Cagayan, Philippines · 18 hotels available
Visiting Tuguegarao City is the perfect opportunity to experience Cagayan Valley’s diverse array of both man-made and natural wonders. Tuguegarao City has something for everyone—from wandering backpackers too tired vacationers.
Years of development has vastly improved this third class city’s infrastructure. Indeed, the last decades have turned Tuguegarao into a key transportation and communication hub in Northwestern Luzon. This has made it easier than ever for tourists to enjoy the valley’s rugged beauty and rich history.
If you want to make the most out of each stay, you can cut down on your travel time by flying to Tuguegarao. Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air offer daily flights to the city, which take only around 70 minutes from departure time.
Tuguegarao City is around 480 km from Metro Manila, so expect a travel time of around 12 hours if you’re taking the bus. Bus lines which have routes to Tuguegarao include Baliwag Transit, Dalin Liner, Deltra Bus Transit, GV Florida Bus, and Victory Liner.
Transportation within Tuguegarao is heavily dependent on the tricycle, which the locals fondly refer to as “tricy.” But if you’re looking for a more relaxing way to enjoy the city’s sights, then you can take one of the city’s many karitelas or horse-drawn carriages. Either way, fares start at Php 10 for both, gradually increasing for farther destinations.
The Tuguegarao Cathedral is one of the biggest churches in the entire Cagayan Valley. Also known as the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, its brick walls and Baroque-period designs date back to the mid-18th century. Meanwhile, a few blocks away lies the Ermita de Piedra de San Jacinto—one of the oldest chapels in the country.
You can also find the Cagayan Provincial Museum and Historical Research Center at the Expo Building along the National Highway. It is home to various ancient artifacts, prehistoric fossils, and preserved liturgical works from the Spanish times.
Because the main churches and other landmarks are close to each other, you can easily do a walking tour as you enjoy the city’s rich history. Afterwards, you can also stroll around the Mall of the Valley or have a taste of the local cuisine.
Aside from touring the city, you can also hire a tricy to take you the neighboring towns to enjoy the countryside. In the town of Peñablanca to the west, you can explore the seven-chambered Callao Cave. It is located in the Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape, and is one of the area’s most well-known tourist spots.
The town is also home to the Pinacanauan River, which is one of the country’s cleanest rivers. For a fee, you can go kayaking here with friends and enjoy the unspoiled waters that lead to the greater Cagayan River.
For breakfast, you can head over to Pan de Cagayan Baguettes and Pizza—an ancestral home turned into a bakery/pizzeria. They offer generous servings and a cozy vibe that’s perfect for your first breakfast in Tuguegarao.
If you want a taste of the local cuisine, make sure to drop by the Kusina Cagayana. Some of the more notable local delicacies you should order here include Pancit Batil Patong. This dish is made of stir fried noodles mixed with vegetables, and crushed pork crackling—all topped with an egg that’s fried sunny side up.
And if you’re looking for some pasalubong, you can get some tasty Ibanag Longganisa from the public market to take home with you. Just make sure to pack it in a sealed container to avoid annoying other passengers on your ride home.
Because the atmosphere is more suited for taking in wonderful sights, Tuguegarao doesn’t really have a vibrant nightlife scene. But that doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to go to after dark. Aside from having a cool and relaxed atmosphere with a live band setup, the Acustico Bar and Grill also happens to be close to the city’s major hotels. And if you’re in the mood for some dancing, you can head to the nearby JM Bar and Disco for a fun night out with your friends.
You won’t run out of moderately priced and comfortable rental options and hotels in Tuguegarao city. For the most convenience, the Hotel Lorita is located near the Mall of the Valley, the public market, and the Tuguegarao Cathedral. Meanwhile, the Villa Blanca Hotel offers more affordable prices for backpackers who are okay with taking longer walks to and from the city’s center.