Travel Guide: Palaui Island (Updated)

Categories Luzon, Travel Guide

*First Publication 03-Mar-2011/14-Jun-2011/01-Jun-2013/Updated 06-Feb-2014

Sta. Ana, the north-eastern tip of the province of Cagayan and mainland Luzon, is a Special Economic Zone bustling with some modern industrial establishments, casinos and other gaming facilities. The town is also blessed with beautiful coastline, with some great white sandy beaches along its shore. Yet it still looks so rural and laid back, projecting contrasting features that add to its mystique.

Palaui Island

But what makes the town more contrastingly beautiful is the island off its shore that offers so much. White sandy beaches and coves, a century old lighthouse, hidden waterfalls and lovely people, all in a scenic rugged terrain surrounded by howling wind and huge waves – Palaui Island.

With a land area of more than 3,000 hectares, Palaui, an island made up of volcanic debris, is politically under the jurisdiction of the town of Sta. Ana. It is home to a fishing community, without electricity and commercial accommodation. Its main attraction aside from its beaches is the Farol de Cabo Engaño, an 18th century lighthouse built by the Spaniards that guides ships entering and leaving the coastal towns of Sta. Ana specially those vessels using Port Irene and San Vicente Port,  and those traversing the Babuyan Channel and Philippine Sea.

Fall in love with a place built by wind and waves, and nurtured by time; discover the distinct charm of its scenic rugged terrain; sing with the howling sound of its gigantic waves. Discover, explore and experience Palaui Island.

Palaui Island
One of the many beaches of the island

How to Get There

Barangay San Vicente in the town of Sta. Ana is the jump-off point to the island of Palaui. In San Vicente port, there are fishing boats that can be chartered for a short ride to the island. Cost is P1,000 back and forth, for a boat that can fit up to six people, travel time is half an hour at most. San Vicente is a short trike ride from Sta. Ana town proper (P15.00 per passenger).

Going to Sta. Ana from Manila, one can either take a plane to Tuguegarao or take the night bus going to Tuguegarao. From Tuguegaro, ride a bus (P185.00 as of December 2010) or van (P180.00 as of February 2014) going to Sta. Ana, travel time is two to three hours.

Palaui Island
Farol de Cabo Engaño

By Plane

PAL Express and Cebu Pacific fly to Tuguegarao from Manila, travel time is approximately an hour.

By Bus

Via Tuguegarao: From Manila, Victory Liner, Baliwag (Contact No: 524-7111, 525-1067, 525-3064, 525-6769, 525-2338, 525-2294), EMC Bus Company, Auto Bus Company (Contact No: 7358096) and Florida Liner have daily trips to Cagayan Capitol everyday almost every hour. It is around 485 kilometers north of Metro Manila; travel time is about 11 to 12 hours and  fare is P599.00 (as of February 2014).

If you are coming from Tabuk, jeepneys are available in Kalabaw Intersection (in front of St. William Cathedral), fare is P55.00 (as of 2008). From Ilocos and Abra, GMW Liner and Florida Liner have trips to Tuguegarao.

From Tuguegaro, ride a bus (P185.00 as of December 2010) or van (P180.00 as of February 2014) going to Sta. Ana, travel time is two to three hours.

Direct to Sta. Ana: Florida Liner is the only bus company that goes direct to Sta. Ana, Cagayan. Daily trips to Sta. Ana leave Sampaloc at 12PM and 3PM.

Palaui Island
Cape Engaño Lighthouse from afar

Where to Stay

There is no commercial accommodation in Palaui Island. Tourists who opt to stay overnight in the island can look for homestays or pitch a tent in Punta Verde. A recent local government resolution restricts camping in any other areas in Palaui Island except in Punta Verde.

The nearest commercial accommodations are in mainland Sta. Ana. For budget traveler, Mel and J’s Inn located in Sta. Ana Market, offer rooms for as low as P500.00 for a very basic fan room that is good for three person. Do not expect too much on this room 😛

Other accommodations in Sta. Ana are:

