Our North Luzon Traventure (travel and adventure) starts with Tuguegarao City. We landed in Tuguegarao Airport thru Cebu Pacific Airlines around breakfast. We were greeted by my local friend John Manuel Mauro who offered his motorcycle to start our traventure. Here are the 8 Things You Can Do in Tuguegarao:
1. Write your Prayer Request to the Monastery of St. Clare
Many people visit this monastery to send their ultimate wishes in life. What they wrote in the prayer request sheet will be read by nuns residing in the place. For Travellingpeoples, we wished for more success and opportunity to promote tourism of other localities.
2. Visit Cagayan Museum
We are grateful to tour guide officer Mr. Rey Balisi who showed us the wonderful history of Cagayan Province. We were amazed by the impressive artifacts that we found— the Callao Metatarsal (the earliest human fossil found in the Asia Pacific Region), Centuries-old Chinese tradeware goods found along the riverbanks of Rio Grande Cagayan, 16th-century papier-mâché icon ‘Lady of Piat’, and the Kammaranan Medallion ( a clay pendant which is a symbol of bravery during the Neolithic Period)
3. Eat Pancit Cabagan
We had our lunch in AL’s New Life Restaurant on our way to Peñablanca where the famous Callao Cave is found. We tried in the menu the so-called ‘Super Duper Mega Special Pancit Cabagan’. It is made of noodles rich with sauce, vegetables, fried pork chops, and quail eggs.
4. Hike to Callao Cave
Apart from the wonderful eco-adventure, you will just be amazed how a church was set up in this cave. And Famous Filipino actors John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo had their movie ‘The Mistress’ shot in this location too.
5. Pass Buntun Bridge
Buntun Bridge is the second longest bridge in the Philippines after San Juanico Bridge in Samar-Leyte. It passes over the Cagayan River– the longest river in the Philippines.
6. Moment of Silence in Tuguegarao Cathedral
We visited another church, the Tuguegarao Cathedral, one of the largest churches in Cagayan Valley. It was built by Dominican priests in 1600.
7. Buy Tuguegarao Delicacies
We are backpacker travellers. We were hesitant at first to receive our friend John Manuel Mauro’s big bag of ‘pabaon‘- a culture where your Filipino host will give some items once you depart their house. BUT you should always be grateful no matter what. Through his pabaon, we now know the taste of a pineapple vinegar, carabao chicharron, cacao balls chocolate and others.
Note: We carried that big bag for 5 days (from Tuguegarao- Sta.Ana- Laoag-Vigan- San Juan, La Union to Manila)
8. Get to know your local hosts
If you will visit Tuguegarao, allot a time to get to know your local hosts. I only knew John Manuel Mauro as a kind and bibo friend from 2016 ASEAN-India Students Exchange Program. By visiting his hometown, I got to know him as a person– that he has a beautiful sister named ‘Loren’ and he graduated from a school with a good reputation, St. Louis University Tuguegarao.
Apart from these 8 things, you can do more in Tuguegarao depending on your interests and length of stay. We only stayed here for a day. Perhaps, we can stay longer next time.
After our Tuguegarao adventure, we are now heading to Sta. Ana, Cagayan. A town where the ‘Boracay of the North’ is located. Cagayan Valley Traventures , the only DOT accredited tour agency in Sta.Ana, is already waiting for us there.
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From Tuguegarao, you can visit other tourist spots in Cagayan Province: (1) Callao Caves in Penablanca which is noted for its massive limestone and rock formations. The popular tourist spot also embraces Sierra Cave, Quibal Cave, the Odessa-Tumbali Cave System, Jackpot Cave, Roc and San Carlos Caves and the Pinacanauan River. (2) Wide expanse of fine sand beaches along the coastal towns, and in the islands of Palaui, Fuga, and Calayan. (3) Pilgrimage structures such as the 400-year old Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat and the Iguig Calvary Hills. The Basilica, which is home to the black Mary, is a national shrine. Meanwhile, Calvary Hills is a 4-hectare complex with larger-than-life-size concrete 14 Stations of the Cross. Other historic churches are the St. James the Greater Church in Iguig, St. Hyacinth Church or San Jacinto Chapel (1604), The St. Philomene Church in Alcala (1881), the San Jacinto de Polobia Parish in Camalaniugan which houses the oldest bell in the Far East. If you are here around Aug15-17, you may also experience the Pav-vurulun Festival of Tuguegarao City which observes the feast of St. Hyacinth as their Patron Saint with activities like panic eating contest, carabao and horse race, parades, sports competition and a beauty pageant.