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The Quiet Allure of Cagayan; Across the River, Out to the Sea

Written by: Danizze T. Adviento

For many travelers, the lure of the Amianan lies solely on the cultural heritage of Ilocos or the peaceful sanctuary of Cordillera, and the biodiverse coasts, mountains, and forests that engulf them. Yet, unbeknown to most locals and travelers, there is a region adjacent to these two famed destinations that has been silently cradling an underrated gem, a less-explored jewel — Cagayan. 


Firstly, this is not Cagayan de Oro. Cagayan is a valley province on the far northeastern point of Luzon, slumbering on the foothills of the Sierra Madre and Cordillera mountain ranges, with an intimate proximity to Ilocos. History would tell us of the rich cultural relations between these three northern regions–from the languages they speak, to the migration and intermarriage of their inhabitants, and the products they traded. 

Hence, it’s time to unfold your map, and make your way through the Smiling Land of Beauty, Cagayan.

Smiles as warm as the sun from hardworking and friendly locals


Shhh, silence. 

Jumpstart your journey with a one-hour hike, and immerse your senses in the natural contours of the valley, as seen from this horseshoe bend viewpoint known as Allahiban in the Peñablanca Ridge.

Then, in the same town, head on to Callao Eco Niche and Conservation Park. Hear the faint murmurs of the past, of the ancestors of modern humans that dwelled here as early as 700,000 years ago. 

It was under the rocky floor of the Callao Cave that researchers discovered the fossils of the prehistoric Homo Luzonensis and other archaeological artifacts, which marks this 25km limestone cave complex as a vital archaeological site (Margaritoff 2019).

I first visited Callao Cave when I was 9 years old, and all I could recall is the hundred stairsteps I needed to climb. Indeed, it is easy to see these caves as picturesque chambers, but it takes an even deeper mindfulness to see through its walls, and connect with our bygone humanity.


During the administration of Don Gonzalo Ronquillo de  Peñalosa (1580-1583), the province of Cagayan in the island of  Luzon, opposite China, was first pacified by Captain Joan  Pablos de Carrion, who founded there a Spanish colony, which  he named Nueva Segovia. He also drove a Japanese pirate from  that place, who had seized the port with some ships, and fortified  himself there.


See the remnants of our colonial past through a few centuries-old churches, religious relics, and in the lived realities of its people. 


For instance, visit the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat  where Catholic pilgrims venerate the 16th-century brown Madonna, Our Lady of Piat or whom we adore as “Apo Baket” (Venerable Matriarch) or “Yena Tam Ngamin” (Mother of Us All).


Finally, come by the Cagayan Museum & Historical Research Center in Tuguegarao City to see the various exhibitions they curate, and get a deeper grasp of our heritage. 

A bird’s eye view of Tuguegarao City, the major urban center of trade and commerce in Rehiyon Dos


From the soft surviving whispers of history, let’s embark into the whirlwind adventures in the interiors of the valley. 


Hit the brakes and stop by the Visitor’s Pavilion in Nassiping, Gattaran. Sip a cup of brewed coffee, and shop locally-made products at the One-Town-One-Product Hub, or inhale some forest atmosphere in the Eco Tourism Park.

Trek your way to Baggao’s caves, falls, rivers, canyons, and hot springs. You name it, Baggao has it.

Head further downstream to the towns like Buguey, Gonzaga, and Sta. Ana where beaches and islands range from cream, black, and rocky, to fine, white, and pristine.


“Di ba may mga beach din dun sa Cagayan?” (Aren’t there beaches there in Cagayan too?), says the tourist I met while dipping in the cool blue waters of Boracay a few days ago. Proudly I replied yes. Then the lady continued telling me how Boracay was so different twenty five years ago since she first visited the island. Then, I pondered on the fact of how the influx of tourists can drastically transform a place for better or for worse.  


Perhaps, now is the best time to visit less exploited paradises in the country where there’s still less intervention, crowd, and noise. 

Buguey fisherfolks at sunrise

I fondly remember the last time I was in Sta. Ana, I was a burnt-out, cramming, barely surviving fourth-year student. After a whole night of enjoying the beach, basically forgetting about my deadlines, I forced myself to get up at 3 am, and deal with my reality. I sat there in the nipa hut, my face lit by my computer’s monitor, and with every key I pressed, the beat of the waves lapping onto the sands comforted me. 

I barely scratched the surface of Cagayan’s wonders. Every locality here has something to offer, and we Cagayanos need to start asserting and reclaiming that pride and love.


