Saturday, February 7, 2015

Isabela Quickie Side Trip

San Matias Church Tumauini Isabela

I’ve been meaning to go to Isabela for their local pancit dish - Pancit Cabagan. So before heading to Tuguegarao for a food fest, me and my buddy transited to Tumauini and Cabagan for a quickie side trip.

The plan was to go to Tuguegarao passing through some important spots in Isabela. We boarded a Tuguegarao-bound bus which will pass by the town of Tumauini (570 pesos each) and endured the 12-hour bus ride.

The sun was starting to set in when we arrived at Tumauini. We asked to be dropped at the stop near the Tumauini Church, one of the interesting churches in the Philippines. And from the main highway, we followed a sign leading to the said church.

San Matias Church Tumauini Isabela


The San Matias Parish Church was still closed that foggy morning. This church is known as one of the Baroque-style architecture in the country and was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.

San Matias Church Tumauini Isabela

San Matias Church Tumauini Isabela

Construction of the church started in 1707 by a Dominican priest, Franciso Nuñez. The first structure was made of light materials and in 1783 they built a better one using red bricks as material and completed in 1805.

The ornately-designed façade of the church echoed inside its interior walls. The design and details are extensive. You could trace the specific numbers for the correct sequence of the bricks. The dates were also engraved on some of it which made it interesting.

San Matias Church Tumauini Isabela

San Matias Church Tumauini Isabela

A cylindrical belfry (somewhat resembling a wedding cake) is attached to the church; the only known cylindrical tower in the country during the Spanish colonial era.

And then the funeral procession.

We were fascinated in exploring the church’s intricate design and delicate brickwork when from nowhere, a funeral procession approached and we’ve decided to join the crowd and observe.

The crowd was extremely inaudible as the funeral mass was being held – in pure Ilocano. We sat quietly until everyone was gone. It was serene, calm and peaceful. And then it’s time for us to leave.

San Matias Church Tumauini Isabela

San Matias Church Tumauini Isabela

San Matias Church Tumauini Isabela

Next in line was to savor the famous Pancit Cabagan, in Cabagan, no less.

Pancit Cabagan Isabela

From Tumauini, we hopped on a non-airconditioned bus going to the town of Cabagan (20 pesos each). It was drizzling but the view was still stunning. The pastoral scene left me stuck on my window with light rain showering over my face. It was nice.

We got off at a designated bus stop and walked to the public market to check out our panciteria options. The locals pointed us to Eddie’s Panciteria right across the market which serves authentic Pancit Cabagan all-day.

Pancit Cabagan Isabela

Pancit Cabagan Isabela

Pancit Cabagan Isabela

There are many options as to the sizes of your pancit and we opted to get the huge size - the Special Pancit (60 pesos each).

While waiting, we had the chance to check out the kitchen and personally experience the makings of a great pancit.

Pancit Cabagan Isabela

Pancit Cabagan Isabela

Pancit Cabagan Isabela

Serving time was average (it was noontime) and the aroma of our Pancit Cabagan was so enticing that I wanna just dig into it right away. This saucy noodle dish topped with lechon kawali and hard-boiled egg (others use quail eggs) is one of the famed dishes in the Cagayan Valley Region (set against Tuguegarao’s pancit batil patong – my favorite).

Pancit Cabagan Isabela
Pancit Cabagan 
Special Pancit - 60 pesos
Pancit Cabagan Isabela

And then we shoved our pancits and dug into it like hungry mongrels; it was tasty and yummy. The crunchy lechon kawali complemented the soft texture of the saucy pancit. We saw some locals using some vinegar-chili dipping sauce which we also did, it added a certain kick to it but then I loved the plain one better. The overflowing sauce was enough for me.

Pancit Cabagan Isabela

And then we moved on to Tuguegarao (51 pesos each/air-conditioned bus) for my pancit batil patong-fix for three days!

Check Isabela accommodations here





2 comments:

  1. Lucky you were able to go inside Tumauini Church! Ang ganda din pala sa loob and I was so disappointed na exterior lang nakita ko when I went there last Nov. Where is Eddie's panciteria located? I was able to try Pancit Cabagan sa mall lang sa Santiago.

    Also, if you don't mind me asking, how do you get to have those "foodie action" shots? I've always wanted to ask if I can go ahead and take pics while they are cooking pero nahiya ako -_-

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    1. Hi Mariane! Maganda nga talaga sa loob ng church. Yung Eddie's eh nasa tapat lang mismo ng palengke ng Cabagan. About sa "action" shots eh talagang di lang siguro ako mahiyain na bata. Hihihi

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