Lakbay Norte Diary Day 2: Cagayan and Kalinga

January 23, we traveled for eight hours from Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija to Tuguegarao, Cagayan for our second day of Lakbay Norte adventures. At half past four in the morning, our bus stopped in Las Palmas de San Jose, Lakbay Norte 3’s home in Tuguegarao.

I was partnered with Ivan Bautista, the official photographer/videographer of the tour and we checked-in to a twin bed room on the second floor. The room and the entirety of the hotel is nice and hippie. Owned by the family of Mrs. Baby Guzman, Las Palmas is their family’s residence before they opened it to the public as a hotel.

Mountain after mountain, the scenic Cordillera Mountain Range is a visual treat

I wanted a quick nap to feel the comfort of my soft bed but with our tight schedule, sleep was a luxury. Right after we settled in, we gathered at the lobby and met Mr. Anton Carag of Adventures and Expeditions Inc., the team that handled our group in the Chico River whitewater rafting adventure.

The road from Tuguegarao to Kalinga is a visual treat that the two hours travel time faded unnoticed. We went top loading from Tabuk to Pasil, with the scenic Cordillera around us. It’s been seven years since I last visited Kalinga and it seems that nothing has changed much, perhaps I just failed to notice if any. By nine in the morning, we finally reached Pasil, our starting point for river rafting.

We went top loading from Tabuk to Pasil

The organizers quickly setup the rafts and briefed us. We were grouped into three. Edcel, James, two Ivans (Henares and Bautista), Marcos and I were put in the smaller raft that is prone to flips and turns on strong rapids.

As expected, it was more than four hours of fun in Chico River with rapids ranging from 1 to 3 this time of the year. In our group, only Ed didn’t fell out of the raft, I twice. The two bigger rafts were able to pass soundly through the rapids without ejecting any of their load.

More than four hours of fun with the rapids of Chico River

On the final stretch, we were allowed to swim with the rapid. It was only mild but being dragged down by the current while bumping into the rocks was a bit scary. It was my longest two seconds underwater and I was hoping to pop out of the surface as quick as possible. Thank goodness, the only casualty was my footwear.

After our late lunch at Emilia’s Kitchenette in Tabuk, we headed back to Tuguegarao and arrived in our hotel late afternoon. While others already surrendered to the comfort of their rooms, Christian, Ed, Gael, Marcos, Hannah, Ivan Bautista and I went out for a night photo ops in Bunton Bridge. When we returned, the group was already enjoying the dinner hosted by Ma’am Baby of Las Palmas de San Jose.

Bunton Bridge after sunset

It was a tiring day but everybody had a great time. It was only our second day but it seems that we’ve already gone through a lot of stuff. I felt the load of the day’s activity when I lie on my bed. The light started to flicker as I quickly fell into slumber and my consciousness faded to black. I had a good night’s sleep and it was priceless.

Lakbay Norte is an eight day media familiarization tour of Northern Luzon organized by North Philippine Visitors Bureau in cooperation with Manila North Tollways Corporation, Victory Liner, Mc Donalds, Petron and Universal Robina Corporation.

Thanks to Cagayan North Conventions and Visitors Bureau, Adventures and Expeditions Philippines Inc. and Las Palmas de San Jose Tuguegarao.


  1. tabuk city in kalinga is a fascinating place – a perfect nestling place for adventurers and nature-seekers….. come and experience a one-of-a-kind adventure to our place…..

  2. rubie

    Part of luzon i haven’t explored yet…Thanks for this Mr. lakwatsero!

    I’m looking forward to see all of those from Tuguegarao and Kalinga very soon!

  3. Loved the White Water River Rafting experience! It was my first time to try it , first time to know that there’s such an activity offered in Kalinga, and first time to step foot in Kalinga.
    Didn’t expect to find Kalinga so beautiful. Noon akala ko pang transit lang siya going to Banaue, Sagada, or Tuguegarao.

  4. Whooo! I can’t eait to read more about your Lakbay Norte adventures! I think almost everyone wants to explore the northern mountains especially yung mga hindi pa nabblog masyado. =)

    1. Thanks Rob 🙂 Sana sipagin pa, haha! Ang effor magsulat eh 😛

  5. It would be nicer if you can post the addresses and contact numbers of the service providers that catered to you at each of your stops and adventures. Thanks very much.

    1. Sure Joey! I will update each post on my free time 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. Norte has always a distinct charm you’ll dream about at night… nice read.
    Will also be heading there this Summer!

    1. There are so many things that we can do in the North! I hope people will take their time to rediscover it. Norte is such a magical place 🙂

  7. Wow! Look at that first photo. It’s so panoramic I can’t help but wish to get to see it every morning from my window. Last pic is as perfect as well.


    1. Thanks Lagalag. Yes, it will be awesome seeing the mountains every morning from your own window! 🙂

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