I walked towards the nearest open building I saw. Instead of renting a cheap room, I opted to wait for sunrise at Jollibee Tuguegarao. I ordered brewed coffee and surfed the internet to keep me busy while waiting for the breaking of the dawn.
Cagayan province is known for its pancit batil patung. The preparation is as complicated as its named. The noodles is cooked in boiling water with soy sauce and spices, mixed with a generous amount of chicken liver, veggies and topped with crunchy chicharon and egg; added with local vinegar with chopped onions to balance the saltiness brought by the sauce and a special soup as if the food is not tasty enough. The special order is too much for me, it was the grandest noodle meal I had and it was soooo good. I would go back to Cagayan just for that.
JP, my local guide boy, told me to post on the rock for a photo with the background of Divine Cave.
I needed to visit Callao Caves in Penablanca before going to Apayao. I met JP Taguinod a young cave guide during the weekends and a highschool student on weekdays. They were trained to explain to visitors the different chambers found in Callao Caves. I was sad that I was in a hurry while JP is leading the way from chamber to chamber, I remembered the names though- the first chamber is called the Aviary where hundred of swallows fly in and out; next chamber has the highest ceiling and is called The Divine where there is a small chapel, this is also what you see in most photos of Callao Caves; next we entered Dark Room; followed by the Cream Room where you can find sorbetes-looking stalagmites; after is the Jungle Area where the face of KingKong is seen along with other animal formations; the sixth chamber is the Lion’s Place where Simba and The Lion King can be found; lastly the Eroded which is self-explanatory. The cave system is reached by crossing the Pinacanauan river, one of the cleanest river in the province. After that you have to walk 184 steps towards the entrance of the caves. By the way, do you know that this cave is discovered by an American President Franklin Roosevelt in June of 1932?
I hurried back to town to catch the last trip to Donner, Apayao so I can reach Kabugao, the provincial capital before the day ends. I love unfamiliar dusty and rough roads like this. My tweet says,“Standing on a chicken bus to Kabugao. Tired of the long bumpy rides but excited to experience a different culture.” It was my first time to see live chickens hang outside the bus and noticed that it was a common sight for them. I felt a tourist in my own country, amazed at the sudden curves and deep gorges along the way. The bus was jam-packed with people as it was also Kabugao Town Fiesta. After more than 3 hours of rough ride, I arrived at the town proper. Locals asking why I’m in town, surprised that I was traveling to a place where I don’t know anyone. I rented a room at Ukkong Lodging House for Php150 and watched the cultural dance presentation inside the gymnasium before I went to bed. It was still early but I have to be awake before 4:00am because there is only one bus traveling to Solano, Cagayan tomorrow.
Chicken bus to Kabugao, Apayao. Literally.
*Chicken buses or tranbilla are colorful buses that are common in Latin American countries. They transport not only passengers but also goods like vegetables or even livestock such as goat or the most common- chicken. Obviously why it is called like that. Here in the Philippines there are lots of chicken buses that ply the far-flung provinces especially in Northern Luzon and Mindanao.
Route: Junction Luna, Cagayan – Tuguegarao City – Callao Caves – Tuguegarao City – Conner, Apayao – Kabugao, Apayao
Expenses for Today: Php746
120- bus luna to tuguegarao 3.5hrs
70- pancit batil patung
30- tricycle 30mins
20- banca RTrip
20- entrance to caves
50- guide fee
100- tuguegarao to conner 2hrs
50- conner to kabugao 1.5hr
150- ukkong lodging house