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    Thursday, January 29, 2015

    Palaui Island and Cape Engano Lighthouse



    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach
    Palaui Island is ranked 10th of CNN's Top 100 Best Beaches of the World.
    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palaui

    Luzon is the largest island in the country, and at the northeastern tip of that lies Palaui Island. It is located within the Babuyan Channel. The jump off is at San Vicente Port in Sta. Ana, Cagayan. Palaui has a stretch of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) at its longest and about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) at its widest. Due to its remote location, it also a home for 90 migratory birds.

    The Cape Engano Lighthouse, a historic lighthouse that was built in 1888, is located at the northern point of Palaui. It provides a 360-degree view of the Babuyan and Dos Hermanas islands. To get the lighthouse, one can trek for 2-3 hours from Punta Verde or ask the boatman to take you directly at the foot of the hill where the lighthouse is located. Baratubut falls is also one of the attractions of Palaui. Ask your local guide to take you there as well.

    Palaui was also the filming location for the two seasons of the reality TV show, 'Survivor' in 2013. It is definitely one of the unspoiled beaches in the country hence ranking it on the 10th spot for CNN's 100 Best Beaches of the World.

    This is our first destination for the island hopping. Kindly check out our Crocodile Island and Anguib Beach posts too!

    GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION

    Country: Philippines
    Region: Cagayan Valley (Region II)
    Province: Cagayan

    MAJOR JUMP OFF

    San Vicente Port in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

    HOW TO GET THERE

    By Air - The fastest way to get to Cagayan is through a flight to Tuguegarao. Air travel takes only about an hour. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have available flights going there.
    You can book tickets by clicking on the links below:


    From Tuguegarao Airport, get a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the van terminal bound to Sta.Ana. The municipality of Sta. Ana is on the northeastern-most point of Luzon. Getting there is around 3 hours.

    By Land - Air-conditioned buses of Victory Liner, Five Star, and Florida Transport have daily trips to Tuguegarao. Land travel usually takes around 10 hours hence these buses usually run night trips.

    Trip schedules have changed due to some new policies of LTFRB and DOTC. In order to know the exact schedule of their trips, please contact the bus company directly. Contact information are provided below:

    Victory Liner

    We have found that only their Pasay and Kamias terminals have scheduled trips going directly to Tuguegarao, but here are the contact details of all of their terminals in Metro Manila and Tuguegarao:

    Pasay Terminal: (632) 833-4403/(632) 833-5019 to 20
    Kamias Terminal: (632) 920-7396
    Cubao Terminal: (632) 727-4688/(632) 410-8986/(632) 727-4534
    Caloocan Terminal: (632) 361-1506/(632) 361-4665 to 66
    Manila Terminal: (632) 559-7735
    Tuguegarao Terminal: (6378) 844-0777

    Five Star

    Pasay Terminal: (632) 851-6614/ (632) 851-6659

    GV Florida Transport

    Sampaloc Terminal:(632) -743380
    Tuguegaro Terminal: (6378)-8462265

    Tip! We suggest that you take the Florida Transport bus instead as it has a direct trip to Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

    From Tuguegarao Airport, get a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the van terminal bound to Sta.Ana. The municipality of Sta. Ana is on the northeastern-most point of Luzon. Getting there is around 3 hours.

    BACKPACKER'S PARADIGM

    Since we were on a tight schedule and we wanted to maximize our 4-day itinerary, we decided to book our flight via Cebu Pacific. This airline gives out discounted tickets through promos every now and then, so be on the look out for that. Reserve a ticket early to get very low fares.

    From the airport, we got a tricycle and asked the driver to take us where we can find their famous "Pancit Batil Patong", a native dish in Cagayan. There are lots of restaurants that serve this dish, but he took us to where he thought offers the best, at Jomar's Panciteria.

    pancit batil patong, cagayan, palaui
    Indeed, the best Pancit Batil Patong in Cagayan. You couldn't even see the noodles because of so much toppings!

    After a sumptuous lunch, we needed to buy a butane gas since bringing one in the airport is not allowed. We asked the tricycle driver to take us to a store, but we had a difficulty in finding one. Good thing, our trike driver was patient and kind enough to look around. Thank God, there's MRT gas station. Yes, that's the name of the store.

