Tuguegarao City, Cagayan: What Makes Warmest City Even Hotter
“Ading¹, san punta mo?” (Ading, where are you going?) asked a lady who helped me drag my heavy pack inside the half-filled jeepney in Santa Ana. “Tuguegarao po”, and she replied in an irritated tone, “Init dun, e!” (It is hot there) as if she’d never go back to provincial capital. Does the heat scorches like fire that the word itself, Tuguegarao, has become synonymous to the hottest city in the Philippines. So let’s warm up and find out what sets Cagayan‘s fiery city of Tuguegarao ablaze.
Fruit vendor in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
Philippine temperature averages 34 degrees Celsius during summer season but Tuguegarao extends to 38 degrees Celsius (that’s one notch higher than human body temperature) making the capital of Cagayan one of the warmest in the country. The heat even peaked to 42.2 degrees Celsius in 1912, the hottest temperature recorded in Philippine history – oh and uh, it occurred again in ’69. Getting fired up? Now let’s check out Tuguegarao’s hottest attractions.
Lola smiles for a snapshot while selling vegetables at the local market.
Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul
I started my Tuguegarao City stroll with a quick visit to the mid-18th century Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the biggest church within the city. Church architecture enthusiasts will truly admire the structure’s facade wrapped in vibrant red bricks accented by massive pillars and spiral columns painted in white. Did you know that a portrait of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral can be seen in Vatican City – how hot is that?
The brick-walled Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Tuguegarao City.
Connecting Tuguegarao City and Solana across the the largest river in the Philippines, Rio Grande de Cagayan, is the truss-type Buntun Bridge. At 1.098 kilometers in length, Buntun Bridge ranks as the longest river bridge, and second among the longest bridges in the country, bested by Samar and Leyte’s San Juanico by a kilometer.
“It’s More Fun-sit in Tuguegarao”
Pancit Batil Patong, a noodle dish made up of miki and an overload of toppings, is a celebrated delicacy in Tuguegarao. In fact, a component of the annual Pav-vurulun Festival is a Pancit Batil Patong cooking contest where numerous local panciterias compete for the title of Tuguegarao’s top pancit makers. Pancit Cabagan originated from the neighboring province of Isabela, in the town of Cabagan, thus the name. Instead of miki noodles as base, the Ybanag version of pancit uses egg noodles or canton and has its own set of toppings. Both can be found in many local panciterias around town.
Jomar’s pancit batil patung super special (P70.00)
Bret-tons pancit Cabagan Super Special (P70.00)
RGT’s Fastfood & Bulalohan’s papaitan
The Local Brew
The midday sun sizzles while I was walking on my way back from Buntun Bridge when I saw this local coffee shop called Barako Boy. A signage outside says they sell an array of coffee blends from Cagayan, Sagada, Benguet, Batangas, and they also have civet coffee, the world’s most expensive coffee. But of course, since I’m in Cagayan, I went for the local brew and even brought home one pack with me.
Barako Boy’s Cagayan Blend (P150.00)
Lovely ladies of Barako Boy
Bonifacio Street, one of Tuguegarao’s main thoroughfare, comes livelier when the sun goes out and portable boutiques made from tents and tables line up along the partially closed street. Hordes of shoppers and onlookers flock in the night bazaar in search of the trendiest items sold in marked down prices. And when you get tired of shopping, treat yourself with Tuguegarao’s wide variety of street food delicacies. Fish balls, squid balls, mami, goto, fried chicken – name it.
Night bazaar in Tuguegarao City.
They converted the sidewalk into an al fresco restaurant.
No need to go to Jollibee.
Never mind the heat when loads of things to do, places to see, and food to eat await curious travelers in Tuguegarao City. In addition, Cagayan Valley’s regional center serves as our main jump off point to attractions located in nearby and far-flung towns of Cagayan like Peñablanca, Piat, Iguig, Alcala, Lal-lo, Calamaniugan up to Santa Ana which we will tackle very soon. So gear up for another blazing adventure in Cagayan. Our road to Palaui begins here.
The 19th century Romanesque, Basilica of Our Lady of Piat in Piat, Cagayan
Basilica of Our Lady of Piat interiors
¹Ading is an Ilokano term for a younger sibling but can also refer to as a friend.
Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:
1. Directions. Tuguegarao City can be reached by land which takes 12-13 hours travel time. Direct trips coming from Quezon City and Manila are Victory Liner and Everlasting Bus. Florida Bus Lines also has direct trips to Tuguegarao City, however, as of this writing, the bus company is still suspended which makes Victory Liner and Everlasting Bus always fully booked. It would be advisable to book your tickets at least a day before departure. I was a chance passenger. Victory Liner Kamias Terminal 921 32 96
2. Bus fare cost P651.00.
3. There are also direct flights from Manila to Tuguegarao City.
4. Where to stay in Tuguegarao City. There are lots of hotels within Tuguegarao City. I spent the night in Pensione Joselina‘s economy room which cost P500.00 per night (good for 1 person only). Before I went back to Manila, I was with 3 friends and we got a family room which cost only P1,000.00 per night (good for 4 persons). Both rooms have their own cable TV, bathroom. No air conditioning unit on economy room. Pensione Joselina is located at 52 Aguinaldo Street, Centro 6 For reservations, call 0906 930 13 13.
5. Getting in, out, and around Tuguegarao City. Places within and on the outskirts of the city can be reached via tricycle (“traysi” is the local term) which cost P10.00-P35.00 only. Other traysi drivers however tend to overcharge. If going out of the city to different towns (or other provinces), public transport vans have designated terminals depending on where you are going. Fare from Tuguegarao City to Santa Ana, the farthest north, cost P180.00
6. Where to eat pancit? There are so many panciteria’s in Tuguegarao City. Which one is best I don’t know. But I tried Jomar‘s pancit batil patung and Bret-ton‘s pancit cabagan. Pancit’s range from P35.00 – P70.00 and it’s good for two persons.
7. A friend recommended RGT’s Fastfood and Bulaluhan. It’s an established local eatery which prides of papaitan, dinakdakan, and of course, bulalo.
8. Barako Boy is located at Magallanes Street cor. Luna Street. It’s behind People’s Gym and Tuguegarao Police Station. Civet Coffee can be purchased by order, the rest are available everyday. They serve hot or iced coffee. To know more about their coffee’s check out their Facebook page.
9. This is my 1st post on The Road To Palaui series.
10. More destinations in Biyaheng Cagayan
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13. Drive safe and happy travels to everyone.