Claveria (Cagayan, PH)

For those bold travelers willing to venture beyond the plush resorts and villas, the Philippines holds a startling mammon of genuine and varied beaches. With a very lengthy coastline from north to south, there are a number of out there that’s great for idyllic hideaways.

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Such place is Luzon mainland’s northernmost town, Claveria in Cagayan province — where tourism hasn’t yet concealed the local culture and its quaint beauty yet to be unraveled.

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My “wanderlusting” has led me to various sorts of discovery. My favorite are those that are tucked and unknown to many. That is why my visit to Claveria is one such happy travel. So what would one do (and see) in a town 10-12 hours away from Metro Manila? Read along.

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So there’s Taggat Lagoon, perhaps the most popular from among the locals. This is where the rock formations called Lakay-Lakay and Baket-Baket are found. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see this place up-close and even forgot to take a photo of it even from afar.

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With only a day to spend in Claveria, my friends and I decided to go on a short trek to a hill called Bantay Kalbo instead. It was a pretty easy sauntering with a lovely view of Sentinela Cove and Ubing-Ubing rock formation. Atop Bantay Kalbo, one would notice a cliff with an abandoned telecommunications tower. For a moment, the feeling is reminiscent of some of Batanes’ hills.

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After enjoying a breezy stay at Bantay Kalbo, we went down by the beach/cove area. The beach may not be of white sand, but the black, fine sand of Sentinela has its own charm. There are no resorts and only an improvised hut is found. We had a great time watching the rough waves pounding the rocks and shore of the cove. We spent some time walking, taking photographs and waited for the sundown.

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I am very much grateful that we went all the way to this place. Its location may be (very) far and away but its rugged beauty more than made up for the long travel we took. Indeed, nature has its own way of rewarding those who dared to take off-the-beaten paths.

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The following day, we woke up early and made our way to Cabicungan River where the sun rise can be viewed. It was a pretty chilly morning. We were also greeted by flocks of birds flying towards the mountains of Claveria. It was such a sight to behold.

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Then, off we went to visit Claveria’s church – Saint Joseph Parish. We also got the chance to walk our way around the town passing by their municipal hall and market. We had our breakfast and also got to taste one of Cagayan’s specialty – pancit batilpatong.

So there. Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

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