Monday, May 16, 2016


Location: Quirino Province, Philippines

The Majestic province of Quirino

Quirino province is underrated as a tourist destination and I validated it when I visited it on March 25-26, 2016 together with three of my friends. The locals there are tourist-friendly and you will have a comfortable stay while having a vacation there.

Reaching Quirino Province via Cordon (Isabela)

Gaddi's Pastry Shop and Restaurant

It was a Holy Week and almost everybody are having their vacation. Unfortunately, we booked for our bus one week before our scheduled travel and so we were not able to get a bus reservation from Manila direct to Cabarroguis of Quirino. The only option left was to book for a bus travel from Cubao to Cordon of Isabela province where we left at 10:00 P.M. of March 24, 2016 and reached the Total Gasoline Station of Cordon at 3:15 A.M.

Taking early breakfast at Gaddi's Pastry Shop and Restaurant

We arrived so early in Cordon and though we have communicated to our local driver, Tatay Anton Jordan, who is based in Cabarroguis, we still have to wait for him as coming from his place to fetch us in Cordon is almost 30 minutes. Cordon is the first municipality of the province of Isabela and it borders Diffun, the first municipality of the province of Quirino.

Taking early breakfast of delicious Gaddi's donuts

Gaddi's is such a cozy place. Their donuts or other pastry items and beverages are expensive but they are worth a bite and a sip. Their comfort rooms are clean and look palatial. You would have mistaken them to be living rooms. I just love the place. Those who will drop by there for a stopover would be amazed of their facilities and the food and beverages they offer.

Joyce Homestay: An Affordable and Cozy Accommodation

Clean and orderly rooms of Joyce Homestay

Booking for an affordable, safe and comfortable accommodation was really our main concern when travelling considering that we are backpackers and part of the tour package was the provision of the best haven for us, which is the Joyce Homestay. It is located in Capitol Hills, San Marcos, Cabarroguis, Quirino just barely 30 minutes drive from Cordon, Isabela.

The spacious and modern living room

One thing that you will love Joyce Homestay is its hands-on owner, Tita Mina Manicap. She is happily married and have three professional children where one of them is an Accountant. She treated us beyond the business terms of being their transient occupants. The P350 a day stay in her place is worth it. The package includes a free breakfast.

A refreshing and lush garden of ornamental and flowering plants

There is a lot of space outside the house as one can refresh himself in the garden for an afternoon tea or coffee. The whole of the place is an eco-friendly environment which totally blends to an aura of a packaged mother nature haven. The accommodation is absolutely a good place to stay as the amenities and facilities address the needs of a guest before and after a tiresome day tour. There are four rooms to date with two rooms for four while the other two are intended for double occupants.

Preparing a DIY Meals

And not only that. Guests can cook their own food using their cooking wares and equipment and dine using their dining wares and cutleries all for free. If you want them to cook for you own meal, you can pay a minimum amount and guests have the option also to order meals from them. Hmmm . . . they love to serve delicious salad. I just love their salad. They cook delightful meals.

A party venue for free

Staying at Joyce makes guests color their night red as it becomes vibrant as vidoeki can be used for free all night long. The sky is the limit for partying. In fact, it was Tita Mina who invited our travel acquaintance friends to join us for a dinner party after the second day of enjoying tours. We cooked preferred dishes, prepared salad and bought wines and lady's drinks for the party. It was indeed a night full of fun and enjoyment together with Tita Mina.

With Tita Mina second from right

I highly recommend this place for all who will have a Quirino trip. She is the cousin of the Chief Tourism Officer, Mrs. Aurea Martinez. They have good connections to establishments and tourist destinations in the province. If you are planning to have a tour in Quirino, just text or give her a ring in her mobile phone at +639176820418.

An alternative for Joyce Homestay

This is just approximately 50 meters away from Joyce Homestay and I passed through this point when I walked to the public market to buy some stuff and refreshments. Nowadays, Quirino is fast becoming a well-known tourist destination and booking for accommodation might be difficult if not done in advance. There are a few homestay scattered all throughout the province particularly in Diffun, Maddela, Nagtipunan and the highest concentration is in Cabarroguis being the capital of the province.

