Remoteness is relative, depending on where you’re traveling from. But Cagayan Valley’s location in the northeastern most portion of Luzon has gifted the region with pristine pockets of natural landscapes away from the business of urban centers: white, sandy coves, outlying islands, rolling fields and plains, extensive cave systems, ancient rock formations, and dense forests which retain their natural splendor. Here’s a list of natural landscapes to escape to when you need a breather.

Solana Woods, Cagayan. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Solana Woods’ hiking and biking trails. The landlocked municipality of Solana, Cagayan holds a delightful secret: it has wonderful mountain biking and hiking trails that overlook the entire municipality. Snap a photo by the Solana marker or take on the Solana Woods Climb challenge – whose pilot run, the 1st Solana Mountain Bike Challenge in 2016, has been immortalized in a commemorative marker here.

Cable car ride at Ilagan Sanctuary. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Ilagan Sanctuary at Ilagan, Isabela. This protected area in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range is easily accessible enough from the city proper, while offering the vastness of the great outdoors and all you need to recharge, unwind, and immerse in nature. Attractions inside the park include the towering Pinzal Falls, a cable car, a butterfly park, a natural spring pool, cave formations, and ATV adventures.

One of Capisaan Cave’s chambers. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Nueva Vizcaya’s Capisaan Cave. Nueva Vizcaya has the Philippines’ fifth-longest cave system: the Capisaan Cave. Located in Kasibu, the 4.2 kilometer cave system  features unique rock formations, clear wading pools, and a long subterranean river which also doubles as a scenic passageway into the cave.

Boat arriving at Palaui Island. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Palaui Island in Sta. Ana, Cagayan. The boat ride from the Sta. Ana mainland to the protected landscape and seascape of Palaui is as exciting as the destination, as the trip lets you see rocky islands and islets that are greeted by crashing waves. Once you reach the island, a long, white coastline with vibrant corals and clear waters greet you – but the fun doesn’t stop there. The island also houses the 18th century Spanish colonial Cape Engaño Lighthouse, which sits on top of a hill which looks out to Babuyan Island, the Dos Hermanas Island, and Engaño cove.

Sunset watching at Crocodile Island. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Crocodile Island in Sta. Ana, Cagayan. This small islet is a popular stopover en route to Palaui Island or on the way back. It was named after its distinguishing feature: a long, flat-topped rock formation whose profile resembles that of a crocodile’s. While there are no actual crocodiles on the island, you can say you’ve walked on top of the whole length of the crocodile’s back.

Discover more destinations to see, experience, and savor in Cagayan Valley. Visit these links to map out your next journey across the Philippines.