  • Balai Cagayano
  • Cagayan Holiday Resort
  • Ceza Guest House
    Centro, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
    Contact: (63)-78-585-1021
  • Country-Inn By The Sea
  • Costa Carina Beach Front
  • Costales Lodging House
  • Jotay Resort
    Centro, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
    Contact: +63906-4781270
  • Tres Rosas Beach Resort
    Diora-Zinungan, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Orquidia Beach Resort
    Diora-Zinungan, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • St. Anthony’s Resort
    Rapuli, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • El Cortez Beach Resort
    Diora- Zinungan, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Eden’s Lodging House
    Centro, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Lordwins Beach Resort
    Sta. Cruz, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • M&E Lodging House
    San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Jerolinda Beach Resort
    San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
  • Phil. Game Fishing Foundation
    San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan
Palaui Island
Wild water buffaloes freely roaming in Palaui’s grassy hill


  • Trek to Cape Engaño Lighthouse in Cape Engaño Point
  • Check out Siwangag Cove
  • Swimming and Beach Hopping on its 21 kilometer shoreline and coves of white sand
  • Find its hidden waterfalls
  • Snorkeling/Scuba Diving (bring your own equipments)
  • Fishing (bring your own equipments)
  • Bird Watching
  • Hiking
  • Camping/Picnic
  • Beach Volleyball/Frisbee
  • Skimboarding (bring your own board)
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset
  • Visit Anguib Beach, Jerolinda Beach and Buacag Falls in mainland Sta. Ana
  • See the Gotan mangrove forest and waterfalls
  • Visit the nearby Crocodile, Mapurao and Manidad Islands
  • Experience Viray Festival held yearly from May 26 to 30
Palaui Island
A local collecting shells


  • The best way to reach the town of Sta. Ana from Manila by land is via the night bus of Florida Liner direct to Sta. Ana
  • If you are trekking Cape Engaño Lighthouse by land, please GET A LOCAL GUIDE! Guide fee is only P300, for one to four person; P600, for five to six person; and P900, for eight to 12 person. The trek takes at least two (2) hours. There are two trails going to the lighthouse: the easier Lagunzad’s Trail and the more challenging Leonardo’s Trail.
  • All guests should register in Ecozone Visitor Center, the local government arm that manages tourism in Sta. Ana. Advance reservation is not necessary but encouraged, contact Ms. Roselyn Foronda at 0917-7809302.
  • If you are going to Cape Engaño Lighthouse by boat, the rate is P2800 for a boat that can fit up to six persons, P3,000 if you are coming from Anguib Beach.
  • Gael (of and I, highly recommend Kuya Edwin Tabucol, a local of Palaui Island. Contact no: +639269064657. He has a boat that can be rented to take you to the lighthouse and to Palaui from San Vicente. He can also guide you to the lighthouse. (All tours are now handled by the Ecozone Visitor Center, if they happen to assign Kuya Edwin to you as guide, say hello to him for me! :D)
  • If you plan to head north to Babuyan Islands, there is a ferry the leaves every morning of Tuesdays and Fridays from San Vicente Port to Camiguin and Calayan Islands. Camiguin is around three (3) hours from San Vicente Port, fare is P320.00 as of December 2010. Calayan Island is around five hours away, fare is P640.00 as of December 2010. The return ferry leaves Camiguin and Calayan every Wednesdays and Sundays morning. (Schedule is subject to change.)
  • Ferry from San Vicente Port going to Batanes is seasonal and operates only during summer/calm seas and weather (usually April and May)
  • The last trip of van going to Sta. Ana from Tuguegarao is 530PM
  • The last trip of van going to Tuguegarao from Sta. Ana is 1PM
  • For other information and tips, please visit The Pinay Solo Backpacker’s Palaui Island Travel Guide
  • The 27th and 28th seasons of reality show Survivor US Edition already finished shooting in the island
Palaui Island
The beautiful cove below the lighthouse.
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263 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Palaui Island (Updated)

  1. I will be in:
    Tuguegarao- July 5-6, 2016
    Aparri-Palaui- July 6-9, 2016

    Anyone who happens to be in these places on the above dates? You may contact me through 0998-574-6540.

  2. Hi Good Day,

    Me and my friend planning to go on palaui island June 24-26. Anyone want to join?kindly txt me 09178900994. Thanks

  3. Me and my housemate will be at Palaui by May 14-15 anyone would like to join to chip in for the Bangka’s Fair Php 3,800 for the 4 tourist spots the more the merrier! since 8 pax is the max for the Bangka contact me if possible 0998-956-2788 or 0915-365-8342.

