CNN's 10th on its list of World 100 Best Beaches is also my personal 10th favorite spot in the Philippines, the sensational Palaui Island.
Nothing quite matches up to the solo adventure I had to this tiny island located in the northernmost part of Cagayan Valley. I had to brave a difficult terrain (cross three hills, pass by a long beach, thick forest, streams, a mangrove park and a rice field) so I could get to Faro de Cabo Engano or Cape Engano Lighthouse, a centuries-old lighthouse standing atop a hill covered with verdant grass. A spectacular sight awaited me to my final destination which is worth the pain of actually getting there.
Ok, so don't think that this place is that remote and unreachable. There are boats that directly docks to the beach near the lighthouse, saving you a good 5-hour painful hike. But here's the thing, the hike isn't bad at all! The terrain is full of interesting local flora and fauna you'd actually enjoy! It is also declared a National Marine Reserve and home to a vast variety of fishes and undisturbed corals, a perfect spot for snorkeling and swimming.
There are no commercial establishments (just one or two sari-sari stores, as far as I can remember) in the entire island so be prepared for a rural island life. But, I'm telling you, more than the wonderful site, one of the things that stands out to my Palaui adventure was the genuine kindness of the people I met there.
To get there and other stories about Palaui Island, please check my blog here.
|A panoramic view from Cape Engano|