Nature-ral High

Nature-ral High
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail

January 13, 2019

Sta. Ana Beaches - Rivals of the South

   Last year, we spent our Christmas 400KM away from Manila... in Isabela, Cagayan Valley. A few weeks before our trip, Adrian was advised by his pedia to visit a beach. To get some vitamin-SEA. Isabela is a town far from the coast, given this, we decided to visit Sta. Ana, Cagayan. I heard a lot of good review of the beaches around this town, plus we had never been there. One caveat though is that its 263km distance from Isabela!.
   It was a long drive but I love road trips. As long as the view and the road is good (and no traffic). For the first day we stayed in a resort in the city proper of Sta. Ana. Sta Ana is a sleepy town in the north of Luzon. There are a few vehicles but the city is self-sustaining. The resort have good rooms but for the food you have to cook it yourself (or ask he resort to do it for you for a fee). They have kitchen equipments and utinsils that you can use at no extra charge. The beach has black sand and the water is not that calm, this is because its December and northern monsoon is affecting the place. Part of the reason we stayed here on our first day is that so we can rest after a long drive as the more beautiful beaches is farther and more secluded. 


We saw this sight on our way to Tugegarao. It was so beautiful we had to stop to capture the scenery
Black sand beach of Sta Ana



Adrian enjoying the beach


Our dinner bought from the market near by


  For our second day we move to another beach 30 mins away from Sta. Ana - Pozo Robo. It is more secluded than the previous day beach and has finer white sand. The resort has nipa hut rooms that has CR and air-condition, but you have to cook and bring your food. They have common areas for cooking and dine. The beach thrives with lots of sea creatures. Similar to the beach in Sta. Ana, the water is not calm, but if you swim on low tide, the water is calmer as it broken by the shallow corals. 

   I believe long time ago. Only locals visit the place, and only backpackers spent overnight since they are the ones who has equipments. 
   The place is excellent that made the long drive worth it. But it will  be a long time before I visit the place again. 




The view of the beach from our cottage vantage point

Oor accomodation. It was made in the middle of the forest.

 

Beach at low tide. So many creatures

Hill beside the beach According to our neighbor there are stairs to reach the top. But we had no time to take the hike


Hermit crabs are very abundant in the beach,  among others

On the second day, we were the only visitors on the beach. 





The yard beside our cottage



Pozo Robo  resort. 




Gian made a Christmas tree out of seaweeds


The trail from the main road to the cottages. 




So serere and unspoiled





Side trip: 
   On our way, we stop over Tugegarao and drop by St. Peter Cathedral. It is an old churd made on the 1600s. We also drop by Magapit Suspension Bridge. The biggest bridge that connects the east and west of Cagayan river. 
The cathedral is colored red/maroon, which makes it exceptional



Even the door is well crafted.

The church ceilings is beautifully painted. Reminds me of Sistine Chapel


Longest and biggest suspension bridge in Cagayan which run over Cagayan river. 




November 2, 2018

Mt. Ngusong Kabayo + 4 Falls: A new good destination

For the past several years, the security condition (insurgency) in Rizal improved dramatically. For this reason, being a mountainous province, lot of mountains in the area had been explored and open to tourism. 
One of most recently "opened" mountains are the ones located in Brgy. Laiban, Tanay, Rizal. They are not that high as it just stand roungly around 600++ MASL. The brgy is also well organized. The guides are knowleageable and they have IDs while doing guideship. The brgy also give receipts for the registration fee. Before the actual start of trek, the guide do a short briefing that includes the coverage of the entire trek plus a little bit of history of the mountains. 
Barangay Laiban is approximately 7KMS from the main highway. The road is very rough plus you have to cross 9 rivers. Locals ride "habal-habal" (a chartered motorcycle) for their travels but for us we hired jeepney. Being in a remote area, the village is sort of secluded that they dont have electricty. 

Natures best creation





The team doing stretching before the hike


The trail is gradually ascending and is not yet overused. The best time to climb I believe is around 7-9AM as this is the time clouds start to form in the nearby mountains that is overlooking on the trail. Memorable spots are the "Ngusong Kabayo" Peak which literally translates to Horses Snout. The place are rock formations with a prominent figure that resembles an animal. Actually for me it looks more like a tiger or a t-rex. My theory is that the locals does not know a lot of animals, which they name the formation to the closes which is the Horse. And the other one is the "Tangwa" Peak, which translates for Edge. It is the highest point of our  hike and has a 360 view of the surrounding. 


View along the trail




















The gang in one of the pre-mark stations




One of the several rest stops made by the locals


One of the several rest stops made by the locals





Not just one, but all Traces!


Ngusong Kabayo rock formation




The Gang!


One of the good viewpoint. Its a long drop!


Tangwa peak


Yes we know Mon that you can do yoga!


Mary Poppins in Tangwa Peak


After Tangwa, its all descent. The trail now passes a river which consist of 4 cascading waterfalls distantly apart. The best water falls is of course the first one as the water in here is fresh from the mountains. But the best part to dip is the 3rd one albeit its not as clear as the first one. The other two is best for photo-ops. 









Tagpuan Falls. The cleanest of the four 






Mahangin Falls


Panat-In Falls. Here is where we took a dip. Water is very cold but refreshing


Kalaparan Falls




Water is almost dry as it is almost summer


Nearing the start of point. Beside here is another river (not on pic) which connects to the river of Mt Balagbag


So how did the hike went? I loved it! The place is still pristine as it was open to the public just 2 years ago. Plus the locals are kind and accomodating. They treat you as a visitor and not as a customer.