Passing Through Cagayan

I crossed the Ilocos-Cagayan boundary at 10AM on the third day of my North Luzon Loop Ride. I planned to take a more risky and off-beaten route into the Cordilleras and spend the night in Sagada. It’s an ambitious plan since I have none or just a few bits of information about that part of Cordillera Mountains. I didn’t worry about it when I was planning this trip and I don’t plan of worrying about it now. Anyway, it is still 250 kms away.

cagayan_cover

I still have a lot of ground to cover. One whole province to be exact. The province of Cagayan. Do you know how many bridges connects the province? We will see them later on. “Let’s cross the bridge when we get there”. Sorry, I can’t resist.

Cagayan is one of the five provinces of Region II – Cagayan Valley. It’s name was derived from the tagay trees that grows along its rivers. Catagayan means “where the tagay abounds”. That’s one version but I prefer the one that suggests it was taken from the Ilokano word “carayan” which means “big river”. That “big river” also happens to be the longest and largest river of the Philippines – the Cagayan River, also known as Rio Grande de Cagayan.

Highlighted route is 400 kilometers from Pagudpud to Sagada

Highlighted route is 400 kilometers from Pagudpud to Sagada

After a short, twisty road near the Ilocos-Cagayan boundary, the terrain started to change. The mountains turned into ricefields and the roller coaster-like roads became endless stretches that seems to go on forever.

I was tempted to take a peek of Lakay-lakay in Claveria but i have a tight schedule for the day.

I was tempted to take a peek of Lakay-lakay in Claveria but i have a tight schedule for the day.

I finally found a Petron Gas Station in Claveria, some 40 kms from Maira-ira Beach. I rested for a while, ate some crackers and rehydrated. I inspected the motorcycle and I was impressed with the tires in particular. I’m a first-time FDR Genzi user and the front tire has not given me a scare yet. The rear Mizzle M700 tire meanwhile is somewhat worn-out but still has good traction. It also got pierced by a nail a couple of weeks before this trip.

I'm glad m y tires weren't giving me any sort of problem.

I’m glad m y tires weren’t giving me any sort of problem..

Cagayan, like most of the Region II is a valley. It is bounded in the west by the Cordillera Mountains and in the east by the Sierra Madre Mountains. Between the two massive mountain ranges are hundreds of thousand hectares of agricultural land. It’s one of the top provinces in corn and rice production in the country.

A seemingly endless stretch with farmers drying palay on the side of the road

A seemingly endless stretch with farmers drying palay on the side of the road

I cruise around 80-90 kph but nothing over 100. Dhona is not that young after all.

I cruise around 80-90 kph but nothing over 100. Dhona is no longer that young after all.

I was getting a little comfortable riding at top speeds on the seemingly endless highways when I saw a crowd in the middle of the road.

An accident! A truck versus a motorcycle..

An accident! A truck versus a motorcycle..

I don't know what led to the accident but from the markings on the pavement, I'm sure the motorcycle was dragged for a while.

I don’t know what led to the accident but from the markings on the pavement, I’m sure the motorcycle was dragged for a while.

Good news was there wasn’t any blood or brain-matter on the road. I sure hope everyone involved was OK. I was a little shaken up so I took it easy on the stretches.

Still more stretches and more bridges.

Still more stretches and more bridges.

Cagayan is about 100 kms long and the river runs that whole length, completely bisecting the province from the south all the way to the north. There are many bridges in Cagayan of course, but did you know that ONLY TWO BRIDGES crosses Rio Grande Cagayan.

This one is Lukban Bridge in Abulug Cagayan.

This isn’t one of them. This is Lukban Bridge in Abulug Cagayan.

Cagayan River and its tributaries

Cagayan River and its tributaries

Here’s one..

MAGAPIT BRIDGE

cagayan_magapitdhona

Magapit Bridge is the first suspension bridge in Southeast Asia opened in 1978 so it is only fitting to call it the “Golden Gate of Cagayan”. 

It is located in Lal-lo, Cagayan 150 kms from  Pagudpud and 70kms from Tuguegarao.

It is located in Lal-lo, Cagayan 150 kms from Pagudpud and 70kms from Tuguegarao.

It was so hot, I took shelter on a worker's shed on the bridge.

It was so hot, I took shelter on a worker’s shed on the bridge.

Being a suspension bridge, it sways and shakes quite noticeably.

Being a suspension bridge, it sways and shakes quite noticeably especially on high winds or heavy vehicles.

The mouth of the river in Aparri is some 30 kms from the bridge.

The mouth of the river in Aparri is some 30 kms from the bridge.

During this time, temperatures reached around 37 degrees Celsius so instead of eating lunch, I skipped to dessert!

Rice or Halo-halo?

If you must choose only one…Rice or Halo-halo?

The restaurant was a kilometer away from the bridge and has a partial view of Magapit Bridge.

The restaurant was a kilometer away from the bridge and has a partial view of Magapit Bridge.

The palace beside it might offer a stunning view of the bridge and the river but I didn't check.

The palace beside it might offer a stunning view of the bridge and the river but I didn’t check.

I pressed on for Tuguegarao City. I wish I researched more on which roads to take. Traffic was heavy on the major roads.  I only stopped to ask for directions and to refuel. During my first travel up north, we spent our first night in this city.

Traffic was bad Tuguegarao City.

Traffic was bad Tuguegarao City.

While weaving my way through traffic, I came upon another bridge. I thought it’s just one of the numerous bridges of Cagayan.. I quickly realized it wasn’t when it took while to traverse it.

BUNTUN BRIDGE

caganayn_buntun-solano

It took a while to cross it because it is the second longest bridge in the Philippines at 1.098 kms. It is narrow so stopping on the bridge was not an option even for a motorcycle. This is the other bridge of the only two bridges that spans across Cagayan River.

There were 14 sets of trusses so it was deja vu for a while.

There were 14 sets of trusses so it was deja vu for a while.

At the other side of the bridge after Tuguegarao

At the other side of the bridge after Tuguegarao.

After Tuguegarao, I started getting an “uneasy” feeling in a good way. I know an adventure has started. I intentionally didn’t research extensively on the route to add a little excitement to the trip. Besides, there isn’t that much I can learn even if I try to.

Asking for directions, I was repeatedly told it was impossible to reach Bontoc before nightfall. I still proceeded to Tabuk..

Asking for directions, I was repeatedly told it was impossible to reach Bontoc before nightfall. I still proceeded to Tabuk..

I was ecstatic as Tuguegarao faded on the side mirrors.

I am entering Kalinga, Cordillera Administrative Region.

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About Dom de la Torre

The rider is a 20-something Filipino that rides a Honda Wave 125cc underbone. He knows little about motorcycles yet loves the experience going places on two wheels. Rider Ako is a motorcycle-slash-travel blog. The rider not only shares to you travel destinations and what to see there but also the experience of getting there. You will read about the thrills and adventure when he rides solo, the romance of riding in tandem, the camaraderie riding with a group, the excitement participating in events, and anything that he thinks you might find interesting.When he's broke and the fuel's empty, he will share stories about motorcycling how he sees it through his helmet visor.
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8 Responses to Passing Through Cagayan

  1. wow…i’m also getting excited…
    can’t wait to read more of your adventures…

  2. Great ride report sir. I admire your passion. We should ride together sometime!

    P.S.

    Hilig ko rin kumuha ng mga accident pics to remind me that I need to slow down at times when riding through the endless highways here in the Philippines…

  3. Aeon Prime says:

    living the dream bro, ride on and ride hard

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