I remember as a grade-schooler, I would lead the flag ceremony and sing … “Cagayan, my valley home is dear to me…” Then all my schoolmates in their white blouses and navy blue skirts would sing with me. Who would have thought this chorale of children, clever yet unknowing, would grow up blind and deaf from the splendor of their own home?


Luckily in college, I gained a newfound awe and interest in my home province. I encountered historical texts that gave me a glimpse of how colonizers gazed at Cagayan. I am still astounded by the great potential we have.


… in a province called Cagayan … It is the frontier of China, and much benefit is expected from its settlement—for it is the best-situated port, with a harbor of greater depth, for the ships which sail in the line from Nueva España and Peru; and it is so near to China that one can cross thence in three days.

Different hues of landscapes and seascapes in the valley

At the moment, there’s only a light breeze that ripples the surface of our waters, and rustles  the trees on our coastal shores, and just enough warmth to ablaze our tourism industry. 


But soon, seasons will change. 


People  will go the distance, paddling north, and  following our rivers out to the sea.


They will be breathing the north wind beyond Ilocos and Cordillera; letting it steer them to the mountains, plains, and seas of Cagayan. 


Because against the howling blows of the rivalrous tourism industry, the north wind shall prevail. 

*The featured photographs are stills from our film entry “Kulibangbang” in the Tourisinema de Cagayan 2022.


Blair, Emma Helen. 2005. “Letter from Peñalosa to Felipe II.” In The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, Volume V. Accessed Feb 15, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/16501/pg16501-images.html.

de Morga, Antonio. 1907.  History  of the Philippine Islands. Accessed on  January 18, 2023. Retrieved  from  


Margaritoff, Marco. 2019. “Meet The Hobbit-Like Early Human Ancestor Known As Callao Man. Accessed January 14, 2023. Retrieved from ”https://allthatsinteresting.com/callao-man-homo-luzonensis.

Wander and Wonder in Rizal

Written by: Rolando C. Garo

Unplanned travel turned to extended time to stay.  Way back in 2019, I have not planned to travel to Rizal but my classmates asked me to join. Wandering started to think about where could I break my boredom and try to travel. But boredom was changed into fascination when we reached the municipality of Rizal

Just on our way, a mystifying geological wonder intricately sculpted by the prowess of nature blasted upon us riding on a Jeepney. Rizal will welcome you with their Matalag River and Mauanan Bridge. Some other say that they used a ferry boat made out of bamboo and drums to cross the Matalag River when the bridge didn’t exist before. If you are going to visit this place with your service then you can stop over the bridge, take some pictures and appreciate the natural beauty around you. 

Not that far from the Mauanan Bridge are the Biuag and Malana Eco-Park. According to the driver, this park officially opened last December 04, 2017, together with its new attractions which are the Zip-Bike and Cable Car in addition to their hanging bridge. When I interviewed one of the LGU presents in the park, she said that the hanging bridge has long been there before but, it was destroyed during the Bagyong Lawin together with the downfall of their Biuag and Malana Statue which are legendary figures of Rizal. Unfortunately, they are unable to restore these statues because they cost millions.

If you are afraid of heights, then the activities present here in the Eco-park are the best for you when you are trying to conquer them. I, myself was afraid of heights but I gathered all the strength and courage that I have just to cross the hanging bridge back and forth. I guess the technique here is to look straight and just distract yourself from admiring the place. Never look down! Or else, your knees will tremble just like how the bridge keeps on swaying and moving while other tourists are also trying to cross. You can experience this 120-meter-long bridge for just a few costs.

The next thing we tried is the Cable Car. This is where we just sit, relax, take some pictures, and travel from the 2 opposite mountains where the statue of Biuag and Malana was once situated. Before going inside the cable car, you can ask one of the operators to take some pictures for you. They are very much willing to do so. The car will move at a slow pace that will give you a chance to have a bird’s eye view of the eco-park. This will cost you for each person riding back and forth with this cable car.

I realized that this unplanned travel taught me about being adventurous because there is still untouched beauty in nature to experience endless fun and memories.

Umang Tida Ki Baryo Ya Rizal! Mabuhay Malaueg! Mabuhay Cagayanos!

When a River Lives in a City

Written by: Jane Perez Bulaqui

Others may see it as a simple river. Some describes it as an amusement park where you can meditate or chat, while others see it as a great place to exercise due to the road’s width and straightness, and entrepreneurs regard it as a great area to meet business prospects. But why do my eyes see it as a masterpiece? Maybe time will tell. 

