Tuguegarao City, Cagayan: What Makes Warmest City Even Hotter

Tuguegarao City Cagayan

“Ading¹, san punta mo?” (Ading, where are you going?) asked a lady who helped me drag my heavy pack inside the half-filled jeepney in Santa Ana. “Tuguegarao po”, and she replied in an irritated tone, “Init dun, e!” (It is hot there) as if she’d never go back to provincial capital. Does the heat scorches like fire that the word itself, Tuguegarao, has become synonymous to the hottest city in the Philippines. So let’s warm up and find out what sets Cagayan‘s fiery city of Tuguegarao ablaze.

Fruit vendor in Tuguegarao City CagayanFruit vendor in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.


Philippine temperature averages 34 degrees Celsius during summer season but Tuguegarao extends to 38 degrees Celsius (that’s one notch higher than human body temperature) making the capital of Cagayan one of the warmest in the country. The heat even peaked to 42.2 degrees Celsius in 1912, the hottest temperature recorded in Philippine history – oh and uh, it occurred again in ’69. Getting fired up? Now let’s check out Tuguegarao’s hottest attractions.

vendor in tugeugarao city cagayanLola smiles for a snapshot while selling vegetables at the local market.

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul

I started my Tuguegarao City stroll with a quick visit to the mid-18th century Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the biggest church within the city. Church architecture enthusiasts will truly admire the structure’s facade wrapped in vibrant red bricks accented by massive pillars and spiral columns painted in white. Did you know that a portrait of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral can be seen in Vatican City – how hot is that?

saints peter and paul cathedral church tuguegarao cagayanThe brick-walled Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Tuguegarao City.

Buntun Bridge

Connecting Tuguegarao City and Solana across the the largest river in the Philippines, Rio Grande de Cagayan, is the truss-type Buntun Bridge. At 1.098 kilometers in length, Buntun Bridge ranks as the longest river bridge, and second among the longest bridges in the country, bested by Samar and Leyte’s San Juanico by a kilometer.

Buntun Bridge Tuguegarao Cagayan

“It’s More Fun-sit in Tuguegarao”

Pancit Batil Patong, a noodle dish made up of miki and an overload of toppings, is a celebrated delicacy in Tuguegarao. In fact, a component of the annual Pav-vurulun Festival is a Pancit Batil Patong cooking contest where numerous local panciterias compete for the title of Tuguegarao’s top pancit makers. Pancit Cabagan originated from the neighboring province of Isabela, in the town of Cabagan, thus the name. Instead of miki noodles as base, the Ybanag version of pancit uses egg noodles or canton and has its own set of toppings. Both can be found in many local panciterias around town.

Jomar's Pancit Batil Patung Tuguegarao City CagayanJomar’s pancit batil patung super special (P70.00)

Pancit Cabagan Bret-tons Tuguegarao City CagayanBret-tons pancit Cabagan Super Special (P70.00)

Papaitan dinakdakan tuguegarao City cagayan rgtRGT’s Fastfood & Bulalohan’s papaitan

The Local Brew

The midday sun sizzles while I was walking on my way back from Buntun Bridge when I saw this local coffee shop called Barako Boy. A signage outside says they sell an array of coffee blends from Cagayan, Sagada, Benguet, Batangas, and they also have civet coffee, the world’s most expensive coffee.  But of course, since I’m in Cagayan, I went for the local brew and even brought home one pack with me.

barako boy coffee shop cagayan tuguegarao cityBarako Boy’s Cagayan Blend (P150.00)

Barako Boy Coffee Tuguegarao City CagayanLovely ladies of Barako Boy

Tuguegarao Nights

Bonifacio Street, one of Tuguegarao’s main thoroughfare, comes livelier when the sun goes out and portable boutiques made from tents and tables line up along the partially closed street. Hordes of shoppers and onlookers flock in the night bazaar in search of the trendiest items sold in marked down prices. And when you get tired of shopping, treat yourself with Tuguegarao’s wide variety of street food delicacies. Fish balls, squid balls, mami, goto, fried chicken – name it.

street bazaar tuguegarao city cagayanNight bazaar in Tuguegarao City.

Tuguegarao City CagayanThey converted the sidewalk into an al fresco restaurant.

Balut vendor in Tuguegarao City CagayanBalut vendor

Fishball Tuguegarao City Cagayan street foodsFishball

Tuguegarao City Cagayan street foodsNo need to go to Jollibee.

Never mind the heat when loads of things to do, places to see, and food to eat await curious travelers in Tuguegarao City. In addition, Cagayan Valley’s regional center serves as our main jump off point to attractions located in nearby and far-flung towns of Cagayan like Peñablanca, Piat, Iguig, Alcala, Lal-lo, Calamaniugan up to Santa Ana which we will tackle very soon. So gear up for another blazing adventure in Cagayan. Our road to Palaui begins here.

Basilica of Our Lady of Piat CagayanThe 19th century Romanesque, Basilica of Our Lady of Piat in Piat, Cagayan

Basilica of Our Lady of Piat CagayanBasilica of Our Lady of Piat interiors

¹Ading is an Ilokano term for a younger sibling but can also refer to as a friend.


Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:

1. Directions. Tuguegarao City can be reached by land which takes 12-13 hours travel time.  Direct trips coming from Quezon City and Manila are Victory Liner and Everlasting Bus. Florida Bus Lines also has direct trips to Tuguegarao City, however, as of this writing, the bus company is still suspended which makes Victory Liner and Everlasting Bus always fully booked. It would be advisable to book your tickets at least a day before departure. I was a chance passenger. Victory Liner Kamias Terminal 921 32 96

2. Bus fare cost P651.00.

3. There are also direct flights from Manila to Tuguegarao City.

4. Where to stay in Tuguegarao City. There are lots of hotels within Tuguegarao City. I spent the night in Pensione Joselina‘s economy room which cost P500.00 per night (good for 1 person only). Before I went back to Manila, I was with 3 friends and we got a family room which cost only P1,000.00 per night (good for 4 persons). Both rooms have their own cable TV, bathroom. No air conditioning unit on economy room. Pensione Joselina is located at 52 Aguinaldo Street, Centro 6 For reservations, call 0906 930 13 13.

5. Getting in, out, and around Tuguegarao City. Places within and on the outskirts of the city can be reached via tricycle (“traysi” is the local term) which cost P10.00-P35.00 only. Other traysi drivers however tend to overcharge. If going out of the city to different towns (or other provinces), public transport vans have designated terminals depending on where you are going. Fare from Tuguegarao City to Santa Ana, the farthest north, cost P180.00

6. Where to eat pancit? There are so many panciteria’s in Tuguegarao City. Which one is best I don’t know. But I tried Jomar‘s pancit batil patung and Bret-ton‘s pancit cabagan. Pancit’s range from P35.00 – P70.00 and it’s good for two persons.

7. A friend recommended RGT’s Fastfood and Bulaluhan. It’s an established local eatery which prides of papaitan, dinakdakan, and of course, bulalo.

8. Barako Boy is located at Magallanes Street cor. Luna Street. It’s behind People’s Gym and Tuguegarao Police Station. Civet Coffee can be purchased by order, the rest are available everyday. They serve hot or iced coffee. To know more about their coffee’s check out their Facebook page.

9. This is my 1st post on The Road To Palaui series.

10. More destinations in Biyaheng Cagayan

11. Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook.

12. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter

13. Drive safe and happy travels to everyone.

Basilica of Our Lady of Piat Cagayan


23 thoughts on “Tuguegarao City, Cagayan: What Makes Warmest City Even Hotter

  1. Pingback: Peñablanca, Cagayan: Secrets Of Callao Cave | Biyaherong Barat

  2. wow paps! ang ganda ng article mo sa probinsya ko!! i never thought someone will make a great feature about this place. Next time try mo rin yung alcala carabao milk candy

  3. Pingback: Camalaniugan, Cagayan: The Oldest Bell, Ruins of San Jacinto de Polonia Church, and a Brick Kiln | Biyaherong Barat

  4. Pingback: Mieux connaître Tuguegarao! | Tiph et Arnold chez les Pinoys!

  5. Didn’t know that there are lots of good and beautiful places in the places not until I come across your blog… Loving the pictures and the way you frame it.. hopefully I could do the same…

  6. Hi, I am from Tuguegarao and I have a requirement on one of my subjects (geog 1) to make a blog about my hometown with lots of pictures, since I am studying in QC and I can’t really find pictures of Tuguegarao, can I ask permission if I can use your photos? Dont worry we are required to put the sources/ links of where we got the photos and I will be willing to put your name and the link ofyour blog on every photo. Thank you so much for your consideration! Let me know :)))

  7. Pingback: Coming Home | yourwonderwanderer

  8. Hi,

    Would like to know if it’s advisable to get a Fan or AIRCON room at Tuguegarao? I will be mostly outside travelling Cagayan and just sleep at Tuguegarao at night. It the place that hot at night?


  9. Wow. My family and I are from Apayao province so Tuguegarao is like the only city close to us. I’m currently abroad and I think eight years na akong hindi nakakauwi ng Pinas. Our life is in the north. We never stay in Manila or in any place pababa ng NCR for no reason. I remember noong huling bakasyon ko sa Pinas, kaming magpipinsang bulilit ay madalas na sinasama ng aming auntie para mamili ng pang-restock sa munting sari-sari store namin sa probinsya (na noon ay hindi pa alam ng tao na nag-eexist pala). Bilang bata ay lagi kong kinukumpara ang Tuge’ (short for Tuguegarao sa amin) sa mas magagandang mga cities na napuntahan ko na noon. I always thought that Tuge’ was a boring place. Kulang sa mall, kulang sa amusement park, kulang sa fun. Parang ang natatandaan ko lang yata na mall noon ay Paseo de Real at Brickstone (mall ba ‘yon?). Whenever we would go to Tuge, magtatagal kami doon. Since wala kaming bahay, we will either rent an apartment or book in a hotel. And we always book in the same hotel everytime: Pensione Josefina. Doon ako first time na nakakita ng aircon na nasa baba nakainstall. From where I grew up kasi, ang aircon ay laging nakakabit sa itaas na bahagi ng wall.

    Years ago, sobrang konti lang ang nakakalam ng Apayao at Tuge (well, except sa mga taga Cagayan at Cordillera). Ngayon, nababalita na at nababanggit sa TV. Nakakagulat nga eh. Sementado na ang kalsada namin, yehey! Pero hindi mo maisip kung ano ang nagbago sa Tuge para bigla na lamang dayuin ng mga tao. May tourist attraction na ba doon? Kailangan ko na sigurong makapagbakasyon ulit para makita ko naman ang mga naging pagbabago. I heard from the news na nagbabalak daw ang SM na magpatayo ng mall roon. That’s great!

    Your blog is amazing! Ang gaganda ng mga pictures and napakaganda rin ng pagkakasulat. This will be very helpful for those interested to make a visit.

  10. I’m in awe at how you can make pancit look so delicious!

    I did took time to read your blog because soon we’ll be travelling to Cagayan and your photos excites me more.

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