Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Finding catharsis in Cagayan


'twas some kind of week this past one. two wakes in a row. Mass offered for the repose of the souls of two departed friends. Then a burial on Friday. Feeling kind of numb and sad, I decided to go ahead with a scheduled Tuguegarao trip with longtime friend, Lily.

While tired and fatigued from Friday's proceedings, I'm all too glad to make it to the Baliwag Transit bus station in Cubao by friday night. we left at 11am and arrived a little after 8 sat. Call it an exercise in catharsis but I found comfort in bringing pictures and a mass card to Bjorn's parents.T hen it's off to PeƱablanca for the Callao Caves Resort.T he place definitely has seen better days. As with most government-operated places, the lack of funding shows in the poor maintenance and lack of manpower. Sayang, the place could be a great destination in itself.

After resting, we just followed the rocky edge of the river and waited for the fruit bats to fly out of the bat cave at sunset. We set out for the visit to Callao Cave and its chapel early Sunday in lieu of hearing mass (since the nearest church is like 13-15 kms away). Our guide is 10-year Andoy (yep, he's the one in the picture above). The experience was fantastic. While the lighting conditions made photography tricky, this cave visit alone made the trip worth it. Afterwards, we took a trip down the river to Mororan. since these parts have been wanting of rain, the falls were reduced to a trickle. Next time, we promised to visit it again. Had an opportunity to while the afternoon away talking to the resort's officer in charge, Josie Abadu. We learned loads of interesting facts from this very knowledgeable lady mountaineer.

Monday morning found us in Iguig, 13 kms. away from Tuguegarao town proper, to visit the magnificent Calvary Hills. (more pics coming up in my flickr and oggle sites) Then, it's off to Manila for a return trip that took 11 hours. We promise to be back. Cagayan has too much to offer for a short trip. And I'm glad to have finally made it here after more than a year of contemplating on making the trip -- indeed a personal catharsis. 

Quick facts: how to get there: several bus lines make the daily trips to Tuguegarao. ex. Victory, Baliwag Transit, Autobus line up several trips everyday right up to 11 in the evening • Bus fares range from P647-655. trip duration: 9-11 hours depending on number of stopovers. most liners take the Ilagan, Isabela route passing from San Miguel Bbulacan, Nueva Ecija and Vizcaya, Isabela, then Tuguegarao • to get to penablanca: ride the jeep near Balzain, P25-30/head or tricycles, P30/head • boat rentals in Callao: P300 for the boatman, P200 upwards for guides/according to your generosity • what to do in tuguegarao: there are more than 300 caves in PeƱablanca alone. One can also traverse the Pinacanauan river, a tributary of Chico river. Extreme sports enthusiasts can try their hand at white water rafting (next time!) • room rates at Callao Caves Resort: P400 for the basic room for 2-4, aircon rooms available for group at P1,200 upwards

3 comments:

Ferdz said...

Good thing you were able to relax in Cagayan. Browsed through your Flicker photos! Great shots!

And yeah, I agree, the place is great medyo kulang lng ang management dyan. Hope they do something about it.

Witness Street said...

Hi there. Got to your site through Willie Pascual's. With both my parents hailing from 'Tugue', I agree that Cagayan has a lot to offer. Hopefully they don't commercialize it too much; the nature and rurality make the province beautiful enough.

Cheers!

Yesterdays_ashes said...

Beautiful post & gorgeous pictures. Stopping by to say Hi & see how you have been!!

Tina

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