ApaCaBela Tri-Province Tour – Apayao, Cagayan, Isabela

It has been my goal to visit all the provinces in Luzon before I make my way to Visayas. As you know, Luzon has 38 provinces divided into seven regions and I still have 13 more provinces to visit to complete this goal. I am really thankful that i was able to check three of these provinces last year; one from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and two from the Cagayan Valley (Region II).

Tagged as ApaCaBela tour, I was lucky to join Aura Adventure‘s tri-province tour in the north. It was a 3-Days-2Nights tour in Apayao, Cagayan, and Isabela which took us in some of the popular destinations in the respective provinces. It was truly a memorable tour and I was able to make new friends and was able to visit some remarkable yet challenging places.

Without further ado, allow me to share the summary of this ApaCaBela tour. I am going to share a separate entry for each location soon to provide you more details about them.


Cagayan Capitol

From our pickup point in Quezon Avenue, it took more or less 10 hours to reach the province of Cagayan. Our first destination, the Cagayan Provincial Capitol! Unlike all the tours I have been with, I can say that this one never missed a mark. I mean, literally, we went to almost all provincial markers in this tour! After some photo op in front of the Cagayan Capitol, we had our first stop-over in Tuguegarao City for our breakfast. Here, i was able to try their famous Pancit Batil Patong.

Pancit Batil Patong of Tuguegarao

It is a mouthful pancit dish topped with overwhelming amount of  meats and other ingredients like eggs, lumpiang shanghai, giling (ground beef), liver, karahay (their version of bagnet or lechon kawali), and chibul (chicharong bulaklak). We particularly went to Babangs Tambayan Paciteria, just few steps away from Cagayan Musuem.

Cagayan Museum


Entrance to Lussok Cave

After our heavy breakfast, we headed next to our first real destination – the Lussok Crystal Cave and Underground River in Luna, Apayao Province. Lussok Cave (lussok means to come in) can be explored either through the underground river by boat or by exploring the cave by foot. Guess what? I did both. We entered the cave through the underground river and our funny guide toured us around the dark and eerie cave of Lussok. (Also check: Calinawan Cave of Rizal)

Inside the Lussok Cave

Now, here’s the funny part. They gave us two options to exit the cave. It is either to go back through the same boat OR to climb our way up to the cave’s exit point. The adventurer in me decided to take the rough path without realizing that I am not wearing the right footwear. I was wearing rubber shoes when we get there but decided to borrow a pair of old slipper from someone before heading to the cave. Slipper slippery indeed! Anyway, despite all the wounds and bruises I got after, we managed to reach the exit point safely.

A grotto-like rock formation inside the cave


Lussok Cave Exit point


Apayao Ecotourism and Sports Complex

We concluded our first day by visiting the Apayao Ecotourism and Sports Complex.

San Vicente Fish Port

Luckily, our second day is equally fun yet less challenging than Lussok. We headed next to the famous Palaui Island of Sta. Ana Cagayan! From San Vicente Fish Port, it took almost 45 minute boat ride to reach the Palaui Island (Engaño Cove to be specific).

A zoomed shot of Palaui Island sign as viewed from our boat

Our goal was to do a minor trek to reach the Cape Engaño Lighthouse which is situated atop the summit. Fortunately, there are STAIRS already to help us reach the summit (since my wounded body is not yet fully recovered from that challenging Lussok trip).

Cape Engaño Cove


The cove as viewed from the hill


Cape Engaño Lighthouse

Cape Engaño Lighthouse was established in 1892 during the time when Philippines is still conquered by the Spaniards. This made the lighthouse one of the remaining Spanish “parola” or lighthouse architectures in the country. The island of Palaui itself is equally mesmerizing. It gives you a panoramic view that overlooks the Babuyan Island and the Dos Hermanos islet. The cove also reminds me of the Calaguas Island in Camarines.
Of course, we did not miss this chance to take photo to one of Palaui’s most picturesque spots.

Aparri Arch


PAGASA Weather Station in Aparri

We concluded our second day by visiting the Aparri Arch and the Aparri town marker in front of the PAGASA Weather Surveillance Station. There are only 32 weather stations of PAGASA nationwide and 2 of them are located in Cagayan alone (one in Tuguegarao and one in Aparri).


Tiered falls going to Bluewater

If you think our third day is less adventurous, well, it is equally memorable and fun! We headed next to Baggao to personally witness its famed Blue Water falls and caves. We took the Forest Trek to reach the Blue Waterfalls. It is tiered waterfall which required minor trekking. Caving here, however, is a different story and certainly not beginner-friendly which is why they also require you to be accompanied by a tour guide. We did not proceed with the caving but we managed to reach the mother falls.

Couple’s Cave or Galahad Underground Cave


Inside the Couple’s Cave

We even came across the so-called Couple’s Cave (some referred it to as Galahad Underground cave). Luckily, we are all required to wear life vest. Otherwise, i may not able to experience going through inside this underwater cave.

Baggao Bluewater Falls and Cave

After our amazing trip to Baggao’s Bluewater falls, we headed next to Isabela province to visit the historic Ilagan Japanese Tunnel. We even get to wear Japanese costume to complete our experience. Unfortunately, we cannot take photos inside but it was a brief yet fascinating guided tour and we learned so much from it. It does reminds me of the Dungeon Tower in Intramuros though.

Japanese-inspired landscape outside the tunnel


Tunnel’s exit

We also got a chance to witness the world’s largest “butaka” or armed chair. This enormous chair can be found near the Ilagan’s Capitol.

World’s largest Butaka or armed chair

Not too far from it is a very fascinating structure situated at the heart of Queen Isabela park. It is a bronze-copper statue of Queen Isabela II surrounded by other statues that played huge part of Isabela’s rich history.

Queen Isabela II statue

We were supposed to have a a side trip in Nueva Viscaya but unfortunately we did not have enough time. Generally, it was a remarkable experience and I am really excited to share more detailed information about each location soon!

For the mean time, if you are interested to have the same tour, feel free to visit Aura Adventure Facebook page and check all the tours they offer.

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