  4. Hi! My friend and I will go to Palaui this April 27-April 30. 2 lng kmi. We plan to stay 2 nights in the island. If you want to join feel free to contact us. 09718876853

  5. hello,

    we are going to palaui island by april 16 .we are only 2 who wish to join us
    so we can save the boat fee.
    thank you,
    ate beth

  6. Hi,

    Me my GF will go to Palaui from May 6 – 7, 2016. Since this is just a short trip, hope you can help me make my stay there worthwhile by suggesting places I should skip or visit.

    Thank you

  7. Hi Phoebe, thank you for the response, however, we intend to go to Palaui sometime May, probably first weekend.

  8. Hi,

    We’re goig to palaui on march 24 thursday.. 2 lng po kmi.. we’re looking for person/s who wants to join us…. pls contact me at 09176767014…thanks

    1. hi lui! kelan ang plan nyo this may, 2016? pede pong mgjoin sa group nyo just in case ung day eh sasakto sa plan.. thank you!

    2. We will be on that place May 14-15 since we have other plan to visit Callao cave lets share the Bangka’s fair if this is the same date you will be going

  9. Hello joy kung decided kayo mag join sa callao cave bale april 15 nasa san vicente na kami mag stay na lang muna kami dun home stay wait na lang namin kayo april 16 early sana maka rating na kayo para makanpag start tayo maaga mag camping kami sa punta verde then early am ng april 17 balik na ng san vicente port then sta ana to tugeugarao start naman ng callo cave tour after lunch

  10. Hi! We’re going to Palaui on Feb 26. Cape Engano, Anguib, Punta Verde and Crocodile island. We’re only three and the boat can accommodate 8. Pls let me know if you’re interested to join us! 🙂

      1. Hello joy , we are going this april 16 thats Saturday 3 lang kami if you want , you can join us to save sa boat fee.

        Ate beth

        1. yup go kmi apr16.,c abbey sarmiento bk gusto n dn sumabay pra sakto 8 n tyo.overnayt b tyo s homestay?kc malabo ung blikan s isang arw eh.2pm ang last trp ng van sta.ana to better kht sundy morning n aaliz s palaui.agree b kyo dun?tnx

    1. hi abbey bk gusto nyo iresked ng apr16 pgpunta nyo s palaui?5 n kmi s grp at mkkatpid tyo pg makumpleto ntn ung 8pax s boat.join tyo s grp ni teh beth.tnx

      1. Hello joy yes april 16 nasa palaui na kami mag stay lang kami sa tuguegarao ng april 15 side trip kami sa callao cave then early am ng april 16 sa palui island na kami mag overnight kami sa island april 17 back to san vicente

        1. ksma nyo b c abbey?hehe.c kc pl ung isang ngttnong ng mkksma.,cgeh ok kme s apr16.,s everlastng bus kmi sskay drecho sta.ana n un.12 to 4pm my byahe cla sta.ana.mga b4 6am apr16 nsa sta.ana termnl n kmi.

        2. 6am p ata ang trip ng van going sta.ana. bk gusto nyong mg-abang n s everlstng termnl s tuguegarao ng mdaling arw pra dun n kyo sumkay pa-sta.ana?tx tx tyo pra maupd8 q kyo if mga wat tme drtng ang bus s tuguegarao.kc qng 3pm ang aliz ng bus s mla,mga mor or les 3am nsa tuguegarao n ang bus.mgbababa lng xa ng mga pasenger or pdla bound to tuguegarao den go n xa sta.ana.pra lng ms maaga tyo mkpgstart?hehe

        3. wow my callao side3p pla kyo?prang gusto q tuloy sumama kc ung ksma q hnd p nkkpunta dun.ayw nyo xa gawin ng sundy apr17 rayt aftr ntn mg-sta.ana?
          pra mksama kmi.qng ok lng nmn.tnx.hehe

          1. Hello joy pede rin naman kasi ang flight namin pabalik manila is april 18 pa naman so pede pa kami mag overnyt sa tuguegarao kailangan nga lang by 1 pm to 2 pm nasa tuguegarao na tayo if ever uwi na kayo ng manila ng april 17 meron ba na bus sched gabi pabalik manila if hindi na kayo mag stay sa tuguegarao ng 17 april. Alis tayo ng san vicente or sta ana ng 8 or 9 am makaka rating tayo ng tuguegarao ng mga lunch time then start 1pm sa callao cave 😊 Let me know kung decided kayo para di ako mag book ng april 15 accommodation bale book ko na lang april 17 😊 09175171414 # ko ate beth

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