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Quirino Chronicles: Ecotourism and Letting the Good Times Roll

Our first day in Quirino was action-packed and I was already looking forward to do more eco-adventure stuff with our batch of strangers turned friends.

Morning Bustle

Our day started early before heading out to the Aglipay Caves.

The morning market was bustling with locals selling vegetables, meat and whatever produce or products they have. Thankfully, Quirino's biggest town is not as commercialized as other major tourist destinations in the country. It's still pretty rustic and rough around the edges, just like its caves, rivers, hills and mountains.

Exploring Aglipay Caves

The Aglipay Caves were discovered in 1983 and was named after the town and the founder, Gregorio Aglipay, of the Philippine Independent Church.

This cave system has a total of 37 chambers, eight of which have been explored and only four open to tourists like us.

The chambers we entered varied in size, however, the stalactites and stalagmites were equally impressive. We had to duck-walk through certain sections and slither through hairpin-like cracks to reach one chamber to the next.

The caving experience was a worthwhile adventure as we got to see different rock formations and got to use our imaginations. Some parts were slippery but overall, this cave was easier to get through compared to the caves in Sagada.

The Siitan River

After caving we went to Siitan River to go on another boat ride to a smaller cave. The rugged rocks and literally green waters were a refreshing sight after caving for more than an hour.

We went inside another small cave to bathe in a small waterfall with cool waters. The cold waters doused the heat we all felt after unusually hot and humid day.

The real challenge of the cave was getting out of it; we had to slither through a steep and narrow passage way to get back on the boat. We all took a while to get through because only one person at a time can get out.

We all did touristy things like taking pictures of random things and group photo ops. However, the view was beautiful and we were practically the only visitors there.

Journey to Pensal Falls

The last stop of our trip was Pensal Falls; the saying the journey is the destination rings true for this particular place. We had to rent trikes to get up a mountain and trek down through hills and villages just to get here. The tricycle we were on could not handle the steep ascents and descents of the road; we often alighted and pushed the vehicle under the scorching heat of the sun.

I was disappointed at the sight I saw after all the trouble we went through just to get here. However, the waterfalls was only disappointing upon first glance. It had multiple tiers and is a popular natural slide for visitors.

We called it a day after a few dips, photo ops and slides because we had to rush back to the guest house for our trip back to Manila. Most of the people on the trip were heading back to work immediately upon reaching the city.

Quirino is a relatively unknown tourist destination that has plenty to offer, only if you have the time, patience and sense of adventure to discover the undiscovered.

Trip Details

P19,000 - Van rental (2) with driver and gas (we were more than 20 in the group)
P3,000 - Jeep rental to visit some of the destinations in Quirino
P1,000 - Fees for two guides
P250 - Payment for boat and tubing (this is per person)
P25 - Cave entrance fee 

Contact Sir Tony Misagal 0998-2580860 for information about your trip to Quirino. 

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