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Santa Ana's White Sand Beaches That Need No Boat Transfers

A lot of beaches near Metro Manila pale in comparison to those found in a lot of the remote islands of the Philippines. This explains why most local and foreign tourists go through the travel grind of flying out and hopping on boats to distant towns just to get bronzed. Unbeknownst to them, Cagayan's coastal town of Santa Ana has a swath of tropical paradise that no hard sell title such as "Boracay of The North" can give justice to. It is nothing like Boracay because it's not congested, tribal residents can freely move about in a lot of places and it's quite accessible by car from the town proper via the San Vicente-Gutan-Lubac-Anguib Road. No boat transfer needed!

The idyllic white sand beaches of the 16-village town of Santa Ana is somehow kept preserved because of its elusive location. It's at the northern tip of the Luzon landmass away from the frenetic activities of Metro Manila where a lot of travelers have layovers in the country. When most of them fly out to Palawan, Aklan, Cebu or Bohol, a few intrepid ones go the opposite way -- straight north to Cagayan. It's where the windswept landscape makes for fresh vacations.

Pozo Robo Beach
Nangaramoan Beach
Anguib Beach
Anguib Beach
Ocean's Bounty

Here, there's an annual seafood festival which celebrates the harvest of the sea. Locals engage in revelry every June to showcase their pride as a town via a float parade, talent night, and seafood cooking contest. It's also proof that no one really goes hungry here because of the ocean which is why they are also actively preserving their white sand beaches as a way of thanking God for daily nourishment.

How To Get There

To reach Santa Ana, travelers from Manila can book a one-hour flight for Tuguegarao City and commute on a van or bus for three more hours. In Santa Ana, simply charter a tricycle ride for Brgy. San Vicente to get to the white sand beaches. Or they can go on a 16-hour road trip aboard a private car and tackle the long and winding San Vicente-Gutan-Lubac-Anguib Road for 10 minutes to reach the beach.

The long and winding San Vicente-Gutan-Lubac-Anguib Road
Backpackers can ride a Florida Bus all the way to the town proper where the bus terminal is across the public market and charter a tricycle ride for any of the beaches.

Those who need to make an overnight layover in Tuguegarao City from Manila can ride the same bus or a Victory Liner bus and commute the next day aboard a van for three more hours. In Santa Ana, they can charter a similar tricycle ride to reach the beach.

What specific beaches to visit when you're in Santa Ana, Cagayan?

Pozo Robo Beach
1. Pozo Robo Beach

It's still an enigma to me how some people refer to Pozo Robo as a well of trash on the basis of its etymology. According to them, the name of the beach comes from the word "pozo" which means "well of water" in Spanish and "rubo" which means rubbish in Esperanto.

The pristine white sand beach, however, belies the reputation. Here, members of the Agta community and local residents can freely fish and it's empty of tourists only because the corporation handling its operation is probably in a tussle with the local government for technicalities. Should you arrive on a random day and a representative of the corporation running the beach happens to be present, you will be charged a fee of Php300 to stick around and enjoy the scenery. With the absence of a local initiative to preserve the area, a few trash like branded plastic bottles from as far as Taiwan could be seen at the beach.

Pozo Robo Beach
Pozo Robo Beach
Lobster at Pozo Robo
Pozo Robo Beach
Unattended cottages at Pozo Robo
During my visit with a friend from the town proper, though, there was no one around to charge us with a fee. There were only locals fresh from their haul of lobster at the beach. The sandy area from the road was not even gated and near the entrance stood rustic cottages that were originally intended for visitors.

Pozo Robo is longer than Anguib and Nangaramoan combined. The waves are more dramatic and some even walk for as long as four hours on end at the coast and there was still more to see beyond that point. All over the beach, visitors can walk on a combination of white sand, corals and pebbles. They can also marvel at a part of the Sierra Madre which ultimately stretches all the way to Quezon Province and Bicol. It's where members of the Agta community oftentimes pass through for days on foot from distant towns in Cagayan that are as far as Baggao.

