Slice of Paradise in Northern Philippines: Palaui Island, Anguib Beach, Cape Engano Lighthouse and Crocodile Island

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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 is at the northernmost tip of Luzon Island.
(Map from Wikipedia)

PALAUI ISLAND

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.”

The lush green trail going to the top of the light house!

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.

look at that beautiful view!

The magnificent view of Dos Hermanos Island, as seen from the lighthouse. This is why my battlescars were 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

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.)

Super fine sand!!!

CROCODILE ISLAND

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.

the sun that slowly sets is a beautiful blessing to see!

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.

Living the life! lobsters for lunch!!!

extremely happy to eat lunch!

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

About Mia G.

Teacher Mia. A Happy Girl. Chaser of dreams. Believer of living out each beautiful dream. A Full-time Preschool Teacher with a part-time job of being a happy traveler and wanderer. Co-founder of Destination Getaways Travel and Tours! A Proud Filipina who wants to travel the world one place at a time, one breathtaking moment at a time. Join the personal accounts of my adventures and misadventures and random experiences in our big and beautiful classroom-- the world. Share my experiences on spontaneity, excitement, adventure, travel, exploration, gastronomic encounters, and everything in between!

36 responses »

    • Hi JJ!

      Natawa naman ako sa comment mo! Yes, I believe he could get pretty interesting to lots of girls (and boys too hehe). Maybe soon, I’ll get to write about him. Thank you for the suggestion. May I know what particular subject interests you? hehe.

      Pero about the pictures and video, hahaha. he wants to keep a low profile, I’m sure mahihiya yun.

  1. kahit ano lang lagyan mo lang ng high resolution na pics.by the way napansin ko,o.c. ka ba kasi napansin ko coordination ng damit nyo sa mga trips…violet shirt nya match sa violet shorts mo or nakita ko rin yung blue na combination hahaha.sana may post na next week.abangan ko yan teacher.

    • Hahaha! Napaka observant mo naman! Hindi naman ako OC, nagkakataon lang talaga. I don’t know how, pero usually, our individual choice of clothes complement. Pag nakabihis na kami, nagugulat nalang kami na pareho na pala kami ng color combination. ahahaha. Actually, ayaw talaga sana niya na may similarity suot namin. Pero wala na siya magagawa, kasi yun na yung packed clothes namin eh.

      Hopefully. Haha. Maybe I could write about him soon, but not in a very personal manner siguro here in the blog. it’s so public! Sa facebook nalang.🙂

      • i love your blog about Palaui.. thanks for sharing your experiences with us, netizens!! made me more convinced to visit it after our Caramoan trip this 3rd week of June. Di ba mahirap kung magland trip ka by bus kasi anlayo pa ng Sta. Ana.. we will try to visit all that you visited in Palaui.. ^_^ Nga pala, the view from the lighthouse is more like the view from the lighthouse in Capones Island.. angaling ng architect nila!!

      • You are welcome! Thank you for recommending Capones Island too! I have yet to visit many lighthouses here in the Philippines!🙂 Let me know about your experience in Palaui!

    • Yes, it took us 1 whole day.🙂 That’s why we had to forego the trekking part in Palaui and just visited the island via boat.🙂 Are you interested of doing the same too?

    • Hi Nica!

      Thank you for your very kind comment! It’s never too late to start! We can start any time, especially with a country like ours, we are infinite and limitless!🙂 Let me know about your adventures too!

  2. It’s So nice to check your travel blog…i’m so happy and so proud of Cagayan..haven’t been to this place yet but i hope i could visit this soon…thanks..
    😄

  3. Im currently livin in Clark now.,but i’m originally from Region 2(Nueva Vizcaya)..am gonna visit this place and bring some friends once i get home…thanks for sharing..it is trully inspiring and so rewarding to realize that we have a beautiful country…

    • Siyempre naman! The Philippines is just too beautiful to take for granted! And yes, maganda talaga sa Cagayan!🙂 Visit it kasi ganda and hindi pa talaga napupuntahan ng mga tao!

  4. Hi there! I’d just like to ask if that’s the standard boat ride cost for the all the sites you’ve toured for the whole day? We’ll be there this coming holy week 2013 kasi🙂 btw, great article! And pics as well🙂

  5. Hi Mia,
    We went to PALAUI island just this week,we stayed in Anguib Beach for an overnight stay,& i fan say that its trully refreshing to see what our country has to offer.I’ve contacted kuya Emerson prior to us going there, I got his # from this blog.Thank you for posting it anyway!
    Kuya wants to Extend his Thank You for posting his # in your Blog,people in PALAUI are kind & very hospitable.I would like to personally thank you though for inspiring me to travel and learn something from it.
    Looking Forward to your next travel Blog!

    • Thank you very much for your heartwarming words! I just want to help my fellow Filipinos appreciate how beautiful our country is! How did you find your trip to Palaui? It’s one of the nicest and unspoiled places I’ve visited!

  6. Hi Ms.MIA:) I really love to travel…and this place is so amazing and one of my bucketlist:) I hope early next year I can visit there and explore the beautiful scenery of the place. I would like to ask how much would be the budget if 3days/2nights. the Jotay’s resort is affordable to stay-in?YOU may PM your response to my facebook acct. shai de jesus. Many thanks! And more tavel to come for all of us!!!

    • Hi Shai!

      Happy New Year! Nice to hear from you. For budget travelers, Jotay’s would suffice. Not much to expect, just a bed, and a small shower area. However, during our last visit, Sta. Ana Cagayan is on its way towards commercialization in terms of accommodations, I believe they are building more resorts, guesthouses, etc. If you have the luxury of time to research on it, maybe you could find this as an alternative for Jotay’s.

      This trip would be very affordable, all you have to spend on would be your transportation (air or land) and perhaps boat rental for island hopping. Food comes really cheap.I could not anymore remember the cost of this trip, perhaps, my boyfriend and I spent less than 4,000 or 5,000🙂 Food tripping included!😀

  7. hi ms.mia, we are planning to visit palaui this march, may I just ask if jotay’s location is near at the beach? and can a 1 room be accomodated by 3 persons? do I need to take reservation first? thank You very much, your blog is such a great help for Us new lakwatseros!!!hehe

    • Hi!

      Yes, it is near a beach, but the sand is black. :S however, if you want to see the beautiful beaches, you would still need to take a boat, and it will just take you on a breath-taking adventure!

      The rooms in Jotay are very very small. It’s not a 3,4,or 5 star accommodation of any kind, so dont expect much please.

  8. Hi Mia, it was nice reading your blog. My friends and I are planning to go there this April, may I ask kung anong oras yung 1st trip ng van from Tuguegarao to Sta. Ana? And also kaya ba ng 2 nights na camp near Cape Engano? Thanks.

    • As far as I know, the shuttle vans are pretty much like the shuttle vans here in Manila, they leave soon as mapuno yung van. But I think you have to catch the last trip, I’m not sure, maybe at 3 or 4.🙂 Basta I remember riding the van, in broad daylight. Because the trip to Santa Ana would take 3 hours in a van where 16 people are squished all together🙂 So it’s really logical to schedule the last trip while there’s still the sun.

    • If I’m not mistaken I think siguro around 6-10.🙂 We normally travel as a couple kasi, kaya normally, we have the boat all to ourselves. But maybe you can text the number of the boat man I placed at the bottom of this blog post.🙂

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