https://www.wheninmanila.com

By Ashley Lucas - February 6, 2018

The province of Isabela is often overlooked as a destination for tourists, mostly because people head toward the white sandy beaches in the Ilocos region or the highlands of Mountain Province. But, if one takes time to dig beneath the province’s surface, you will uncover the town’s rich and vibrant past, colorful festival, beautiful people, and gorgeous attractions that make up its northern charm.

Needless to say, you need to endure a 10-hour drive from Manila to see this part of the country. You will, however, be granted a scene worthy of your time once you’ve arrived. There is the refreshing sight of greeneries, the view of the cornfields, and the typical herd of cattle on the side of the highway—everything is a feast for the eyes.

If you’re not yet sold, though, you might want to read our top 5 reasons why we think you definitely should visit the province:

 

5. Food

 

We have no doubt that you would easily fall in love with the food in Isabela. Everything tastes fresh—vegetables, fruits, fishes, meat. Well, it isn’t a province known for its glorious and thriving agriculture for nothing. We recommend that you try their savory Pancit Cabagan, delicious Moriecos, popular Pinilisa rice, yummy monggo beans, spicy longganisa, and, of course, their delightful corn. If you have more appetizing additions to this list, please do share them with us!

 

4. Adventure

If you’re looking for an adventure, the 819-hectare Ilagan Sanctuary won’t disappoint. It’s where you’ll find the first zipline in the Cagayan Valley region and where you can do wall climbing, ride a cable car, swan boat or a horse, play paintball, rent a kayak, try the zip bike, and finish an obstacle course. Those, plus you can visit caves and get close to the animals at its mini zoo. Surely, a day wouldn’t be enough to try out everything!

 

3. History

The Ilagan Japanese Tunnel is just one mark of history in Isabela. The man-made tunnel served as a prison and storage for weapons and treasures during the war. It opened in 2016, allowing tourists to travel back to World War II.

 

2. Festivity

Every year in January, Isabela holds its Bambanti Festival that aims to celebrate the province’s rich culture and tradition, it’s land, and most especially it’s people. If you want to get to know more about the thirty-four municipalities and three cities of the province, you definitely shouldn’t miss this annual festivity.

 

1. People

And, of course, like in any other towns or cities, you’d fall in love more with the province of Isabela when you meet its people. This northern province has really nice locals that you can make friends with. They’re very much accommodating, too, which will make any tourist feel welcome.