Nangaramoan Beach on low tide
2. Nangaramoan Beach

Nangaramoan is probably the most accessible one for local tourists as residents themselves are the ones running the row of lodgings at the beach. Overnight stays and day tour fees are quite affordable and this part of San Vicente's coast appeal to more budget-friendly travelers. There's parking for those with cars and the low-end lodgings are mostly designed for large groups of guests. It's reminiscent of Bolinao and it leads to the neighboring beach of Anguib which shares the same shoreline.

Lodgings at Nangaramoan
Nangaramoan Beach on low tide
Rock formations at Nangaramoan
I've visited this beach at its high tide period when the cove was sensational for swimming. For my recent visit last December, though, it was on a low tide season and the end of the cove -- thorny with rock formations -- finally became accessible. It opens to a more secluded stretch of the beach where the nearby mountain showed more imposing views.

For reservations at Nangaramoan Beach, contact Nenet's Inn & Cottages at 0916-717-5985 or Marpe Lodging at 0917-476-7041 and 0915-906-6692.

Anguib Beach
3. Anguib Beach

Anguib is the first accessible beach from the long and winding San Vicente-Gutan-Lubac-Anguib Road. It's gated and guarded, so it's better to book your visit in advance. A bifurcation past the entrance leads to a dirt road that ends at the privately owned Gotan Beach which also has its own security.

Popular Activities

This destination is quite popular for volleyball, kite and windsurf festivals. A lot of tourists also opt to kayak here. Surfing boards, Jetskis, water skis, wakeboards and banana boats are also available for rent. Ideally scattered all over the property are shower rooms and bathrooms for visitors. There are also huge huts for get-togethers.

As the town pumps out an emerging middle class in the province, this swath of tropical getaway has become a smart holiday escape for tired urban dwellers so much so that the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has taken the necessary efforts to protect it from abuse by developing it in cooperation with the town's local government unit. The result is the lack of modern-style resorts that are typical of other beach destinations in the Philippines. There's only more of nature to see and less of the toxic tourist scene of bars, restaurants and obscenely high-end structures.

Kayaking at Anguib Beach
Anguib Beach
Anguib Beach
Entrance Fees

These days, a reasonable entrance fee of Php400 for day trips (8:00am to 5:00pm) and Php500 for overnight (7:00pm to 7:00am) are charged per visitor. For those who will be renting cottages and tents, the entrance fee costs less -- Php200 for day trip and Php300 for overnight.

Cottage and Tent Rentals

Regular tents can be rented for Php400 (overnight for a maximum of 3 guests), Php600 (overnight for a maximum of 4 guests) and Php1,000 (overnight for a maximum of 6 guests). A beach bean bag can be rented for Php300 (two pieces), a sleeping bag for Php200, and sets of tables and chairs for Php1,000 (set for 6 people) and Php1,400 (set for 8 people). The Al Fresco can be rented for Php8,000 (day trip) or Php8,200 (overnight) by a maximum of 50 guests. Cabanas are available for Php5,000 (day trip) or Php5,200 (overnight) for a maximum of 50 guests also. The Big Tent costs Php8,000 (day trip) or Php8,200 (overnight) and the maximum number of guests are the same.

For reservations at Anguib Beach, call 0906-846-1530 or email [email protected]

Watch A Glimpse of Our Road Trip In Santa Ana:

This summer, try to deviate from the norm. Be mindful of the environment. Create less damaging impacts on nature and Indigenous People's ancestral domains. Go north of the Philippines in Cagayan and explore the white sand beaches of Santa Ana for a change.

Special thanks to local guide Vhin Cezar for the road trip

Anguib Beach
Anguib Beach
My Recommended Tour Base In Santa Ana:
Book a room at Blue Coast Beach Hotel.

This post first appeared on Turista Trails, please read the originial post: here

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Santa Ana's White Sand Beaches That Need No Boat Transfers


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