Palaui Island Accidental Tourists

Port Irene Sta. Ana

Thursday, before dawn, Reny and I joined a bunch of friends on a roadtrip to Sta. Ana in northern Cagayan Valley. In the van, I was awakened by brightness, the golden rays hitting on the frondescence, seemingly galvanizing anything and everything.

CartBreakfast: Century Egg and Cucumber with Soyamilk

We had Chinese breakfast at the Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort’s Noodle House. Everyone else ordered noodles while I wanted something exotic. Setting the tone for the unexpected, the century egg and cucumber, laced with chili, and soyamilk combination in the town of Sta. Ana was strange alright. Whilst being ignited by fiery idiosyncratic eggs, images of Palaui Island, shown to me by an acquaintance from the Philippine Airlines Mountaineering Club, suddenly hit me like crazy. Almost short of begging, I asked the company if we could go boating to the ruins, even if I was geared inappropriately in burghal clothing LOL.

Cagayan Holiday and Leisure ResortPort of San Vicente

Thank God, I have game and giving friends! (Thanks, guys!) So as Andre Gide was quoted to have said, “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Babuyan ChanelPalaui Island Boat Tour

The boat ride along the Babuyan Channel was close to an hour.

Palaui Island Cove

The most pristine beach I’ve ever set foot on! The 10-km long Palaui Island is a protected marine reserve as well as a wildlife habitat and an important migratory bird site. The Cape Engaño ruins lie on its northernmost tip. No one else dared to climb the 229-step plus plus under a sultry sun (which has given me a post-trek farmer-patchy complexion), but our boatman Boyet and me. Luckily, I threw a scarf into my tote before we left Laoag.

Palaui Island, Cagayan, PhilippinesPalaui IslandPalaui Island CovePalaui IslandLagoon

No sweat, no glory.

Cape Engano LighthouseCape Engaño LighthouseCape Engano Lighthouse Marker

The same Magin Pers Y Pers that engineered the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte (during the Spanish era) designed Cape Engaño. I suspect the two lighthouses were designed taking into consideration the indigenous materials available at that time, like Cape Bojeador is in terracotta tiles while Cape Engaño is stone-hard and massive. According to Boyet, the lighthouse is at the moment powered by battery and not as brilliant as it used to be.

Cape Engaño RuinsCape Engaño RuinsDos Hermanos, San Vicente, Cagayan

A view of nearby Dos Hermanos from the lighthouse.

Ricky, the man on Palaui Island

Island living is a choice made by couple Ricky and Maya, the only inhabitants in the area. Though they look tough, they are friendly and accommodating. They live on tubers and fish. A more modern islander in seclusion, most of Maya’s hours are spent for cross-stitching scenery, her works usually bought by tourists.

Maya, the island settlerPalaui Island Protected Landscape and SeascapeAtop an IslandPalaui Island Boat TourCrystal ClearPacific Ocean

Cruising the other side of Palaui on the way back to the Port of San Vicente was pretty scary to most of us. Pacific winds, I guess.

Tourist from China

On calmer, shallower waters.

Palaui Island Boat TourFlight

To me the best adventures are accidental.

Guava JuiceBalai Cagayano LunchThree Stooges (in action)

Dead tired.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Cagayan Museum & Historical Research Center: A glimpse into Cagayan’s Ancient Past

Cagayan Provincial Capitol

In the middle of a very long queue at the Department of Foreign Affairs office inside the Tuguegarao City Hall, I hopped in a tricycab to the Cagayan Provincial Capitol and played tourist for a while. A beautiful santan garden, trees, various flora and a birdhouse (an apartment building actually!) adorn the spacious Capitol complex. It is impressive in its stately simplicity.

Amongst the old structures within the complex is the Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center, established in 1973. Taking photographs is not permitted, but the staff were really nice and they asked me to fill up a form for approval by the curator, and fortunately, I got accommodated.

red buds and bloomslittle lilac flowerVisiting the Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center

Visiting museums and imbibing that sense of place is not appreciated by everyone. It can get boring, at times eerie, yet it is one activity a tourist should not miss. The essence of travel, a visual experience can sometimes be a more powerful learning tool than the most scholarly writings.

Going around the museum, I am able to figure out that the northeastern province of Cagayan is a melting pot of cultures.

Though there are more Ibanags amongst all Cagayanos, comprising ethnic groups such as Negritos, Itawes, Malauegs, Ibatans among others, the Ilocano language is widely spoken.

Cagayan, a meting pot of culturesA glimpse into Cagayan's pastframed photograhs of Callao Caves

An extensive research on the Callao Cave within the karst formations along the Pinacanauan River in Peñablanca can be found in the museum. I had a chance to catch a circadian flight in a kayaking adventure down the Pinacanauan in 2006. The windblown ribbon-like motion of the million bats was such a visual treat .

Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center: Historical Jars

Ancient jar burial tradition in Solana and the Fuga, Calayan and Babuyan Islands is likewise highlighted.

JarsCagayan Museum and Historical Research Center: The Galleon TradeCagayan Museum and Historical Research Center: The signifance of Roman Catholicism in CagayanCagayan Museum and Historical Research Center: Antique Vestments

As evidenced by the numerous centuries old churches spread across the Cagayan Valley, Roman Catholicism is deeply rooted in its past. Antique vestments are among the artifacts on display.

I missed a photography exhibit which was in the process of being transferred to the Paseo Reale in downtown Tuguegarao.

Manhattan Typewriter(1900)

Back to the DFA…Tuguegarao City Hall

Thank you to the wonderful staff of the Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012