Calayan Island, Calayan, Cagayan
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Have you been far far north of North Luzon? Batanes? Pagudpud? Anguib Beach? Palaui Island? Paoay Sand Dunes? Bangui Wind Mills? Calle Crisologo? Callao Caves? Etc. Well there is one place you should add to your bucket list if you plan to go on an adventure far up north of our beautiful Philippine - Calayan. Since my first post here in Loloo about Calayan is a bit of a flop, i wanted to make a more decent review for Sibang Cove in Calayan, Cagayan. Here is my story…
My life during the first quarter of 2017 was crazy making a living as a freelance designer/artist, working non-stop for 24 hours a day to finish projects, answering to clients, handling subcontractors and workers, going from one place to another, irregular eating due to stress and pressure, and getting ill after accomplishing everything. I needed a break. I needed a vacation. I needed bit of solitude to reenergize. So I thought of going on a short vacation somewhere not so far from home (I came back to stay in my hometown in Isabela province since I left my job in Intramuros, Manila for more than a year now).
I scanned the map of North Luzon, googled for someone to become my guide and without further thinking I packed my clothes, my tent and my camera phone to embarked on a backpacking adventure on May 2017 going to the island of Calayan.
From Isabela, I took a UV Express van going to Tuguarao City (2 hours travel) then I transferred to another UV Express van going to Claveria, Cagayan where there are boats going to Calayan. But the boat ferries only leaves early in the morning so I checked-in at an affordable dorm for an overnight stay.
Due to my excitement I woke up early the next and went straight to the Fish Landing port of Claveria around 5am. Being the second passenger to arrive I was able to sit at the best spot on the boat. I was the only tourist among the passengers so I really felt a bit more of an adventurer (haha). The boat’s motor needed a bit or repairs so we left around 9:00 AM instead of the regular departure at around 7:00 in the morning. There are also boat ferries coming from Aparri, Cagayan which is closer to Tuguegarao (2 hours land travel). But I chose to stay in Claveria (4 hours travel from Tuguegarao) because I have been there more than twice.
The four (4) hours travel from Claveria to Calayan is one of the most memorable boat ride I have experienced. Most people would say that the four hours travel would is long and could be stressful and dangerous. In contrary, ocean was surprisingly super calm and assuring. There were even spots where the ocean water has a dark-blue milky texture. The water surface was so smooth it is sublime. And when you reach the waters between the islands of Fuga and Dalupiri, the water was clear and shallow you can see the corals and fishes below. And a bit further, the island of Calayan struck a view like an island oasis for wandering souls. Solid puffy clouds hovering over it like a banner of greetings coming from nature.
Calayan is a municipality of Cagayan Province. It consists of barangays covered by the Babuyan Group of Islands which is located just below Batanes of group of islands. The main and largest island, where the town center is located, is Calayan.
Around 1:00 PM, the boat docked on a small beach and I phoned my tour guide as soon as my feet touched soil and I waited for a few minutes. Nearby was a halo-halo stall. I ordered one to fill my appetite. The halo-halo is made of crushed ice, gulaman, sweetened banana, boiled kamote, sugar and condensed milk topped with coco jam. It’s quite a simple concoction but the coco jam made it super delicious. Eating halo-halo, resting in a kubo (hut), conversing with locals, everything started smoothly.
.Then came my guide driving a habal-habal while a bit drunk. Hahaha. He told me that for some locals, siesta may involve drinking liquor. I just laughed at him and I told my guide to take me straight to Sibang Cove. We dropped by first on a local grocery to buy food, snacks, water, a bottle of booze and a lighter.
Going to the cove was not to easy. Sibang cove is walled with mountains and hills, and the concreted roads leading to the beach are steep, up and down. So we went on foot for more than 30 minutes. The climb was hard but every step was worth it being surrounded by natural landscape and fresh breeze. We arrived in the beach at the perfect time of the day where the mountains served as shed from the scorching sun. A chiaroscuro effect in real life.
A slice of Paradise. That is how I describe Sibang Cove with its soft cream-colored sands, crystal clear water, its gentle waves and picturesque mountains and rock formations. The cove covers a few kilometers. Shade of trees and plants dwell on the side of the rock walls of the mountains perfect for picnics and relaxing. There are no residential houses or cottages in the area. Fortunately, there are installed faucets so we did not need to worry about taking a shower after diving and dipping in saltwater.
We set up the tent somewhere and relaxed for the remaining hours of daylight. Other locals were already enjoying at the beach when we arrived. The calming atmosphere and the surrounding nature make it feels like time is irrelevant in this side of the world.
As noon closes to evening people start to pack and leave until no one was left but me and my guide. This part was also thrilling as we gathered driftwoods and wickers to set up a bonfire. Yellow flames lit the darkness around us as me and my guide killed the night chatting, drinking and eating. And we slept quietly for the rest of the night.
I woke up very early the next day. Excited to see the sunrise, dip in the cold sea water and explore the beach. For a few hours of my life I have tasted a slice of paradise, devoured it and it will stay with me for the rest of my life. A taste of paradise that is Sibang Cove.
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This is Sibang Cove, it is one of the most serene place I've ever been here in the Philippines. It is located in the island of Calayan (part of the Babuyan Group of Islands) in Cagayan. The cove has a fine white sand and crystal clear water. Going to the island took us 15 hours bus ride plus 6 hours boat ride. I recommend you to explore the island while just few have been here! :)
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I loved it.
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