Palaui Island Aquathlon Challenge 2007

Sta. Ana, Cagayan North, Philippines


 This blog is a reinstatement from my website that went on permanent vacation. I found a back up copy and I made some corrections and revision for better understanding.  My wife and I joined the Aquathlon together with my niece and sister-in-law arranged by Triathlon Association of the Philippines.

 The Travel to Sta. Ana to Palaui Island

We left Pasig City by one big bus and a coaster at about 8:30 pm Thursday, May 17 and arrived at Tuguegarao City at about 9:00 am Friday.

I was so surprised that at the farthest town in North of Luzon, there is Jolibee. They say that when a town has Jolibee, it is progressing. We took our breakfast at Jolibee and then we proceeded and arrived at Callao Cave about 10:30 am.

We spent inside the cave for about 1 hour and a half. We explored it and took pictures of the stalactite and stalagmite. There is chapel inside the cave. Sun rays shone towards the altar. It was heavenly feeling and gave some goose bumps.

After Callao Cave, we went to Cortez  Beach Resort in Sta. Ana for our lunch and lodging. It was about 2 pm and we were so hungry.

On the dawn of Saturday, May 19, about 5 am, we left for Pier Irene and hired several boats goin to Palaui Island for about 5 minutes.

Moments of Travel

We all tried to catch some sleep we took night travelling.  It was quite difficult to sleep sitting inside the bus for so many hours. Very tiring indeed and painful around the neck. I brought two neck pillows for me and my wife that gave us some relief. The bus was very cold most especially in early evening until morning of the following day.

We had several stops. One in Shell SLEX for our first dinner in travel. Another stop at about 1 am Friday to relieve the bladder. The next was in Tuguegarao City for breakfast. Lo! We were stopped by LTO entering Cagayan Province and we were held for about 20 minutes for whatever reason.

We were two buses of 50 athletes, organizers, sponsors and media. The organizer was Triathlon Association of the Philippines and among the major sponsors are Speedo and Cagayan Export Processing Zone Authority, in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

There were two routes going to Callao Cave. One needed to ride a banca and cross the Pinagcanauan River then go up 187 concrete stairs. Another was longer by about 5 km going to Quibal with some rough road going direct to the entrance of Callao Cave. We went first to the first site to ride small boats but then changed mind and proceeded to Quibal.

Callao Cave

Callao Cave is located in Penablanca, a town nearby Tuguegarao City. It has 7 chambers with massive limestone formation, skylights and chapel. Inside it has plenty of crystal formation. The chambers are wide and high filled with white, crystal-studded columns.

There was mass by a priest and my wife and I attended together with some athletes. The altar is carved on wall made of limestone and skylight (big hole on top where the sunlight comes in).  Another chamber further has wider and higher skylight.

Boat Ride to Palaui Island.

The weather was cooperating.  It was cloudy, not hot and not humid. The sun tried to peep behind the clouds but failed. The sea was calm.

A boat can take only 6 to ten persons depending on the size of the boat for safety purposes.

Along the way to Palaui Island, there were several beautiful small islets. There was a  marshland about 10 meters by 20 meters, floating shrubs - swaying and dancing with the waves.

I can describe the ride as picturesque with those the islets and rock formation.

Another boat was racing with us but later went just behind us at about boat length only. The boatman was drafting and if it was a bike, then it was illegal.

Nearing Palaui Island, the Lighthouse suddenly appear on the horizon at the peak of the island edge. I was just wondering how lonely it is to live and maintain the lighthouse.

The Aquathlon

The race was 2 km mountain trail run, then 1 km open sea swim and 3 km mountain trail run. The run started at the beach, going up the hill to the lighthouse and down to grassland. The trail passed thru forest until reaching Transition 1 near the beach. Swim two laps of 500 meters back to transition then run again to the finish line.

Moments of Race

It was great and very fullfilling to join the Palaui Aquathlon. Here my wife and I met fellow athletes, talked with them with anything under the sun to keep the bonding. I met personally great guys, triathlete champions, OLYMPIAN, and Ironmen (or ironwomen, whatever).

During my last Triathlon in Ayala Alabang and Duathlon in Festival Mall, I was able to talk to fellow triathletes.  I call myself triathlete since accordingly if you finished one race, then you are called triathlete. What an honor at my age above 50.

Although I had still some knee pain (stressed MC Ligament) and shoulder injury ( hit by friend falling from banana boat in Puerto Galera), I ran and swam.During downhill run, I felt some pain but still decided to run and swim. The cold water of the open sea after run was very pleasant and relaxed my quads and hams. It was a good swim but at the last 200 meters I lost my focus and swam and swam and I found out I was off course by about 75 meters. The water was marvelously clear and the deep bottom was a sight to behold. So I lost and swam back to the line. I finished the 1st lap of 500 meter open swim. I decided to DNF since my MCL was starting to hurt and was afraid of drowning. Also the coast guards was far from me to save me in case.

My wife ran uphill together with my niece and sister in law but stopped a the lighthouse for picture taking.

Moments of Fun
TRAP had prepared our superb brunch which was consisted of local recipes before the awarding

Awarding of winners was fun. Everybody was happy rooting for friends or fellow athlete. My wife and I made some friends. We got acquainted with the athletes pride of the Philippines.

.At about 10:00 am, the race was done. Everybody enjoyed the lighthouse, the beach and some went to the waterfalls.

Angib Beach

My wife and I joined some athletes in going to Angib Beach, in mainland Cagayan for another 20 minute boat ride. 

My of my! Great shore that was white sand. Even the deep and the bottom was so beautifully made of white sand. The beach is shallow, up to waist deep far enough to play around. Further on one side was quite deep and has corals with plenty of colorful fish.

Port Irene, San Vicente, Sta. Ana.

We went back boat Port Irene where we came from for about 20 minutes again and back to Cortez Beach Resort for shower and rest.

Back to Manila

We left Sta. Ana about 5 pm. Saturday.  Everybody was happy and satisfied with the trip. Camaraderie was more in the air during trip back to Manila. More jokes floated and videoke singing on the bus completed our trip.

We took our dinner along the way.

Leave a Reply.

    Transition 2 - Swim Leg
    At the Lighthouse
    View of Nearby Island