Best Things to do in Cagayan Province

Cagayan Province is a bio-diverse province in the Cagayan Valley Region (CAR) in the Philippines. Its capital is the City of Tuguegarao. It’s bordered by mountains, has plains and valleys and different bodies of water. The largest river, Cagayan River which flows’ begins in Quirino also passes by Cagayan Province.

Cape Engano by Rawen Balmana via Flickr CC Best Things to do in Cagayan
Cape Engano by Rawen Balmana via Flickr CC – Best Things to do in Cagayan

The total area of Cagayan Province is 9,295.75 square kilometers (3,589.11 mi). The vastness and appeal of Cagayan has resulted it in becoming the host of the 27th and 28th seasons of the American reality show, Survivor in 2013. The province has an extensive shoreline and boasts of activities like whale watching (Cagayan Islands), snorkeling and scuba diving as well as fishing (Palaui Island). It relies on corn, rice, peanuts, fruits and beans, fishing and woodcraft like hardwood, rattan, bamboo and other types of woodworks.


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Visit Palaui Island

White Sand Beach in Palaui Island
White Sand Beach in Palaui Island

Palaui Island was listed by CNN as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. It’s a certified eco-tourism area and where several water sports can be enjoyed by visitors and people who like fishing. The marine life of Palaui is very colorful and the island houses one of the two lighthouses built during the Spanish colonization, Cape Engano. This lighthouse is still functioning properly.

Watch Pottery Making and Blacksmithing

Atulu Pottery Village photo via My Iguig FB Page
Atulu Pottery Village photo via My Iguig FB Page

The Atulu Pottery Village in Iguig has natural red clay soul which is used in their pottery making. Its locals are artisans in the pottery world and they have been doing it for a long time. They make different designs and sizes.

Blacksmithing in Tuguegarao City is still prospering. They still do it in Larion Bajo. They make knives in different sizes and it’s a must-have pasalubong if you pass by the province or visit. You can also ask some locals if you can watch their blacksmithing procedure.

Visit Callao Cave

Callao Cave by Mkirader via Flickr CC
Callao Cave by Mkirader via Flickr CC

Callao Cave is a limestone cave found in Peñablanca, Cagayan Province. It’s one of the best tourist attractions in Cagayan due to its 300 caves around the area. Some of the caves along with Callao have been properly documented by the National Museum of the Philippines. Callao Cave is accessible by car but you can ask a tricycle driver to bring you there if you don’t have a car. The cave system of Callao is made of seven chambers having gaps for the light to peek through. The chambers used to be nine but due to an earthquake in the 80s it decreased to seven. The largest of all the chambers is the first one which has been made into a chapel. Entrance Fee is Php25.

Swim in Pinacanauan River

Pinacanauan River by Shubert Ciencia via Wikipedia CC
Pinacanauan River by Shubert Ciencia via Wikipedia CC

This river is the largest arm of the Cagayan River. It’s the water source for irrigation and other purposes of the area and it’s also where the water from the farmlands goes to when it’s raining. The river can be found along Callao Caves National Park. It’s a site for whitewater rafting and kayaking since it has Class I and II rapids. Visitors can also go boating and swimming in calmer parts. Mountains surround the area which is popular for hiking, spelunking and climbing activities.

Visit Baggao‘s Blue Lagoon

Bluewater Falls and Cave, Baggao photo via FB Page
Bluewater Falls and Cave, Baggao photo via FB Page

The small municipality of Baggao has a beautiful secret. It’s where you can find Blue Lagoon. Blue Lagoon depicts paradise with its stunning views of the water, rare plant species, wild animals and some rock formations. There’s also a cave by the area. You need to trek for two hours to rich the blue and clear lagoon.

Visit St. Peter’s Cathedral

Tuguegarao Cathedral by Reyjohnino via Wikipedia CC
Tuguegarao Cathedral by Reyjohnino via Wikipedia CC

Also called Tuguegarao Cathedral and the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, it’s where the relics of Sts. Peter and Paul II can be found. The church was built during the Spanish Colonization period. It has an 18th-century Baroque architectural design and its belfry is one of the biggest in Cagayan Valley Region. A visit to this church can inspire strength and hope in life.

Visit Nassiping Church Ruins

Nassiping Church Ruins photo via St Catherine of Alexandria Parish FB
Nassiping Church Ruins photo via St Catherine of Alexandria Parish FB

This is the ruins of a centuries-old church that is located in a spot where it’s facing both Cagayan and Chico River. Some of its parts are still intact like the stone side altars and the bell tower. This is the perfect spot for abandoned photography sessions.

Watch Rice and Corn Planting

Cornfield
Cornfield

Rice and corn are the agricultural gems of Cagayan Province. The province is the second highest corn-yielding province in the Philippines and third place for rice-yielding. You can watch farmers plant their seeds (binhi) during the planting season and learn about the method. You can also ask some locals where you can watch coffee, mungo (mung bean) and sugarcane planting. They also plant peanuts.

Watch Aggao Nac Cagayan Festival

Aggao Nac Cagayan Festival by Nerilyn Bunnao Frio via FB
Aggao Nac Cagayan Festival by Nerilyn Bunnao Frio via FB

This week-long festival celebrates the establishment of the province’s civil government which happened in June 29, 1583. They hold different activities for this yearly event. They held cycling events, contests, dog show, creative writing, mural design exhibits, a job fair, coastal clean-up and many more during their celebration last June.

Go on a Foodie Tour

The foodie tour of Cagayan is an interesting one. First, the province uses carabeef and other carabao food items extensively. Their original pancit batil patong makes use of minced carabao meat. Second, they make a sweet dessert made of steamed glutinous rice and filled with grounded peanuts.

Pancit Batil Patong photo by Josiphine Tagudin
Pancit Batil Patong photo by Josiphine Tagudin

They make delicious Ybanag longganisa which is made, again of carabeef and has a load full of garlic. Their chicharabao is another carabao product but this one’s made of carabao skin that has been deep fried. Their most unique dish is lumot which is served with seafood. This is a kind of green algae and has a salty taste. They also have different pasalubong items that you can bring home to your family like carabeef tapa and carabao milk candies.

Teano Milk Candy from Alcala photo by Philip Mark Cordova
Teano Milk Candy from Alcala photo by Philip Mark Cordova

Cagayan Province’s stunning terrain and man-made attractions has put it in a must-visit level. The wonderful spots you can visit while in this province are endless. The serene surroundings and clean environment of Cagayan Province is the perfect destination for everyone who wishes to learn about history, different food preparations, long-forgotten crafts, and nature-tripping.

Do you have other recommended fun and interesting things to do in Cagayan? Please feel free to share by posting a comment below.

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