Sta. Ana, Cagayan: Of Long Road Trips, Rough Sails and Sun Kisses

Howdy! I'm back from my hiatus and for my comeback, I am sharing my adventures in the beautiful region of Cagayan Valley. Let's kick off with our second day in Sta. Ana. *insert drum roll here*

The town of Sta. Ana in Cagayan lies in the north-easternmost part of the Philippines that can be reached via 15-16 hours land travel (in our case, we traveled for almost 24 hours). We began to explore its beauty early morning of Day 2. After breakfast, we went to San Vicente Port. Since we already had our briefing the day before, we just accomplished the passenger's manifest. If you were unable to bring your lunch like us, you can order at the PASAMOBA Office and they would have it ready for you at Punta Verde. And now, let the adventure begin... Warning: Another picture-heavy post. 

Dos Hermanas Island as seen from Cape Engaño Lighthouse

San Vicente Port

We availed of the Special Trip tour worth 3,500 pesos, which took us to Anguib Beach, Cape Engaño Lighthouse, Punta Verde (falls) and Crocodile Island.

Dubbed as the Boracay of the North because of its fine white sand and crystal clear waters, Anguib (pronounced as A-ngib) Beach is the first in our itinerary. This is a favorite destination and a must in your Sta. Ana bucket list. But unlike Boracay, it's unspoiled, pristine and without the madding crowd. Cottages are the only establishments here, rental costs 500 pesos.

Crystal clear waters and powdery white sand

Entrance fee in Anguib Beach costs 100 pesos per person, but we were also told during briefing that there is another entrance which costs 20 pesos per guest but the sand is not as fine and powdery compared to the other. We decided to pay 100 pesos for the complete Anguib experience but we did not rent a cottage because we did not intend to stay for so long. 

Welcome to Anguib!

It's written in the sand... 

A paradise away from the madding crowd

C'est la vie!

The place was almost exclusive to us and since the sun was not yet scorching hot, we enjoyed Anguib in the best way we can. After more than an hour of getting sun kisses, we decided to sail to our next destination: Cape Engaño Lighthouse in Palaui Island.

One of the islets seen on the way to Palaui Island

Cape Engaño Lighthouse as seen on top of the hill

Dos Hermanas Island in the near view

The boat ride to Palaui Island was not that smooth, it was actually very rough and a bit horrifying - there was an instance we were tossed from our seats but God's unending grace sustained us throughout the travel. After almost 30 minutes, we reached Palaui. We registered and met our guide, Kuya Edison. Guide fee costs 300 pesos for a ratio of 1 guide:4 persons.

The 27th and 28th seasons of Survivor were shot here in Palaui and it was named by CNN as one of the top ten beach destinations in the world.

Palaui Island is a protected landscape and seascape

Meet Kuya Edison, our guide in Palaui.

We will be climbing until the top

Stony surface

The road to Cape Engaño 

The rolling hills and cliffs on our way to Cape Engaño Lighthouse

We climbed the 237-step stairs leading to the lighthouse for almost 30 minutes (including stop overs for photo-ops because the view was just so hard to resist) with Kuya Edison orienting and assisting us along the way. 

The view on the right side on the way to the lighthouse (Check out the next picture)

Breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean

The rolling hills on the left side

Cape Engaño Lighthouse (Faro de Cabo Engaño) was constructed in 1887 and was finished in 1892. Although what remains of the lighthouse were actually ruins, Kuya Edison said that the lighthouse is still functional, using solar energy to guide boats and ships at night. On top, there's a 360-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and other islands in the Babuyan Channel. Guests can go up until the second floor of the lighthouse.

In front of Cape Engano Lighthouse

The old sundial

The markers

Fab Four at the arches of the lighthouse

From these arches/windows, guests can view the island of Dos Hermanas (two sisters). Kuya Edison said that the island is not suitable for habitat because of its rocky coastline making it impossible for boats to dock. He also pointed the island of Camiguin Norte - a big island in the Babuyan Channel. After the photo-ops, we went down to see Dos Hermanas Island the closest possible. FYI: Guests can go on a downhill path for an unobstructed view of the island and the rolling hills.

The rolling hills... (Hooray for the Batanes feel!)

Kuya Edison offered to accompany us to an uphill path to see the whole structure of the lighthouse, but we decided that we will just climb the second floor of the lighthouse. The stairs are rusty so take caution when going up. The saga of the breathtaking views continued on top.

Left and upper right pictures:view from the lighthouse's windows
Right: rusty staircase

After almost an hour of photo-ops and appreciating the beauty on top, we went down so we can move to our next itinerary. Stores that sell food and souvenirs are available at the registration area. You may opt to swim, eat or rest here before sailing off to your next destination. In our case, we rested for some minutes then we sailed to Punta Verde. We took our lunch first before going to the falls. There was no big toss on our way to Punta Verde but the waves were still strong and mighty.

Going back to the boat to sail to Punta Verde

After a very sumptuous lunch, we were taken to the starting point of the hike. We paid 50 pesos (divided into 4 pax) for the guide fee, after paying, the hike commenced. We spent more than 30 minutes to reach the falls, passing through a hanging bridge, graze lands, rocky paths and forests. Thankfully, the falls has enough water for us to bath and dip, as I have read in some blogs that there were seasons where it runs out of water. There was no one in the falls when we arrived, so we made the most out of it. The cold water was so refreshing, I really, really wanted to stay longer if not for the time constraints.

The postcard view while having our lunch at Punta Verde

The Lagunzad Trail was named after an ecologist who helped discover the flora and fauna of the island; from the same path, tourists can reach Cape Engaño Lighthouse after a three-hour hike

Leonardo's Trail - named after the botanist who helped discovered the trail

The Falls

After the trip to the falls, we head on to our last tour destination for the day - Manidad Island. This island is more popularly known as Crocodile Island because of its resemblance to yes, you got it - to a crocodile. The island is basically composed of and surrounded with rocks and stones with a short sand strip. Photo shoots were really necessary and since it's the last of our Sta. Ana tour, we made the most out of it.

The resting crocodile

The type of stone chipped from the island

The back part of Crocodile Island

We left Crocodile Island at almost 6:00 in the evening. Yes, it was exhausting, terrifying at some points but it was definitely worth the 24 hours travel (insert all our misadventures here), rough sails and sun kisses.

Here's to more beautiful adventures, 

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