Last February, I went into my first solo trip for the year. Destination, Tuguegarao.
My reason for choosing the place is to just really go out of town on a weekend. I scheduled it so that on a friday, I can travel to Tuguegarao by bus, spend the whole saturday and half of the sunday there and have a flight back to Manila on a Sunday night.
On a friday, after I got off from work, I went to Victory Liner in Pasay Taft. Didn’t realize then that the travel from Makati to the bus station would be that hard. I first thought I could take the MRT but the line going into the station was extra long. That is the only time that I realize that it is a payday weekend. Duuhhh. So instead of taking the train, I went down from the station and tried my luck in taking a bus. Was getting pretty desperate then ‘coz my bus would be leaving soon. Luckily, I was able to get on the bus. Went off at the Victory station and waited for my bus.
The bus trip was tolerable. Only hiccup was that when I reserved my seat, I thought I was getting a window seat. Turned out I was getting an aisle seat. Good thing I was not seated with someone who is burly. Really don’t want my space being occupied.🙂 We had two bus stops. One in Tarlac and in another place that I can no longer remember. On both stops, I only ate hotdogs. I don’t want to eat anything heavier. Even if the bus has it’s own toilet, I wouldn’t really want to use it. The trip is a 12 hour travel. I was able to doze on and off sleep. The bus sometimes get too cold for comfort.
We arrived at the Victory station in Tuguegarao around 8:15 AM, Saturday. First thing I did is to find food.🙂 I went to the first food place I found when I walked out of the bus station. I had pancit batil patong at Benjay’s Tuguegarao. Big serving! The meal only costs Php 100 (I think). It was so filling and even if I don’t like wasting food, eating all of it would be gluttony.
After my breakfast, I hailed a tricycle and asked to be brought to Hotel Candice. I chose the place because of its location and because of the cost of lodging. I only paid Php 600 for a single bed room. The room looked worn but good enough for an overnight stay. After taking a bath, I went out again to start my trip to Callao cave. The only destination I have in mind in Tuguegarao. I took a trike going to the city terminal. From there, trikes take passengers going to Penablanca for Php 70 each. But they stuff the trike for to up to 5 passengers! Instead of sharing a ride, I hired a trike on my own. Costs me Php 500. He brought me to the place where you take a boat to the Callao cave and he waited for me to get back.
It was a long trip. It was a 40 minute ride. Just imagine having three other passengers with you on this small trike. No way!
We passed unpaved streets, a bridge that probably gets flooded when it rains..
After a long bumpy ride, we got here. This is where you take banca ride going to the cave
On the other side is Callao cave.🙂
I was the first one here.🙂 Someone from the callao cave waits here so you can log into their list of visitors and you get to pay around Php 20-40 (I forgot) as a fee for visiting. Then you will have to take a boat ride which only costs Php 10 (two way already).
I of course took the front most seat so I could get a good view.🙂
Once you get there, you really are on your own. There are some locals, mostly students who are trained to assists tourists. You really are not required to get them but if you want to learn more about the cave, they can give you more info. I asked a young girl to be my guide. Always support local tourism workers.🙂
You would have to walk up 184 steps to get to the cave. They even painted numbers on each step to prove it.🙂
Starting here, my guide – young Alyssa – already started giving out information about the place. First is the marker:
Alyssa said that the place is actually called Kalaw and Kaliyaw referst to the birds that inhabit the cave. Thus the name Callao cave.
Second is the highest chamber or the divine chamber
Third is the Dark Room. Because it is dark.🙂 No pics there because well, it was dark. But here is where you should stand to get your pic taken with the Divine chamber at the back ground.🙂
Fourth chamber is the Cream room. Mostly because the stalactites and stalagmites take on a white creamy color.
I already forgot the name of the fifth chamber. The sixth and seventh were inaccessible to the regular tourist as it would need spelunking skills to see it. The cave itself was a good place to visit. The only nuisance is seeing the names of people written on some of the rocks. Stupid people who can’t make a mark on the world so they opt to mess up nature formations that took decades to be created. Stupid people.
After seeing all the nooks and corners of the cave, I ended my callao cave visit. As for Alyssa and with the other tour guides, visitors are not required to pay them. There is no fixed fee but as always, it would help if you could just give something for their troubles.🙂
At the middle of the boat ride going back to the other side of the river, it started to rain. Good thing that Manong trike driver was already waiting for me at the other side. Instead of going to the city terminal, I asked him to drop me off at Hotel Candice. At the hotel, I just took a quick shower and went out again to see what Tuguegarao city has to offer. I first looked for some place to eat. And well, there was none. No exciting restaurant that I have seen. Since it is way past lunch time, I went to the first ok looking establishment that I saw. It was an ice cream parlour that also serves meal. Apparently it is like a local fast food place. I ordered cordon bleu from the menu and went to get a seat. A few minutes after, a food server approached me and said that they don’t have it. But I said it was on the menu. Apparently it wasn’t updated. I ended up ordering grilled burger, nachos and mango crepe. That lunch was a disaster. A big disaster. The grilled burger is not grilled. It was a toasted burger patty that turned brown/ black. The sauce of the nacho is obviously spaghetti sauce. The mango crepe came with just the crepe. The food server went hurrying back to get it back coz they forgot to put the scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of choco syrup. The choco syrup tasted like melted milo powder!
After the meal, I tried again to go around the city. Walking aimlessly looking for something that would interest me. Nothing. I ended up looking for a salon so I could just get my nails done. Lol. I found one in the second floor of the public market which turns out to be a major destination for hair rebonding and mani/pedi services. Lol. Hayyyy.
After the mani/pedi which only costs Php 100, I went back to the hotel and rested. Come dinner time, I got rid of the idea of looking for a meal elsewhere. I broke my rule of not eating on a fastfood when I travel. I went to chowking. At least I know what to expect. After the meal, I went to Candice grocery and bought some pasalubong.
Basically, that’s it. A weekend in Tuguegarao.
Would I recommend it? Hhhhmmm. Maybe not.🙂