Coming from a whole day of island hopping at the Calayan Group of Islands, Tuguegarao is a three-hour drive from Sta. Ana, Cagayan to which the means of transportation to and from Sta. Ana is either a bus or a van (SAVFTODAI) from Sta. Ana Market or Don Domingo Public Market of Tuguegarao. Fare is Php 180 per person.
Tuguegarao is just right at the east of the Cagayan river bank which is the longest river in the Philippines running from Aparri, Cagayan until Quezon. Buntud bridge is one of the long bridge of the north that connects Tuguegarao to Kalinga Province.
We stayed at the Grand Victoria Lodge which a good choice for travelers and backpackers which would only cost you Php 600 per day. And is already fully airconditioned with a queen-sized bed. It is highly important to note to check and choose your room first as are there are some rooms that are dilapidated and which is infested with mosquitoes. Most rooms I saw at 2nd Floor to which we stayed is alright. However those in the first floor is not recommended.
The main means of transportation around the city is a tricycle which would cost you Php 10/passenger. Further down south from the Tanza Junction is the town's main plaza where more establishments are available.
|Walking along at Tanza Junction, Tuguegarao|
We stayed there during Maundy Thursday until Black Saturday so most establishments are closed when we were there. It was only by Saturday that they opened when it was already our last day. Not to mind anyway as there are still some restaurants and fast food that are 24 hours open such as those that are near Tanza Junction which includes Jollibee and one hotel at the diversion road, Hotel Carmelita, which has a restaurant at its first floor called Culinare that offers both Italian and Filipino dishes.
The native delicacy to crave for in Tuguegarao is their Batil Patung (en. Mixed Noodles, tl. Halo-Halong Pansit)) which tastes so great, I can compare it to Pancit Malabon which one of my favorite local dishes.
|Batil Patung by Culinare|
The Batil Patung is a noodle dish comprised of different types of local noodles sauteed in soy sauce yet its saltiness is mild. Mixed with it are crumbled pork rinds (chicharon), cabbage, carrots, scrambled egg soup and also topped with sunny-side up egg. As the default taste is catered to those who doesn't want it to be too salty, you can add it up with chopped onions, more soy sauce, vinegar, chili (siling labuyo), calamansi (local lemon) and an egg soup which is served with it. One plate of this would make you 2-meal full. Put of course, this is still subjective depending on your appetite.
I have tried Batil Patung from two restaurants. One is at Jomar Panciteria which is famous for serving Batil Patung and is along Macapagal road, parallel to where the road to Don Domingo Market is. The "Super" Batil Patung is big enough for my wife and I however, mostly this is good for one person already. The super Batil Patung is Php 70 and making your own condiments is self-service and unlimited!
|Batil Patung at Jomar's|
|Dine-in area Jomar's|
|Self-service unlimited condiments at Jomar's|
Another restaurant we tried with Batil Patung is Culinare at Hotel Carmelita just about in front of GV Florida Terminal, the bus we would be riding back to Manila. The noodles cost Php 100 here and tastes just as good plus the comfort of fine dining.
Culinare is also famous for their Italian Cuisine, smoothies, shakes and gelato.
|Enjoying Tuguegarao's Pride, Batil Patung|
|Culinare, a cafe and an Italian/Filipino Restaurant|
|Milkshakes and Frappucino at Culinare|
Down at Don Domingo Market, just in front of Mariton Grocery is the main Tricycle station that you can ride to get to the Callao Cave complex of Penablanca, Cagayan for Php 40/passenger one-way. The Callao Cave is along the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range and is 25 kilometers away from Tuguegarao.
|7-passenger tricycle to Callao Cave|
Tuguegarao is a gem city of the north, is filled with great food, an access to tourist spots of Cagayan Valley and is part of Schadow1 Expedition's itinerary to the northeastern tip of Luzon for its mapping expedition. Over 100 waypoints and tracks gained from our road trip to Cagayan Valley and the mapping expedition of Cagayan Valley has been contributed to +OpenStreetMap Philippines for free use of Filipinos who would like to use this data for navigation and humanitarian purposes.
Openstreetmap Philippines Map (link)
Schadow1 Expeditions Contributions (link)
How to use for your Navigation System (link)
View Cagayan Road Trip in a larger map
For a more detailed account of Schadow1 Expeditions' Palaui Island and Cagayan Valley Mapping Expedition, check on the links below:
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ESTRELLA L. SUYU
Cagayan Valley is a structural depression between the Central Cordillera in the west, the Sierra Madre Mountains in the east, and to the south, the Caraballo mountain. It consists of five provinces occupying the northern-most portion of Luzon-Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. The Cagayan River, the longest and the biggest in the Philippines and flowing northward, has its source at the Caraballo Mountain. Along its course, the Cagayan River picks up several tributaries — the most important ones are the Chico and Magat rivers. The northern portion of the Sierra Madre, which borders the eastern margin of the valley, is extremely rugged and descends abruptly into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The Northernmost island-province of the region is Batanes, which is made up of two major islands groups – the Babuyan Island and Batan Island. The Babuyan Island channel separates Babuyan Island from Cagayan and Balintang Channel separates Batanes island from Babuyan. Y’ami, the northern island of the country is barely 50 miles away from Taiwan, which separates it from the Bashi Channel (Cagayan 87).
Cagayan has a total population of 895,050, a growth of 1.56 per annum, and a household population of 176,096 as of 1995 census population, or 99 person per square kilometer, 828,204 (1990)(RSO, 1995). Urban population is 198,553 (22.18%) and rural population is 698,497 (77.82%), (RSO, 1996) which comprise an aggregate land area of 9,002.7 square kilometers or 35% of the land area of the country. Cagayan is the second largest province in the region with Tuguegarao as provincial capital, and of Region II (RSO, 1997).