Others may see it as a simple river. Some describes it as an amusement park where you can meditate or chat, while others see it as a great place to exercise due to the road’s width and straightness, and entrepreneurs regard it as a great area to meet business prospects. But why do my eyes see it as a masterpiece? Maybe time will tell. 

When a project to control flooding achieves a balance between business and tourism, is it magic?  Maybe it’s true that everything becomes more beautiful when transformation sweeps the city. People from all walks of life congregate in one stunning location: cyclists and joggers in the morning, tourists and businesspeople during the day, lovers and loners at night. Since sunrise and sunset are both excellent options, visiting this location could be done at any time of day.

I have been looking for errands and neighboring attractions to acquire fresh air and exercise ever since the pandemic reached my hometown. So this location can be a long been favorite especially for people who wish to enjoy jogging, riding, fishing, and other outdoor leisure activities. Due to its dedicated friendly pathways, it provides a secure and uncrowded location to relish. 

In Tuguegarao, the extended road is regarded as the city’s newest tourist attraction. Many refer to it as Cataggaman River Park, however some call it as boulevard. So much effort has been made to make it a public-friendly location. Along the river, there are many spots for benches and rest areas shaded by trees where visitors may unwind. I also notice that visitors and joggers arrive in the cooler hours of the day. Throughout my visit, I generally observed that it was calm and quiet. Most importantly, it’s a good thing that the area makes it easy for people to maintain social distance. What I mean is that the whole place is wide enough to be crowded.

Here, you can observe various things both during the day and at night.  When the sun is till up, it is the time for recreation through sports and exercise and people become more energized and active. The rising of the sun symbolizes commitment, perseverance, and camaraderie which can be seen in the variety of activities. Meanwhile, compared to what happens during the day, every night is surprisingly quiet. The tranquillity of the surroundings appears to indicate that a rest is required. As a result, the location provides a perfect atmosphere to think, while others benefit from it by having a deep conversations with someone while the moon sail on the sky.

It offers a distinct kind of comfort since looking at the river allows people to view both the enormous mountains and the clouds that it kisses as if you were descending into the river’s depths to discover its hidden beauty which sets it apart from the conventional tourist attractions I’ve seen on social media that were visited by others.

The majority of people would probably choose to drive, but I’ll never forget how much fun it was to run and walk here. Perhaps everyone has a different preference for how they want to spend their time. One thing, though, they should be aware of: this place serves as a reminder of the benefits of walking. In this place, social life is also intertwined. The ideal spot for Tuguegarao residents to be wild, unwind, and breathe is at home, where they can enjoy the fresh air, hear birds chirping, and the site is only a few kilometers away. Churches located in front of the river are also another indication of the people’ strong religious beliefs. 

Personally, seeing the sunrise is the most stunning and wonderful part of being at Cataggaman River Park, thus getting up early to observe the free and open river while drinking coffee is the best way to experience it. As soon as you wake up, walk boldly outside even if you feel alone and lost in the midst of nothing and its fine, like we’re just thinking about where the river ends.

I also observed that because it’s a great spot to hang out with friends and students come here to practice for school performances, this trendy venue will put someone at ease. Students can be seen singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments which energizes the area. I’m also pleased that the influx of residents has led to the growth of numerous businesses. The locals have developed innovative ways to make money, like selling street cuisine like kwek-kwek, fishballs, barbeque and palamig. Additionally offered here are the distinctively Filipino favorites such as lugaw, lomi, mami and pares.  I’m also delighted that I can make memories here while spending less yet making my day special. After all, I believe that the most exciting adventures can occasionally be the ones that are less obvious. Those that are simply spent. 

It is also heart-warming that the people here take an initiative to maintain the cleanliness of the environment because there are many warnings displayed with accompanying fines for anyone who disobeys. Even other joggers’ trash-can initiatives appear to be an expression of their appreciation for their workout space. It is clear that the community still wishes for the next generation to have the opportunity to visit this location at their own time.

This is only my brief story to a certain barangay. I wonder what else the entire province has to offer. Maybe there’s still more to discover, or should I say that Cagayan is a never-ending source of fun? What they say about the best-laid plans is now clear to me. It happens whenever you go home. However, for the time being, I was content to sail on this plain river beneath the barangay’s sun-warmed canopy. Maybe it’s what you feel when a river lives in a city. After all, Cataggaman River Park  already captured my heart.

