Cagayan - Conquering the Picturesque Cape Engaño Lighthouse in Palaui Island

Inspired and envious by the photos I saw on the internet, I quickly said "yes" to an invitation of a friend to explore the island of Palaui. Why not? The island's dramatic coastlines, lush scenery, with rolling hills and jagged cliffs jutting out from the Pacific Ocean are enough reasons to convince me to endure the long travel to Sta. Ana, Cagayan, the jump-off to Palaui Island.

From Manila, I took a 40-minute Airphil Express flight to Tuguegarao City. After a quick lunch of Pancit Batil Patung, the adventure begun with a 3-hour butt-numbing journey on a passenger van to San Vicente port.

It was already 5:00 PM, when we reached San Vicente Port. We went to the visitor's office to get a boat for our island hopping adventure schedule on the following day. We paid 50 pesos each as "day passes" and reserved a boat for a special trip at 6:00 AM which costs 3,500 pesos for a day of island hopping. Boat rental fees set by the local government depends on how many destinations you intend to visit. Since we are pressed with time, we decided to just take the "special boat trip". Alternatively, if you have more time, the lighthouse can be reached by trekking for 3 hours coming from Punta Verde at the southeast tip of Palaui island.

After spending a night in a nearby hostel, we went to the port at around 5:30 AM and waited for the sun to rise and for our boatman to arrive. We started to sail at exactly 6:00 AM with our boatman Kuya Lando and his assistant.

Palaui is a protected landscape where different ecosystems exist in a well-preserved verdant environment. As we sail towards the lighthouse, scenic coves and dramatic rock cliffs come into full view. It is truly breathtaking! Since it was still early in the morning, the waves are calm and we got to the foot of the hill where the lighthouse is, after about 40 minutes.

From where we docked, the view of the lighthouse on top of the hill is truly amazing! I can't wait to see it up close! Woohoo!

After a quick rest and picture taking, we started the 20-minute trek to the lighthouse. Trekking our way up is an awesome experience. I just love the jaw-dropping verdant scenery!

We were rewarded with a stunning view of the vast grassland on one side and the sandy cove on the other. From here, you could also see and feel the strong blow of the wind and the crashing waves. Truly awesome!

Perched on top on a hill, I was speechless when I finally saw the lighthouse up close. Our eagerness to explore the unexplored was a success and to be in one of our dream destinations finally fulfilled! We were just so happy!

Officially named Cape Engaño Lighthouse or Farol de Cabo Engaño, this historic lighthouse was built in 1888 and was first used on December 30, 1892, making it one of the oldest lighthouses in the Philippines. It is still functioning using solar-powered light, which guides vessels entering and leaving the coastal towns of Sta. Ana (Port Irene and San Vicente Port), and assisting ships traversing the Babuyan Channel and coming from the Pacific. Among the lighthouses found in the north coast of Luzon, it is the easternmost among the lighthouses.

The lighthouse had an old 14.5-meter octagonal stone tower which we climbed through its rusty spiral staircase. It can be climbed up to a certain level where the four windows are located. Here you can enjoy the stunning view from above, including the beautiful peaks of the island of Dos Hermanos.

Just like the other Spanish-era lighthouses, it has a ruined structure of the keeper's house. It is a sight to behold! As a historical structure, I believe this should be well-taken cared and preserved.

We just spent our time time taking photos while enjoying the fresh sea breeze and the majestic views.


By Land: From Manila, take a direct Florida bus bound for Sta. Ana, Cagayan. Buses from Sampaloc terminal leaves daily, check with the bus company for the schedule of trips call (02)743-3809. Travel time takes about 15 hours. Alternatively, you could take a bus bound for Tuguegarao which takes about 10-12 hours; and then transfer to a passenger van or bus going to Sta. Ana. Travel time is 3-4 hours and fare is around 180 pesos.

By Air: Take a plane bound for Tuguegarao City. From there, take a passenger van or bus going to Sta. Ana. Travel time is 3-4 hours and fare is around 180 pesos. Airphil Express flies daily to Tuguegarao City!

From the town center of Sta. Ana, take a tricycle (15 pesos each) to San Vicente port, the jump-off for Palaui Island. Look for the visitor's center to register and to get a boat. Boat rental depends on the location and to how many destinations you would want to visit.

More photos on Pinoy AdvenTurista's Facebook Page, click here.

This is part of our adventures in Palaui Island and around Sta. Ana, Cagayan last February 6-7, 2013. The town of Sta. Ana in Cagayan offers adventure-seekers the elements of a real adventure trip with a Spanish era lighthouse, awesome beaches, breathtaking panoramas and friendly people. It is truly one great adventure!
Map By: Wikipedia


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  1. wow! a real charming place to visit!

  2. Beautiful! A real Philippine treasure that must be well-taken cared and preserved.

    By the way! The photos are amazing!

  3. I am so ..... flabbergasted! hahaha! Makakarating din ako d'yan ... Sa ngayon, drool.mode muna ako sa mga shots ... haha ^_^ Nice Post! (y)

  4. didn't know this place existed! reminds us of the lighthouse and ruins of guisi in guimaras. thanks for this post, PA! :)

  5. if we had a choice magbboat din kami before. bad weather lang talaga. pero trekking in itself is an experience. :)

  6. pictures pa lang, breath taking na. i didn't notice this much of a view while watching phl360 :P

  7. I can just imagine fresh nga ang breeze d'yan. The place looks so amazing. Mala-Batanes na rin somehow in photos that I've seen online. Ang ganda. Nakakatanggal stress I'm sure.

  8. light houses are great tourist/ adventure destinations. unfortunately,the popular ones like this and the cape bojeador lighthouses are not being maintained well.
    local govts must do something..


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