Tuguegarao (Photo: Lester Ledesma)

Where to stay

  • Balai B+B, 53 Burgos St; +63 78 844 5283. Its strategic location at the heart of the city means that it’s minutes away from the local market, church and various restaurants.
  • Hotel Lorita, Rizal St; +63 78 846 2565. This simple but modern hotel is a mere two-minute walk away from St. Peter’s Cathedral.
  • Hotel Roma, Bonifacio St; +63 78 844 1057. An economy hotel with spacious and comfortable rooms, and free WiFi.
  • Ivory Hotel and Suites, Buntun Highway; +63 78 844 1275. A family-friendly hotel with a sizeable swimming pool. Located a mere 15 minutes from the bus terminal and the Tuguegarao domestic airport.

Where to eat

  • Billy Jack’s Panciteria, Buntun. Sample pancit batil patung (noodles with minced beef), the restaurant’s specialty dish.
  • Corazon Cadatal Meat Products+63 927 772 6600. Try the longganisa (pork sausage), which has an addictive garlicky flavour. It’s best served with warm rice and spiced pinakurat vinegar.
  • Fat Kid Inside, Maharlika Highway, Pengue Ruyu; +63 917 896 8737. Order the restaurant’s famous Fat Kid burger, which is loaded with spam, crispy honey bacon bits, homemade aioli and more.
  • Jeff’s Panciteria, #70 Caggay Highway; +63 935 144 2696; facebook.com/JeffsPanciteria. Another restaurant that serves up pansit batil patung that’s pretty darn good.
  • Jomar’s Panciteria, Diosdado Macapagal Ave. Ask any local in Tuguegarao City where the best pancit batil paton is, and they will inevitably point you towards this popular restaurant.
  • Kusina Cagayana, Pan-Philippine Highway; +63 917 585 9288. Fill your tummy with a buffet lunch of mouthwatering Cagayan dishes and other Filipino fare.
  • Lavinia’s Secret Recipe, #1 Lighthouse Building, Luna St; +63 78 396 1677. For a filling and fulfilling meal, go for the Juicy Lucy, a humongous half-pound beef burger.
  • Local – Kanan + Pasalubong, Airport Rd. An excellent place for Ibanag cuisine. Order the sinanta (noodle soup) and pinakfu (sugar-coated and fried rice flour cake). The restaurant also sells local goods like Kalinga coffee and Guita body oil.
  • Luna StrEat Food Park, 19th A Luna St corner Burgos St; facebook.com/LunaStreatFoodPark. Find a variety of food options, from pares to Cubano sandwiches and churros, at this popular foodie hangout.
  • Tagums Pansiteria, Zamora St; +63 917 535 0352. Besides the local specialty, pancit batil patung, you can also sample seasonal exotic delicacies like beetle larvae and ants’ eggs.

What to do

  • Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat, Piat. A historical red-brick church housing a 400-year-old image of Our Lady of Piat, one of the most venerated images of Mary in the Philippines.
  • Buntun Bridge. At 1098km, this is the longest river bridge in the Philippines. Just 10 minutes from the city center via tricycle, it’s a great place to take photos with the Cagayan River as the backdrop.
  • Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center, Expo Building, National Highway, Provincial Capitol Compound; +63 78 846 7337. A simple museum that houses fossils, pottery products and other intriguing artefacts.
  • Callao Caves, Peñablanca. Located a 15-minute drive from the city, these fascinating limestone caves contain seven chambers, and are a top attraction in the Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape (a protected biodiversity area). You might even get to see a bat colony leaving the caves if you stick around at dusk.
  • Lapi Falls, Peñablanca. Nature lovers should take a two-hour bus ride to Lagum to check out this beautiful waterfall.
  • Palaui Island. Take a day trip and go trekking on this hidden gem of an island, which is a 30-minute boat ride from Tuguegarao.
  • Pinacanauan River. One of the largest tributaries of the Cagayan River. It is also a popular site for kayaking, white water rafting, boating and swimming.
  • Ride a kalesa. Go around town on a colorful kalesa (traditional horse-drawn carriage), which plies the roads alongside motor vehicles. You can rent one for half a day, or a full day.
  • Ruins of the Old San Jacinto de Polonia Church, Camalaniugan. Admire the remains of the old church, which was destroyed by a typhoon and earthquake in 1845. The church stands in the middle of a public park, which is popular among locals.
  • The Saint Peter Metropolitan Cathedral, Brgy Centro 10, Rizal St. Built by Dominican friars in the 18th century, this cathedral is one of the largest churches in Cagayan Valley.
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