Palaui Island | Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley
Have you ever been trapped in a situation where turning back isn’t an option? I had the scariest one hour of my life when the ruthless waves of the Philippine Sea battered our small boat enroute to Palaui Island.
We were smoothly sailing when we left the Port of San Vicente. But as soon as we entered westward towards the island, everything suddenly became foreboding. The northeasterly winds howled and the torrent became unimaginably fierce.
I remembered clashing head on to waves as high as a house. Imagine a small boat struggling to climb a huge swell. And as it reaches the top, it plunges from mid-air into a hard brine. All I could do was to held tight into the tiller and prayed.
“Lord, thy will be done.”
I dragged my soul for the next 45 minutes of endless pounding of waves against the hull. Palui Island seemed like a blurry fight. Although I felt the crew’s hard maneuver, they assured me that the wind was just a bit of a struggle.
“A bit of a struggle?”
Palaui Island: Your Untitled Piece of Theatre
As soon as we ushered into Siwangag Cove, everything turned placid. It was so calm from the sea that just thumped murky red with wretchedness.
Humbly, I admit, I underestimated the power of the northern winds. Also, I am guilty of selfish wanderlust over safety. On the other hand, wonderful things truly come to those who dare.
Indeed, Palaui Island is a speck of theater in the northeastern most part of Luzon.
Palaui Island lies off the headland of Baranggay San Vicente in Sta. Ana, Cagayan. It is a protected national marine reserve exclusively marketed by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).
The island is sought-after for three main attractions: Cape Engaño Lighthouse, the rolling hills and its cinematic beachline.
Truly, Palaui Island’s elusive character and unsullied elements define any adventurer’s paradise.
FARO DEL CABO DE ENGAÑO
First lit in December 1892, the lighthouse of Cape Engaño serves as the easternmost light on the north coast of Luzon. It used to guide ships approaching from the Pacific Ocean traversing through Babuyuan Channel and the Philippine Sea.
Indeed, Cape Engaño is the Palui Island’s highlight. There are two ways to reach it. First, via Punta Verde on a four-hour trek from its southernmost tail. Second, through a tossing sail straight to Siwangag Cove.
Siwangag Cove hems the promotontory of Cape Engaño. Mixed white sand, sparkling pebbles and scattered coralline lay on its shore. On the other hand, its underworld is as rich as its sun-kissed spots and white-washed beachline.
A small community inhabits the southern end of Palaui Island. They thrive on fishing, pastoral farming and mixed-crop cultivation. The locals are the stewards of the island who manage its community-based tourism effort.
Palaui’s woodlands are filled with exotic shrubs, varieties of rattan and wild flowers. Its high flora diversity makes it a natural habitat for migratory birds. However, of all its anticipated panoramas, the rolling hills take the most adoration.
Yes, these windswept hikes on its sloping green meadows are fabulously fantastic!
There are two trails inside the island. One, is the Siwangag Trail, passing through cropfields and bushlands. This is the shortest and easiest. Next is Leonardo’s Trail. Although it’s the harder way, this route is more scenic and adventure-filled.
Along the way too are waterfalls such as Barabut and many cold brooks.
The 19th century lighthouse, the cobalt sea framed by pebbled shingles, its meadows dancing on the winnowing wind and the crisp scent of the ocean, truly create this beautiful theater called Palaui Island.
It is always best to arrange your trip at the CEZA Visitor Center
in Sta. Ana, Cagayan. Or you can contact them at
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more