Nueva Vizcaya is surrounded by three mountain ranges: the Sierra Madre on the east, the Cordillera on the west, and the Caraballo on the south. The rugged landscape hints at the high-adrenaline activities tourists can do when visiting the province.
But what makes Nueva Vizcaya an exciting place is that it also has pockets of serenity. If you’re considering a trip to Nueva Vizcaya, this list of attractions will convince you to book that flight:
Stone-8 Farm and Restaurant
Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya
The farm and restaurant began as a car wash. Its owners added a small eatery when the business grew, and it was further developed when customers enjoyed the food.
A bestseller is the crispy cabagan, the restaurant’s twist to the popular type of pancit (stir-fried noodles). The noodles are sourced from Tuguegarao and Cabagan, fried, and topped with beef and other ingredients.
Other must-trys include the spicy adobong pato (duck’s meat marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns), nilagang native pig (boiled), and the pinikpikan. Pinikpikan is traditionally made by beating a live chicken with a stick prior to cooking, but Stone-8 does not practice that.
Those who like vegetables should order the garden salad. The dressing is homemade and the greens are organic, including the benoy (a local basil with a stronger taste).
Another highlight when dining at Stone-8 is the collection of antiques, some of which date back to the Victorian era.
Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
Mrs. Baker’s may sound like a pastry shop, and it’s partly true: the restaurant also serves delectable sweet treats that go well with their coffee. They’re mostly known, however, for their broad menu, ranging from Southeast Asian to Italian favorites.
According to the Damascos, the husband and wife team that runs Mrs. Baker’s, the diverse menu is a way for locals to try what they can’t normally find in the province.
Surprisingly, Mrs. Baker’s bestsellers are its local dishes, which are cooked, plated, and served just like how a fine dining restaurant would.
A must-try is the inabraw, the Novo Vizcayano version of dinengdeng or bulanglang. This is a vegetable soup dish made with string beans, eggplant, okra, jute leaves, and bitter gourd. It is then flavoured with bagoong (fermented fish paste) then served with fried fish.
To make their version unique, the bagoong is simmered in fish bones to give its flavor more depth. Another dish that includes bagoong is their bagnet, a deep fried crispy pork belly dish.
Native clams like bennek and bildat are offered as off-the-menu items since they are only served when in season. These are served as kinilaw (ceviche) or inuram (cooked over fire).
Lower Magat Eco-Tourism Farm
Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya
Travelers looking for a spot to relax in Nueva Vizcaya can visit the Lower Magat Eco-Tourism Farm. The property is a high-end back-to-nature resort facility that showcases the rich culture and natural attractions of the province.
There are plenty of activities to do here. After all, the farm spans 1,000 hectares and is part of a bigger forest that covers 24,000 hectares of lush greenery. This makes the farm one of the best places in the province to unwind and reconnect with nature.
Here, guests can explore the flower garden, the dove farm, the Animal Paradise housing two peacocks, and the eco-trail. They can fish at the man-made lake and catch tilapia, mudfish, and rice eel. The farm can also be a romantic destination, especially at Lambingan Bridge and on a boat ride, during sunset.
The Lower Magat Eco-Tourism Farm can be enjoyed on a day trip but accommodations are available for those who want the full experience. There are Isinay and Ifugao huts, cottages, and dormitories with family rooms. A bonfire can be lit at night.
The farm is open from 8 AM to 5 PM, and reservations are preferred. Visit facebook.com/lowermagatecotourismpark or contact +63917 187 9546 for more information.
St. Dominic Cathedral and the People’s Museum and Library
Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
Find a quiet spot to sit and relax at the historic St. Dominic Cathedral. It dates back to 1739 when it held its first Eucharistic Celebration on April 12.
The architecture features an octagonal tower, a convent, and a cemetery. Through the years, the cathedral has faced disasters, such as earthquakes and fires, but it was continuously reconstructed. It remains tall and proud today.
Walk a few steps and you’ll see the People’s Museum and Library. The museum houses culturally important, ethnographic, and historical artifacts that tell the story of Nueva Vizcaya.
The exhibits are arranged by Agriculture & Rituals, Accessories & Weaponry, Weaving & Textiles, the Ilocano Collection, Ecclesiastical, and World War II. There is also a gallery featuring local artists’ works.
