Even up to this day, the province of Quirino is not on the list of must-visit places by the weekend warriors and the local tourists. Quirino is not found on the same path leading to terminal points of Tuguegarao or of Sta. Ana in Cagayan. Progress has yet to be felt in this laid-back province consisting of 6 municipalities and a population of less than 200,000.
Most often, people would ask what’s there to see and visit in Quirino. It is not as popular as its neighboring provinces like Isabela and Cagayan or even Nueva Vizcaya to its south. It is relatively young, having formed as a sub-province in 1966 from the forested portion of Nueva Vizcaya and eventually became a province 6 years after.
6th President of the Philippine Republic
Those who visit the province cannot help but notice the underdeveloped tourism. This is not at all a bad thing. Quirino could be one of those provinces where visitors are given a chance to create their own adventure or travel itinerary. Not much tourism information is available, so it is best to visit the tourism office in every town or browse through some available blogs on places to visit in Quirino.
Often the challenge in going to Quirino is the long travel time and the limited transportation. You could take the overnight bus from Cubao or Sampaloc and endure the 8-10 hours travel; or you can opt for the 1-hr flight Manila-Cauayan then bus or van trip to any town in Quirino.
In my case, I took a bus near Kamias, Quezon City, an EMC/LBS Bus liner heading for Tuguegarao via TPLEX (Php 421). I got off at Cordon, Isabela and took a van for the capital town of Cabarroguis (Php 60). Before reaching Cabarroguis, you’ll pass by the municipalities of Diffun and Aglipay. Both towns have beautiful caves and waterfalls.
I decided to spend the night in Cabarroguis. I reached the town a few minutes before sunset. One of the better hotels to stay is the Capitol Plaza Hotel, which is located in the provincial capitol complex (Php 1,200 per night with free breakfast).
The provincial capitol complex is on Capitol Hill, dominated by the capitol building with a copper metal and glass dome. Also found in the complex is the Quirino Province Museum & Library, the sports oval and grandstand, the sports center and of course the provincial government offices and hospital. The sports oval currently has the facilities for the motocross events.
The Provincial Capitol of Quirino
Elpidio Quirino’s Bust and the Dome
Museum and Library
The sports oval and motocross course
After checking-in, I made a quick visit to the main street of Cabarroguis which was about a 10-15 minute downhill walk passing a long bridge and the public market. The town is not as busy, probably because it was sundown and most shops were already preparing to close for the day. I head back to the hotel for dinner.
The ideal number of days to spend in Quirino is 2-3 days. This would allow you to visit the towns of Maddela and Nagtipunan, where most of eco-tourism activities/options are done. In Maddela, white water rafting at the Governor’s Rapid is a must-do. The town also offers Maddela’s Waterfall in Brgy. Dumabato. Nagtipunan offers the following: viewpoint at Barangay Landingan, the Bimmapor Rock Formation, Siitan River Cruise, waterfalls such as Mactol, Junuan and Victoria, Tapao Viewdeck and caves.
Cabarroguis has the provincial capitol complex and the Capitol Plaza Hotel which has an inviting pool – plain and big. It’s a perfect base before heading to Maddela or Nagtipunan. But for now, after a quick dip in the pool and after making a quick walk around the capitol complex, it’s time to hit the road again for the van that would take me back Cordon, Isabela.
Quirino, my 66th province