Philippines Travel

Quirino Travel Guide – Pack Your Bag, You Must Visit Quirino

It will take you 10 hours to get there on a bus ride. You’ve Googled for information, but you will feel that it is not enough, and so your level of anticipation will be high. You will wonder how the locals call themselves; Quirinons? Quiriñons? (It’s Quirinians, you will soon find out). You wonder what local cuisine you should try and how far apart each point of interest is from one another. You have a list of must-see spots, but you will find out that you cannot cover everything in your brief stay and should, therefore, choose those that you believe you shouldn’t miss. But in truth, you don’t know which destinations you shouldn’t miss when everything seems to be new and not much has been written about them. You will take note of every expense, log every hour, and in your head plays a number of topics you could write about. Most of all you will fall in love with this place, so much so that you almost want to keep it a secret, but at the same time, you cannot wait to tell the whole world about it. These are my thoughts about Quirino, the landlocked province in Cagayan Region that I picked out of curiosity. And you must go there, you must give it a chance, you must take that long drive. Pack your bag, use this guide, and visit Quirino.

How to get to Quirino

Quirino is one of the 4 major provinces of Cagayan Valley Region. It’s a landlocked area, meaning it is completely surrounded by land and has no direct access to the sea. But what it lacks in beaches it more than made up for with its breathtaking view of the Sierra Madre Range, numerous waterfalls, rivers, and caves.

There are buses that go directly to Quirino from Cubao, Quezon City. Travel time is 10 hours. Take the Five Star bus in Cubao terminal; bus fare is PHP 490 (USD 9.84). For convenience, and this you should consider given the fact that you’d be on the road for 10 hours, book a seat online. Read my article, Quirino Province: A Prelude to an Awesome Long Weekend for more information.

Where to stay in Quirino

There’s a list of recommended inns and hotels in the Quirino Province website. Rates are pretty low, and when I say low it means they go anywhere between PHP 75 (USD 1.51) to PHP 1,500 (USD 30.18). Now the question you should be asking really is, which part of Quirino should you stay in? If you want to be close to the Capitol then go to Cabarroguis. Nagtipunan, on the other hand, is close to many attractions, but I wouldn’t suggest it based on the fact that it is far compared with the other municipalities. What I’d propose is Maddela as it is the perfect jump-off point from all the known tourist destinations in Quirino.

But the biggest reason I recommend this is because of the van terminal that can be found in Maddela. You want to be close to this terminal as much as possible because this is where you can take the van that goes to Santiago. Travel time from Maddela to Santiago is about 2 hours. Why is this information important? Well, you will be going home eventually and Santiago is where you can find the bus terminals with Manila routes.

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Villa Caridad Hotel in Maddela

Sure, the van can pick you up along the way, but trust me when I say that you don’t want that option. This van service is horrible in the sense that they overload it with passengers. Imagine the conductor (yes it has one) standing on the little corner of the van, hovering over the passengers. Imagine sitting on places you shouldn’t even be sitting on (like that elevated area at the back of the driver’s seat that passengers like to use as a footrest. If you are truly unlucky and you happen to be seated by the door, you will have to bear the pain of dealing with passengers entering and alighting from the van. And you will be sitting just a quarter of your ass on a row of seats that is only good for 4 people, but apparently, could take 5 in the eyes of the driver and the conductor. You can only be assured of a decent seat if you take this van from the terminal, hence you should be in Maddela.

Another tip, make sure to go all the way to the back of the van and do not pick the seats closer to the door. This is the only way you can travel without being disturbed by other passengers.

My friends and I stayed in Maddela at Villa Caridad Hotel. The rate for a dorm room is only PHP 200/head (USD 4.02) per day. Yes, that’s how cheap it is. You can read more about it on my article, Villa Caridad Hotel – The neglected resort in Quirino that I’d still recommend, here’s why.

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Places to see in Quirino

Now the exciting part, Quirino’s points of interest and I’m happy to report that there are many of them. Not only are they all beautiful, but they are also not tourist infested! If you have been dreaming about that perfect Instagram photo without all other people blocking your view then Quirino is the place for you. And because it is not yet popular with travelers, these places are generally clean and not commercialized. Imagine finding a beautiful spot where you don’t have to wait for other tourists to finish their picture-taking, oh what a joy!

