It’s been two years since our family visited my husband’s hometown. My husband’s from Aparri, Cagayan, which became quite popular because it was mentioned in the theme song of a local noontime show. The song meant to say the show is number one in the entire Philippines, as in from the northernmost place in the country to the one deep in the south. Of course, they realized later that Aparri isn’t actually the farthest place in the north; it’s Batanes. (Or perhaps the show wasn’t available in Batanes then because they didn’t have electricity yet.) But, yes, it’s still quite far from Metro Manila.
We were reminded of the fact when we traveled a day ago and were on the road for 24 hours. The trip only usually takes 14 hours (even faster now for people from Southern Luzon like us, thanks to the new Skyway and TPLEX), but traffic in the Philippines, as you may already know, is the worst. We got stuck for two hours in a remote area because a trailer truck toppled over and the local government did not attend to it right away. So, that’s the Philippines in a gist for you.
Unpleasant experiences aside, it’s nice to be back here. It’s still quiet and overcast, but there’s nothing good food can’t make pleasant. We had miki and brownies from Cindy’s this afternoon (UPDATE: Cindy’s has closed), and I was reminded of how happiness can be found in simple things.
What to do in Aparri
We come here to visit family, so we mostly just stay at my husband’s family home and eat home-cooked meals.
If you’re a tourist, however, the honest answer is not much. Aparri is quite small — Aparri East, at least, but I can’t really say how Aparri West looks like and what it has to offer because I haven’t been there yet. My husband says it’s like a different town altogether.
So what can you do here? You can see the other end of the Cagayan River, which is the longest river in the Philippines, at the Punta Pier. There, you’ll also see where the river meets the sea (the Babuyan Channel, to be exact).
There’s a park right across the municipal hall where you can take photos and just enjoy street food from your childhood (hotcakes, corn, popcorn, and more).
They’re not in the municipality proper but Fuga Island is a barangay in Aparri. You may ask people around how to take a boat there and enjoy the waters of Mabog Island and Barit Island.
There are now three community malls in Aparri: Novo, CityMall, and Town Center. We explored the last during our recent trip and enjoyed the variety of products offered at Mr. DIY. It’s like Daiso or Japan Home Center but the products are made in China.
Where to stay in Aparri
There are a few hotels in Aparri. You may check out Hotel Dian or St. Patrick.
Where to eat in Aparri
Aparrianos have been bitten by the milk tea bug, too. There are now three milk tea places where you can satisfy your boba cravings. For really good food, I suggest you visit Kanto Mabini. Tell them you learned about their spot from Yop!
If you’re looking for more things to do or more scenic places to see, Aparri is also quite near places in Cagayan that have tourist spots such as Sta. Ana and Gonzaga. You can also make the place a jumping point for traveling to Calayan Island.
How to get to Aparri
If you’re keen to visit the town, you can either go by plane or by bus. If you’re going to take a plane, book one that goes to Tuguegarao. From there, take a van to Aparri. If you’re more of a long-travel kind of person, take a Florida bus from Sampaloc or Cubao; it goes straight to Aparri.