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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cagayan Valley: Palaui Island - Trek to Cape Engano

We followed a very strict itinerary for our second day. We must be in Tumauini at around 5PM or 6PM (for personal reasons :P), then must leave Tumauini at around 9PM. Whatever time is left, we have to squeeze EVERYTHING.

We requested to start our trek very early, 5AM , and the caretaker was nice enough to grant it. He sent a message to their local tourism office (located in San Vicente) to send a tourguide over early in the morning. He then assured that if the office couldn't send him one, he'd be the one to guide us since he is also a tourguide. A tourguide is a must and it can assist maximum of 4 persons.

The tourguide was already there waiting for us at 5 on the dot. Hubby and I had a quick breakfast then at 5:20 we began our trek. We learned that our tourguide was the caretaker's son, Ryan.

We had a quick stop at the Phil Navy Detachment to enlist our names. All guests must go through this.

There are two trails available - Lagunzad trail and Leonoardo trail. Leonardo Trail crosses the jungle, though the distance is shorter, the level of difficulty is higher compared to to Lagunzad trail. Lagunzad trail on the othe hand, has longer distance but fits best for non-hardcore trekking. :)

See the dark spots on the ground? Those are crabholes. And they are literally everywhere!

We passed through the shore. I call this the seaside trek.

Along the way, we saw wild Pandan. Our tourguide said tourists, most especially foreigners, love picking these orange fruit(?) as souvenirs. But those aren't fruits really, they can't be eaten.

Hubby said this looks like a broccoli.

Almost at the end of the seaside trek. At the end of the shore is a way to the jungle.

There's the entrance.

When we got off the jungle, we were stunned by the view of the hill......

.......and carabaos

I asked our tourguide, are we near? He said "hindi pa maam, tatawirin pa natin yang bundok", then pointed at the mountain. We went inside a jungle again. My hubby felt relieved because it was cooler inside the jungle than outside.

Then we got out of the jungle and saw this view!

We went inside the jungle again and finally when we got out - Cape Engano at the top of the hill!

We did't climb up the hill to Cape Engano anymore as I was already tired. We decided to head towards where the cove was.

At the first sight of the beach I immediately asked myself, So why is this the 3rd best beach in the  Philippines again? I even asked our guide who only uttered "I don't know".

Honestly, I wasn't impressed at first glance. The sand, though it's white, isn't fine. There are tons of coral shells. No cottages. However, the serenity of the place and being at that moment in a remote strange place is so overwhelming. Like I could just sit on the shore for hours just staring at the oblivion. Added to this is the fact that it was just hubby, me and tourguide where the only humans in the cove around that time. I felt like I own the Island!

The water is clear and calm. There is a snorkeling area at the center but requires a tourguide. Tourguides can  also be the guides for snorkeling. So you'll pay them P250 for the trek plus P250 for snorkeling. Guides bring snorkeling masks for rent.

Because of time constraint, we decided not to snorkel. We just enjoyed each and every minute we were there. We left at 9AM, just enough time to trek back and prepare ourselves before leaving the community at 12noon. Our tourguide said people has to leave the cove at around 3PM if they plan to trek back to the community.

Trekking back was easier. After 2 hours, around 11AM, we reached the campsite, took a bath and then packed our stuff. The campsite's caretaker curiously asked us our experience. Honestly, BITIN. I mentioned about letting tourists stay overnight in the Cove or near it so people can enjoy the the island a bit more. Actually, campers were allowed to camp overnight in the cove but because of some issues among the campers, they prohibited overnight staying at the cove. The caretaker said they already suggested this and part of the proposal is to let the tourguide stay overnight with the campers. The downside, however, would be higher tourguide fee, the security of the tourists and the preservation of the cove and its natural habitat are at risk. I couldn't agree more. Well, the organization is pretty much open to feedback and suggestions so there might be some changes in the future. So we'll see....

I wasn't ready to leave the island. I wanted to stay a little more. But we had to move on, we still have some things to do. We asked Kuya Edward, our boatman, to pick us up at 12noon, which he did. At 12:30pm, we were already sitting in a van in Santa Ana terminal, ready to hit the road back to Tuguegarao and the rest went exactly as to what we planned.

So for my ultimate question, is it all worth it? Definitely Yes. Being in Palaui is a totally different experience for me. I had a certain weird in-explainable connection with the beach and a feeling of strange solitude that made me completely forgot the long hours we had to endure to get here.

Cagayan Valley : Palaui Island - Getting There
Cagayan Valley : Palaui Island - Itinerary / Expenses / Lesson Learned


Anonymous said...

Hi. Is it possible to explore Palaui in just a day. I'm going to CDO and planning a Palaui-CDO-Camiguin itinerary in 4D/3N (early flight back to Manila on the 4th day). Thanks.

elle caravana said...

Day tour is possible and there are options on how you'd like to do it. Please see my last Palaui post - Itinerary and expenses...