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Cagayan Adventure: Palaui Island

Our adventure today takes us 457 kilometers northwest of kilometer 0 in Manila. Located in the municipality of Sta. Ana in the province of Cagayan, Palaui Island is every backpacker's / island hopper's dream destination.

The island was declared a National Marine Reserve on August 28, 1994. It is home to countless species of migratory birds, corals, fishes, and even plants. 
Palaui Island as seen from San Vicente Port
Palaui Island got into the international spotlight after it was used as the filming location for Survivor: Cagayan and Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Not only that, Palaui Island is placed in the 10th spot in CNN's World's 100 Best Beaches list.
Dos Hermanos Islands as seen from Palaui Island
Panoramic view of Palaui island from Mt. Kabo

My group visited the island to see its "raw" beauty. You see, the negative effect of becoming a popular island is the unsolicited improvements and constructions. Who knows, 3-5 years from now, Palaui Island would be one of those islands filled with resorts and other man-made structures. That's why we decided to visit it before it is too late. However, according to our guide, Kuya Nanding, it is forbidden to build structures on the island. The only inhabitants allowed to dwell in the island are the fisher folks who lived in Punta Verde years before the law prohibiting residing on the island was passed. The good thing of having them on the island is that they ensure the safety and cleanliness of the island.

Getting there: 

From Manila, ride a bus heading to Sta. Ana, Cagayan. From there ride a center-car to San Vicente Port. Once you reach the port, rent a boat to bring you to the island.
The boats at San Vicente Port
Another option is to ride a plane going to Tuguegarao City in Cagayan. From there, you can ride a bus or a van to Sta. Ana, Cagayan then transfer to a center-car to bring you to the port. I suggest you arrive early in Tuguegarao City. Most vans travel from 5AM -2PM only.

Places to Visit:
Cape Engano Lighthouse from the sea

The lighthouse up-close
Mt. Kabo
Cape Engano
Places to See Near Palaui Island:
Crocodile Island
Dos Hermanos Islands
Anguib Beach
Other Places to Visit:
  1. Punta Verde
  2. Fish Sanctuary
  3. Palaui Island Hidden Waterfalls
3-day Itinerary:
Day 1
-Departure from Manila to Sta. Ana, Cagayan - Travel time 12-14 hours.
(Note: Bring plenty of food. Think about a day's supply plus your breakfast for Day 2)
-Check in at any resort or hotel near San Vicente Port in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.
The furthest Kilometer Marker in Northern Luzon.
-You can use the remainder of the day touring the port area. I suggest you visit the 642 Kilometer Marker.
-You can also take time to buy food for your tour on Day 2.

Day 2
- Take a very early breakfast.
Our guide -Kuya Fernando
- Contact your tour guide (or arrive at the port early if you don't have one). You must leave the port early.
- Depending on your plan or the suggestion of your boatman, it's better to visit Anguib Beach first since it's the furthest and it gives you a chance to do a 360 degree tour of the island.
- After at least an hour of spelunking, you'd head to Engano Cove. You'd pass by the Dos Hermanos Islands and some islets on the way there. Sadly you can't visit the islands due to strong currents and its rocky shores. 
-It's your choice if you'd swim in Engano Cove or head directly up to Mt. Kabo.
-If you chose to swim then eat your lunch first before proceeding to Mt. Kabo. If you chose to hike Mt. Kabo then prepare to have your lunch there.
Posing at the lighthouse
-You could hike Mt. Kabo in just 15 minutes but the panoramic beauty from up there would surely keep you from leaving. It's also up there that you'd find the Cape Engano Lighthouse.
- After enjoying the view, you could then proceed to the waterfalls deep inside Palaui Island. 
- Then leave Engano Cove and do a 360 degree tour of the island. Tell your boatman to bring you to Crocodile Island.
- If you have time head to Punta Verde and rent a snorkel so that you could check out the Palaui Island fish sanctuary
Jerolynda Resort
-Another place to visit is the Jerolynda Resort. It has a nice beach with a nice view of Palaui Island and Crocodile island. 

-Close your day by renting a room at any hotel or home stay near the port. Don't forget to eat your dinner.

Day 3
- Wake up early to catch the first van to Tuguegarao City. Another option is to wait for the bus in Sta. Ana that would ring you directly to Manila.


  1. Lovely photos of Palaui on a pleasant weather. It is also splendid even on a rainy season (the time I visited it). The guide is correct in saying that the island is a protected landscape and seascape.

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog again Turista Trails!
      April and May are months where one can see Palaui Island's picture perfect beauty.
      I will try to visit it during the rainy season. However, the seas would surely be rough.

  2. I simply LOVE travel blogs because it makes me feel like I'm there right along with you. Thank you for taking us with you on your backpack adventure :)

    1. Thank you Jasmine for frequently visiting my blog. =)

  3. The island looks absolutely magical!

    1. Well it is Sabrina. =) My photos does not give justice to its true beauty.

  4. Palaui looks amazing. I love reading about places to travel will definitely add this to my bucket list!

    1. I'm really excited to see your adventure in Palaui Island. =)

  5. Oh wow, Palaui looks so dreamy and untouched! I didn't know that's where they filmed Survivor, I used to watch that reality show.

    1. Check out the Blood vs Water and Survivor Cagayan season.

  6. This island looks amazing! I love how untouched it seems!!

    1. That's true Chloe. That made this island a must-visit for those looking for a true escape from the city.

  7. Gorgeous scenery! I'd love to go on a boat ride on those sparkling blue waters. Dreaming of the sea/ocean every day during these hot summer times.

  8. Nice photos and of course nice place. This is a must-visit in the Philippines!

  9. This is amazing !!! I definitely want to visit now ! Thank you for sharing this beautiful journey ��✨

  10. I love Survivor! It would be so cool to visit one of the locales

  11. All the pictures of the island look amazing

  12. Holy goodness gracious! I've been itching to go to Palaui Island for like 2 years now. I heard so many good things about it, specially Engano Cove. Do you also do the #81provincechallenge? I haven't ticked Cagayan yet, but if ever, this is going to be my first stop! Thanks for this post, kapatid!

    1. Hi Polly! You should come visit Palaui Island! It's a hidden paradise.
      Yup, I'm also doing the #81provincechallenge. I'm already halfway thru. How about you?

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  14. Looks like you had a great adventure there in Cagayan! More adventures to go!

    1. Thanks Oscar. You should come check out Palaui Island as well. =)

  15. i've been roaming cagayan but i havent visited palaui island. will definitely bookmark this place the next time i plan to visit the province.

  16. wow this place looks incredible :)

  17. Didn't know of Palaui either but thanks for introducing me to this photogenic place. Would love to explore everything that you have suggested

    1. I'm happy that I got to introduce new places to you Anshul. I hope you get to visit this island soon.

  18. The water color, clouds & the bright sunny day is looking perfect on pictures. Looks like you had lots of fun.

    1. I sure had a lot of fun. You should come visit this place too. =)


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