Sunday, March 13, 2011

[SANTA ANA] Watch Out Boracay, Watch Out

Grab a map of the Philippines and look at the upper right side. On the north-easternmost part of Luzon is what seems like a thumb pointing at the group of islands up north. That thumb is the municipality of Santa Ana, home to the Cagayan Special Economic Zone. It has a casino frequented mostly by Chinese from Macau and Guangzhou but the municipality has more to offer aside from gambling. The two most popular attractions are Palaui Island, which is home to the Cape Engaño Lighthouse, and Anguib Beach which is touted by the locals as the Boracay of the North.

You have to endure a three-hour ride from Tuguegarao to get to Santa Ana and another half hour or so in a tricycle to get to Anguib Beach. I left Tuguegarao in a public van at around 5:30 PM and reached the town after three hours WITHOUT traffic. The trip was lackluster although the driver frequently reminded us that he had some sort of a death wish through his driving. Or perhaps he just desperately needed to unload all the food he ate that day and would not do so in the dark.

Oh yes, it was dark! Every time I looked outside the window all I could see was black and some specks of light scattered all over. I had no idea where we would end up if ever the van went off-road. Cliff? Ocean? Village? I greatly anticipated seeing the casino, for sure it would be well-lighted. Well, it was not. We passed by the casino and I did not even recognize it as such until we passed by it again the next afternoon under broad daylight. It was as if the municipality was boycotting Meralco or something.

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