What is Quirino Province famous for?
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Quirino may not be a top-of-mind destination for the jaded traveler or at the lower list of those making rounds (and social media posts) of the country’s 81 provinces. But if you are looking for a close-to-nature getaway without the madding tourist crowd, this frontier will undoubtedly be among your next out of town destinations.
Cruise at the Cagayan River.
Locals say that you have never to Quirino if you haven’t done the must-do adventures at the Governor’s Rapids in Maddela or Siitan Park in Nagtipunan, both located at the mighty Cagayan River. The cruise begins quietly, followed by a sudden rush, before becoming tranquil again for the rest of the journey.
The cruise is dotted by amazing limestone rock formations, stopovers for swimming, rock platform jumping from, and a shallow cave pool at Governor’s Rapid. Siitan River has a rock formation called Bimmapor which resembles a ship’s stern. Water tubing is an additional adventure for both sites, and going with the river flow is simply nirvana.
Dubbed as the “Forest Heartland of Cagayan Valley”, Quirino’s rugged terrain has a series of scenic waterfalls which compensates for its absence of a beaches. The trek to these hideaways tucked in the mountain’s bosom get a massage and a rejuvenating dip in the icy waters. Maddela has seven emerald waterfalls, whose fifth cascade offers a stunning view of the Sierra Madre ranges. Diffun town has Manuela, San Pascual and Battumbaket falls; Cabarroguis has Tucod; Maddela boasts of Maddela, Pensal, and Victoria falls; while Nagtipunan takes pride in Mactol, Tayguido and Guiyayan. A real must-see is Ganano Falls in Diffun which has an amazing 100-foot drop, and passes through 3 smaller cascades with big natural basins.
The province has a number of caves, the most notable of which is Aglipay Cave which has fragile draws, amazing drapers, and stunning stalactites, stalagmites and columns. Eight out of the 37 caves been developed for caving tours, which is of moderate difficulty. It has a 101-hectare campsite of forestal area which provides a refuge for vegetation, wildlife, and close-to-nature recreation. A smaller, but equally amazing cave is Diamond in Nagtipunan which is so-called because of its sparkling formations. The length of the tour is just about 600 meters, and is a relatively easy despite the narrow crevices, low ceilings and watery portions.
The newly-opened Quirino Watersports Complex in Cabarroguis is a world-class playground which has a wakeboarding and winch park, a scenic pavilion and infinity pool within the hilltop greeneries. With its Instagrammable landscape, the area is also perfect for special events, pictorials, and audio-visual productions. The first and only full-course world-class wakepark in the north, it is a new watersports mecca having recently hosted the first Invitational Wakeboarding Competition.
Take a glimpse of local history.
Quirino Province Museum is a comprehensive collection showcases the heritage and diverse way of life of the locals—the Dumagat, Ifugao, Isinay, Bugkalot, and Gaddang indigenous peoples, as well as the Ilocanos and lowland settlers.
Join festivals and special events.
The best time to visit is during the Panagdadapun Festival held every September 10 to mark the provincial founding day. Literally meaning “gathering”, it is laced with a variety of cultural, sporting, entertainment events and a presentation of the municipal festivals—Penenkakasisit of Nagtipunan, Pagay-Pagay of Saguday, Panagsasalog of Maddela, Ginnamuluan of Cabarroguis, Pammadayaw of Diffun, and Panagsalukag of Aglipay. Other events worth watching are Quirino Motorismo, Paskuhan sa Quirino, and occasional wakeboarding tournaments.
Immerse with indigenous peoples.
For a meaningful trip, immerse with the Bugkalot, Igorot, Kalinga, and Dumagat (Agta) tribes in their ancestral villages for an appreciation with their way of life. Visits can be arranged with municipal authorities, particularly with the Bugkalots or Ilongots who were once known for their head-hunting tradition.
Shop for souvenirs.
Fossilized roses are among the province’s top souvenirs and decorative products which are produced in Saguday town. There are also assorted woodcarvings and novelties sculpted by local craftsmen. The Quirino Experiment Station in Aglipay sells organic agricultural produce, upland coffee, snacks, condiments, fruits and home-made ice cream.
Air-conditioned buses of GV Florida and Solid North Bus Line have night trips bound for Maddela at the eastern part of the province.
You can stay at the capital town of Cabarroguis which has a couple of Asean award-winning homestays and budget lodging, the most notable of which are Capitol Plaza Resort Hotel and the Watersports Hostel. Another cozy place is Villa Caridad in Maddela. You can also fly to Cauayan City in Isabela, then take a van to Santiago City, where there are vans bound for Maddela.
For details, log on to www.quirinoprovince.org.ph or Facebook Provincial Government of Quirino.