Travel Guide: Palaui Island, Cagayan

After days of rain and gloomy weather that hampered our activities in the mainland, the sky finally cleared on the last day of our trip. Just in time too, since our destination for the day was the beautiful island of Palaui, just off the coast of Sta. Ana in Cagayan.

The first time I set foot in Palaui was back in 2011. I remember the roller-coaster like waves that propelled our boats towards the island where the ruins of an abandoned lighthouse sat atop a hill. There were a few rumors from locals that the hit reality show Survivor was going to be filmed there. Fast forward six years later, when I found myself one again with the tempestuous waves heading towards the island. Continue reading

Travel Guide: Calayan Island, Cagayan

My trip to the Calayan group of islands in Cagayan was an unexpected surprise. I’m really thankful for the invitation of Lakad Pilipinas to visit the elusive island along with other bloggers Juanderful Pinoy, Blissful Guro and the family of photographers we traveled along with.

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Hotel-Hopping in the North (Take 2)

The year is about to end and I still haven’t finished writing about Lakbay Norte 3, the 8-day media tour of the Northern Philippines. Aside from all the activities, the restaurants we ate in and hotels we stayed in played a huge part in making the trip so great. In the tradition of my hotel-hopping post for Lakbay Norte 2 (which kick-started my whole key collection), here’s a quick rundown of the different hotels we stayed in during the trip for LN3.

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Trip Summary: Lakbay Norte 2

Day 1

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Eastern Hawaii Hotel in Cagayan

Night 2: Eastern Hawaii Casino and Resort

Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co. in the CEZA complex in Sta. Ana is another option for those looking for a relaxing place to stay while visiting Cagayan.

Like Sun City, the hotel mainly caters to Chinese tourists who play in the casinos. Despite our brief stay, we found the service quite good and staff very friendly.

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Island-hopping in Palaui and Cape Engano Lighthouse

Day 2: Island-hopping in Palaui and Cape Engano Lighthouse

On the second day of the Lakbay Norte tour, we headed off to the port of San Vicente in Cagayan where boats were waiting to take us on our island-hopping trip to Palaui.

After a 40- minute boat ride through relatively mild waves, we made it to our first stop at Siwangag Cove, a marine sanctuary in the northwestern part of Palaui island. The rough sandy beach was covered with tiny white corals and hermit crabs.

Then, we boarded the boats again towards another island where Cape Engano, a Spanish lighthouse completed in 1892 stood majestically on top of a hill. This time, the waves were much stronger and the swells made our boats drift almost like a roller-coaster. At times, we lost sight of the boats in front of us. Continue reading

Cagayan Food-Trip + the Luxurious Sun City

Earlier this year, I joined the second leg of Lakbay Norte 2, a media tour around provinces in the North. The six-day tour, organized by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) took us to the provinces of Cagayan and Ilocos. I’ve written about the whole trip for Sunday Inquirer Magazine titled 10 Things to do in Cagayan and Ilocos so now I’ll be posting a series of blogs and more photos from the trip.

Day 1: Cagayan food-trip

A delay in our morning flight to Tuguegarao from Manila caused what was supposed to be a leisurely morning snack, lunch and dinner spread out during the day to be jam-packed into a series of meals after our mid-afternoon arrival. Continue reading

Lakbay Norte 2: Hotel-hopping in the North

Six days, five hotels

During the six day tour in Lakbay Norte 2, we got to stay in five different hotels, often arriving late at night from a long drive just ready to crash on the bed with our backpacks and souvenir bags/media kits in tow.

Here’s a quick rundown on the inns where we refreshed our HP/MP during the Lakbay Norte 2 adventure (sorry, gaming reference). Continue reading

Travel Firsts: Lakbay Norte 2 (Cagayan and Ilocos)

As part of the second leg of Lakbay Norte 2 (around the provinces Cagayan and Ilocos), a media familiarization tour organized by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB), I was fortunate to get to see a number places in the North that I’ve never visited and try out some new activities. Here are a few travel firsts from the trip:

Exotic eats. I got to taste tukak (deep-fried frogs), bu-os (ant eggs) and palos (stewed eel) among other dishes during a native Ilocano lunch served by the river in Adams, Ilocos Norte. Though I was afraid to taste the frog because it really looked like a frog’s body despite being fried, the meat actually tasted good (sorry for the cliche – but it tasted just like chicken). The ant eggs were interesting and a little on the salty side. Unfortunately one journalist developed a bad allergy after eating it.

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