Endless “Gala” in Gonzaga

Written by: Jeferson M. Abiva

Some ‘galaan’ within our circle only succeeds when there is no plans laid ahead of time. Yet most of it creates best of memories, best of Endless Fun, Cagayan.

Mt. Cagua Volcano
Gonzaga, CAGAYAN
Ecotourism/Nature Tourism

When we embarked for a hike to the stratovolcano of Gonzaga, we were only told that it’s gonna be a three-hour trip. Little did we know that that will include a steep, muddy and rough journey ahead to reach its peak. After we took a snap of Mt. Cagua for half an hour, we will take again the same route back to station zero under the guise of December rain, in a bid to cross out Cagua in our travel list. 

Some scenes still register in my mind as we walk along the designated paths. For a moment, I realized this was what it really felt like to achieve those IG-worthy scenes of the famoust Cagua. While I should’ve prepared a week-long workout, my fellow hikers must have thought the same too because it was exhausting, for those unprepared. But most of it was also rewarding as we saw the diverse fauna and flora of Gonzaga along the way. I will never forget that giant fern over there. The view of the coastline of the town is magnificent, also with the waterfalls in between. 

What makes Mt. Cagua a unique tourist spot is its nature. When you’re there, you can shoot a hundred snaps because of its natural state. Untouched, no garbage, no structures, just a smoking mound with ashes, boiling water and tall grasses. And that smell, a boiling ash. The sound of which is similar to a room with a generator set, shooting a scent of burnt ashes in the air.

Just in time for a photo-ops, we need to take again the same route way down. But as we enjoy ourselves with this Mt. Cagua, we noticed that there is actually another one in the far side, an another Cagua? 

Tallag Beach and Rock Formations
Cabanbanan Norte, Gonzaga, Cagayan
Sun and Beach Tourism

Part of what amazes me of this trip to Tallag Beach is also the rock formations a few kilometers from the beach itself. For a moment I thought, was this actually part of the seabed thousand years back? Just imagine how deep the sea have subsided throughout the times. We’re just a speck of its life story. 

Tallag Beach and Rock Formations has features that does not disappoint. From where I stood to take a shot, the rock formation was part of Creation, that there were once some kind of species that treat this as habitat. It was a witness to the history of Gonzaga and how the sea offers a livelihood and a means of living to its inhabitants, and now, a tourist spot.

Whether this site be regulated to prevent vandalism and promote responsible tourism is up to the LGU. After all, this has stood the test of times, and will still be here over the course of thousand years, and we won’t be there to tell the tales.

Fishing culture of Gonzaga
Baua, Gonzaga, Cagayan
Cultural Tourism

At sunrise, flocks of locals await at the coastline of Bigot, a purok in Baua, Gonzaga. Depending where the fishing boat will take beach, they adjust their position. When the boat beaches, they will get at least 2 pieces of short logs (called ‘pulí’) and position it perpendicularly into its keel. They will then gather around the boat’s outrigger boom and in unison will lay the boat offshore. After which, those who took part will get a free fish from last night’s catch, as fresh as the day, just in time for breakfast. 

This practice is called ‘sabat,’ meaning ‘to meet halfway,’ the act where the locals meet the fishermen at the coastline and aid them to lay their boat offshore. This is Gonzaga’s version of ‘bayanihan,’ similar to the bayanihan of the Tagalogs, only that in here a boat is lifted.

This culture has been in practice since I was a kid, and still glad to see it thrive through the years. It is a proof that for a community to survive, it must accomplish goals as one because we all are one.

Santa Praxedes, Cagayan: An Escape to the Extraordinary

Written by: Sonnyboy P. Pacursa

From the immense northern seas, a cooling breeze that negates the heat of the scorching, broad summer sun rolls in, rustling the huge, elongated leaves of beach almond trees (lugo) that lined the serene beachfront. Sitting on a log under the shade, I look out on a seascape of aquamarine, turquoise-blue colors. At anchor on a tiny bay hugging into the hemline of the northern Cordilleras before me, are several fishing boats gleaming painted-yellow in the sun on a backdrop of the startling blue sea.

A curving panorama of pale golden sand spattered with colorful seashells and coralline fragments define the entirety of the semicircular bay. A dense, tropical growth of a verdant greenery of enormous trees blankets the surrounding mountains set back opposite from the beach. I am in a traveler’s paradise where adventures never end. I am in every intrepid’s destination wish list in this tiny, sunny speck of tranquility.

