For many people, flora and fauna in the north of Luzon, teeming life traces back to the Cagayan River.

Also known as the Rio Grande de Cagayan, it is the widest river in the Philippines, and the longest at 400 kilometers. 

Cagayan River. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

It flows through Apayao, Aurora, Cagayan, Ifugao, Isabela, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino. The basin is surrounded by the Sierra Madre, the Cordillera Central, the Caraballo-Maparang, and the Babuyan Channel.

Nourishing the earth

The river nourishes the valleys along the bank, where farmers grow produce such as bananas, citrus fruits, coconut, corn, rice, and tobacco. According to a study in 2005, the river provides irrigation for more than 200,000 hectares of rice fields and more than 130,000 hectares of cornfields. 

In 2017, Cagayan was dubbed the grains granary of the Philippines, and Isabela was called the corn capital of the country.

Tourist spot

The river plays another important role in the province: tourist attraction.

Over the years, it has become a favorite of tourists, who do everything from kayaking and river trailing to swimming and ferry touring at different points on its long stretch. Some parts even have bancarera, or boat racing, and a fluvial parade for the Lady of Piat is celebrated every July. 

For those unfamiliar, whitewater rafting is an activity when people navigate rough waters on an inflatable boat. It may look intimidating but it’s open to everyone, including beginners.

Today, there are five companies that offer rafting services at the Cagayan River, with courses ranging from beginner to extreme. All have been certified by the International Rafting Federation, and trained guides will accompany groups.

Any day is a good time to visit the Cagayan River, as there are rapids every 10 to 15 minutes.

Those who’d like a more relaxing ride down the river can try canoeing or river tubing. Tubing is exploring the river on an inflatable donut. River conditions may affect the experience, though. Calm waters mean a carefree ride, while rougher days may be more thrilling.

Cagayan River

Budget: A Siitan River tour package at Quirino is PHP 699 (USD 13.88) per person. This includes boat rental, river tubing, lunch, and a guide as company.

Contact: Provincial Tourism Office at Cabarroguis / +63 9174165945 / [email protected]

How to get there: Tuguegarao City is accessible by plane from Manila and other local airports.

Travel Safely!

Tourist destinations in Cagayan are ready for local travelers! Guests are required to wear a face mask and shield, practice social distancing, and regularly wash hands before dining in. These places have sanitary and contact tracing procedures such as registration and temperature check at the reception and using alcohol to sanitize hands before entering the premises. To know more about Cagayan, visit http://www.cagayan.gov.ph/.

To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel or the Google Playstore.