Palaui Island is an island lying within the borders of Sta. Ana in Cagayan Valley. The cape is located on the northeastern tip of Luzon Island which has gained its fame from the US-based television show Survivor in 2014 where the whole program was shot.
December 10, 2016 –– After our Callao Cave experience, our tricycle service drove us back to the van terminal bound to Sta. Ana town proper. We got on the road quickly because the van drivers don’t wait up for the passengers to fill the seats. Immediately, each one of us caught some rest. The 3-hour travel from Tuguegarao City to Sta. Ana seemed fast. Peeking through the windows, the road was eerily quiet as if it was already past midnight in this part of the world when in reality, it was still 7 in the evening. I guess this is what I missed about the life in the province – there is no need to rush. Everyone can take a rest without feeling guilty like time is being wasted.
Accommodation at Sta. Ana
Rain suddenly poured hard while we were approaching the Sta. Ana proper. At this hour, the neighborhood was already settled down and I got worried because we still have no place to stay in. I asked referral from Edwin (0926-906-4657), our contact person for Palaui tour and he recommended Eden’s Lodge good for 6 pax. He gave me the point person to whom I can ask for reservation and I got to talk to JR (0977-827-6391). For an air-conditioned 6 pax room with hot shower, I was surprised to score great accommodation at ₱2,500 and still get a discount from Edwin’s referral.
After the reservation, I asked the van operator if he can let us dismount where it’ll be easy to navigate to Eden’s Lodge. Out of hospitality, he made a quick side trip, stopped in front of Eden’s Lodge and made us pay ₱150 per head instead of ₱180. It was still raining hard, and although I was really moved by this gesture, I’ve forgotten to ask for his name to at least acknowledge his help.
With toes covered in mud and clothes drenched in rainwater, we went straight to the front desk and arranged the settlement. After getting the keys from the kind officers at the front desk, we were led to our room where we got overwhelmed at the sight of our spacious chamber for the night. There were 6 single beds with complimentary fresh towels and set of toiletries courtesy for guests, a small cooking area with sink, a mini table, and a clean restroom. The only thing we needed to take care of was our hungry tummies screaming for a decent meal.
Despite the storm on rage, we still went outside and took our chances. We walked around the dark streets with our phones in flashlight mode and our bodies chilling from the cold. Establishments were already closed by 9.30 pm and we were on the verge of resorting to cup noodles available at the lodge’s front desk when we saw a burger stand packed with people. We ate sausage sandwiches and hot chocolates for dinner, thank God for 24-hours Frank’s stand.
San Vicente Port-Bound
The weather was still gloomy as we prepared our things for the next adventure. After checking out from the lodge, we walked around the vicinity to discover Sta. Ana in a much different light. It was far from how quiet and dark it was last night. Just a few steps from the lodge were hardware stores, eateries, and even an optical shop. There were people sweeping in front of their stores, some manning cashiers. There was life, and it felt safer seeing Sta. Ana this way rather than the strange town we witnessed yesterday.
Standing by the main road, we hailed tricycles to take us to San Vicente. It was a short 15-minute ride. Arriving at the port, we headed to the office of PASAMOBA (Palaui San Vicente Motor Banca Association) and immediately searched for Kuya Edwin. It was 7 in the morning and I was informed by other association members that Kuya Edwin was still at his home. Kuya Jun was the one whom I got to talk to regarding the whole tour. By the end of our discussion, my group and I availed the 2-day tour for ₱7,000. Although I did my best to haggle the price, the rates were standardized and there was nothing much to do about it. At least Kuya Jun was polite in explaining to me everything.
As I talked with Kuya Jun, my friends looked around the area for a place to eat breakfast. I followed them at Tita Leoning’s general merchandise store where I found them browsing the store’s fridge, choosing between bacon or hotdogs. We had both viands for breakfast, matched with sunny side up eggs and a cup of rice for one of us.
Going back to the PASAMOBA office, we were told to pay the boat fee after the whole tour was over. We rode the boat and first arrived at Punta Verde where we will also stay the night. While we on our way, I informed Ate Elsa from Elsa’s Homestay at Punta Verde that we were already in transit towards the island. The boat experience was quite the ride. The weather was still gloomy, the wind was strong and the waves were high. Each time a huge wave hit our boat, we tried our best to cover ourselves from but failed. We dismounted the boat in wet clothes after all.
