28 May
2012

Magapit Suspension Bridge, Lal-lo, Cagayan

The Magapit Suspension Bridge, opened in 1978 during the Marcos Regime, is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. This is also known to locals as the “Golden Gate of Cagayan” because locals saw it as a smaller replica of the said famous suspension bridge. It spans the Cagayan River at Lal-lo and is 449.14 meters long. The construction of such a bridge was ideal because the Cagayan River has strong currents and only a suspension bridge can be the best type of bridge built over the busy waterway. The bridge links the first (west) and second (east) districts of Cagayan going towards the Ilocos Region and the northern parts of the province of Apayao.

On May 9, 2012, it was announced during the regular session of the Cagayan Provincial Board that the bridge will undergo rehabilitation of six months from May 16, 2012 with an estimated cost of almost Php 100 Million. It is one of the famous landmarks of the province because of its importance to traffic, trade, and commerce. And since it opened in 1978, no major rehabilitation project was made even it was already due on 2008, 30 years after.

Since last May 16th, ferry boats transport cars from one side to the other in lieu of the bridge’s rehabilitation project. As a traveler myself, I find it more difficult to wait for long queues of traffic and be transported by a ferry. I might just opt to wait for the completion of the rehabilitation before I travel to Ilocos Norte again.

I am thankful that the Provincial Government, the DPWH, and the Senate President opted for rehabilitation instead of a construction of a new bridge because of its historical significance. It will always remain a landmark in Cagayan reminding its people of unity and pride of the few architectural wonders seen in the province.

Another significant bridge would be the Buntun Bridge (the fourth longest bridge in the country found in Tuguegarao-Solana). But because both are different in architectural design, each has its own pride and honor. There are only two bridges in the province of Cagayan that connects the eastern and western municipalities that the Cagayan River divides by its mighty water current. I just hope that soon, a new bridge project may be built in Aparri or in Alcala to ease traffic and connects people from one side to the other.

If you are in Cagayan and might pass by, take a glimpse of the Magapit Bridge and have some photos taken.

*****

I recently heard that the Magapit Suspension Bridge is already passable! It’s now open for business. Light vehicles now pass through the bridge! [September 3, 2012]

9 May
2012

Cagayan Provincial Hymn in Ibanag

My Notes:

My direct translation to English may be inaccurate as I am not a native speaker of the language. I have only spoken the language since I was 11 years old.

I came to learn of the provincial hymn when I was with the first batch of St. Paul University Chorale in 1999. It was great to learn it in Ybanag as Cagayan’s Capital city speaks the language. And whenever a government institution sings the hymn, I finally know how to sing it. If I am not mistaken, only Municipalities of Lal-lo, Solana, Iguig, and Tuguegarao City sing the version. Most of the northernmost municipalities of Cagayan sing either the English or Ilocano versions.

The hymn is usually sang after the Philippine National Anthem as mandated by a Cagayan Provincial Ordinance.  There are five versions that were all translated from the original Spanish composition by Pablo Bacud. The Ybanag version is sang in the capital city; the Ilocano and English versions, most municipalities; Filipino version, just a translation; Spanish, seldom or never used.

 

CAGAYAN PROVINCIAL HYMN (Ibanag Version)

Cagayan, davvun nga cacastan niacan,
Egga ca laman nacuan ta piam,
Nu curug tu maparrayyu ca niacan,
Ariat ta ca vuluvvuga nga cattamman.

Cagayan, maquemmemmi ca nga innan.
Cagayan, auan tu caguittam.
Nu anni paga y casta na davvun caruan
Egga ca la ta futu nga idedducan.

 

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Cagayan, a beautiful land for me,
you only have done good,
if it’s true that you flee far from me,
I won’t intend to forget you.

Cagayan, you are dear to see,
Cagayan, you are incomparable,
however beautiful other lands would be,
You are in my heart forever loved.

 

CAGAYAN PROVINCIAL HYMN (English Version)

Cagayan, my valley home is dear to me,
Though from her my footsteps far stray,
Over mountains, plains, beyond the deep blue sea
I shall love her ever be where’er I may.

