Philippines · 28 hotels available
Unravel the beauty that is Isabela City. Fill your head, heart, and memory card with new and unforgettable experiences in the “Queen Province of the Philippines.” This city of islets, surrounded by water, and full of white sand and waterfalls is wonderfully unique in its own right. Make Isabela Province next on your list and you’ll never regret.
Isabela is an agricultural haven and is also known as the “Corn and Rice Granary of the North.” In fact, it has the biggest corn processing facility in Southeast Asia. The province is also home to Magat Dam, a major source of water and power supply of the Northern Luzon. The second largest province in the Philippines may not be a really popular tourist destination, but give Isabela a try and you’ll blame yourself why you haven’t thought of visiting the province anytime sooner.
It is almost effortless to go to Isabela by air these days. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can take the plane almost any time you want, as major airlines offer flights to the city every day.
Several hours of sitting inside the bus could be an adventure in itself if you’d like it to be. Use the services of trusted bus companies like Victory Liner, Florida Bus, and Five Star Bus. Hop on buses heading to Cauayan, Isabela or Tuguegarao, Cagayan (and get off at Isabela). Travel time would take up to 9 hours.
Getting around the city depends on your itinerary. Their local unique transportation, habal-habal (a motorcycle modified to seat more than two people), is the way to go if you’re just going from one place to another. But a trip to this province wouldn’t be complete without trying any of their offered extreme adventures or enjoying yourself on one of their white-sand beaches, good thing they have also provided affordable boat rides (P100/person) to take you to your destination.
The first thing you definitely have to see in Isabela is the world’s biggest butaka! Butaka means a chair with long arm rest (also known as a rocking chair). The province made the record-breaking one that is 11.6 feet high, 20.8 feet long, and 9.8 feet wide. This Ilagan’s pride just proves why the city is called the “Furniture Capital” of Cagayan Valley, and it helps boost the local tourism industry.
If you want to bask under the sun at a fine beach, head on over to Dicotcotan Beach. It is a 3-kilometer long white beach with rock formations scattered around the area with a vibrant scenery of corals underwater. After that, get closely in touch with nature at the Bonsai Forest. Before going, secure a permit from the LGU.
The province of Isabela is not short when it comes to falls. Visit Dibulo Falls, a notable sight throughout the stretch of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Or go to Maconacon Falls. Lastly, don’t forget to check this out and include to your itinerary: Honeymoon Island, Magat Dam, Palanan Rainforest, Sinavulluan Cave, and Mororan River for more.
Feast your eyes with colorful parades, lively music, and tasty delicacies by joining one of Isabela’s festivals, like the Bambanti or Scarecrow Festival (a tribute for the bountiful harvest). The celebration is held yearly every January, so if you want to immerse yourself into some of the country’s fascinating cultural traditions, make sure to not miss this.
You could also stop, stare, and admire the raw beauty of nature. Isabela is the perfect place to go if you’re getting real tired of the crowded and polluted Metro Manila, as it is the epitome of a breathtaking countryside.
Enjoy their various falls, rivers, valleys, and beaches. In addition, if you’re up for it, dare to try the extreme adventures the city has to offer, like white water rafting in Abuan River and take a shot at the country’s fastest zipline, the Ilagan Sanctuary zipline which runs at about 85 kilometers per hour.
Are you still familiar with the barter system? It is a method where goods and services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. Today, it is still practiced by the local tribe of Isabela called the Dumagats. Before your trip, make sure that you bring at least two cans of sardines with you, as you can trade them with freshly caught lobsters with the locals.
Also, don’t forget to try their famous provincial dish, pancit cabagan. Josie’s Panciteria and Restaurant, located along Maharlika Highway, is known to serve the best pancit in town for a very modest price. You could also visit the Binallay Café and order inatata, which is a native rice cake, and binallay. You will not regret it!
Still up for some party? Have some fun at some of the most-visited hangouts in Isabela, most are situated in Santiago City though. Big Brother’s Grill, for one and a favorite among the locals, has good ambience and good music to match the great food they serve. Or try JB’s RestoBar that also has live bands playing while you enjoy great food with your friends. They are open from 5PM to 3AM.
There are countless numbers of hotels in Isabela province that are worth your every penny. According to really satisfied customers, the Hotel Andrea is dubbed as the best place to stay in Cagayan Isabela. Or you can also choose the Hotel Amancio and Dreamwave Hotel Ilagan to name a few.
If you’re traveling by land, the 7-to-8-hour bus trip to Isabela is full of zigzag roads. If you have motion sickness, bring a motion sickness medicine with you for a hassle-free travel.
The province’s tourism office has a reputation for being friendly, helpful and accommodating, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact them.
Buy your pasalubong at the Pasalubong Center in San Mateo, where you can buy their standout all-monggo creations. They offer monggo flour, monggo grits, monggo noodles, monggo coffee, monggo polvoron and monggo chips…so many that you wouldn’t run out of options!