Punta Verde lies off at the southeastern part of Palaui Island – the only place on the island that has its own local community. It also acts as the entry point to Palaui. In here was a village that houses more than ten families, a community garden that serves as a livelihood, a small institution that caters to young grade-schoolers, and few small-scale general merchandise stores.
As our boat docked, our boatmen notified us that our tour guides will be locals from Punta Verde. We walked around the area until we have reached what seemed like the main village. I’ve asked around to ask where Elsa’s Homestay might be, and I was brought to a concrete house painted in light pink. The caretaker welcomed us and toured us around the house. There were two bedrooms: one with a queen-sized bed and own restroom, and the other with a double-deck bed which can fit four people. In the living area were family photos, school certificates, medals hanging on walls, and stuffed toys on display in the glass cabinet. At this sight, I can’t help but feel easily connected to this home.
Unloading our stuff at the homestay, we carried with us a lightweight water-resistant bag to store our cameras and water bottles. Our tour guide, Ate Fe, and Ate Vergie met us by the coast. We told them we’d want to go to the Baratubut Falls first before trekking our way up to the lighthouse and so we went.
There are two trails that lead to Cape Engaño Lighthouse – one is Leonardo trail and the other, Lagunzad trail. Leonardo trail passes by Baratubut Falls and continues through a challenging forest trail with steep hill climbs. Ate Fe advised us to take the Lagunzad trail because trekking the Leonardo trail will be difficult especially during the rainy season. The easier trail, Lagunzad trail, is an hour and a half walk from the coast of Mabolbol Shore leading to the concrete stairs bound to the lighthouse.
Lagunzad Trail – Mabolbol Shore
By 10:40 am, the sun came out and greeted us with warmth. My friends and I were walking on a totally different trail, far from the clay pathway we took going to the falls. It was an hour and a half walk by Mabolbol Shore. The shoreline got its name from migratory bird species named Mabolbol which flocked the area before.
The flat terrain, the open air view and the cold touch of the ocean made the beaten path a delight. With the sun up high, we reached the grasslands triumphantly and took rest for a while at jump-off point. We immediately washed our feet using the “poso” and sat down on wooden benches while waiting for our company. To our surprise, our boatmen were sitting by the sari-sari-store talking to locals. They brought us lunch prepared by Ate Elsa. At 2 pm, we had our sumptuous lunch before proceeding. The concrete staircase up to the lighthouse was a breeze to hike. We got up to the lighthouse with the lesser effort this time.
Cape Engaño Lighthouse
Known as Faro de Cabo Engaño, Cape Engaño Lighthouse is a lighthouse located in the northernmost part of the Luzon island. It is situated on a hilltop which offers a 360-degree view to the Babuyan Islands and Dos Hermanas Islets.
After the amazing experience, we headed back down to the jump-off point and rode our boat. While we were on our way back to Punta Verde, we passed through the Siwangag Cove and Fuga Moro Islands. We didn’t dismount the boat because we were already lacking in time as the sun is about to set. The weather was cloudy by this hour, and we thank God that we were able to enjoy.
On our third day, we woke up to a raging rain and low tide. I contacted Kuya Edwin and gave him signal that we were already prepared for today’s adventure. As our boatmen arrived, they warned us that it would be hard to sail at 9 am since the tides were very low and the storm was raging still. We insisted on going to Crocodile Island, nonetheless.
December 11, 2016 – The Manidad Island is a lone islet lying in the middle of Balintang Channel. Due to its rock formation that goes after the image of a crocodile, it was now coined as Crocodile Island. Should one be traveling from San Vicente towards Punta Verde, the boat will pass by this beautiful rock formation on the way. On a sunny weather, the rock radiates a bright glow as if it was actually white.
Guide to Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley
- During a storm, the local government may not allow tourists to hike up the lighthouse.
- During the rainy season, make sure to bring a raincoat. If none, buy an oversized plastic bag at Tita Leoning’s.
- Make sure you have ample time to make room for adjustments. We were only supposed to stay on Crocodile Island for 30 minutes but ended up being there for 3 hours and 30 minutes due to the tides.
- Bring water during the hike.
- Always listen to the advice of boatmen and tour guides.
- Pray, pray, pray all the time.