Cagayan has twenty-nine (29) municipalities divided into three congressional districts. It has 820 barangays. Tuguegarao, being the provincial capital, is the regional seat for educational training and a commercial district of the province. Today, there are 622 public elementary schools, 22 private schools, 63 public secondary, 40 private secondary schools, one public tertiary schools with eight (8) campuses and nine (9) private tertiary schools. Some of these schools were considered for its academic excellence in the country (Cagayan Profile, 1996).
Relatively, the dry season begins from March to June and the rainy season from July to November. It is relatively cold during the months of November to February. Usually the province is struck by typhoons, because like Batanes, it is near the typhoon belt.
Ibanag, Itawes and Ilocano (in varied shades and intonations) and Malueg are the major dialects of Cagayan. Migration made Ilocano the dominant language spoken in the province, composing 67.3% of the total population. (Dios nicamu ngamin in Ybanag greeting, Good Day to all), Itawes comprise 13.5%, Ybanag 15.3%, and Malaueg 1.7%. Other ethnic groups that migrated speak their own dialects. A person in places where literacy is high speaks and understands English or Filipino (Cagayan, 87).
Agriculture remains the dominant economic activity throughout Cagayan Valley. Seventy-five percent are farmers while 25% are professionals. The area for land production is 6,514.19 square kilometers. Cropping is twice or thrice a year with existing irrigation. The staple food is corn. Rice, peanuts, legumes and other short-term crops are also produced for additional income. After tending the farm, others do carpentry, furniture, woodcraft, and basketry-making using indigenous materials. Livestock products include hogs, carabao, and poultry raising in the backyard for consumption or for sale. Fishing is largely located at the northern tip of Cagayan like Aparri, Buguey, Gonzaga, and Sta Ana where fish is abundant.
In the year 1567, a group of Spaniards landed in Northern Luzon in a place known as Buguey. They however, did not stay long. Captain Pable de Carreon from Spain came in the year 1581 with one hundred fully armed group and explored Cagayan to convert the natives to Christianity, and establish an ecclesiastical mission. And in the year 1853 the Spaniards set up the civil government of Cagayan which comprised the whole valley. It was then that Juan de Salcedo, grandson of Legaspi, traced the coastline of Northern Luzon and was the first Spaniard to set foot particularly in Massi, Tular and Appari.
The Spanish friars were considered harbingers of Western culture to the orient. Father Francisco Rojan, the great chronicler would tell us how Cagayan got its name. The word came from the word carayan (river) – the river that rebisects the entire valley from north to south. Others claim that the name was derived from the word tagay (a kind of plant that grew in abundance in the north). At first it was referred to as Catagayan which was later shortened to Cagayan (Cagayan 87).
Cagayan has a very rich and dramatic prehistory. Cagayan’s soil surface easily yields an array of stone tools, fossilized bones and other materials that record the geologic background and prehistoric past. The wealth points to the fact that Cagayan was once a witness to the dispersal and development of early man in the Philippines. It has already been the hope of archaeologists to unearth more remains in archaeological sites in Cagayan.
The Ybanags of Cagayan is one of the early inhabitants who lived in villages. Not being nomads, they engaged in agriculture, fishing and hunting as their means of subsistence. They fashioned agricultural implements out of wood and metal, and constructed homes. They also cooked their food in earthen pots and vessels made of clay.
Cagayan is undoubtedly one of the richest archaeological sites in the Philippines. Excavations by the National Museum and field research by the Cagayan Museum have yielded vast archeological findings including artifacts dating back to: the Paleolithic Age; the Neolithic Age, a time when man started to produce his own food through domestication of plants and animals; Iron Age which covers the transition from 2000 B.C. to 1000 A.D. Culture has progressed to a point where there is already knowledge of smelting and forging iron, the use of more advanced agricultural techniques, and weaving. Cagayan Valley, like many other provinces in the Philippines, was never isolated from foreign influence as was earlier believed. It was once a part of the long prehistoric international trade with neighboring countries. The Historic Age likewise chronicled the date when Juan Salcedo visited the valley. Such discoveries give a diachronic view of the technological and cultural evolution of the Cagayano (Cagayan Museum).
People in the valley dressed very simply. Old women used the saya and kimono while men used the camisa de chino or the barong tagalog. Some of the houses that withstood the Japanese occupation were historical houses made of hard wood. Some were bahay-kubo. Most typical homes were strong and typhoon-resistant.
For agriculture, today, there are only a few have modern agricultural implements. The majority still use traditional implements like animal-drawn tools.
Filipinos are characterized by its close family ties such that majority of married couples with children lived with their parents. The value of bayanihan, sharing, cooperation, brotherhood, self-responsibility, respect, love, peace, and dignity, are still very much alive in Cagayan.
Old songs, proverbs, and poems are still sung today, alongside the instruments Kuribaw, tulali and the kuritang produced by Ibanags. These produced warlike or sad music. It also exhibits the beauty of the unoni, the berso, and the pabattang (proverbs and the advises through songs) which convey Ibanag history and their mores that the ethnic group keep sacred and inviolable. The following are samples of the Unoni as described by the Ibanags: “maguray y mapporay, mesipo y massipo, mawawan y carwan” (the brave leads, the lenient are included and the rest gets lost). “Arica mamappalla ta bagu ca la nappaya; Vulauap paga ic cucum amu y ginafu-gafum” (Do not be proud because you became famous/wealthy; Your fingers may be made of gold but we know what you are). Mapia ca nacuan nu maguinna ca tat tabarang (You should have been lucky if you heed advices, Lasam, 1966).
|About the Author:|
|Estrella L. Suyu obtained her Doctor of Philosophy of Education major in History and Philosophy at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She teaches at the Cagayan State University, Carig, Tuguegarao, Cagayan.|