Cagayan, O smiling land of beauty
Cagayan, my heart clings unto thee;
Though from thee my footsteps far away may stray
I shall love thee ever thee be where’er I may.

 

7 May
2012

Tuguegarao City

Tuguegarao City is a small young city in Cagayan Province, northeast of Luzon. This happens to be my hometown. I thought of starting to write this entry before other places as others might be interested on how to get here. Plus, this is the most familiar place for me.

Some facts about Tuguegarao:
Tuguegarao is the capital city of both the Province of Cagayan and the Cagayan Valley Region (Region II). It is supposedly the center of education, trade, commerce, industry and  culture of the region. Current daytime population of Tuguegarao is roughly 132,000 with a nighttime population of 129,539 according to the 2007 Philippine  Census. So, the city center is quite populated.

The city is subdivided into 49 smaller government units, known as the Barangays in the Philippines. The Barangay is a community government that has been established since pre-Hispanic times. The city has four districts namely the central business district (known as Centro), regional offices district (known as the Carig Regional Center), new sites development area (Buntun, Cataggaman, Pallua, and Bagay), and the rural agricultural center (found in the eastern Barangays).

The city government is made up of one city mayor, one city vice-mayor, fourteen city councilors (twelve elective and two ex-officios), and the local department heads. The 49 Barangays have their own government which is made up of one chairman, eight councilors (seven elective and one ex-officio) and appointed officials.

 

The Tuguegarao City Hall

 

What to enjoy in the city:
The tourist spots of Tuguegarao are usually ruins of the old Hispanic Town such as the Tuguegarao Cathedral (Sts. Peter & Paul Metropolitan Cathedral), the St. Hyacinth Chapel (Ermita de San Jacinto), the Horno (ruins of the old Spanish Brick Place), the Buntun Bridge (an iconic bridge for Cagayanos that stretches around 2.5Km), and the Cagayan Provincial Capitol (office of the Provincial Governor, that used to house the Gubernadorcillos *if I am not mistaken***).

Food here is not as exotic as other Asian cities, however, due to mixture of cultures and the integration of the Ybanag Culture, there have been foods that are uniquely Ibanag.  The Pancit Batil Patong (also known as Pancit Tuguegarao) is one of the most common foods in the city. Almost everywhere in the city, you’d find a panciteria that showcase their own version of the famous Batil Patong. What is Pancit Batil Patong? It is like any other stir-fried noodles in the Philippines but have these unique Tuguegarao Characteristics. It is stir-fried with either pork or buffalo (carabao) meat with some cabbages and carrots, served with a fresh minced onions and salted nido soup.

The town of Cabagan is quite near in the city, so people also enjoy Cabagan’s version of the stir-fried noodles. The noodles are different, and instead of chicken eggs, they place quail eggs. Cabagan panciterias are also all over the city.

Bulalo in Tuguegarao is also quite different as it is also quite popular with the people. You should try to taste how Tuguegaraouenos cook their Bulalo. Some Bulalo are Beef and some are Buffalo Beef. In the outskirts of the city center across the Pinacanauan River, in Barangay Capatan, a famous (among Tuguegaraouenos) Papaitan and Bulalo restaurant serve also Dinuguan and Mixed Bulalo and Papaitan.

The Pavvurulun Festival is celebrated annually in the month of August that has to land on the religious fiesta holiday of the Patron Saint, St. Hyacinth on August 16/17. The festivities usually last for 8 to 10 days with parades, street dancing, and other uniquely Filipino. Pancit Festival is embedded in the Pavvurulun as Pancit-Eating Contest, Pancit-Cooking contest, and other Pancit related activities happen usually on the third or fourth day of Pavvurulun Festival.

Transportation:
Cebu Pacific Air & AirPhil Express fly in and out of Tuguegarao from Manila. Sky Pasada has flights to Baguio, Maconacon, Palanan, and Cauayan City (in Isabela). Buses in and out of the city are also available. Among them are Victory Liner, Baliwag Transit, GV Florida Bus Liner, Dalin, GMW (Tuguegarao-Vigan, v.v.) and others. Minivans and Jeepneys also travel from town to town such Tabuk City, Sta. Ana, Aparri, Santiago City, Cauayan City, and many others.

