Governor´s Mansion Isabela

Explore the Off the Beaten Path of Isabela

Just when I thought June would be a boring month, I got a random invite from someone I met at an event back in March, for an eight-hour road trip, so I joined in.

Eight hours bound to North-East of Luzon island lies the largest province in Luzon, second in the whole country, and the corn capital, the province of Isabela. Isabela is definitely not on top of my must-visit list hence I wanted to explore this province.  So, what to do in Isabela? Let’s find out!

Visit Ruins, A Pilgrimage 👣 ⛪

 San Pablo de CabAgan Church, San Pablo, Isabela

San Pablo ruins

This church was built-in 1624, made of adobe with Roroco style architecture and has the tallest bell tower in the Cagayan region which has six layers. However, it got damaged both from man-made, during the World War II bombings and natural, strong earthquakes. Kept the faith, locals built another wall and entrance door behind the facade. Love the fact they kept the original facade as it is captivating.

San Pablo ruins

Church within a church.

San Pablo Ruins

Inside the ruins.

San Pablo ruins even captured the interest of an American reporter, Dan Rivers of CNN and was featured in the Backstory.

 

San Matias Parish Church or Tumauini Church, Tumauini, Isabela

Tumauini Church

Tumauini Church is definitely an eye catcher with its cylindrical belfry tower, the only of its kind in the country. Withstood the bombings during the World War II and natural disasters, needed some repairs, thus gave it’s belfry a white wash.

Tumauini Church

Mocked as a wedding cake bell tower.

Tumauini Church was declared a National Historical Landmark on 24th of February 1989.

 

St. Joseph the Worker Parish,  Echague, Isabela

st joseph echague church

Although nowadays, you won’t see any trace of the old church, yet the original church bells from the 1800s  are still intact and displayed outside the church. These bells and the Yogads, the ingenious tribe in Echague, have some rich folklore behind them.

Foodie trip 😋 🍴 

We probably have a gazillion versions of pancit or stir fried noodles, all over the country and Pancit Cabagan is Isabela´s bet.

Josie’s Panciteria and Restaurant has been serving Isabela’s best Pancit Cabagan for 37 years and counting. And what makes this pancit one of its kind? Let´s start off with fresh hand-made miki noodles and thinner compared to Pancit Batil Patung of Tuguegarao City. Then the ingredients, it has veggies,  lechon carajay (lechon kawali), Ilocano igado or stewed pork liver topped with hard-boiled quail eggs plus it´s broth. Served with calamasi and freshly chopped white onions to mix in.

Perfect pit stop, whether for snack or lunch or dinner.

Josie’s Panciteria and Restaurant

13 National HIghway, Purok 7, Anao, Cabagan, Isabela

Tel. No. +63-919-250-9140

 

Explore the great outdoors, Man-made and Natural   💪

Magat Dam

Magat dam

Magat Dam is a multi-purpose dam, hydro-electric power plant, flood control and irrigation system. Though it´s main purpose is to supply water for around 85,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Region 2.

Magat Dam

Cordillera side

It is also one of the largest dams in the country and located at the boundaries of Alfonso Lista, Ifugao and Ramon, Isabela. Locals go here to jog, run, bike and or just enjoy the view. 

Magat Dam

 

There are cottages, but this area is prohibited. According to the security guard, the administration decided to ban tourists to use these cottages, due to uncleanliness.

Madadamian Falls, Echague, Isabela

This trip was mainly about Echague, Isabela. The town hosted two events, International Day of Yoga and Tilamsikan Festival. As an attempt to boost it´s tourism related activities, also to introduce promising ecotourism destinations like Madadamian Falls.

Not your typical touristy activity, to reach Madadamian Falls meant traversing corn, banana and pineapple fields, bamboo forest, steep and muddy hills and lots of cascades. To date, this activity is not yet fully open to the public as there´s a lot to work on, logistics wise and safety wise.

 

My Takeaway

Being the second largest province, Isabela has more interesting spots to check out.  These were the only ones we were able to visit during our stay. Yet as if setting foot in Isabela wasn´t that challenging,  I would definitely go back to visit the other natural attractions like Dibulo Falls in Dinapigue, or the coastlines of Maconacon, Divilacan and Palanan.  Or more foodie trips, and munch more on corns, being the corn capital of the country.  

Going back to Isabela would mean, roughly 8 to 10 hours of bus ride from either Cubao, Quezon City or Sampaloc, Manila to any town of, Santiago, Cordon, Roxas and Ilagan, Isabela. Or fly to Cauayan, Isabela via Cebu Pacific, as they fly once a day, daily. (If I´m not mistaken.)  Now, going in between towns means taking passenger jeepneys or commuter vans which would take hours given the province´s massive land area. 

I guess, See you again Isabela?  

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11 thoughts on “Explore the Off the Beaten Path of Isabela

  1. Kylie says:

    I haven’t been on holisdays for over a year now and after reading your post I feel inspired to pack my bags and leave!

    My “bucket list” was originally one or two countries, but after reading some incredible blogs like these, I guess another place has been added to the list? 😉

    Keep up the amazing work! 🙂 x

    Like

  2. Sriparna says:

    I think it is time for me to pack my bags again! I had never heard of Isabela until this read. Thank You so much for sharing this detailed a travel write! I am definitely going to pay this place a visit, at my earliest possibility!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Indrani says:

    Such a lot of stuffs to see and experience around Isabela.The belfry is amazing that it withstood wars and natural calamities! Amazing architectural skills existed then without so much of present day technology. Adding this to my list of dream destination.

    Like

  4. mariaisquixotic says:

    Haven’t been up North for almost a decade! This post gave me some courage to save again to be able to visit Isabela. It’s so breathtaking. Such lovely destination to visit with either your special someone or your family!

    Like

  5. thewonderfulkind says:

    Never been to Isabela! But I really want to. Almost ticked off all the provinces in Luzon from my list but Isabela has been elusive haha. I dont know why but the photo of Magat Dam caught my eye. Always fascinated with places I read from books lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jayresa03 says:

    I didn’t know Isabela has so much to see. I hope to visit the province one day. My goal is to explore on our province first then travel around it up to the farthest province there is. Baby is growing big now and I want us to explore and travel more.

    Like

  7. Mommy Queenelizabeth says:

    I’ve never been to Isabela and the places there looks very interesting. I didn’t know there are places there that is worth visiting. I would love to explore cities like this too in the future. By the way, i always thought of putting an instgram post on my blogs. How do you do it? Thanks in advance! 🙂

    Like

  8. Irma says:

    Isabela looks truly great and I am very tempted to visit it. That architecture is amazing and I think some cool photos could be taken there. Love your detailed article with all the info one might need. Keep doing it like that since we all would be quite thankful for other destinations too.

    Like

  9. Maaya Legaspi says:

    Isabela is one of those unfamiliar places for travelers and I like that you were able to visit this province. The Philippines is truly full of amazing places if we just know where to look. I have yet to visit this place and cross it off on my bucketlist.

    Like

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