Batanes, but not yet! And yes, we reached the northernmost tip of Luzon. We took a 642 km trip towards north of Manila, towards the northern tip of the island of Luzon. With only our backpacks and our usual eagerness to explore the unexplored parts of the Philippines, we scratched the travel bug’s itch as we enjoyed every moment of the trip.
Palaui Island, dubbed as “One of the Best Beaches in the Philippines” by CNN Go, is a protected landscape and seascape where different ecosystems exist in well-preserved conditions. There is a rich variety of flora and fauna in the forest, the tidal flats and coral reefs. The island also serves as a refuge for migratory birds and marine life.
Palaui Island was truly worth the visit despite the long travel it required. It is located off the northeastern extremity of Luzon, the biggest island in the Philippines. Palaui will just promise you a scene of untainted beauty characterized by scenic coves, dramatic rock cliffs, precious meadows and perfect mangroves!
CNNGo: “This isolated island is a natural secret — only the brave and persevering bother to visit. Glorious white sands surrounded by volcanic rocks on one side kiss blue-green waters on the other. Snorkeling and diving brings you face to face with coral gardens and a rich marine reserve. Palaui is all about raw beauty. But it takes some work to get there.”
CAPE ENGANO LIGHTHOUSE
To the lighthouse, oh yes! Palaui Island is also home to the Cape Engano Lighthouse. I am deeply fascinated with lighthouses, that’s why I made it a point to attempt to visit all the lighthouses in the Philippines. And in exploring the lighthouse, I got into a minor accident because I got so carried away with documenting our priceless moments in the lighthouse. I got several abrasions on my knees and elbows, and big ones at that. But I refuse to call them as wounds (despite the awful pain) for it sounds so negative. I believe it would be more apt to call it “battlescars” (para survivor ang dating!) as these battlescars are still worth it and part of a wonderful experience. The experience of venturing to another adventure would always be so worth it.
Cape Engano lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located in Palaui Island in the town of Santa Ana, in the province of Cagayan, Philippines. It is found at the northeasternmost point of a summit that forms the cape. 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 lights . The original light was equipped with a first-order light and it was first lit on December 30, 1892
Exploring the lighthouse evoked a different kind of feeling. Perhaps lighthouses really possess something special that’s why it’s difficult just to let it pass and not marvel at it. And it is also the reason why I want to visit all the lighthouses that I could here in the Philippines. Cape Engano was dream-like in a way. Perhaps its sense of history along that complements the reality of the present gives it a mystical factor, thus making lighthouses special in their own right.
Trekking towards the Cape Engano Lighthouse is one of the popular activities being done while in Palaui Island. For Pao and I, we let this opportunity pass because we were pressed for time, and prioritized beach bumming more. It may be recommended, if you are trekking Cape Engaño Lighthouse by land, please get a local tour guide. Guide fee is only P250.00. At least two (2) hours trek. You would not want to get lost in the middle of lush green pastures of Palaui Island right?
Anguib Beach is locally dubbed as the “Boracay of the North”. It reminded me so much of Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte. Its waters are so clean and pristine and the scenery was more than amazing. Its sand was so white and fine. Truly, pristine blue waters complemented by fine white sand are indeed beautiful ingredients in making a beautiful beach!
Anguib Beach was huge, long and very serene, probably because it was located within a cove. The hills behind it were lush with greens making the landscape very peaceful. The waters were so clear, making it very ideal for snorkelling—and yes, we snorkelled to our heart’s content. Baka nga siguro mermaid and merman kami nung past lives namin. (We may have been mermaids and mermans during our past lives.)
Crocodile Island also known as Manidad Island 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. We climbed the rock and savored the spectacular view of Sta. Ana and Palaui Island.
And yes, in moments like this, I thank the Lord for such a beautiful country. I WILL ALWAYS BE HUMBLED BY LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCES LIKE THIS.
HELPFUL CONTACT INFORMATION:
For our entire island hopping trip around Palaui Island, Cape Engano Lighthouse, Anguib Beach and Crocodile Island, we hired a boat operated by the boat cooperative of Santa Ana. For the entire boat, we were charged Php 3,600.00 for all the sites that we visited good for 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The kind boat man was gracious enough to buy and cook our meals on board (lobster and fish and rice) and charged us only for the cost of the items we purchased + tip for the labor of actually cooking the meals.
You may contact Kuya Emerson, the boat man who serviced us in Palaui: 09174350485
To serve as our home base while in Santa Ana, we booked a room in Jotay’s Resort in Santa Ana. It was fairly decent and was relatively okay accommodation which serves its purpose to spend the night. They have a restaurant that serves all meals for the day. Alternatively, there are lots of sprouting hotels and resorts around Santa Ana as Santa Ana is becoming a bustling city on its way to commercialization. (Fingers crossed, I hope they won’t overdo it to safeguard the beauty of their town)
Jotay Resort: 09064781270
GETTING TO SANTA ANA, CAGAYAN FROM MANILA
1. 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 (Php 180 for 3 hour-shuttle ride) going to Santa Ana, Cagayan
2. By Plane
- Fly to Tuguegarao. We got incredibly low promo fare flights from Cebu Pacific: http://www.cebupacificair.com or book trips from Wego: www.wego.com.ph
- 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