Jeepneys are not allowed to enter the city center. Therefore, Tricycles are the only mode of public transportation from point to point within the city. The minimum fare is Ten Pesos only but unfortunately some drivers demand for more. Please be wary about this. You can report this to any local police if they harass you.  Moreover, try the Calesas to ride around the town!

 

The Tuguegarao City Calesa

 

Hotels:
There are couchsurfers in the city like I am. But only three of us seemed to host backpackers. Others usually meet up for coffee or pancit. But hotels are quite expensive. There are several hotels here such as Hotel Roma, Delfino Hotel,  Hotel Lorita, Mango Suites, Ivory Hotel, Hotel Carmelita… most of these have an “okay” service. But I suggest that Mango Suites are the best.

Souvenirs:
There not many souvenir shops in Tuguegarao. However, Valley Souvenirs do sell some quality t-shirts although quite costly. Valley Souvenirs is found in Paseo Real. Also, try buying Chicharabao, Chicha-bana, Ms. Kara from Lighthouse Cooperative. Those are quite a treat.

 

CSers Diega and Fidel posing by Ybanag Food Products of Lighthouse Cooperative

 

I’ll be posting more about Tuguegarao soon. Here are just some of the basics I think you should know if you wish to travel to Tuguegarao.

7 May
2012

Counting Numbers and Pronouns in Ybanag

Learning the Ybanag (also Ibanag) may be a little bit difficult as it does somehow resemble any other Filipino Language except for the double letters it uses and its pronunciation.  Ybanag is one of the few Filipino Languages that also have unique consonants such as F, V, J and Z.

Counting numbers in Ybanag are easy as it does resemble most Malayo-Polynesian languages. It has close similarities to languages that are spoken around the native areas and Filipino, Bahasa, Ilocano, etc.

Here are the counting numbers:

[English - Ybanag = Tagalog]

Zero (0) – Awan = Wala
One (1) – Tadday = Isa
Two (2) - Duwa = Dalawa
Three (3) – Tal-lu = Tatlo
Four ( 4) – Ap-pa = Apat
Five (5) – Lima = Lima
Six (6) – An-nam = Anim
Seven (7) – Pitu = Pito
Eight (8) – Walu = Walo
Nine (9) – Siyam = Siyam
Ten (10) – Mafulu = Sampu
One Hundred (100) – Magat-tu = Sandaan
One Thousand (1,000) – Mariv-vu = Sanlibo

 

Here are the pronouns:

I – Sakan, So = Ako
You (Singular) – Sikaw =Ikaw
He/She – Yey-ya = Siya
We (Inclusive) – Sit-tam = Kami
We (Exclusive) – Sikami = Kami
You (Plural) – Sikamu = Kayo
They - Ira = Sila

These are some of the few words you can start to learn about the Ybanag Language.

4 May
2012

Hello Ybanag!

As I have just installed WordPress on my website, I came across a default journal entry entitled, Hello World! It is a default setting that is included when you install wordpress and it somehow wanted me to edit it and say something about the website.

I have been using ybanag.com and have been constantly registering this site name since 2006 as I intended it to be as some High School Class website. But as time went by, I had an idea of just making it for the Ybanags.

The Ybanags are from Cagayan Valley region of the northeastern part of the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Currently, 500,000 (more or less) speak the language and most have already mixed with other Filipino cultures.  I am from the city of Tuguegarao, which was dubbed by the former mayor and now congressman Randy Ting as the Premier Ibanag City. However, original inhabitants of the city were the Itawes, still dominant but Ybanag became one of its Lengua Franca aside from Ilocano, Tagalog (or Filipino) or English (one of Philippines’ official languages).

The website should launch by July 2012 but I already decided to start using it since it’s already here. It’s a simple blogsite that I intend to be informative about Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Isabela and the Region.

When I hosted Filipino couchsurfers, they suggested that I create an informative website since it will help travelers learn more about Cagayan Valley when they arrive here. Maybe some tips would lessen their worries if they explore the place.

Overall, as I start this new blog, I want to greet you with the default entry of wordpress, HELLO WORLD!

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