Cabarroguis

Begin your Quirino exploration in Cabarroguis where you can find the Provincial Capitol, Quirino Province Musem & Library, Motocross Mountain Track, and the Quirino Tourism Office.

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Aglipay

Aglipay is a third-class municipality in Quirino, which main attraction is an eco-tourism site with over 37 caves called, Aglipay Caves. This can be found in Barangay Villa Ventura. You may read about our experience inside this cave on this article, Caver or Spelunker? There is Something for you in Quirino Province.

Nagtipunan

Nagtipunan is a first-class municipality in Quirino, with a land area so large it covers nearly half of the province. Driving through its road is enough to spike your excitement with the impressive views of mountain chains, cornfields, and green landscapes. It’s also home to 3 of the best attractions in Quirino, Landingan, Diamond Cave, and Siitan River.

Landingan Viewpoint

Landingan Viewpoint is an off-the-beaten-track that offers an unobstructed view of Quirino. Get a glimpse of what you can see from this viewing site on this article, Landingan Viewpoint – A Dose of Magnificent Views in Nagtipunan, Quirino.

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Diamond Cave

Diamond Cave is arguably the most recommended tourist spot by the Quirinians and for good reason. You will be dazzled by the rock formation and the diamonds-like water droplets inside the cave. Read more about it on this link, Caver or Spelunker? There is Something for you in Quirino Province.

Siitan River

Tall and impressive limestone formations; a long and wide river, a visit in Nagtipunan wouldn’t be complete without taking a boat tour along Siitan River. Read the story here, Siitan River – The River you should add to your Bucket List.

Maddela

The commercial hub of Quirino, Maddela has its own hidden beauties for you to discover and we found two.

Governor’s Rapids

Governor’s Rapids, just like Siitan River is part of the Cagayan River. It is equally beautiful and just as fascinating as Siitan. Somewhere along the river, there is a path that leads to a cave, which you can explore by taking a riverboat tour. Read more about this river here, Governor’s Rapids: A Piece of Cagayan River in Quirino.

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Maddela Falls

As a side trip, ask your guide to take you to Maddela Falls. It can be found in a forest resort, hence the path going there is established and easy to traverse.

It’s a 7-tier falls, but we only stopped at the first waterfalls. It has man-made swimming by its foot and we spotted some kids enjoying a dip. I had the greatest urge to strip down to my swimsuit and take a swim, but we were supposed to go to another falls then so I didn’t do it. Had I known we wouldn’t push through with the last falls, I would have gone swimming here.

Food to try in Quirino

Our time in Quirino was spent more on doing photoshoots than eating; nevertheless, I do have food recommendations for you.

Cabagan and Batil Patong

I forgot the name of the restaurant that we went to in the Capitol, but we loved their local pancit dishes, Cabagan, and Batil Patong. They don’t really have much difference, hell they even look similar, the only way you can differentiate them from one another is that Batil Patong has a sauce. Both tasted amazing, although I remembered liking Batil Patong more than Cabagan. Maybe it has something to do with the sauce, I don’t know. And would you believe they are only PHP 70 (USD 1.41) a plate? Uh-huh, cheap!

Yema Cake and Egg Pie at EKS

This food did not exactly originate in Quirino, but these are the best yema cake and egg pie that I have ever tasted so I felt the need to tell you about it. Not only are they delicious, they only cost PHP 20 (USD 0.40) a slice, that’s right, 20 pesos for a piece of heaven. You can get them from EKS Bakeshop and Restaurant. Their other dishes are also equally delicious especially their pork sisig.

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Contact Information in Quirino

I have tried calling the phone numbers of the Tourism Office from the contact information that I found on blog sites, but nobody picked up my calls. Talking with the Tourism Office staff in Quirino is recommended because you can ask them to make an itinerary for you or arrange your tour. But let me make this a bit easier for you, here’s the mobile number of our contact person from the Tourism Office, Susan, +63 935-289-9053. She’s the one who took care of our van tour. When dealing with Susan, make sure that you understood the terms first. It’s funny that my friend, Silver, talked with her, repeated the information so many times, yet we still managed to misunderstand everything. I’m not even sure if this is due to the language barrier. The only reason we’re still recommending her tour services is because of her son, John is an excellent tour guide/companion. You may also contact John directly through this number, ​+63 905-736-4351.

Itinerary

And because I love you, I created an itinerary including the list of expenses. You may view or download it by clicking the photo below ↓ .

