|A hermit crab I found in Palaui Island in Cagayan|
In doing so, I learned many things about the province. Here are some:
1. The fish “lurung” or “lidong” is the most expensive fish in the Philippines. According to local tourism officials, a kilo of the “lurung” costs some P3,500 because it’s challenging to catch them. “Lurung” belongs to the salmon family, they say.
2. Cagayan Province will soon open an international airport in Lallo, which local officials hope will increase the number of tourists in the region. (Currently, the airport is located in Tuguegarao).
|Batil Patun or Batil Patong|
3. The best time to visit Cagayan Valley is from January to June, before the typhoon season in the country sets in. It’s also in June that the region holds its Agao Nac Cagayan festival, which rivals the Sinulog Festival of Cebu in terms of grandiose.
4. Cagayan is the second largest producer of rice in the country, second only to Central Luzon. In fact, roaming around the region, we passed by hectares after hectares of rice farms. Greens all around.
5. Buguey is the “Crab Capital of the North” (some say “of the Philippines”), while Iguig is the “Pottery Capital” because it is rich in clay.
6. The local government of Buguey, a municipality in Cagayan, plans to dole out P32 million pesos to build a “Crab Hotel,” which will feature not only beautiful and comfortable rooms but other crab by-products as well.
7. Two of the most delicious delicacies in Tuguegarao are the “batil patun” or “batil patong” pancit and the “paoa.” The former is noodles topped with beef and egg while the latter is nuts covered in glutinous rice.
8. The closest mall in Claveria, a town bordering Cagayan Valley and Ilocos Norte (in the Cagayan side), is the Robinson’s Mall in Laoag—three hours away by land.
9. Claveria has some 30,000 residents, most are fisherfolk and farmers. But the town’s mayor said they are building several tourist attractions to create more jobs for its residents. She said the residents very much welcome the idea of building up the town’s tourism industry.
10. Claveria’s famous landmark rock formation “Lakay-lakay,” “Baket-baket,” and “Ubing-ubing” in Tagalog means “Old Man,” “Old Woman,” and “Young Person,” respectively.