This captivating paradise is in Mingay Beach, Santa Praxedes in Cagayan, the northernmost province of Luzon Island, tucked between the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre in the east and the Cordilleras in the west. I’ve been into several places in Cagayan, but this time in this municipality on an excursion into the spectacular, eccentric destination the mediocre will snub. Cagayan abounds with an endless fun of striking phenomena – from wild rivers, gentle rolling hills, marvelous caves, lofty mountains and volcanoes to coastal realms. But spot like Mingay is unusually special. I have considered it as one of the most beautiful places in the province I’ve been into. Mingay represents a place in Cagayan to kick off your shoes for a real life fantasy of Robinson Crusoe saga or Tom Hank’s Cast Away survival adventure in a paradise that beacons a traveler with the promise of an escape to the extraordinary.

Time was too slow in Mingay but my settlement for three days in the bay was perfected in a sensational way where the quickest pace of the day was having indulged with a beach stroll. At sunrise, a littoral hill commands the picture-perfect view of the arching bay of the pale golden sand encircled by the massive Kalbario-Patapat Protected Rainforest, an International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN assessed key-biodiversity area. At sunset, an equally fascinating bay, the Mingay A Bassit Beach (Little Mingay) glanced over the hill exerts a pull of excitement. The hill, located perfectly between the two bays serves as a central giant sentinel, offering double-sided panoramic view of both the semicircular bays.

There is no permanent population in Mingay. No roads. No stores, No Wi-Fi signals. No inns. No electricity. Darkness came; galactic lights bathed the entire beach. There were no artificial lights except from the campers’ torches. There were no sounds other than those from nature – the wind rush through the trees, the songs of nocturnal creatures and the harsh gush of the surf in its perpetual barrage of waves, torpedoing the side of the Simmapatos rock formation not too far from our camping tents. We dined on seafood previously pulled hours earlier from the near shoals and coral reef-rich waters of Mingay; a bounty of gamet and ar-arusip, sea urchins and a delectable grilled mulmul (parrot fish).

On the first glimpse of the morning, my journey on the stretch of Mingay revealed a landscape of exotic and at once familiar. Its wild shores and limpid waters remind me of the beautiful island of Calayan. Its colossal rock formations and coral reefs teeming with life evoke those in Camiguin de Babuyanes Island. Its green palette mountains resemble the Sierra Madre of Santa Ana and the Palaui Island. It’s the juxtaposition of these different features that makes Santa Praxedes so exotic, yet alluring.

We landed first on the majestic Burbursayok Falls plummeting down from the rocky cape directly into the Babuyan Channel, a body of water dubbed as the playgrounds of the giants. As we proceeded to the next destination, innumerable rock formations and caverns greeted our sight with such nature sculptures molded by the geologic forces and the immortal blitzkrieg of waves and wind. We briefly anchored in a crystal-clear waters protected by the surrounding reefs only to be mystified by the high-rising Bilbilagot Falls free-falling down to the sea. With nearly eighty waterfalls in the country I photographed, Bilbilagot is the tallest; possibly also the highest known waterfalls in Cagayan. I donned a snorkeling gear and dived on the shallow natural- aquarium near the waterfalls. I could see fishes of extravagant colors and seemingly limitless variety of corals in bizarre shapes.

Santa Praxedes is a town of beautiful sheltered coves. Of those, there are seven notable beach coves namely the Salsalaysay, Immugsa, Mingay (Dakkel and Bassit), Puwak, Nanaplaan and Kimmansir. Each cove has its own, unique characteristic of tranquility and eye-catching beaches bounded by massive cliffs saturated with rainforest and thick vegetation. But Kimmansir Cove is the most stunning, most bewitching and most enthralling of them all yet, also the farthest to reach.

A Praxedenian shimmering jewel, Kimmansir Beach offers the enchantment of turquoise-blue waters, murmuring surf and the peculiar immaculate white, uniformly-sized, quail egg-shaped stones on its shores. As we approached the beach, Kimmansir sparkled and shimmered as it collided with the sunrays of the morning. Kimmansir is a landscape that captivates at first glance. It has enchanted the fisherfolks and the locals but it remained concealed, hidden from the world until the boom of ecotourism industry. And for those fortunate enough to travel here, Kimmansir still charms them – one thing it has done for many decades since its pioneer visitors experienced the same bewilderment.

