landscape view of isabela province

Isabela Province Revealed: An Untouched Nature Sanctuary

If you’re constantly looking for new places to explore; if getting lost in a forest is your kind of adventure; if your idea of paradise is to bask in nature’s beauty without a crowd of tourists behind you, then Isabela is the destination for you.

The province sits atop picture-perfect Sierra Madre, the longest mountain range in this archipelago of 7, 507 islands. It has the second largest land area in the Philippines, bursting with lush forests, dreamy valleys and pristine beaches.  Much of the province’s rustic charm is also still there, devoid of unhealthy doses of commercialism and tourism traps. It is relatively far from Metro Manila, but if you’re willing to rough it out and take the road less traversed, Isabela could be your new favorite destination. Here’s how:

Get lost in the vast Bonsai Forest

 

 

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Within the territories of the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park in Dinapigue, Isabela lies the Bonsai Forest. Trees of varying height – from one foot to seven feet – are sprawled to about 5,000 to 20,000 hectares of land area. Familiarize yourself in the various tree species in this vast natural park and know the exotic flora and fauna that are endemic in the area. A day might not be enough to trek around this natural park and explore the biodiversity present in this part of Isabela province. However, you’ll need to obtain a permit from the local government in order to explore this protected area.

Province of Isabela
Address: Provincial Capitol, City of Ilagan, Isabela
Contact information: +63 78 323 3163 (PENRO) | +63 905 390 1255 (Provincial Tourism Office)
Website: http://provinceofisabela.ph/

Get up close and personal with crocodiles

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The Crocodile Farm in the town of San Mariano conducts research and awareness campaigns for the protection and propagation of endangered crocodile species in the country. Managed by Mabuwaya Foundation, a non-profit organization, the sanctuary hatches and rears crocodiles before they are released into their natural habitat. Some crocodiles have radio transmitters embedded in them for easy tracking and monitoring. The crocodile farm will give you a glimpse of the various animals you will encounter when you explore Isabela province.

Mabuwaya Foundation Inc.
Address: EIC Building, ISU Garita, Cabagan, 3328 Isabela
Contact information: +63 78 844 1955 | +63 920 974 2379
Website: http://www.mabuwaya.org/ | Facebook
Location: Google Map

Conquer the wildlife at the Fuyot Springs National Park

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Situated at the foot of Sierra Madre, the Fuyot Springs National Park is one of the province’s main attractions. Covering about 819 hectares, the park has many attractions, including the Sta. Victoria Caves, Pinzal Falls, botanical gardens, mini-zoo, and adventure venues like the zip line, swimming pool, horseback riding site, and boating ponds. The Ilagan Sanctuary, which is within the park, may be your best bet if you prefer a more controlled environment. But if you are a person who likes the wilds and wants to explore the open space, then go spelunking inside the caves, wade on streams, trek through a wide field of corns, climb a mountain, and pass through a forest before you arrive at the Pinzal Falls, where you can swim while the water splashes down on you.

Ilagan City Tourism
Address: Rizal Street, Brgy. San Vicente, Ilagan
Contact information: +63 78 624 1511 | +63 916 672 3610 | +63 927 442 3814
Website: Facebook

Ilagan Sanctuary
Address: Brgy. San Vicente, Ilagan
Contact information: +63 935 147 0244
Website: Facebook
Location: Google Map
Entrance Fee: Php 100.00

Snorkel around Honeymoon Island

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Honeymoon Island is named as such, because this tiny island in the town of Divilacan, Isabela is a sacred matrimonial rite ground for the Agta tribe. It has a little forest and serene surroundings that are ideal for couples spending their alone time together. During low tide, the beach is like a huge swimming pool. So, go ahead, bask in the sun while lying on its white sand beach and swim in its pristine clear waters as if you have this piece of paradise all to yourself. Visiting this island is a wonderful way to explore Isabela’s rich history, culture, and biodiversity.

Municipality of Divilacan
Address: Poblacion, Divilacan, 3335 Isabela
Contact Information: +63 920 919 8730
Location: Google Map

Feel the splash at Dibulo Falls

Dibulo Falls is one of the notable waterfalls in Isabela province. At 100 meters, Dibulo Falls is probably the tallest there is in the province. Cradled in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, the gushing water at the Dibulo Falls is a sight to behold. The power is so great that it’s being eyed as an electricity source while it currently nurtures the plantations it irrigates along the way. Explore Isabela Province’s natural attractions as you hike the length of the river leading to this waterfall.

Provincial Tourism Office
Address: Provincial Capitol, City of Ilagan, Isabela
Contact information: +63 905 390 1255
Website: http://provinceofisabela.ph/

Camp under the stars near Magat Dam

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Wouldn’t it be an adventure to go camping and explore part of Magat Dam? Camp Vizcarra is where boy scouts and girl scouts usually stay for their camping activities. Cross the hanging bridge, climb Mary’s Hill, swim at the river, hike to the dam, or share a picnic when you are in Camp Vizcarra.  The view of the Magat Dam is majestic from the top, overlooking Magat River, the largest tributary of the Cagayan River.

Camp Vizcarra
Address: General Aguinaldo, Ramon, Isabela
Contact information: +63 916 984 3985
Website: Facebook
Location: Google Map
Entrance Fee: Starts at Php 5.00

Take a river cruise along Palanan River

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If you can explore Isabela by land or by air, it is also a wonderful experience to see the province while traversing the length of Palanan River. Aboard a boat, take a river cruise and feel the breeze while seeing more of Isabela’s inland. The tourism office can help arrange one for you.

Palanan Tourism Office
Address: Palanan Municipal Hall, A.R. Bernardo Street, Centro West, Palanan, 3334 Isabela
Contact information: +63 915 252 4545
Website: http://palanan.gov.ph/
Location: Google Map

Main Image by Sonnyboy Pacursa

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