Pottery, Crisologo Museum, Calle Crisologo, and the Town Plaza. We got to try out the city’s famous empanada and longganisa, too.

Here are some photos:

Vigan

Lovebirds

Bantay Bell Tower

Bantay Bell Tower

Baluarte

Parrots

Baluarte

Baluarte

Baluarte

Baluarte

Petting the Tiger

Bonsai Garden

Pottery

Floro Crisologo Museum

Museum

Crisologo Museum

Loom Weaving

Calle Crisologo

Calle Crisologo

Calle Crisologo

Dancing Fountain

7 Wonder Cities

 

Bangued

We had the chance to tour North Luzon via public transportation from November 14 to 21, 2015. Since both of us are government employees, we had work suspension from Tuesday to Friday due to the APEC summit. We also took a leave on Monday, giving us nine consecutive vacation days.

Since we are fond of doing spontaneous trips, our itinerary was planned only two days before, not really being entirely sure if it was feasible. We also didn’t book anything in advance because we’re kind of risk averse. All we knew was that we wanted to visit the Ilocos Region and the Cagayan Valley by commuting, and that we had to be back two days before the next working day.

On the day of the trip, we decided to squeeze in Bangued, Abra as part of our trip, and that it be our starting point. Abra is a landlocked province in the Cordillera Administrative Region. Its capital, Bangued, is only an hour away from Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. We chartered a tricycle for P600 to tour around Bangued for half a day. We were able to visit the Victoria Park or the peak of the Cassamata Hill, which gave us a good view of the province. The tricycle also took us to the Tayum Church, the Bangued Cathedral (St. James the Elder), the Calaba Bridge, the Don Mariano Marcos Bride, and the ancestral House of former senator Quintin Paredes.

Bangued is also known for miki, its indigenous noodles and so we tried it out at a local panciteria, which our tricycle driver/tour guide recommended. We look forward to visiting the town again during its miki festival, which is held every February.

Victoria Park Cassamata Hill

Mama Mary

Tayum Church

Tayum Church

Calaba Bridge

Calaba Bridge

St. James the Elder Church / Bangued Cathedral

Don Mariano Marcos Bridge

Quintin Paredes' Ancestral House

Quintin Paredes' Ancestral House

Quintin Paredes' Ancestral House

Abra Miki

More details about our trip in the coming days. In the meantime, please find below our itinerary for this 6D/7N Backpacking Trip:

November 14, Saturday (10:00 pm) – Departure from Cubao, Quezon City (Partas Bus)

November 15, Sunday (5:00 am) – Arrival in Bangued

November 15, Sunday (6:00 am to 9:00 am) – Bangued, Abra Tricycle Tour (Victoria Park or Cassamata Hill, Calaba Bridge, Mariano Marcos Bridge)

November 15, Sunday (10:00 am to 11:00 am) – Travel to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur by Mini-bus

November 15, Sunday (12:00 pm to 6:00 pm) – Vigan City Tricycle Tour (Saint Augustine Parish Church  or the Bantay Church, Bantay Bell Tower, Baluarte, Hidden Garden, Cristy’s Loomweaving, Pottery, Calle Crisologo, Metropolitan Cathedral of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle or the Cathedral of Vigan, Town Plaza)

November 16, Monday (8:00 am to 11:00 am) – Travel to Laoag, City, Ilocos Norte by Bus

November 16, Monday (12:00 pm to 6:00 pm) – Laoag City, Batac, and Paoay Tricycle Tour (Laoag Sinking Bell Tower, Malacanan of the North, Paoay Lake, Paoay Church, Marcos Museum and Mausoleum, Museo Ilocos Norte, Laoag Sand Dunes)

November 17, Tuesday (8:00 am to 10:00 am) – Travel to Burgos, Ilocos Norte

November 17, Tuesday (11:00 am to 12:00 pm) – Burgos and Bangui Tricycle Tour (Kapurpurawan Rock Formations, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Bangui Windmills)

November 17, Tuesday (12:00 to 2:30 pm) – Trek to Kabigan Falls

November 17, Tuesday (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm) – Pagudpud Tricycle Tour (Pagudpud Arch, Timangtang Rock, Bantay Abot Cave, Dos Hermanos Islands, Blue Lagoon, Saud Beach)

November 18, Wednesday (8:30 am to 9:30 am) – Travel to Pancian, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte via tricycle

November 18, Wednesday (9:00 am to 10:30 am) – Travel to Adams, Ilocos Norte via motorcycle

November 18, Wednesday (10:30 am to 11:30 am) – Adams Motorcycle Tour (Lover’s Peak, Hanging Bridge, Viewpoint, Winery)

November 18, Wednesday (12:30 pm to 3:30 pm) – Trek to Anuplig Fallss

November 18, Wednesday (4:00 pm to 5:00 pm) – Travel to Pancian, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

November 18, Wednesday (6:00 pm to 7:00 pm) – Travel to Claveria, Cagayan

November 18, Wednesday (9:00 pm to 1:00 am) – Travel to Nangaramoan Beach, Santa Ana, Cagayan

November 19, Thursday (8:00 am to 4:00 pm) – Palaui Island Hopping (Cape Engano, Punta Verde, Punta Verde Falls, Crocodile Island, Anguib Beach)

November 19, Thursday (7:00 pm) – Reached San Vicente (642 km) marker

November 20, Friday (8:30 am to 10:00 am) – Travel to Aparri, Cagayan

November 20, Friday (10:00 am to 11:30 am) – Aparri Tricycle Tour

November 20, Friday (12:00 pm to 2:00 pm) – Travel to Iguig, Cagayan

November 20, Friday (2:00 pm to 2:30 pm) – Iguig Calvary Hills

November 20, Friday (3:00 pm to 4:00 pm) – Travel to Penablanca, Cagayan

November 20, Friday (4:00 pm to 5:00 pm) – Callao Cave

November 20, Friday (5:00 pm to 6:00 pm) – Pinacanauan River Boat Ride and Bats Watching

November 20, Friday (6:00 pm to 6:45 pm) – Travel to Tuguegarao City

November 20, Friday (9:00 pm) – Departure from Tuguegarao City (Florida Bus)

November 21, Saturday (8:00 am) – Arrival in Sampaloc, Manila