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I love to travel just to explore new things in life from breathtaking natural wonders, interesting historical sites, delicious food, friendly people and colorful culture. I treasure every moment in traveling by writing in my journal, taking photos and publish it in my travel blog.
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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Travel Throwback: An Encounter with Captivating Caves and Rustic Sceneries of Cagayan Valley

I can tell that it is the proudest travel achievement I've ever made so far.  I experienced to have a land travel for more than twelve hours, passing various cities and provinces, enjoying views from the tall buildings of the Metro, the vast rice fields of the Central Plains, and the wide rivers up to the lush verdant mountains while I was  enjoying  roller coaster ride in the zigzag highways of the North. In addition, I spent quality time with my friends in this travel, eating in different stopovers and exploring a different culture in the north. Finally,  I made it to the northernmost province in the eastern portion of mainland Luzon.

A large province situated between the two mountain ranges of Cordillera Central and Sierra Madre and bounded by the Pacific Ocean in the north and east, Cagayan is surrounded by Isabela on the south and the Cordillera provinces of Kalinga and Apayao on the west. 

Last month, I had a visit in Cagayan Valley where I was invited for the wedding ceremony of my friend. The first thing that I noticed about the place is the simplicity of life among the residents that I appreciated so much. In this post, I will show you some pictures in our visit in the towns of Piat and Penablanca as well with the tour in one of the most progressive cities in the North and the provincial capital of Tuguegarao.

We traveled from Cavite to Cagayan with our van for almost twelve hours. We passed the urban cities of Metro Manila, the plains of Central Luzon and the mountainous terrains of the North before we reached our destination. Twelve hours of travel is such an accomplishment for me because I experienced to sleep in a van for a long time and the fact that I overcome the longest zigzag ride ever from Carrangalan, Nueva Ecija to Cordon, Isabela. I woke up when we reached the province of Isabela when I heard Ilocano songs in the radio and we had a stopover in a gasoline station in Santiago City.
Route to some towns in Isabela before reaching Tuguegarao City.
After that, we decided to take the route passing the towns of Roxas and Ramon in Isabela going to Piat, Cagayan. It's six in the morning when we saw the majestic view of landscape in Cabagan, Isabela. It is such a great morning view to see the Sierra Madre mountain range in Isabela as well with the rolling hills and the wide plains in the province. Then, we also passed the towns of Enrile and Solana before we reached the town of Piat.
Welcome arch of Piat from Solana. Source: Google Photos
Finally, we saw the arch of Piat from the boundary of Solana. The arch said "Maddulot Tera" an Ilocano word meaning "Welcome". We enjoyed the view of rice fields and the fresh air. We stayed in the house of our friend and we witnessed the preparation for the wedding ceremonies on the next day.

Meanwhile, we went to the town of Penablanca to visit the Callao Cave, one of the well known tourist attractions in the province and one of the three hundred caves that is located in the area. The word "Penablanca" is taken from the Spanish word for white rocks because of the presence of white limestone rocks in the area. We climbed the approximately 150 steps to the cave and we are amazed with the beauty of stalactites and stalagmites. Actually, it is the first time that I visited a cave.
Callao Cave
The feeling that I was amazed with the stalactites and stalagmites because it is my first time to visit a cave.
After our visit in Callao Cave, we went to the capital city of the province, Tuguegarao. We attended an afternoon mass in the Saints Peter and Paul Metropolitan Cathedral. Then, we had our afternoon walk in the town and took our snack in an eatery that offers Pancit Batil Patung.
Sts. Peter and Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Tuguegarao City
Pancit Batil Patung
The next day, we witnessed the nuptials of our friend in the Basilica of Our Lady of Piat. The church was built in 1604. It is one of the old Spanish churches  in Cagayan, that is why the town is known as "The Pilgrimage Center of the North."
Basilica of Our Lady of Piat
After the wedding, we traveled for 2 to 3 hours from Piat to Santiago City to visit our friend and join their Christmas celebration. In the afternoon, we left Isabela and we arrived in Cavite on the next day after 11 hours of travel from the North. This travel to Cagayan is definitely one of the best travels I've experienced so far. I enjoyed the rustic ambiance and the verdant rice fields of Piat. I appreciated the promise of Tuguegarao, being one of the most urbanized and progressive cities in Cagayan Valley. I was amazed by the serene ambiance of Penablanca. Definitely, I will come back to Cagayan very soon to explore the beauty of the province.

Watch out for my posts about Piat and Penablanca.

Date: December 28 - 29, 2014
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