Information about Tuguegarao
Photo by Tuguegarao City Tourism Office
Tuguegarao is the capital city of Cagayan Province. Its name comes from the Ibanag sentence “Tuggui gare yaw,” which means this used to be fire. It is believed that the city was once a wilderness of fire. It is roughly 483 kilometers from Manila.
The city is also the regional center of the Cagayan Valley Region as it is home to a lot of social and economic infrastructure, including the Buntun Bridge, one of the tourist attractions in the city. The bridge serves as the gateway to the city and is the longest river bridge in the Philippines, as well as the second-longest bridge in the country after the San Juanico Bridge in Eastern Visayas.
But the city also has several iconic and historical tourist spots, including Saint Peter Metropolitan Cathedral (also known as the Tuguegarao Cathedral), the Horno Ruins, the Ermita de Piedra de San Jacinto, and Rizal Park.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the city is during the dry season, which usually falls from November to May, so you can avoid the typhoon season. Avoid going from March to May if you are not used to hot weather.
Weather in Tuguegarao
Tuguegarao more or less experiences the same weather as the rest of the Philippines, but keep in mind that from March to May, it can be one of the hottest places in the country, with temperatures sometimes reaching 38°C or beyond.
Peak Season in Tuguegarao
While Tuguegarao is not one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country, it still gets a lot of visitors during March and April, especially during the holy week.
Main festival/events in Tuguegarao
The Afi Festival is held every August to honor the city’s patron saint, Saint Hyacinth of Poland. Afi is an Ibanag word meaning fire, and during the festivities, people gather outside at night bearing lit torches.
How to get to Tuguegarao
Tuguegarao is located in the northern part of the country, and if you are coming from Metro Manila in a car, it will take you around 10 to 12 hours via the Maharlika Highway. If you are not up for a long drive, you can also take a bus from Metro Manila to Tuguegarao.
Safety in Tuguegarao
Tuguegarao is generally a safe place for tourists to explore, but it wouldn’t hurt to always be alert and take precautions when interacting with strangers.
Getting around Tuguegarao
You can easily explore the city by riding a tricycle. While the fare is generally cheap, note that the driver may pick up other passengers along the way to maximize the trip. If you want a unique experience, you may try riding a calesa, a horse-drawn carriage that used to be a common mode of transportation in the Philippines during the Spanish era. Keep in mind though, that the calesa may be slower and have limited routes.
Food and Drinks
Tuguegarao and Cagayan are home to many unique local dishes, but if there’s one dish you must try, it’s pancit batil patung. The noodle dish is known for its soupy sauce, which has beef stock as its main ingredient. Many restaurants in Tuguegarao claim to have the best pancit batil patung in town, and a good way to spend the day is sampling what you can to see which one is your favorite.
Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Tuguegarao
There are many hotels and inns to stay at all over the city, but if you want to stay in an area with access to many restaurants, shops, and services, look for accommodations in the city center.