Long Drive + Virgin Island in Cagayan

Day 2.

June 10, 2012:         5 AM – Wake Up

This is what was indicated in our itinerary. But the spelunking of yesterday’s adventure was already challenging for us so we asked Kuya Rolly to fetch us in Ivory Inn Hotel around 6am. After preparing for another day of adventure – a long drive to Sta. Ana, we shot our first gig for Call Me Maybe music video in the reception area while a number of hotel’s staffs were watching us. *blokblok!

The 5-hour long drive was maximized. We visited landmarks of Cagayan Valley from Tuguegarao to Sta. Ana.

Iguig Calvary Hills – a church that resides along the highway of Cagayan Valley Road. We did not walk into the church but we checked out the huge horizon of Station of the Cross at the back of the church. It was a perfect landscape for picnic, I thought. The Station of the Cross looks like the one in Novaliches but the grassland of the Iguig Calvary Hills was very young and greeny. It was a sunny day but the color combination of the grassland of Station of the Cross and the brick walls of the church were perfect for an afternoon breezy siesta.

Alcala Church – a church that said to be the widest in Cagayan province. The façade was already constructed and it was really beautiful. The golden-brown brick wall of the church was already picturesque but the gold carved frontage of the soaring doors made the church more classy and ancestry. We prayed for few minutes and uttered our little secret wishes in its three-aisled landscape.

Magapit Suspension bridge in Lal-lo – this one I do not know if my officemates were able to recognized as one of the landmarks we visited. Haha. We just passed through in the bridge then made a u-turn at the end. It was like the usual bridge we see in Manila.  =)

Sta. Maria Bell – the oldest bell in Far East that was casted in 1595 is located in Camalaniugan Church. The tower bell was very narrow and steep that I had to watch my steps as I went up to the top. The top level of the bell tower where the Sta. Maria Bell is placed is really small. I and Jessie bent down (almost crawling) through the entrance while avoiding the bell just 3 inches above our head. We did a few photo ops after we found ourselves proud that we finally met the oldest bell in the Far East in its full glory.

*do a Visita Iglesia in the North with this comprehensive information.

We continued our long drive to San Vicente port in Sta. Ana. I put my left arm on the opened window with dark brown shades on my puffy eyes. For about another 2 hours, we were all dozed off in the van. I felt the torch of the sun on my left arm and decided to stay it that way. It was only in Tuguegarao that I enjoyed long drive with the window opened and not mind that the air I breathed is polluted. I was both in my dream and conscious of the road trip.

I had sudden unconscious kicks in Gattaran, Lal-lo and Camalaniugan. And every time I had a kick, I was immediately reminded by the juggled itinerary we had and worried on what more could happen. By the time we arrived in Sta. Ana, it felt like I already compensated my lack of sleep. It was still 1 hour until we reach the port but it was already 1pm. We have not had our lunch and we were late for our meet-up with our boatman.

(Sidetrip: Kuya Rolly had a few stops that made me wondered. Then one time, he went back to the van and told everyone that Pacquio lose his competition. We woke up to our senses! WHAT HAPPENED?!)

Our 2nd night should be in Jerolynda Beach Resort but had to be moved to 3rd night because of jurisdiction issues in Palaui Island. The new rules in Palaui Island kept everyone confused that in the end, our camping in Palaui Island had to be in Anguib Beach. There were conflicting political viewpoints in Palaui Island but these need not to be disclosed in my blog. Hehe. But still, for everyone’s sake, please make sure you know any updates on rules in Palaui Island before you finalize your schedule. It was a challenge to search for a boatman who knows well this kind of situation and how to adjust your itinerary accordingly. We were lucky to know Kuya Arnulfo, our boatman. =)

We arrived in San Vicente at 2pm. We met Kuya Arnulfo who personally owns the boat we used. We needed to have lunch and buy foods for our camping so we headed up to J&J Resto in Sta. Ana. Oh yes, we went back to Sta. Ana! There were no restaurants in San Vicente (as much as I was informed). I, Joyce, Cathz and Ann ordered squid adobo and octopus in spicy garlic sauce (see the octopus below)

We bought our dinner and breakfast foods in Sta. Ana Commercial Center. We were told that we can cook in Anguib Beach and were also reminded that there were no electricity in the beach. We bought hotdogs, marshmallows, bread, mangoes, bananas, canned goods, uling, 10 gallons of distilled water and more headlights. We split up and were able to buy everything we need.