Touring Around the Capital Town of Cabarroguis

A must-see landmark of the province

The above landmark is just less than 15 meters away from Joyce Homestay which a guest should not miss to see and visit. It symbolizes everything of the province. This is just a stone throw from the Tourism Office.

The prestigious Governor's Cottage

Governor's Cottage is located in an elevated area overlooking some parts of Cabarroguis and this is just next to the Provincial Capitol. It is such a relaxing place, an abode for a tired body seeking for ample rest.

A relaxing shade at the Governor's Cottage

A morning or afternoon walk or jog around the Governor's Cottage complete your exciting tour in the province of Quirino. It is somehow elevated in location and therefore good for your cardiac enrichment activity.

One of the prized scenery as viewed from the Governor's Cottage

I really do not know if Governor's Cottage is accessible to public but ours is guided tour and we visited the place being warmly welcomed by its caretaker.

The wake boarding site: a work-in-process

This scenery is accessible in any part of the Governor's Cottage from the Provincial Capitol. According to our guide, this will be opened early of 2017 which is expected to boost the tourism industry of the province.

The facade of Quirino Provincial Capitol

From the Governor's Cottage is just a few meters walk to the Provincial Capitol. And from there, one can view the totality of the provincial open quadrangle and race tracks.

The interior of the Provincial Capitol

Getting inside the capitol is a cultural treat in itself as one will be able to see the documented rich history of the province. The staff there are quite courteous and are willing to entertain queries including giving the brochure of the Quirino Tourism.

The Exciting Tour starts

The Cabarroguis quick tour will only last barely 30 minutes and the tour proper starts. Our first destination was driving to the municipality of Aglipay where its caves awaited us. You can read its separate post at Aglipay Caves.

While in an spelunking in Aglipay Caves

Driving to Aglipay Caves which is located in Barangay Villa Ventura, Municipality of Aglipay will only take barely an hour passing through another municipality of Saguday. Remember that Quirino province has six municipalities. Aglipay is the fourth municipality if one is coming from the entry point in Diffun from Cordon, Isabela.

Enjoying the rapids in Governor's Rapids

From Aglipay Caves, we have another road trip of barely one hour heading to the municipality of Maddela exposing our bare human eyes to breathtaking winding highway with lush green fields and hills. Bridges are so scenic and along the highway were a long parade of cars and vehicles campaigning for the national and local elections.

Being at the entry point of Governor's Rapids was a thrilling experience where you can read its detailed post at Governor's Rapids. It was a moment of fun enjoying boating, swimming, water tubing and spelunking in a cave where we ended up at Bisangal water falls inside.

From Maddela, we drove straight to Santiago City of Isabela to book for a bus ticket for Manila and ended up a small party in our accommodation at Joyce Homestay.

Siitan River and Bimmapor Rock Formation

The second day of our tour started in Siitan River where it showcases the gorges-like rock formations of Bimmapor where you can read in a separate post at Siitan River cruise and tubing. It is located in Barangay Pongo of Nagtipunan which is one and a half hours drive coming from our accommodation in Cabarroguis.

A sample picture of Diamond Cave

Diamond Cave is also a part of Nagtipunan and its detail can be read in a separate post at Diamond Cave. We had spent so much time in Siitan River that it was already early in the afternoon when we headed to Brgy. Gibien for the Diamond Cave. We cut short the spelunking because we wanted to finish the day at the Landingan Viewpoint and Tapao Viewdeck.

Landingan Viewpoint

Driving uphill to Landingan Viewpoint and Tapao Viewdeck was quite refreshing. There was a drizzle which lasted shortly and fortunately when we were already there, everything became clear and sunny where it was already at 4:20 P.M. Scan through its separate post at The Rolling Hills of Nagtipunan.

Our second day has ended into a party at Joyce Homestay with three of our acquaintance friends who were with us as part of the tour package. We slept late because we enjoyed videoki all night long.

Bading goodbye to our host, Tita Mina Manicap

The third day, March 27, 2016 is the moment of truth as we leave the place. It was worth it. I learned to love Quirino. I am ready to give my testimony of how satisfied I was of the tourist attractions I visited there.

