My fascination for Northern Luzon is too evident. With Northwestern Luzon conquered last year when I traversed Ilocos Sur going up to Ilocos Norte, and Cordillera being one of the most-visited, this journey, no matter how they prevent it from happening, just had to happen. It completes my conquest of the entire Northern Luzon. And happen, it did in June 2013.
From Sta. Ana, which is PhP 10.00 from Aparri, Tuguegarao is 2-3 hours ride away via a public van.
It is the first time that I went to a place where I did not book in advance. One of close friends, Jeid, who is a local, served as my virtual tour guide when I was there.
I stayed at Hotel Carmelita due to its proximity to the airport, and because they had free airport transfers. Be careful though because its back portion doesn’t resemble a hotel. So I stayed in the main building, even if no deluxe room was available.
I bought pasalubong from The Lighthouse Cooperative, where the fanous chicharabao is sold exclusively. It is carabao skin, less sinful than the pork skin and to some, more delicious. They also had pastillas, cold cuts (but out of stock), peanuts, etc.
I went to their cathedral and marveled at the red bricks used to build it hundreds of years ago. It is currently undergoing a renovation and preservation project.
I tried the famous pancit batil, famous for its distinct taste, and the fact that you have to have a sawsawan for it, made mostly of soy sauce, calamansi and a cupful of white onions.
Strange? I say DELICIOUS. J-Ren’s was supposedly the best one. So I went there that afternoon. It is located along Diversion Road, where the hotel is also situated.
Then that night, because it was less cloudy, I got the chance to see #SupermoonPH when it was not visible that night in other key cities like Manila and Boracay.
The following day, I attempted to see the sunrise but the sun was a little elusive so I just had breakfast (pancit store was still closed at 6am so we just opted for the nearest fast food chain as we had to catch a flight at 12noon.)
I struck a deal with a tricycle driver who offered to take me up to the Callao Caves for PhP 600.
He drove really fast and was skillful in selecting the roads to take. Less rough road is better for his tricycle and passenger.
The park did not open till 8am so I had to get in the caves with no flashlights, but this time, with trekking sandals =)
Going up the entrance of the case consisted of almost 200 steps, and rests in between.
It was dark (of course, it’s a cave) and cold inside. Thanks to my HTC phone that had a built-in flashlight, we managed to get till the 3rd of 7 chambers.
Stalactites and Stalagmites lined the cave. What was sad was there were a lot of writings on the wall. Nope, not from the cavemen, but from tourists who didn’t know how to preserve a treasure as the Callao Caves.
Then since it was early and we had time to spare till our flight, we headed next to Buntun Bridge.
It is the longest river bridge in the Philippines, beaten only by bridge over sea San Juanico, which connects Leyte and Samar.
Oh, what lengths I took to get this picture:
One has to take a panoramic shot to capture the bridge from end to end, boy was it loooong!
After that we went to Iguig Calvary Hills where gigantic stations of the cross are scattered around the hills.
We were closely watching the time so we didn’t have any chance to go anywhere else but J-Ren’s for another chance at its pancit batil. Sarap eh =)
Then headed off to the airport after a quick shower.
It might have been a short stint, but it was worth it =)
Map from: http://icagayano.blogspot.com/2012/06/10-pinakamalalawak-na-bayan-ng-cagayan.html
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