Once upon a drive in beautiful Cagayan

I enjoy road trips up northeast to Cagayan valley even if it means being behind the wheel for long hours. The valley has a wealth of natural and breathtaking landscapes on and around its misty mountains to its dramatic coastlines and unspoiled white beaches. I’ve  traveled there several times before but have seen only a small part of it.


I love mornings on the road, that’s why I leave Manila late in the evening knowing that by sunrise, I will be somewhere near Tuguegarao. In one of my drives eight years ago with my buddy James, we stopped by the roadside to take in the scenery at sunrise while we munched on our staple of salted pretzels.

Iquig, Cagayan Valley

Shortly after, we chanced upon local folk catching fish on a pond; the setting was almost surreal that we stayed for a while to watch and chat with them before heading farther north to the town of Sta. Ana.


Sta. Ana is in the northeastern-most tip of the Philippines. It was where we jumped-off to the remote Palaui Island, the farthest we’ve been to that time. We wanted to see the abandoned Faro Cabo de Engano; a Spanish built lighthouse located in the extreme northeastern most point of the Island.




It took us almost an hour by boat from the San Vicente port to cross the channel on choppy waters but as we approached the island, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the view of the mountains and the blue green waters.


We got off on a white coral beach on a cove where I had one of my most enjoyable breakfasts of rice and freshly caught fish that we picked up earlier from the Sta. Ana market.


Our bangkeros were cordial companions and reliable cooks too!DSC_0062

The fun continued as we trekked uphill to get closer to the lighthouse.


I was awed by the rugged landscape and spectacular views of the sea and the coast.


At the rear of the lighthouse complex one could view the last landmass on the Pacific side, the uninhabited Dos Hermanas.


Faro Cabo de Engano however, has seen better times.



It was in a state of decay with the structures in a terrible state of disrepair.



Nevertheless, the setting was still perfect and well worth the long journey.




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from swerve of shore

a travel and photography blog by aaron joel santos

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Travel blog of two overland adventurers and now family travellers. Just because you have kids doesn't mean the adventure stops.


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