North-East of Luzon island lies the second largest province in terms of land area in the whole Philippines, the Queen province of the North, Isabela. Popularly known as the corn capital of the Philippines, but there’s more to that. 1, 066, 456 hectares of combined agriculture land, rolling hills and thickly forested mountains plus unspoiled coast, Isabela is a tourist gem in the making.
Eco – Farm Tour
Amancio Farm Hotel, Caquilingan, Cordon, Isabela
A farm that boasts its native and organic produce. Amancio Farm Hotel also welcomes visitors to experience farming first hand. With suggested activities like feeding the animals, harvesting veggies and collecting eggs right at the hotel doorstep.
Address: Caquilingan, Cordon Isabela
Hacienda De San Luis, Cauayan Isabela
This 3.5 hectares eco-tourism park is first of its kind in Cauayan city. It houses an old alamcin or storage of tobacco build in 1871 which works as a function hall today. A museum that takes visitors back in 1740, when the Hacienda was a tobacco plantation. With displays of manual tobacco press and tobacco samples. Then for the adventure seekers, there’s a 30-feet high platform for rappelling, wall climbing, and 250-meter long zip line.
Address: Brgy. San Luis, Cauayan City, Isabela
Contact Number: +639169155368
Visit Ruins, A Pilgrimage
San Pablo de Cabagan Church, San Pablo, Isabela
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 even captured the interest of an American reporter, Dan Rivers of CNN and was featured in the Backstory.
San Matias Parish Church / Tumauini Church, Tumauini, Isabela
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. 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
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 Yogad, the ingenious tribe in Echague, have some rich folklore behind them.
Josie’s Panciteria and Restaurant has been serving Isabela’s best Pancit Cabagan for almost 40 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, lechoncarajay (lechonkawali), 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.
Josie’s Panciteria and Restaurant
13 National HIghway, Purok 7, Anao, Cabagan, Isabela
Tel. No. +63-919-250-9140
Sticky Rice Cakes
As the second highest rice-growing province nationwide, for sure Isabela has native sticky rice cakes. First, Moriecos from Cabatuan which has a surprise center. Inatata, the bite-size one but tasty and not too sweet, from Sto. Tomas. Lastly, Inangit from Quezon.
Explore the great outdoors, Man-made and Natural
Stroll at 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. 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.
Address: Magat River at the boundary between the municipalities of Alfonso Lista, Ifugao and Ramon, Isabela
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. Definitely one for the thrill seekers.
For more info and guidance:
MUNICIPAL CULTURAL and TOURISM OFFICE
NIA BUilding, Municipal Ground
Provincial Road, San Fabian, Echague, Isabela Contact number: (078)305-5159
Join in the Festivities
As the Philippines’ agricultural backbone, corn capital and a surplus producer of the country’s staple crops, Bambanti (scarecrow in Ilocano) is the best representation of Isabela’s festival. The festivities focus on the province’s community life, history, and heritage. Observed every last weekend of January held in the city of Ilagan.
Address: Capitol Compound Alibagu, City of Ilagan, Isabela
Up & Coming
I’ve visited Isabela three times now but I’ve only scaled a fraction of it. This list is a growing list given there’s still a lot to see and experience. Not to mention the coastal towns, which I’m dying to visit by the way. Imagine, 113 km of fine white sand with pristine Pacific waters! I’d love to go soon as I’ve heard the road going there will be finished this year! So, stay tuned. Cheers!
Note: My visits were part of press trips sponsored by the Department of Tourism of the Municipality of Echague, Isabela, Amancio Farm Hotel and YMV Associates Inc. This post may contain affiliate link/s, meaning, I might earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them. Thank you for supporting (and for fueling) this site. Cheers!