Travel hacks: Tuguegarao Airport, Cagayan

You can take advantage of the airport’s expanded and rehabilitated Passenger Terminal Building (PTB)

Callao Cave in Tuguegarao

Callao Cave in Tuguegarao

Transiting in Tuguegarao, the jumping-off point to the secret beaches and mystical islands of the northern Philippines? Here’s what you need to know as you pass through.

Post-typhoon makeover

The PTB suffered extensive damage after Typhoon Ompong struck Cagayan province in 2018. Passengers will now notice improvements — part of the second phase of the airport’s development project — which include the expansion of the pre-departure areas, paint touch-ups to interior and exterior walls, the installation of doors, windows and additional check-in counters as well as better toilet facilities.

First facelift

The development project was first rolled out in the years between 2015 and 2018. This consisted of improvement and widening works to the runway and taxiway (costing P10.67 million) and upgrades to the terminal (costing P45.99 million). A notable improvement during this time was the upgrade to the airfield lighting system, which has been crucial for the airport’s nighttime operations. According to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), more refurbishments are underway.

The north’s best-kept secrets

Visitors can explore Tuguegarao’s famous Callao Cave, Pinacanauan River and Buntun Bridge (the longest river bridge in the Philippines), but the bigger adventures lie beyond the city. Take a three- to four-hour bus or van ride to Santa Ana, and then hire a tricycle to San Vicente Port. From there, choose to hop to one of several pristine islands and beaches — such as Anguib Beach (dubbed “the Boracay of the north”); Crocodile Island; or the untouched paradise of Palaui Island, where you’ll find Siwangag Cove, Cape Engaño and Punta Verde.

Photo courtesy of Michael Wels/

This article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

Written by

Kate Alvarez

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