When you think of the northern part of the Philippines, the first thing that probably comes to mind is Cagayan and Ilocos Norte. From heritage tours, seafood, lighthouses, clear blue waters, these two regions have it all.
Thinking about it, I asked my sister if she wanted to go travel. Knowing her, she’d say yes. The only problem was, where?
She suggested we go to Palaui, an island near Sta Ana, Cagayan. After reading about it, I was sold. Since we were already going to Palaui, we thought of going on a road trip after to Laoag and Vigan. After all, they’re just a few hours away from each other.
Palaui, Laoag & Vigan
How To Get Around
From Manila to Palaui
Travel to Sta Ana Cagayan
- Via Bus – Ride a bus heading to Tuguegarao from Caloocan, Sampaloc, or Kamias: P600 ; Travel time: 12-14 hours
Via Plane – Aside from buses, there are also planes going to Tuguegarao. You can book online.
- From Tuguegarao, ride a van going to Sta Ana, Cagayan : P250 ; Travel time: 3-4 hours
Ride a Boat in San Vicente
- In Sta Ana, ride a tricycle to San Vicente Port; P15-20
- Charter a boat to Palaui: Price depends on your destinations
- I wrote a separate blog regarding our trip to Palaui and what tours you can book.
I highly recommend for you to contact a boatman before going to Palaui. You can contact Kuya Apol for boat trips:
Globe – 09557444175
Let him know you got his number from this blog.
How to Get to Laoag from Cagayan (and vice versa)
- Ride the GMW bus in Sta Ana heading to Laoag: P465
- Travel Time: 6 to 9 hours
How to Get to Vigan from Laoag (and vice versa)
- Ride the Partas bus: P300
- Travel time: 2-4 hours depending on the traffic
Local Transportation around Cagayan, Laoag, and Vigan
Tricycle: Everywhere you go, there are tricycles. There are no taxis around so these will serve as your transportation. Going from Point A to Point B will cost you around P10 to P100.
Where to Stay
- Homestay: You can book a homestay for P250. You can ask Kuya Apol (Globe – 09557444175) to get you a homestay.
- Camping: You can camp at Nature Village for P250.
-Inclusions: Tent & beddings
-AC Room: P300/person
-Fan Room: P250/person
- Amenities: AC or fan, common bathroom, common kitchen
- Contact: 09298284220
- Fems Transient House
- Rate: P1500/unit
- Amenities: Private bathroom, AC, & Free Wifi
- Contact: 09281737253, 09959581759
- Facebook: Fems Transient House
I’ve also created a list of the top accommodations in Vigan City.
Travel Guide: 4D/3N Suggested Itinerary
Palaui is surprisingly a very green island. It’s nature at its best! It has a lighthouse, beaches and very near most of Cagayan’s best assets. This includes Nangaramoan, Anguib, Crocodile Island and many more.
On the other hand, Laoag boasts of many historical sites as well as beautiful sceneries.
Since our trip was more of a spontaneous let’s-go-anywhere-we-want kind. We simply went where we wanted. Here’s our itinerary. I’ll be adding a few points and suggestions for you to maximize your trip.
Day 1 – Arrive in Palaui
We arrived in Palaui at around 12 noon. Cooked the fish we bought from the market and slept until 3 PM since we were all tired from the 14.5 hours trip (11 hours Baguio to Tuguegarao, 3 hours to Sta Ana, 10 minutes to San Vicente Port & 20 Minutes to Palaui from the port) from Baguio. Plus, the weather and the sea breeze made it impossible to resist doing a siesta under a nipa hut.
From 3 pm to 6 pm, we trekked to the waterfalls and went on a boat trip to Cape Engano Lighthouse. We returned to the homestay at 8 pm. Lesson learned. Go earlier to see the lighthouse. I don’t recommend going on a boat trip at night.
Day 2 – Anguib Beach & Crocodile Island
- 6:00 am start of boat tour
- Anguib Beach
- Crocodile Island
- 10:30 am back at the homestay
- 11:00 boat trip back to San Vicente Port
- Catch the 12:00-noon bus to Laoag
- 9:00 pm Arrive in the transient house in Laoag
Day 3: Laoag Tour
Since there was four of us and we wanted to make the most of our Laoag trip, we opted to hire a van for the whole tour. A tricycle tour would have been cheaper but there was a storm coming and frequent rain showers throughout the day. We also managed to go to most of the Ilocos Norte tourist spots.
- 6:00 am start of Laoag tour
- Sinking Bell Tower
- La Paz Sand Dunes
- Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
- Bangui Windmills
- Bantay Abot Cave
- 12:00 pm lunch
- Blue Lagoon
- Patapat Viaduct
- Paraiso ni Anton
- Paoay Lake
- Paoay Church
- 5:00 pm Try the empanada in Batac
- 8:30 pm Arrive in Vigan
It can be overwhelming to go to all these places in one day but it is possible.
Day 4: Vigan Tour
I’ve been to Vigan before but I guess one can’t get enough of the heritage tours, and ancestral houses.
- 7:30 am Eat breakfast in Hidden Garden
- 8:30 am start tour around Vigan
- Bantay Church Bell Tower
- Calle Crisologo
Since we already saw most of the museums in Vigan, we didn’t go around that much.
- Palaui: P250
- Laoag: P300
- Vigan: P1500/4 = P375
- Baguio to Tuguegarao: P650
- Tuguegarao to Sta Ana: P250
- Sta Ana to San Vicente: P15
- Boat Tour: P3800/4 = P950
- Sta Ana to Laoag: P465
- To Laoag Transient House: P40
- Van Hire: P5900/4 = P1,475 (Laoag Tour + Transpo to Vigan)
- Vigan Tricycle: P65
- Vigan to Manila: P743
- Day 1: P150
- Day 2: P100
- Day 3: P400
- Day 4: P200
- Anguib Beach Entrance Fee: P150
- La Paz Sand Dunes: P2500/4=P625
- Cape Bojeador Lighthouse: P20
- Kapurpurawan: P15
- Blue Lagoon: P20
Tip: Unless you are in a large group, opt for the tricycle tour in Laoag. It’s way cheaper.
Johanes is a digital nomad and a web content writer who loves to go on spontaneous travels. She also likes to go camp under the stars and play with her dog and cats.