As we went back to San Vicente, we stopped at the last Luzon KM Post – 642km. This is the last km post from Luneta Park in Manila. We were intrigued by this simple fact so we had few photos taken. Hehehe.

All 17 of us hopped in Kuya Arnulfo’s 2-motor boat in San Vicente port by 4pm. HAHAHA. We were super late for island tour! (Contact him at +63949-6492037/+63915-4670964. The boat rental was very cheap!)

We arrived in Anguib Beach after 20 minutes boat ride. The island is a real virgin. (I have not been to Boracay so I can not attest if Anguib really is like Boracay.) The horizon of the Philippine Sea from our view in Anguib Beach is like a perpetuation to the sky. It felt like we were enclosed in an independent island with just the Philippines Sea accompanying us. The island’s virginity felt endless. We were walking on millions of pale-colored sand and sea shells.

We headed to Kuya Ben family’s premise, the only local family who lives in Anguib Beach that welcomed us warmly. See, the Anguib Beach is divided into two: one that is privatized and another one that publicly welcomes campers. There was an ongoing issue on the boundaries of this beach but I will not still disclose anything. Hehe. It was pretty controversial and dangerous to those involved. But when one wants to swim in the sea in front of this privatized resort, you have to pay P500 for your entrance, meals and I think, a cottage.

We spent the beach bumming in the Golden Beach of Anguib, the one that welcomes adventurers, most of the time. A man was guarding the privatized resort and was insanely strict and had a very serious tone of voice and face. He was very unwelcoming. Honestly speaking, the resort was not well-structured yet, the very reason why we did not bought into the P500 fee. And although the sea in the resort is, well, fairly speaking, very gorgeous, we headed away from their “boundaries” after we were told by him that we were “not allowed” to at least swim in their “sea”. (Is the sea or any body of water can be legally owned? I was told that it is not. So, I kept it in my weird-things-I-encountered list of places) Very much accommodating eh?

Kuya Ben was very warm and hospitable. He is a man who naturally shows his care for the island. He and his family prepared our cutesy patutesy 2 simple cottages and made 2 very mad smoke of logs to keep the insects away for the whole night. He even let us used his poso and toilet to wash our body. His huge bahay kubo is located inside a forest-like lot where we needed to always have our own flashlight at hand.

In one of the moments when I was exploring the seashore of the island, I reached out to the back of my shoulder to scratch off an itchy feeling. When I scratched again, I looked at my shoulder and found a number of black squared thingy sticking on my skin. I wondered if they were insects so I pressed on one of them and it bled. It was an insect but I barely can see the head or even the legs. It was really weird and scary… After this trip, we had a serious insect bites on our bodies. Please wait for that post, it will really be an informative one.

We had a bonfire and cooked our hotdogs and marshmallows on it. I loved the marshmallow. I never thought that the marshmallow will get crispy on its coat and really sweet and soft inside. We told a lot of horror stories and played Who-What-How-When  game (Tama ba name, guys?haha). While we stayed for few hours around the only light we had that night, a number of men had passed us. I felt little scared because of the stories and warnings I was told about.

Around 10pm, we went to our tents (rental from Kuya Arnulfo is P300 each for a tent of 3 pax). I wore my jacket and bundled myself into my shawl. Cold breeze was no where near us. Giant trees were all silent. We had to uncover our tents with its outer layer so the wind can pass through us but still be able to sleep soundly with the inner net. Before we slept on our individual shawls, we took a few photo shots inside the tent and talked about the day we just had.

It was a very interesting beautiful day.

For Day 1, click here.

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