 

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Comments (22)

  1. eric
    eric

    thank you for the travel tips..planning to go there this week.

    Reply
  2. Kenneth
    Kenneth

    Wow!! I love the hike story but i got more interested with the food feature. Hahaha.

    Reply
  3. neha
    neha

    I had not even heard about Quirino before. The place has some wonderful offerings like amazing caves and beautiful landscapes and viewpoints. I will see where it fits into my travel bucket list for future. By the way, you did a great job creating that downloadable itinerary. Will help others so much.

    Reply
  4. Sandy N Vyjay
    Sandy N Vyjay

    This is indeed an information packed post on Quirino. I had not heard about this part of the Philippines, must say this part is different and the landscapes too different. In the sense there is the absence of the ubiquitous sea and sand. But nonetheless I can see the place has its share of treasures to be explored. I am intrigued by the fact that there is a Santiago in the Philippines too. Any historical connection to the capital of Chile?

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      Hi Sandy,

      Nope, it doesn’t have a relation to that place in Chile, but the Philippines was colonized by the Spanish for over 300 years, thus our language including our names are laced with Spanish.

      Reply
  5. Indrani
    Indrani

    Frankly this is a completely ner me. It all seems very exciting and adventurous getting into caves and exploring.
    Yema looks tempting , I had this in Avila Spain.

    Reply
  6. Lee
    Lee

    I have never been to Quirino. Andame kopa din hindi napupuntahan dito sa Pinas. Food looks yumm ?

    Reply
  7. Gastrotravelogue
    Gastrotravelogue

    This is a great post. Jam packed with all the information one could possibly need for a visit.

    Reply
  8. Ilana
    Ilana

    This post is so informative, packed with so many useful information! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Erin Sotto
    Erin Sotto

    Cute and clean blog! Thanks for inspiring me on my next post. I am also from the Philippines!

    Reply
  10. Karie
    Karie

    Quirino looks like such an exciting place! Love the pics especially of the waterfalls and the yummy food!

    Reply
  11. Johna
    Johna

    Beautiful!!! Looks like such an amazing place to visit. Def adding to my bucket list.

    Reply
  12. Reshma Narasing
    Reshma Narasing

    Quirino looks like an awesome. Man, there is so much to see in the Philippines. Looks like my first trip there was just a brisk one. I would love to come back for all these places some day!

    Reply
  13. Thelittlelai: Beyond limits
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limits

    Wow, I didn’t know that Quirino owns a lot of gem that everyone could really enjoy. It’s been a while since the last time I went inside the cave, and this place seem to offer so much. I will surely visit Quirino soon if I get the chance and I’ll surely bear these stunning places in mind for a future reference. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    Reply
  14. sophie
    sophie

    Quirino is something which I had never heard about before! It is like the best place to enjoy with your GANG! Especially the food over there is something I look forward to the most!

    Reply
  15. Ami
    Ami

    Among all the things that you mention in this post, it is the caves, especially the Aglipay Caves that caught my attention. Must be so fascinating to crawl through and experience it all. And looks like you had fun too. Cheers to this!

    Reply
  16. Siddharth and Shruti
    Siddharth and Shruti

    Had never heard of Quirino till your article. Thank you for the introduction. Looks like a great plan. Diamond caves look amazing! We love places that are not infested with tourists 🙂

    Reply
  17. Arrianne Guzman
    Arrianne Guzman

    I was invited to Quirino recently but I was busy. Heard it is an interesting place! This is the first post I read about Quirino and I am so convinced! I was able to try Pansit Batil Patong in Tuguegarao – it look very much the same as the one you have here – I wonder if they really taste the same? *drools*

    Reply
  18. Swati
    Swati

    This is really interesting. I had not realized that Quirino would have so many touristy places. I loved Diamond caves and Governors rapid. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  19. Aldrick Agpaoa
    Aldrick Agpaoa

    Waaah! I miss visiting Quirino! Too bad I haven’t tasted their Batil Patong and Cabagan. Will definitely go back here whenever time permits. I miss traversing the Governor’s Rapids and visiting the Bimmapor Rock Formation!

    Reply
  20. Suruchi
    Suruchi

    Honestly; I cant even think that this offbeat place has so many beautiful sites. Each place looks awesome esp the Sittan river; governors rapid. I liked the way you have summed up everything about Qurinio in the single article including contact details. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply

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