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Cagayan

Cagayan

The caving capital of the country also offers river rafting and game fishing.
By Betty Tianco

Overview

Cagayan is a rugged destination for spelunkers and adventurers, with its landscape dominated by the Sierra Madre and Cordillera mountain ranges, a network of caves—the most popular and well-explored being the Callao Caves—and the Cagayan River. The islands off the mainland are a haven for marine life and are popular with game fishers. The province also has its share of old churches, most of which are made of picturesque brick.

History

  • Spanish influence came to the region in 1581 with the arrival of Captain Juan Pablo Careon, who brought soldiers and their families to facilitate the conversion of the natives to Catholicism.
  • In 1595, the Spanish friars set up the seat of the archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in Lal-lo. The many churches and religious structures built throughout the region can still be seen today.
  • During the American period, significant developments in agriculture and infrastructure took place.
  • The name Cagayan may have originated from the Ilocano word "carayan" meaning big river, a reference to the Cagayan River. It may also have its root in the word "tagay," a type of hardwood tree that grows along the riverbanks; "Catagayan" refers to a place with plenty of hardwood trees.

Travelers’ Attractions

  • Spelunkers will find many caves and cave networks to explore in the region, including the Callao Caves system, the Jackpot Cave, the Odessa-Tumbali Cave system, and the San Carlos Cave, which offer different degrees of challenge for the adventurous visitor.
  • Ecotourists and sport fishers alike will appreciate the marine biodiversity in and around the Babuyan Islands. Palaui Island in particular is under Coastal Environment Protection of the DENR and also hosts an annual gamefishing competition. The Cagayan River and its tributaries are also known fishing grounds, as well as an excellent venue for river rafting.
  • Those interested in history, culture, and architecture can visit the province’s many churches and religious sites, including the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Piat, Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, which is the seat of the archdiocese, and the Bell of Antiquity at the Camalaniugan parish.

Getting There and Away

  • Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Airphil Express all have flights to Tuguegarao from Manila. Travel time is approximately one hour.
  • Bus lines that have a Manila-Tuguegarao route include Victory Liner, Florida Transport Inc., Dangwa, Baliwag Transit, EMC Bus Corporation, Auto Bus Corporation, Alladin Bus Company, Dagupan Bus Company, Deltra Bus Company, and Nelbusco. The trip ranges from 10 - 12 hours.
  • Private vehicles should pass by the North Diversion Road and take the Sta. Rosa Exit.
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Callao Caves

The Callao Caves have seven chambers, each with its own characteristics. This chamber is known as the chapel, as reinforced by the pews and grotto.

Cagayan River

The Cagayan River, or the Rio Grande de Cagayan, is the longest and widest river in the Philippines.

Pinacanauan River

Wooden boat rides are available on the Pinacanauan River. The rides go through a rainforest, the rocky cliffs of the Sierra Madre, and bat caves.

Tuguegarao Cathedral

The Sts. Peter and Paul Metropolitan Cathedral in Tuguegarao is the biggest church in the country, with its three level facade and five story bell tower.

Lal-lo Church

The Church of St. Dominic in Lal-lo is another brick church with a pedimented fašade and an attached bell tower.
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