But for the seasoned adventurers, it’s not the cozy hotels and lavish night life that impress them in the places they visit. For me, the enchantment of Mingay and the rest of Santa Praxedes would come into its both rugged and untroubled coasts, magnificent coves, rich tropical rainforest and laidback life that surely will bring you an adventure to the unusual, an escape to the extraordinary. ©

Santa Ana is more than #YourAdventureParadise

Written by: Mark Djeron A. Tumabao

In 2022, I was among the lucky individuals invited by the Department of Tourism to join its Familiarization Circuit Tours across the region. I’ve been into four provinces and without biases [okay, a pinch of biased], since I am proud Cagayano myself, nothing compares to my province Cagayan.

“Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan.” I will never get tired of telling this to everyone. While it is not completely wrong to visit other places in the country, for you to better promote your own tourism destinations, as a local, you should experience it at first hand.

When the DOT, through the Santa Ana Tourism Office, introduced its new tourism brand which is #YourAdventureParadise, I was expecting that the tour will offer the usual pristine white beaches, beautiful resorts, delectable foods, a glimpse of the town’s culture, among others. But I was completely wrong after I was immersed with the series of activities conducted. [Take note of the word ‘immersed’.] As I have mentioned, the tourism brand #YourAdventureParadise is more than the adventures it offer. Here’s why:

YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE YOUR EYES. Santa Ana, Cagayan has proven that the municipality is not only confined with white and pristine beaches as it also promotes ‘fireflies watching’ as one of their tourism attractions.

‘Fireflies Watching’

The ‘Fireflies Watching’ in barangay Casagan offers an odd experience in these days where digitalization has slowly dominating our old days. From the barangay hall, we walked at least 10 minutes to reach the farm near the foot of the mountain where the fireflies thrive. The fireflies live in trees called ‘Kullaban’ by the members of the Casagan Tourguides Association.

In darkness, we appreciate light. As soon as we were advised to keep our phones’ light off and to minimize our voices, the fireflies, one by one, started to astonish us with their presence.

The experience was nostalgic because the ‘fireflies watching’ reminds us of our childhood. If you’re one of those who grew up in the countryside just like me, maybe one of the things you miss as a child is catching fireflies in your own backyard. That scenario when you caged the firefly with your both hands, peek and then let go when you’re fed up.

Children in Casagan are very lucky that they are still free to play with fireflies and can still see their light flickering. And if given the chance to experience this again [I am surely I am], I will definitely bring my nieces and nephews here. And didn’t I tell you as well that if fireflies thrive in an area, it means that it is less polluted? Then it is safe for everyone!

BEHIND THE FOOD IS THE PEOPLE. Members of the Kulinarya de Casagan, who make the native bibingka and serve as tour guides during the fireflies watching. The group was trained by the Department of Tourism.

The Kulinarya de Casagan also didn’t disappoint. After our fireflies’ experience, we were treated with native foods such as tinola, famous bibingka, and rice coffee. Everytime I visit a place; it amazes me how the members of the people organizations that manage the area help one another so that one tourist will have a complete experience. Hats off!


The Santa Ana Tourism Office is hitting two birds with one stone with its beltfishing as new tourism attraction. Locally known us ‘espada’ or ‘bulung-unas’, beltfish has become the center of attraction now in barangay Diora-Zinungan as the Diora-Zinungan Belt Fishing Association was organized by the DOT to make beltfishing not only their sole means of income but also a new one-of-its-kind experience for tourists. Assisted by CEZA, it is composed of 60 fishers from the barangay.

LEARNING FROM THE MASTER. Guilbert Perucho, president of the Diora-Zinungan Belt Fishing Association, demonstrates on how to properly prepare our bait to catch beltfish.

Guilbert Perucho, president, bared that in 2004, from their usual 10-kilometer catching area, the group tried to go as far as 18 kilometers which is now the area for beltfishing.

Beltfishing is not measured by the number of fish caught, but rather the challenge and satisfaction that comes with it. If you have had a busy week at the office or in your home, then put in your bucketlist. From the shore of Diora-Zinungan, only two tourists are allowed per boat accompanied by two members of the association who will serve as our banca operators and tour guides.

An approximate of one-hour sea travel is expected before reaching the catching area. Life vests are provided and a green light from the Philippine Coast Guard is needed before going to the sea. Upon reaching the destination, tourists will be taught on the technical know-how of beltfishing.

FIRST CATCH. As they say, there is always a first time. Here’s to our first catch during our beltfishing activity.

