Unless the Cagayano realizes the economic importance and preservation efforts in the name of travel and tourism, the development and promotion of Cagayan’s natural heritage and wealth of wonders will remain the way they are: stagnant.
This, more or less, is how participants to the 1st Culture and Tourism Summit view the state of Cagayan’s tourism development efforts.
“Not that it is not developing but we haven’t maximized the full potential of what our tourism potential can offer,” a representative from a local government unit who requested anonymity, said.
Cagayan’s 28 municipalities and one city have been dotted with everything tourists want to see and experience - more than 800 kilometers of white and magnetite black sands, subterranean rivers, magnificent world-class caves, standard waters, endemic flora and fauna, crystal-clear waters encircling the islands, heritage sites and architecture, great forest outdoors, plus a rich culture of the River People, the Ibanags.
Despite the onslaught of new tourism attractions in the country, Cagayan’s gems could very well play it cool because of such varied and diversified offerings.
Up north is one of three most unexplored and new destinations in the Philippines, the municipality of Calayan awarded in recent years by Women On Travel.
Now slowly waking up as a serious threat to other established destinations, the island municipality including its barangay islands can give others a run for their money in terms of attractions.
For one, it has ancient burial sites where the dead are placed in giant jars. Its mountains speak of giant clams embedded on rocks and has since then generated interests among archaeologists worldwide.
Sibang Cove, with its high walls of rocks, offers adventure tourism while one can lazy his days on fine white sands with rock formations characterizing the contours of the shorelines.
Lest we forget, the highlands of Calayan Island is the abode of the endemic bird, Calayan rail (Garilallus calayanensis) locally known as piding.
Believe the claim of Cagayan as the Caving capital of the Philippines. In its bosom lies a thousand or more caves already discovered and explored or just wanting rediscovery.
As a matter of fact, the once-very- popular Callao Caves system seems to play second fiddle these days to new discoveries in Baggao and Sta. Teresita.
By now, you must have heard of the famous Baggao Blue waters, caves and falls, truly amazing natural heritage with sub-terranian river which cascades into a big basin of cool and refreshing water perfect for swimming.
Here, the Maker was at His best. It’s the perfect get-away from the humdrums of everyday city life.
Only in February this year, a German caver of international prominence published a book on Sta. Teresita Caves in English and French.
It contains the result of a scientific exploration of a seven-nation team of cavers who explored the area in 2014. The snobbish international cavers usually reserve such honor to the most deserving of caves.
True to its brand as a destination “where adventure never ends,” the above-mentioned destinations are in fact, just a tip of the ice-berg, so to speak. With summer still looming around, now is the time to re-discover Cagayan tourism gems. (PSL/ Benjie De Yro )