Travel Guide: Palaui Island (Updated)

*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 in 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 :P

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

Activities

  • 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

Tips

  • 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 www.thepinaysolobackpacker.com) 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.

129 Comments on “Travel Guide: Palaui Island (Updated)

  1. Hello, thanks for the great blog. We’re traveling to Philippines next month and because of the typhoon it seems that we need to change our travel plans (we were supposed to go to Cebu and Malapascua island.. so sorry to see all the terrible photos and videos online and hear how many victims the storm has :/ ). Now we’ve been thinking of traveling around Luzon region but we’re missing some great “paradise island”, beaches, nature etc.. So Palaui seems worth visiting for!
    Is there any restaurants etc in Palaui island or u need to take the food with u from the mainland (i.e. if planning on spending a whole day in the island)?

  2. Pingback: Palaui in my Mind | Lakwatsero

  3. can you go up the lighthouse? think this is a nice place for a pre-nup session

  4. punta kami in palaui and anguib dis august..may ma recommend ba kau na place to stay?..and nabasa q may survivor filming there til wen sila jan?any idea?

  5. Hello. I am visiting the Philippines this coming August. I wonder if this is a good month for sea travel :)

    thanks

    Ricky

    • it will be rainy season starting june-oct usually. but it still depends on where you are going

  6. good information. it really helps especially individuals looking for unique trips, like Palaui- our next target of visit. by the way what the best time to on that island…? …. thanks… HOW ABOUT THE BANAUE RICE TERRACES…?

  7. So there really is a camiguin island up north. I thought google maps had it wrong.

    Thanks for this blog entry. Planning on checking Palaui on my next trip to the Philippines!

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  9. Hi. I was just wondering about the boat that’ll take people to Palaui. Kailangan bang arkilahin yung buong boat? Or maghihintay lang ng ibang passengers?

  10. wow..how can we go there if we’re from pampanga?wt is da easiest trip if we dont like to go to manila anymore?

  11. wonderful wonderful blog and good information…well done..nakak..enganyo….beautiful place.thanks for sharing..:) (from negros)

  12. Just visited days ago the island and Sta. Ana, Cagayan! ANG GANDA!!!!!!!!!! Lalo na yung Cape and Anguib Beach! Lima lang kami nagsiswimming. They have future plans to develop commercially the place at buti na lang napuntahan ko na before it becomes na parang Subic and Boracay. Ibig sabihin, mamahal na yung mga bayad. But, more job opportunities for the Sta. Ana locals naman.

    Thank you for this travel guide by the way!

      • I agree. Boat prices have increased since the first time i went there from 500 to 2500 this time.

        • 2500 na ang chartered boat to transfer from sta ana to the island? tsk. di na pwede solohin? thanks!

  13. I love to see the light house and if lucky, discover the richness of the flora and fauna of the island. Hopefully me and my friends in Isabela will visit Palaui soon.

  14. Hi,

    My boyfriend and I are planning to have a road trip. We’ve been planning to visit this place since last year but never found the time. I’m meeting him at Ilocos Sur then we’ll drive to Sta. Ana. Can we leave the car at a hotel where we plan to stay? Is this advisable? I’ll appreciate your advise on this.

  15. Hello, Sir! Just want to ask where did you stay during your trip there. Is Jotay Resort the only accommodation located in front of the beach> Thank you!

  16. planning to go there this april – your blog is so helpful! thanks!

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