Usually, the activity lasts for one hour to one and half hour depending on the tourists’ catch. The tourist’s catch will be theirs and will be cooked by the spouses of the fishers which will be served during their lunch.

With our more than one hour of stay in the middle of the sea, it made me realized how difficult fishing is. As a tourist who has never tried in my entire life the actual fishing how fishers do, my notion that fishing is all about hooking some bait onto your line, throwing it into the water, and waiting for a fish to bite, were totally washed out.

SECOND CATCH: Love is sweeter the second time around but to catch beltfish for the second time is the sweetest.

“Grabe ang hirap palang maging isang mangingisda,” these were the words I kept on repeating while we were on board. The reality of being out on the water is that you’re going to spend way more time NOT catching/fishing than you will actually reeling something in. And as soon as we reached back the shore, I told myself that the next thing I will buy fish direct from fishers, “Hindi na ako tatawad!” because I had experience it at first hand. Salute to all our ‘bayaning mangingisda’.

MODERN DAY HEROES. My salute to Melmar Arquero Jr and his father (center) for letting me experience beltfishing or fishing in general.
FRUIT OF LABOR. The best part comes after the activity and how else can we best celebrate it if not with a feast of the beltfishes. Thanks to the woman-members of the Diora-Zinungan Belt Fishing Association for preparing our lunch.

More than #YourAdventureParadise

Truly, in Cagayan, fun is endless. And when we say fun, enjoyment is understatement. With my 4D3N experience of #YourAdventureParadise Tourism Circuit, more than the enjoyment, the immersion aspect prevailed as it gave me real-life realization. For me, as a tourist, gone are those days that we only visit one place because it’s beautiful and instagrammable. With Cagayan’s newest tourism brand #EndlessFUNCagayan, the hashtag goes beyond what it has to offer. In the end, more than the place, it’s the people whom we interact and their untold stories worthy to be shared – and in Cagayan it’s endless.

Camalaniugan, You are the Finest!

Written by: Jay-Ar P. Conde

Who would have imagined that I would step on  this subservient viewpoint? A site where you can enjoy and be happy indefinitely. A region home to welcoming people and remarkable cultural diversity. My name is Jay-ar Pagtama Conde, and I am a third-year student at the Cagayan State University-Aparri Campus majoring in Bachelor of Science in Accounting Information System. Today, I’m going to share with you a touching tale about the tucked away charm of Camalaniugan, which is known for its catchphrase “CAMALANIUGAN: Where The Best Begins.” Here’s a look at how I become firmly rooted in and entwined with this location.

          I was born in Bolinao, Pangasinan, which most recognize to be a treasure trove because of its magnificent tourist attractions, but you know what? I always felt like there was a piece of me missing. That lattice was finally put together when my parents decided to move to CAGAYAN, the hometown of my mother.

          15 years later, this is the first time I had to explore the beauty of CAMALANIUGAN. I knew to myself that I will get the chance to travel places because a fun fact about me is that I have  a mole on my feet and that’s one superstitious belief I cling into because it’s from our ancestors.

         Nothing compares to seeing something delightful when you first wake up.The one I adore, my lovely Camalaniugan “Where The Best Begins”. Discovering the indigenous cultures, breathtaking traditions, and abundant natural beauty of Camalaniugan for me is one of the best things in my life. So ride with me in this experienced of mine.

Who would have imagined that I would step on  this subservient viewpoint? A site where you can enjoy and be happy indefinitely. A region home to welcoming people and remarkable cultural diversity. My name is Jay-ar Pagtama Conde, and I am a third-year student at the Cagayan State University-Aparri Campus majoring in Bachelor of Science in Accounting Information System. Today, I’m going to share with you a touching tale about the tucked away charm of Camalaniugan, which is known for its catchphrase “CAMALANIUGAN: Where The Best Begins.” Here’s a look at how I become firmly rooted in and entwined with this location.

          I was born in Bolinao, Pangasinan, which most recognize to be a treasure trove because of its magnificent tourist attractions, but you know what? I always felt like there was a piece of me missing. That lattice was finally put together when my parents decided to move to CAGAYAN, the hometown of my mother.

          15 years later, this is the first time I had to explore the beauty of CAMALANIUGAN. I knew to myself that I will get the chance to travel places because a fun fact about me is that I have  a mole on my feet and that’s one superstitious belief I cling into because it’s from our ancestors.

