Palaui Island, Cagayan (North) Itinerary: 3+1 days

No, this is not Batanes
Hiking, Beach, Island Hopping | Cape Engano, Palaui Island, Cagayan
Palaui Island, San Vicente, Province of Cagayan (North)
Hours from Manila: around 14 hours
Specs: Last kilometer marker for Luzon (KM 642), marine reserve, colonial lighthouse, white sand beach, light trekking, camping.

Public transportation/Buses to Santa Ana, Cagayan:
(here is a list of buses traveling from Manila to Sta. Ana, Cagayan North)
. GV Florida bus in Sampaloc, Manila (743-3809) leaves every 1230 and 1500 everyday: P airconditioned. (Cubao, Quezon City)
. Dalin Liner, Ballesteros Liner (Sampaloc, Manila) each have 1 daily trip to Santa Ana. They leave Manila at 1300.
. EMC transportation (715-1045) in Sampaloc Manila
. GCP Manny Transport Service Inc. (Sampaloc, Manila; 740-2955, 731-4123, 741-1436 & 731-3516)

. This is a regular beach-exploration itinerary.
. This itinerary is best for a 3-day long weekend. Just go straight to work when you arrive back in Manila on day 3.
. It is a good idea to incorporate this into a larger North Luzon tour itinerary if you’re planning to drive all the way there.
. To go to Palaui Island by commute, take a bus going to Santa Ana or Aparri and get off at Santa Ana bus terminal. From the terminal, take a quadcycle to San Vicente Port. When you get to the fishport, you can rent motor boats to take you to the island.
. For those who come from further south like Visayas or Mindanao, you may fly to Tuguegarao City instead. From Tuguegarao airport (TUG), hire a van to San Vicente or take a bus to Santa Ana (Caltrans, Armel Bus) and go from there (see above). The land travel time is about 2-3 hours.
. You will find the 642 kilometer marker in San Vicente. This is the last kilometer marker in Northeast Luzon tracing from Luneta in Manila!
. The boat ride costs about P600-P2000. It can accommodate up to 8 passengers and the ride takes about 45 minutes to the Cape Engano side of the island. Be sure to arrange your return trip the next day.
. Santa Ana is famous for gamefishing.
. There are no accommodations in Cape Engano. You will need to bring full camping equipment including potable water.
. The waters around Palaui Island is part of a marine reserve, so don’t forget to bring snorkel gear.
. Taste the seaweed ‘gamet’ if you happen to visit during harvest season.
. Ask your boatman where the freshwater spring is, so you can wash up there the next day. The island is actually a watershed having several waterfalls.
. Bring a flashlight when you go to the lighthouse for the sunset view.
. The lighthouse in Cape Engano is similarly constructed as the ones in Cape Bojeador (Ilocos) and Capones Island (Zambales). It is the northernmost lighthouse in the country and is still working (now solar-powered).
. The hike up to the lighthouse is pretty easy, with stone steps most of the way.
. From the top of the hill, you have a view of Palaui Island that is reminiscent of Batanes.
. On the northeast side of the island you can see two jagged islets: the Dos Hermanas (two sisters). Further away you can also see Camiguin (North) island.

. Taking a private car makes it easier to go around the greater Ilocos area, but travel time may be longer because of additional stopovers.
. You may also take the longer, albeit more scenic route to Santa Ana via Laoag (longer travel time).
. For a bit more challenge, try hiking the East side of the Island to the West. Take a 15 minute boat ride to Punta Verde where the trail jumpoff is located.
. The foot trail is about 7 kilometers long (trekking time of about 3 hours). It will take you through a coastal community, mangrove forest, inter-tidal zone, agricultural area, forest and some grassland before getting to Cape Engano.
. If you are not a happy camper, just squeeze all your beach and exploration activity during the day and come back to the mainlad (San Vicente) before dark.
. There is a handful of modest accommodation available in Santa Ana, for those who wish to spend the night on the mainland.
.There are also casinos, a naval camp and beach shores to check out in San Vicente area – a popular one is Anguib beach.

Budget estimate to be posted soon.

kilometer 642 marker in San Vicente, Cagayan

Cape Engano lighthouse hill

view of the cove from the top of the hill

Cape Engano lighthouse built by the Spaniards centuries ago.

*quadcycle is a 4-wheeled passenger motorcycle


  1. Anong month kayo pumunta, mukhang maulan thank you.

  2. Hi,

    We went there in late December. The weather was OK. I used my camera-phone to take these photos.

    Thanks for visiting!

    1. hi mam,

      ask ko lang poh, yung buong isla poh ba nang palui andun na poh lahat like, waterfalls, lighthouse, etc.?

      Nais ko po kasi isama ang aking mga kaibigan na mountaineer upang makita ang kagandahan nang isla at ma e.promote na proteksyunan ito.

      maraming salamat.

    2. ask ko na din mam, magkano poh ang pamasahe from manila to sta. ana via florida?

      salamat poh

    3. Hi,

      Yung lighthouse, malapit lang sa cove area. mga 40 minute hike to go there from the beach area. Wala kami napuntahan waterfalls, but there was a freshwater stream. dun pwede magbanlaw. We took a boat straight to the cove side of the island.

      Sinc mountaineers kayo, pwede start off on the other side of the island (facing San Vicente). Tapos trek daw is around 6 hours to the cove area. Expect nyo masukal yung trail since d naman sya reguarly dinadaanan.

      As for the fare... I'm not sure. Check with the bus company na lng...

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. gusto kung pumunta anyweekend of february...kaya lang wala pa ako kasama...sino gusto magjoin?

  4. Thanks but I am now a busy mom.
    Let me know how your trip went!


  5. Hi. I've been trying to call GV Florida to know their daily trip, but it appears their contact numbers are either inactive or just keep on ringing. Would you know their daily trip to sta ana from manila? thanks a lot Indie

  6. i want to go there too this holy week kaso wla akong nmn for those planning to go there..

  7. Hi Anonymous,
    Sta Ana Cagayan has a Facebook page - maybe the locals can help you with the schedules:

    Hi myztic_mourch,
    tell us about your trip!

    Thanks for dropping by!


  8. hi indie.. i wanted to know if august is a good month to visit palaui. i know it's near ilocos norte and batanes, thus making it a typhoon-prone area. what advice can u give? im on a long leave in august and i want to take advantage of it. thanks in advance :) PS. i find this article very helpful, tnx for the info! -rodneal85

  9. Hi rodneal85,

    August is ok, as long as there is no storm signal. Your boatman should let you know if it's not advisable to set sail. If that's the case, I suggest you stay on the mainland beaches like Anguib beach, or stay at the posh Sun City resort (and casino?), wait it out.

    Thanks for visiting!

  10. Hi just want to ask if may mga locals din po sa Palaui island?

  11. @radcamper

    There are locals on the side facing Santa Ana... That's about a 4-6 hour trek inland to reach the Cape Engano side.

  12. hi, i just want to ask about the it advisable to cook or bring baons nlang..thanks..

  13. Hi,
    either way would do. If you have plenty of time to kill and a portable stove, then ok lang mag cook. Just bring your own condiments, water, etc. And make sure you clean up after the picnic.


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