Up up north. Palaui Island, Sta. Ana, Cagayan

View from Cape EngañoIt all started with a friend’s solo trip dream to Palaui Island… But with the clingy friends that we are, four of us went on to this adventure.

Amazing Race: We booked a 6PM Florida bus trip bound for Tuguegarao(located at Kamias). It was almost 5pm when we all gathered up at Shaw Blvd. Getting a cab was a struggle at that time because it was rush hour, so after 5 mins of trying and because of time constraint, we decided to take the MRT instead. But heck! MRT was fully loaded as usual so taking it is not an option (Did I mention we are carrying full packs? Yeah. We’ve got those big bags and thought of taking the MRT, duh? lol) On to the next route, take a bus. Time check: 15mins past 5pm and we are still on EDSA looking for a bus or a cab. Dah dah dah dah dah… Let me cut the story short. We FINALLY were able to get on a ride and made it to Florida bus station just 5 minutes before boarding. Yes, for some lucky charm that we probably have at that time, we (or the bus) braved EDSA during rush hour from Shaw to Kamias for only a little over 30minutes.

And the real journey began…

We departed at exactly 6.15pm. Reached the first stop over in Tarlac after 2.5 hrs. Went on for the next 10hrs straight without stop over. Oh our butts! Last stop was in Isabela which was just 2 hrs away from Tugs. After another 4hr van ride, we finally arrived at Sta, Ana, Cagayan. We are now 15 minutes away from the island of Palaui.

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Transportation:

You can take a plane to Tuguegarao and then take a van to Sta. Ana.
OR take a bus (14-15hrs) to Tuguegarao then a van to Sta. Ana (3-4hrs). Our team chose the latter since some of us joined in the last minute.

Please be sure to book your tickets EARLY. You don’t want a 14+hr bus ride without a comfortable seat.
Bring a neck pillow
For transpo from Cagayan to Manila, I suggest to take the buses from Sta. Ana straight to Manila to avoid the hassle of booking a ticket in Tuguegarao.
*We had to spend a night in Florida bus station in Tugs because the buses are already fully booked when we got there (we arrived in Tugs at 3pm)

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Itinerary:

Here’s a suggested Itinerary and budget breakdown (Thanks to Kar)

Day 0 – April 30 (Thursday)

06:00 PM                             Departure from Victory Liner Kamias

Day 1 – May 1 (Friday)

09:00 AM                             ETA Tuguegarao/Lunch
10:00 AM                             (Optional: Side trip to cave)
12:00 NN                              Take van to Sta. Ana Cagayan
04:00 PM                             Register at CEZA – Tourist center/Buy food
04:30 PM                             Take boat to Palaui from San Vicente port
05:00 PM                             ETA Punta Verde, Palaui/Set up tent
06:00 AM                             Prepare dinner/Socials
10:00 PM                             Lights out

Day 2 – May 2 (Saturday)

05:00 AM                             Wake up call/Prepare breakfast and lunch
06:00 AM                             Start trek to Cape Engaño
10:00 AM                             ETA Cape Engaño/Lunch
12:00 NN                              Start descent (Optional: go to waterfalls)
04:00 PM                             ETA Punta Verde
06:00 PM                             Prepare dinner/Socials
10:00 PM                             Lights out

Day 3 – May 3 (Sunday)

05:00 AM                             Wake up call/Prepare breakfast/Break camp
06:00 AM                             Take boat to Anguib Beach
07:00 AM                             ETA Anguib Beach
11:00 AM                             Back to San Vicente port/Lunch /free time
01:00 PM                              Depart  from Sta. Ana. Take Bus to Manila

Day 4 – May 4 (Monday)

05:00 AM                             ETA Manila

Budget:

Transpo (Roundtrip Manila – Sta. Ana Cagayan – Manila) = 2000
Registration at CEZA – 70.00
Boat (Roundtrip Sta. Ana – Punta Verde – Anguib – Punta Verde) – 2500 + 600 for overnight(2nights) = 3100
Guide to cape Engaño (max of 4pax) = 300.00
Tent – 250/night/pax (2 nights) = 500
Food (safe budget) = 1000

For 4 pax:

2000+70+775+75+500+1000=4420

Transpo breakdown:

Florida bus from Kamias (1st class) = 750
Tryc to terminal = 15
Van from Tugs to Sta. Ana = 200
Tryc to San Vicente port = 15
Bus from Sta. Ana to Manila = 800-900

Accommodation:

Punta Verde offers a lot of Homestay lodging. Standard room can house 4 guests @ P250/head/night. Same fee applies if you want to pitch tents in the front yard.
There are other homestay camps there that charges higher than the standard rate. So, if you do not have a contact there, you can just leave the works at the tourist center.
All the fees will be collected at the tourist center.

Our group chose to pitch tents because we wanted to feel like ala “Survivors”. LOL

Our tents finally set to house us for 2 nights
Our tents finally set to house us for 2 nights

Note: Electricity is not a huge problem as their facilities have solar power. So charging your gadgets won’t be a struggle. Fee is P20 per gadget until it is fully charged.

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6PM, Palaui Island

Food:

To save on expenses, you can cook your own food. Buffet meals in Punta Verde are just expensive. Average meal costs from 150-250. So if you want to save, bring your own cook set and prepare your own food.

There are stores in Palaui Island, so should your provisions come short there are mini sari sari stores there where you can buy food/booze. Rates are not very far from Manila.

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Anguib Beach
Last kilometer up north
Last kilometer up north
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Start of trek to Cape Engaño
beach bums
beach bums

Things To Do:

Visit Cape Engaño lighthouse, beach bumming at Anguib Beach, siesta at your homestay, swimming, trekking (to the lighthouse), camping, and a lot of picture taking.

I have so much more to say about this trip but I don’t want to spill everything out on this page. It’s better if you go and experience it yourself. *wink*

Bring some friends. Who knows you might have a better experience and story to tell than I. 🙂

Thanks for reading.

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