Aside from spots like Boracay and Palawan, there are many beautiful beaches in the Philippines waiting to be discovered. This coming August, there will be two long weekends. You might want to pack your things up and get ready to be amazed and freshened up by these beautiful beaches and islands in Sta. Ana, Cagayan in the Northeastern most of Luzon.
This spot is practically good for the people of the mainland Luzon who do not have enough money to make it to Boracay. Activities include island hopping, trekking, swimming, sun bathing, diving and snorkeling.
Sta. Ana boasts its stunning and untouched white beaches, including CNN’s 2013 10th best beach in the world, the Palaui Island.
Sta. Ana was also the venue of the 2 episodes of Survivor USA.
For travelers and tourists, they may have to take an early rise to get to San Vicente Port where boats are available for island hopping. They require you to be early to avoid huge waves at the ocean, which often occurs at the afternoon.
You will be brought to the Crocodile Island, Mapurao and Manidad Island, Mangrove area and in Palaui Island. These islands showcase scenic white shorelines and beautiful rock formations.]
Palaui Island is known for its untouched and quiet beaches which are best for swimming and snorkeling. Local tourist guides are available to assist you in different activities.
Palaui Island is usually forested and mountainous so it gives you a “plus” seeing all-in-one beauty of the nature. There are tents available for tourists who want an overnight stay. There is no electricity in the island but the management runs an electricity generator at about 8 pm to 12 midnight.
The island is also the home of the famous century-old Cape Engano Lighthouse, which was built during the Spanish era. At the same spot, you will witness the breathtaking view of the Dos Hermanas (Two Sisters) Island and the jaw-dropping white shorelines lying after blue and emerald water.
The lighthouse can be reached through 20-30-minute trekking.
Aside from the island beaches and adventures, there are also equally stunning white beaches in the mainland of Sta. Ana. There are the Anguib beach, which is already featured in some magazine television shows, Nangaramoan Beach, Gotan Beach and the Pozo Rovo.
Spectacular sunset can also be witnessed in some beaches.
There are resorts and hotels in the area. Best is, you coordinate and ask the local tourism council or Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) tourism office. CEZA also provides tour packages.
All of these can be travelled in at least 2 days. You may extend your extend your experience if you want.
For a group of 3-5 visiting Sta. Ana at this peak season, you can prepare at least P15,000: P3,500 for the accommodation, P3,800 for the island hopping, plus the rest are your foods, local guide and environment fee and others. Transportation going to Sta. Ana, Cagayan is excluded in the estimated amount.
You can reach Sta. Ana by taking a bus from Manila to Tuguegarao (10-hour trip) and take a van or local-route bus from Tuguegarao-Sta. Ana (2-3 hour trip). If you’re travelling with your own wheels, take a map with you.
(Editor’s Note: This feature was earlier published in Rappler.com by the same author.)