Things to Bring
- Sunblock lotion
- Scarf, cap or shades
- Raincoat (just in case)
- Waterproof bag / dry bag
- Waterproof casing for phones and action cameras
- Water resistant bag covers
- Sturdy high friction sandals for trekking
Palaui Island Tour Operator (c/o PASAMOBA)
Person to look for: Kuya Edwin
Mobile number: 0926-906-4657
Eden’s Lodge (Accommodation in Sta. Ana)
Person to look for: JR
Mobile number: 0977-827-6391)
Elsa’s Homestay (Accommodation in Punta Verde)
Person to look for: Ate Elsa
Mobile number: 0905-283-2559[/tg_accordion]
Itinerary and Budget
Note: This itinerary was based on a group of 6 persons during a 2016 trip.
|Day 1 (December 9)||11:00 AM||ETD Tuguegarao Airport from Manila||₱ 1,400/head (Roundtrip Tickets)|
|12:10 AM||ETA Tuguegarao City / Eat Early Lunch at Jomar’s Panciteria||₱ 90/head (Super Special Pancit)|
|1:15 AM||ETD Callao Cave, Penablanca||₱ 250/head (Tricycle Service)|
|2:30 PM||ETA at Pinacauan River to Callao Cave/explore||₱ 20/head (Boat Ride to Cave); ₱ 20/head (Callao Cave Entrance); ₱ 50/head (Tour Guide Fee)|
|4:30 PM||ETD to Van Terminal Bound to Sta. Ana|
|5:30 PM||ETA to Van Terminal / ETD to Sta. Ana Town Proper||₱ 180/head (Van Fare)|
|8:50 PM||Check in at Eden’s Lodge overnight||₱ 342/head (Accommodation)|
|9:30 PM||Dinner / Socials / Sleep time|
|Day 2 (December 10)||6:00 AM||Wake up / Prep time|
|6:45 AM||ETD from Eden’s Lodge to San Vicente Port||₱ 20/head (Tricycle)|
|7:00 AM||ETA San Vicente Port / Talk to PASAMOBA Kuya Jun||₱ 1,167/head (Tour Package); ₱ 70/head (Environmental Fee)|
|7:30 AM||Breakfast at Tita Leoning’s|
|8:40 AM||ETD Punta Verde, Palaui|
|9:05 AM||ETA Punta Verde, Palaui, Checked in at Ate Elsa’s Homestay||₱ 250/head (Homestay)|
|9:40 AM||Trek to Baratubut Falls and trek along Mabolbol Shore||₱ 117/head (Tour Guide Fee)|
|2:00 PM||Lunch at Cape Engano||₱ 150/head (Lunch)|
|4:30 PM||ETD back to Boat|
|5:30 PM||ETA to Boat / Pass by Siwangag Cove and Fuga Moro Island|
|7:00 PM||Elsa’s Homestay Punta Verde / Eat Dinner||₱ 150/head (Dinner)|
|Day 3 (December 11)||6:00 AM||Wake up/Prep/Breakfast|
|8:30 AM||ETD to Crocodile Island|
|9:00 AM||ETA in Crocodile Island|
|12:30 PM||ETD Crocodile Island to Anguib Beach / Mangrove Area|
|1:00 PM||ETA Anguib Beach / Eat Lunch||₱ 100/head (Beach Entrance Fee); ₱ 150/head (Lunch)|
|4:00 PM||ETD San Vicente Port via Boat|
|5:00 PM||ETA Sta. Ana / Checked in at Kat-Kat Lodge/Shower||₱ 10/head (Tricycle); ₱ 167/head (Accommodation)|
|7:00 PM||Dinner at Noodle House in Cagayan Leisure and Resort|
|Day 4 (December 12)||2:30 AM||Wake up call/Prep|
|3:00 AM||ETD Tuguegarao Airport via Van||₱ 180/head (Van Fare)|
|6:00 AM||ETA Tuguegarao Town Proper / Eat Breakfast /Buy Pasalubong|
|7:00 AM||ETA Airport|
|10:00 AM||ETD to Manila|
|ESTIMATED BUDGET||₱ 4,883 / head|
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Fastest flight to Palaui Island
I’m working in a hotel in Santa Ana, Philippines. We are looking for ways to sell more flight + hotel package to non-China tourists(It is because we already have a team focusing on the mainland Chinese market). Do you have any idea?
Our company owns a hotel resort in Santa Ana where is a special economic zone in the northern Luzon Island. We also charter a flight from macau(China) to Lal-lo airport twice a week. It is a two-hour direct flight and our hotel provides free airport shuttle in the airport.
It is the fastest route traveling to Palaui Island and Santa Ana. Our Flight + 4 Nights Package offers the best value for the trip.
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