While in Santiago City of Isabela province

We drove to Santiago City to get a bus for Manila. We did not get a bus reservation for Manila but we were assured by the Five Star Ticketing Office to just wait for a bus bound for Manila as early as 7:00 A.M. of March 27, 2016.


SN Particulars Amount
1. Airconditioned Bus fare (Florida Bus) Cubao to Cordon, Isabela
2. Entrance Fee (Aglipay Caves)
3. Lunch in Maddela Day 1
4. Entrance Fee (Governor's Rapids
5. Boating and caving with life vest and helmet (Governor's Rapids)
6. Water tubing (Governor's Rapids)
7. Dinner
8. Share in roundtrip van transpo from Cabarroguis to Santiago City
9. Share breakfast for Day 2 (DYI Meal)
10. Meal Package in Nagtipunan while at Siitan River Cruise
11. River Cruise with life vest (Siitan River)
12. River tubing (Siitan River)
13. Entrance Fee (Diamond Cave)
14. Share in DYI Cookfest for Homestay Dinner Party
14. Accommodation Fee (P350 per her for 2 days)
15. Share in van transport for 2 days of P2,500 per day divided into 7 pax
16. Share in tour guide fee for 2 days for P500 per day divided into 7 pax
17. Airconditioned bus fare (Five Star) from Santiago City (Isabela) to Cubao


Quirino Tourism Office (Aurea Martinez - 09175000162
Governor's Rapids Cottage Reservation (Analyn) - 09158887518
Joyce Homestay (Mina Manicap) - 09176820418
Van Driver (Mr. Anton Jordan) - 09065459288
Lunch order (or option for an accommodation in Nagtipunan) through Debbie Matias - +639069000301


Below is a comprehensive guide of Lakad Pilipinason how to go to Quirino coming from different points.

There’s no easy way to access Quirino Province from Metro Manila. Directly, one can take a late overnight bus from Metro Manila and arrive at the town of Maddela the next morning. It’s time-consuming but less expensive than taking a one-hour flight from Cebu Pacific Air to Cauayan Airport in the neighboring town of Isabela. From there, one still has to ride a one and a half hour van ride to Cabarroguis, the province’s capital. Alternatively, one can also ride a one-hour flight to Tugeugarao City via Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines, then board a three-hour van ride to Quirino.

Traveling to Quirino via Metro ManilaVIA METRO MANILA

There are bus terminals in Cubao, Quezon City and Sampaloc, Manila that goes directly to Quirino Province. Most have a daily schedule to the province and usually rides out at night, arriving the next morning. Ticket fares are usually at around Php500.00, give or take, for a one-way trip. Please call the numbers provided for their respective bus schedules.

Five Star – Cubao | (02) 851-6614 | Twice Daily | Fare Php500.00+/-
GV Florida – Manila | (02) 743-3809 & (02) 781-5894 | Fare Php500.00+/-
Nelbusco – Manila | (02) 712 5902 & (02) 743-1332 | Fare Php500.00+/-
Northern Luzon Bus Line – Manila | Fare Php500.00+/-

Cebu Pacific Air - (02) 7020-888
Flies four times weekly to Cauayan, Isabela (plus 1.5 hours van to Cabarroguis, Quirino)
Flies daily to Tuguegarao (plus 3 hours van ride to Cabarroguis, Quirino)

Philippine Airlines - (02) 855 8888
Flies daily to Tuguegarao (plus 3 hours van ride to Cabarroguis, Quirino)

Traveling to Quirino via Baguio CityVIA BAGUIO CITY
There are two known bus companies that ply the Baguio to Quirino Province route, NA Liner and Kiangan Motor Service (KMS) bus lines ((0915) 947-1440, (0999) 849-2106, (074) 304-3113). Both have daily trips to Madella, Quirino.

Traveling to Quirino via BalerVIA BALER, AURORA
Passenger vans, pick-ups and ordinary buses regularly ply the Aurora-Quirino route. These trips last for about three to five hours on the mountainous road of Aurora's Dipaculao municipality.


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  2. I would love to visit this place, too, with my family. Very informative post.