This is probably the first time you’re hearing of a town called Sanchez Mira. Unless you have a friend who lives there or you’re from there, you’d most likely think that it’s a person’s name. Well, I don’t blame you. The tourism in this town only started recently, so many parts are still undeveloped. But, I assure you, you won’t regret visiting it.
I’d known Sanchez Mira since I was a child. It’s a small town in the province of Cagayan, located in the northern part of the Philippines, where coconut trees line up the highways and you can see cows everywhere. It’s my mom’s hometown and where my parents live now. Sometimes, I envy them, as they take pleasure in the clean morning breeze and fresh greens of the town. I’ve been spending my Christmas vacations there since college up until now.
As someone who had visited the town several times, I feel like I should let other people know why this northern beauty deserves a visit and share its wonders to more people who would like to explore the place. Accompanied by Sanchez Mira’s Tourism Officer, Lani Langaman, and her staff, I got to tour some parts of the town.
Below is the Minanga River. It is exactly where the river meets the sea or what they call an estuary. I was told that you can swim and rent boats to tour the river. As I’ve said, tourism here isn’t exactly big, so there isn’t a standard price yet for renting boats, but I was assured that it’s cheap.
According to the tourism staff that I was with, this part of the river is a marine protected area, wherein only activities that do not damage the environment are allowed.
On the other side of the mountains is Sanchez Mira’s neighboring town, Claveria. You can’t see it in the picture above, but there’s a lighthouse on the other side called the Pata Lighthouse.
Apart from the river, I also got to see the Ruins of Nagsimbaanan. They say that it used to look prettier, but since no one is maintaining it, various plants and grasses have surrounded it. It was almost hard to see the ruins. Apparently, the local government unit of Sanchez Mira is trying to get a hold of this land to maintain and develop it.
If you walk further, you can see more parts of what used to be the church in Namuac. Check out more photos of the ruins below:
From a marine protected river to church ruins, I got to do some wine tasting in Barangay Magacan. There are several winery in the area. Florde Bagasin graciously accepted me at the small winery at his house. You can taste different kinds of wine such as Bugnay, Calamansi, Dragonfruit, and Malubeg. The owner was so kind that I even got to take home a free bottle of Dragonfruit wine.
If you’re worried that the town might not accommodate you well, simply go to Baggak Son’z Hotel and Restaurant. The rooms are decent and the prices are reasonable. One family room costs Php 2,500, with a decent bathroom and free use of the pool. To see the room and the pool area, you can check out the photos below:
There are also other hotels and inns in the town, so accommodation really isn’t a problem.
Sanchez Mira still has a lot to improve, but with the right development and promotion of its tourism sites, I’m pretty sure that more people will start to appreciate its beauty and gladly take a tour around the town. I wasn’t able to see the Nagbarangan Dam, Pikkang Falls, and the Agta community of Cagayan on this trip, but I will definitely make time to see them next time. There are also wood carvings and some dolphin sightings, plus rare bird sightings in the months of March and April that I am yet to enjoy. I am definitely going back to see all those, and will be happy to share my experience with you.
If you are interested to visit other parts of the Cagayan province, you can check out the town of Pamplona and its floating cottages.
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