I’ve always considered myself to be a homebody. The thought of traveling to far-off places, stepping outside my comfort zone, and trying new things was not on top of my to-do list. However, that all changed when my dear friend, whom I fondly call “Journeying Pinay,” challenged me to join her on an unforgettable trip to the beautiful province of Cagayan.
A picturesque province located in the northeastern Philippines, Cagayan is a gem waiting to be explored. With miles of unspoiled beaches, stunning waterfalls, centuries-old churches, and even underground river systems, this place is truly a treasure trove for adventure seekers like Journeying Pinay. And so, with utter curiosity and enthusiasm (mingled with some nervousness), I packed my bags and let my adventurous friend whisk me away on a journey that would forever change my perspective on travel.
Our first stop was none other than the Tuguegarao City, the bustling capital of Cagayan province. Known for its hot weather (hence nicknamed “The Warm City”), Tuguegarao boasts of historical landmarks like the St. Peter Metropolitan Cathedral and the Buntun Bridge, where we enjoyed breathtaking views of the mighty Cagayan River. We also feasted on their savory local delicacies such as Pancit Batil Patung and Chicha-rabao (carabao skin chicharon). “Trying new things is part of every adventure,” Journeying Pinay quipped as I sampled those unfamiliar yet mouthwatering dishes.
The next day, Journeying Pinay brought me to an off-the-beaten-path destination that left me in awe: Palaui Island. Famous for being one of the filming locations for the TV show ‘Survivor’, this island captured our hearts with its pristine beaches, azure waters, and rich marine life perfect for snorkeling. We embarked on a challenging trek to Cape Engaño Lighthouse – an architectural relic that has witnessed countless storms and sunsets since its construction during Spanish colonial times.
As the trip progressed, I found myself not just falling in love with Cagayan’s beauty but also embracing the thrill of discovery and letting go of my inhibitions. “What if we go spelunking?” Journeying Pinay suggested as we headed to our next destination: Callao Caves. I couldn’t help but gulp at the thought – I’d never gone cave exploring before! But then I reminded myself: when in Cagayan…
Callao Cave is a seven-chambered limestone cave with impressive rock formations definitely worth exploring. With our local guide leading us through the cave while sharing stories about its history and unique features (such as ‘The Chapel,’ which has been an actual venue for weddings!), I found myself feeling grateful even amidst occasional bouts of claustrophobia. This experience was truly unlike anything else – exhilarating, humbling, and more than a little sweaty!
Our Cagayan adventure continued with visits to cascading waterfalls such as Portabaga Falls in Sta. Praxedes and Baua-Baua Water Falls in Claveria – refreshing respites after those adrenaline-induced activities.
And just when I thought we had seen it all, Journeying Pinay surprised me with one last stop: a scenic drive through Magapit Suspension Bridge at sunset – a fitting end to our Cagayan escapade.
My journey with Journeying Pinay taught me invaluable lessons I will carry throughout my lifetime – that sometimes the best way to grow is to take chances, leave your comfort zone behind, and embrace life’s surprises. So here’s to more adventures together!
As we rode off into the sunset (quite literally) traversing down the winding highways of Cagayan province with winds whipping through our hair and laughter filling our hearts – it became apparent that this life-changing trip across foreign lands provided me not only with memories but lasting friendships to cherish forever.