The People’s Museum and Library is free for guests daily from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Ambaguio, Nueva Vizcaya
The idea for the Nueva Vizcaya Paragliding began when its owner, Violet Lucasi Elrise, tried it for the first time in Switzerland. According to her, there was an unusual calmness and it was the first time she experienced silence in her head.
You can try this combination of a thrilling experience that induces calmness by exploring the skies of Nueva Vizcaya. For those who are unfamiliar, paragliding mimics how birds fly with just a wing and a harness.
That’s not all. Nueva Vizcaya Paragliding also offers paramotoring, a powered version where a pilot wears a motor on their back. Paratriking is more convenient since it comes with a wheeled cart. Those who simply want to enjoy the view can go on a tandem flight with a professional and licensed pilot. They can relax in their VIP seats and soak in the clouds and the valley.
This destination also offers activities on the ground. Guests can spend the night on the cabin grounds and wake up to the occasional sea of clouds. An overnight stay is highly recommended since the area is calm and peaceful.
Nueva Vizcaya Paragliding is open from Fridays to Sundays, from 6 AM to 5 PM. The entrance fee to the log cabin and the flysite is PHP 40 each (USD 0.80).
Macababbad’s Orchidarium, Cacao, and Coffee Farm
Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
Tourists looking for a peaceful spot in Nueva Vizcaya should visit the Macababbad farm. This two-hectare property is the home of orchids, a cacao farm, and a coffee plantation.
Here, guests can relax at the fountain, the gazebo, or the patio and admire the 6,000 orchids on display. They may also avail of the hot chocolate and coffee, which are grown right on the property. To date, there are 1,000 cacao and 500 coffee plants.
Even their homemade goodies, like piaya (unleavened flatbread) and hopia (a flaky pastry with a filling) are popular. It’s not unheard of when guests buy 500 to 1,000 pieces in one go.
Macababbad’s Orchidarium, Cacao, and Coffee Farm is open from 8 AM to 4 PM. There is an entrance fee of PHP 50 (USD 0.99), which comes with hot chocolate or coffee, piaya, pan de sal (bread roll), and hopia.
Sea of clouds
Dupax del Norte, Nueva Vizcaya
If ever you’re wondering why there is a small crowd in the early morning at Kilometer Post 0466 along the National Highway, they’re waiting for the sea of clouds that occasionally comes out.
It’s a sporadic sight but it’s worth getting up before dawn for. This usually appears for a few hours before sunrise or after a heavy downpour.
The sea of clouds is free for guests but it’s important to arrive early.
Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya
Travelers with a strong sense of adventure will enjoy Capisaan Cave, the fifth longest in the Philippines. The 4.2-kilometer cave features rare calcite formations and a subterranean river. Because of this, it is dubbed as one of the best spelunking destinations in the country.
The cave is also home to an ecosystem of plants and animals. A total of 91 plant species have been recorded, many of which are native to the country. Ten are endemic to the Philippines.
Spiders, crabs, snakes, frogs, lizards, bats, and many species of fish have been spotted here. Interestingly, fishes like the carp, catfish, mudfish, and wild guppy found here are considered “accidental,” brought by water tributaries that led to the cave.
Guests who want to explore Capisaan Cave must register at the tourism office two days before. A package for four guests costs PHP 2,000 (USD 40) including the guide and entrance fees and equipment.
Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya
What may look like a simple plot of land that connects Nueva Vizcaya to Nueva Ecija is actually steeped in history. It is the site of the Battle of Luzon, one of the bloodiest encounters in World War II.
The battle lasted three months, yielding 17,000 casualties. This includes U.S. Col. James Dalton of the 161st Infantry Regiment, who led the attack against the Japanese. As a result, Balete Pass is sometimes called Dalton Pass.
This historic fight is regarded as one of the significant battles that led to the country’s liberation from the Japanese occupation.
Today, three memorials pay respects to the American, Japanese, and Chinese soldiers who lost their lives. The park has a 150mm Japanese Howitzer and a cave. Climb a few steps up and you’ll reach the peak, which has a view of the mountains and forests. Daring adventurers can try the 800-meter zip line that goes through a forest.
Balete Pass is free for guests to visit, from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Tourist destinations in Nueva Vizcaya 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 Nueva Vizcaya, visit nuevavizcaya.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.