My mom was born and raised in Cagayan Valley, but from birth ’til now I haven’t been there. Thanks to Ropali Motors for organizing Partakan Festival , a motor tourism and music festival up North of the Philippines which has been going on for 4 years now. It paved the way for me to finally step foot on my moms hometown / province because Earthlingorgeous is a media partner of the event.
Why I haven’t been at Cagayan Valley at all?
I was born and raised here in Manila. Since birth, my mom rarely visit her province. The only time I remember mum went with my sister was when I was 5 or 6 years old and I was living with my Aunt Ninang then . After that I don’t remember an attempt to go there. It was the relatives in Cagayan Valley who comes to Manila and they come by the dozen and more! Bringing with them crops harvested from our family farm like sacks of vegetables, nuts and corns. Because of that I never bothered asking to go.
Fast forward to today, on a Holy Week, I came, I saw and conquered Cagayan Valley! After 21 hours of tiring but fun, long, winding butt deflating road trip Manila Sta.Ana Cagayan Valley with my blogger friends.
Normally during the Lenten season, I stay at home. It was what I was used to when mum was still herself and dad was still alive . This was because of some Catholic beliefs / “pamahiin” and traditions. We all endured staying at home watching 10 Commandments or Jesus Christ Superstar on TV. It was a habit. A habit I finally broke since I am now one of the decision makers at home.
How to get to Sta. Ana Cagayan Valley?
PAL and Cebu Pacific has limited flights to Tuguegarao, capital of Cagayan Valley. Flights are normally at 10am, 3pm and 6pm but not daily. Flight is just an hour frim Manila.
From Tuguegarao it will take you 3 hours ride to reach Sta.Ana Cagayan Valley. Depending on which hotel or resort you are staying add 20-30 minutes more ride to reach Anguib Beach in Sta.Ana Cagayan Valley.
If you have a smartphone use Google Maps. From Mandaluyong to Sta.Ana Cagayan Valley estimated time of arrival is 13 hours plus regular pit stops to eat, pee break and stretching = total of 16 hours.
But because we were part of Partakan Festival it took us 21 hours to reach destination. We had at least 10 pit stops along the way. With some pit stops taking us for a longer route to reach Cagayan Valley.
Pitstops / Stopovers on our Roadtrip Manila – Sta.Ana Cagayan Valley:
1. Shell Malolos
Following Google Maps and the initial direction I have from Ropali, our first stop was the Shell Malolos Station. From Shell Malolos we were suppose to visit Barasoin Church and take a selfie/ groufie as part of the challenge. Unfortunately, nobody was manning the supposed Partakan Festival booth at Shell Malolos, so we left and went to the next stopover I initially got.
Around 6-7 am we reached Ropali Cabanatuan and fortunately there was someone there manning the booth to assist us. From this stopover we were finally given our race kits, Motor Adventure Passports and the next challenge we need to do next. It was also in this station where we got free water, snacks and candies.
3. Stopover in Cabanatuan for Breakfast
We were all awake since the night we left, meet up was 130am our driver arrived 2am and we left Manila at 230am. We have to stop for breakfast at the only local food stop “carinderia” we saw in Cabanatuan along the highway. I think it’s Mamasaid or something with Mama. Food was not good but we were hungry. They have a good yema cake though for Php90 one whole cake size of a loaf bread.
4.Shell San Jose
It was closed so we just passed by it to our next stop.
5.Stetching and buttocks exposure to the bondocks
Our driver needed to relieve himself and stretch, it was a long drive from our next stopover. We stopped by the hillside where we saw a store and a makeshift toilet with the back side with an opening almost exposing your buttocks to the bondocks when you sit and take a piss.
6. Eat all you can for Php99/100 and 10peso break
Our breakfast was not that good most of us were hungry. I saw a sign for an Eat All You can somewhere in Nueva Ecija / Nueva Vizcaya or Cabanatuan. I enjoyed my lunch here as I had vegetables, esalada,okra and adobong manok. Others had fish, lechon kawali, etc. We also had fruit shakes. Their watermelon shake has milk!
This is also where most of us need to go take a #2. They have paid toilet where piss is Php5 and dump is Php10. Since then we call #2 10pesos as most of us had not done so since we went on this roadtrip.
We got another challenge from this stopover, we should go to an eco tourism park and buy tupig along the way. But first let’s take a selfie/groufie.
8. Lower Magat Eco Tourism Park
We were suppose to buy tupig but missed the sellers along the checkpoint. As we reached the park we took groufies and #OOTDs. Place is huge we didn’t get to roam around though.
It was ironic that we hardly see a Tupig vendor along the way when they said it is the one town one product of Solano, Isabela?
We skipped all other Shell stopover because there were virtually nobody manning each stop. We decided to go straight to Tuguegarao instead.
Passing through, Isabela, we saw this Ibanag statue. Passed through Callao bridge and finally saw the border of Tuguegarao,Aparri, to Echague.
9.Pancit Cabangon and Pancit Batil Patong
Hopeful to buy Tupig we stopped by a street where I thought I saw a tupig vendor. Unfortunately it was just grilled corn. Across it was a store. We decided to have snacks there and tried their local pancit. It was good and a real comfort food! For 70pesos per bowl! Yum!
We had a good pre-dinner sometime around 5 to 6pm. So we decided to go straight to Tuguegarao with no stops. Sun is setting fast.
Almost everyone was falling asleep.
The driver and I were the only man awake in the van. Sitting beside our driver Kuya Lito I have to keep him company. He has been driving 18 hours straight. I had him tell me stories about his life as a driver and it was interesting. Good thing I was seated in the front seat I just chatted our way across Tuguegarao to Sta.Ana.
Finally after 21 hours drive, we arrived at Sta.Ana Cagayan stopping over at Country Inn Suites for late dinner.
How to survive the roadtrip Manila Sta. Ana Cagayan Valley:
- Get a good automobile that doesn’t break down easily.
- Make sure to gas up, full tank to be sure.
- If possible get an extra driver “rellebo” so the other has time to rest 21 hours is no joke.
- If no rellebo available make sure to assign a navigator and a companion to keep your driver awake, alert , entertained and guided.
- Wear comfy clothes that you can move around with inside the van.
- Have a travel pillow and blanket the van gets cold after a while even when it is full.
- Have a water bottle with you keep hydrated.
- Have a source of entertainment like books, music, games to play while in the van, stories to tell everyone, or like Ruth and Rodel they have their laptop with then to watch movies or edit videos and photos along the way if not on a dizzy spell or on a zigzag bumpy road.
- Lots of stopover to have your toilet break, stretching, and most of all eat.
- Snacks or candies in between meals or to keep awake.
- choose your road trip companions well. Good friends and funny companions (walang kj) to keep your cool and cheer you up in spite of bumps and obstacles along the way.
- Expect the wort, prepare for mishaps, but make the lost of the entirr ride.
What else did I miss? If you have questions, comments and suggestions let me know at the comment section below.
Meanwhile you can watch the vlog below showing our 21 hour roadtrip in a nutshell.
How is Anguib Beach in Sta.Ana Cagayan Valley? I will show you in another post.
Stay gorgeous everyone!