Zentraveler travels north to Santa Ana in Cagayan Valley, Philippines

Landing Tuguegarao Airport

As I have the incurable travel bug there is only one thing to do and that is to travel! Every trip starts the same way… first you do some research on the internet, than you book your flights and hotels for arriving and leaving and put together a bit of an itinerary with lots of extra time so you’re not just a travel junkie, but can discover new adventures along the way.

We left Cebu on Airphil Express arriving Manila one hour later then flew on a small two prop plane to Tuguegarao another hour flight. From Tuguegarao City we traveled by shared van to the small town of Santa Ana the northeast most town in the Philippines …travel time approx three and one half hours. You can also travel by bus from Manila approximately 12 to 15 hours along some scenic countryside.

We stayed at Jotay Resort located directly on the South China Sea operated by an Englishman and His Filippino wife.
The town of Santa Ana was smaller than I expected and they are just beginning to add more resorts, restaurants, and travel guides to take you to some very remote islands… visiting such things as the Cape Engano Lighthouse built 1894 and Calayan Island which is as nature provided with its powdery white beaches and for the adventurous unexplored rock formations and water falls. They can also arrange mountain trekking and complete tours of the Cagayan valley.

Jotay Resort

Santa Ana is billed as the Game Fishing Capital of the Philippines and has been host to several IGFA fishing tournaments. Surrounded by the waters of the Babuyan Channel, South China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean Santa Ana area is ideal for snorkeling, fishing, whale and dolphin watching, hiking or just lazing on one of the many beaches.

Beach Scene Jotay Resort

Santa Ana is geographically unique since it is closer by flight to Japan than it is to Manila and has direct links to Asian shipping routes. Sana Ana has a designated FREE ZONE where there are literally acres of used cars which have arrived here from many Asian destinations and become a great bargain for individuals and dealers to purchase cheap used cars.

We were caught in the first typhoon of the season. We planned to fish several days, but after seeing the 3 meter waves roll in we just had to make the best of it and adapt our plans. We traveled 15 min by motorized trycle to San Vicente Port… the jumping off point for island travel. In the distant you could see where the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean merge.

San Vicente Port

Jotay Resort is an excellent place to stay while in the Santa Ana area, they have clean air-con rooms, a swimming pool, an excellent restaurant with fresh seafood including: sashimi tuna and can make the arrangement to go island hoping and deep-sea fishing. From the resort you can walk to the local market which is just across the street from the bus stop… and while there don’t miss going to the Blue Plate Restaurant owned by a local Filipino and decorated in reto-antique wood carvings, glass balls, octopus and more.

Blue Plate Restaurant

We ordered their pizza billed as the “best pizza in the north” for more than 12 years and grilled tuna belly to almost die for. I knew there was a reason we love to travel. The owner also has a floating restaurant on a nearby river which you can reserve or share depending on the situation.

In conclusion even though we had bad weather we got to witness the dramatic South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, photograph the north-eastern most end of the road in the Philippines, had great meals and took some photos… plus got an idea how vast and unspoiled this part of the Philippines really is. We chalked this part of the tip to Research and Development and vowed to return for a longer visit and more exploration.

So there you have it. Sometimes even your best laid plans don’t fit your time and weather. Maybe this is the time to reflect on the secret to happiness. “Life’s Secret…I don’t mind what happens.” In leaving Santa Ana we took the local commuter van and headed to a nearby resort near the town of Baua, Gonzaga.

QUOTE: “I have travelled places Indiana Jones hasn’t been to.”… Josepth Okeefe (Bantayan Island, Philippines)

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Around the island of Tahiti The traditional method of “stone fishing” is still performed for special festivals. Dozens of outrigger canoes form a semicircle, and men in the canoes beat the water with stones tied to ropes. The frightened fish are then driven towards the beach and the men jump from the canoes yelling and beating the water with their hands to drive the fish ashore.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Travel Log…comes in handy for history and writing blogs.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Travel light, travel often … it’s all in zee travel.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?


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Filed under adventure travel, Blue Plate Restaurant, Cagayan Valley, Gamefishing Capital Philippines, Jotay Resort, Pacific Ocean, San Vicente Port, Santa Ana, South China Sea, Uncategorized

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