    Now heading over to the van terminal, we noticed lots of passenger vans going to Sta.Ana along the highway. But don't get too excited! We suggest going to what they call the "Centro" terminal as there are more passengers there, instead of taking the ones on the highway which usually wait for an hour until the van is full of passengers.

    It was already 5:40 PM when we arrived in Sta. Ana. We did not bring our tents to avoid excess baggages so we needed to find a place to stay for the night. We found Costales Lodging House which offered us a discounted price for an air-conditioned room with 2 double-deck beds and a private CR. It was for only PHP 800 a night. We thought it was a good deal as the locals say it would be more expensive staying at other resorts near the market.

    Costales Lodging House
    At the lodging house, we met Sir Benmar, a boatman, and offered us a package for the island hopping. We accepted his offer since it would much more convenient for us as we would be leaving very early in the morning and everything had to be arranged that night. We did that because we already arrived late in San Vicente. However, if you could get there in the morning, you can go straight to San Vicente port, where you need to register and get a boat. The rates he mentioned to us are the same as the listed rates in their office. He also gave us the registration form to fill up. The package that we had include the trip to Punta Verde (this is the jump off point if you will trek going to the lighthouse), Crocodile Island, and Anguib Beach. The rate is PHP 3,500. An additional fee of PHP 200 is charged if you would spend a night on the island and would want to be picked up the next day.

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    We headed early in the morning to San Vicente port. There is a registration fee of PHP 50. Here, we registered at the Ecozone Visitor Center and embarked for our first destination of the day, the much awaited trek to the Cape Engano Lighthouse.

    Just after the 25-minute boat ride, we landed in Punta Verde. Another registration is required for trekking the lighthouse. There is also a minimal fee of PHP 15-20.

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    At the registration area in Punta Verde

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    The banner that should not be missed when going to Palaui. We felt like part of the "Survivor" TV series!
    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    It was raining when we started our trek so our guide decided for us to take the easier Lagunzad trail to avoid the muddy Leonardo trail.

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    With our guide and his dog named "Guide."

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    After a long stretch of the shore, we took another trail leading to a beautiful green scenery.

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    We were not sure how long we had been walking because we were enjoying the breathtaking views of the island. It kind of gave us that invigorating feeling!

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    At the background are the Dos Hermanos rocky islets. These are located in the northern point of Palaui.
    cape engano lighthouse, palaui island, cagayan, survivor palau, unspoiled beach

    The beautiful beach of Palaui Island


    GUIDE'S CONTACT INFORMATION

    Sir Benmar


    For island hopping and trekking to Cape Engano Lighthouse

    BUDGET

    We are a group of 4 and here is a list of our expenses:

    Php 300 - Tricycle from the airport to the van terminal (fare is only PHP 15 each, but we paid him this amount because we first went to the restaurant, then searched for the gas store, and finally to the terminal)

    800 - Overnight accomodation at Costales
    3,500 - Boat Rental for Island Hopping
    50 - Registration Fee at San Vicente
    20 - Registration Fee at Punta Verde
    300 - Guide fee
    250 - Food and water supplies
    400 - Van from Tuguegarao to Sta.Ana (roundtrip)
    2,000 - Plane ticket to Tuguegarao (roundtrip, discounted price due to a promo)

    Please note that the budget isn't for Palaui Island alone. For example, the boat rental is for three destinations. We have posted the other two, which are Crocodile Island and Anguib Beach, on separate articles. Also, our budget for the food and water supplies is actually good for 2 days, and we consumed half of it when we were in Anguib. Lastly, the plane ticket is for our whole exploration of Cagayan. Again, we encourage you to maximize your budget, and make the most of what you have. Cagayan is a great place to explore and we'll give you more of that in the next posts.

    DID YOU KNOW...?

        In 2013, Palaui Island served as the filming location for Survivor: Blood vs. Water and Survivor: Cagayan.
        On May 2013, this island earned the 10th spot in the CNN's World's 100 Best Beaches list, with CNN praising its "raw beauty.
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