         Nothing compares to seeing something delightful when you first wake up.The one I adore, my lovely Camalaniugan “Where The Best Begins”. Discovering the indigenous cultures, breathtaking traditions, and abundant natural beauty of Camalaniugan for me is one of the best things in my life. So ride with me in this experienced of mine.

          The Spanish HORNO in Agusi, Camalaniugan, Cagayan is one of the best old locations and my go-to spot when I need to recharge. My eyes and heart genuinely captured by its distinctive brick design. A wonderful location for dates, weddings, and other special occasion photo shoots. I was astounded by its steep stairs as I gazed down over the Cagayan River’s beautiful waves and wafts.

          It’s now time to show people and nurture my faith as I explore the extremely historic San Jacinto De Polonia Parish, home to the Sancta Maria Bell, the Oldest Bell in the Far East, and the Animas de Purgatory. And did you know that this church has an old ruin church known as the Anguilla Church behind it?I felt the splendor of nature as I marched down on this place because it is surrounded by foliage where you can breathe fresh air and this place is my comfort zone because I was free to unravel the definitive version of myself as I propagate my propellers because the first time I saw this place I was awestruck by its tranquility and semblance, a very indus valley yet iconic place, so I started to build more nostalgia in this place. In addition, a bit of trivia: this church, which was erected in Cagayan is the 3rd church built in the province and now 180 years living.

          For everyone’s information, we Camalaniugenious commemorate the Ananat Festival on the sixteenth day of August to honor San Jacinto De Polonia, our town’s patron saint, and to honor one of our region’s most abundant crops. Water grass called ananat grows in our town’s western Dammang region. Our Dammang-based agta buddies are hand weaving these ananat. They produced items such as lampshades, rugs, banig, and many others. At Camalaniugan Public Market’s Pasalaubong Center, you may procure these commodities. Back in 2017, I was able to cross off one of my bucket directories when I was able to weave Ananat. I have the utmost respect for our dream weavers because of the patience and perseverance it takes for them to create such wonderful products. I think their efforts should be recognized not only locally but also universally.       

    If you believe that those are the only attractions in our town that you may see, you are mistaken because our Honorable Mayor Isidro Cabaddu recently opened the highly awaited SPORTS COMPLEX with Dancing Fountain next to Camalaniugan Municipal Hall.And time and time again, I was able to cross off one item from my travel to-do list as I watched the dancing fountain. Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to see the dancing fountain somewhere in Vigan or in Manila, so I was pleasantly surprised when I unearthed that I could do it up here in Camalaniugan.       

    In addition, the Catotoran to Mabanguc Connecting Bridge, which is expected to be among the Philippines’ longest bridges, is now under construction located at Catotoran Norte, Camalaniugan, Cagayan. And we anticipate seeing the full result and its splendor in the upcoming years. As a local who lives close to the Cagayan River, I am aware of how proud we should be of this achievements because it is a matter of pride for us Camalaniugenious to have a bridge lauded as one of the largest in the Philippines.

         And this trip wouldn’t be complete, of course, without food, so I’d highly implore heading and personally go to “THE JUVAL’S GRILL AND RESTAURANT” and try their renowned Pancit Batil Patong. You don’t need to travel to Tuguegarao to eat Pancit Batil Patong because JUVAL’S GRILL AND RESTAURANT will provide you the best Pancit Batil Patong ever since their dish is 100% authentic and original. In addition, they offer mouthwatering and appetizing dishes like adobo, dinuguan, grilled items, sisig, and many more. Based on my own experience, I must state that their food is the greatest and reasonably priced.  

        If you’re seeking for a spot to have fun and wear the bikini you got from an online store, I have the ideal location for you. One of my favorite leisure and entertainment spot here in Camalaniugan. Green Star Park is a relaxing spot where you may take groufies and TikTok videos while enjoying their spacious, clean pool.I can say with certainty that Green Star Park offers the best lodging you will ever find, I say this because I personally went through all of it, sure.

      Last but not least, this place wouldn’t be complete without its folks. The real wealth of Camalaniugan is unquestionably its settlers. This place is full of friendly, hardworking people, especially those who belong to the minority Agta Community in Dammang. They are the only group of diligent and friendly folks I have ever met. And I have to say that they represent the real riches of this town, our province, and our nation.

          Camalaniugan is undoubtedly sentimental and reminiscent. Its brilliance, aroma, splatters, and mist are unparalleled. I’m firmly established here. I have changed because of this place. It has prompted me to change as the games of the season, the monsoons, the downpours, the sun’s heat, and the photons do. Camalaniugan, you truly are the finest.