Why would anyone make a road trip from Quirino to Baler in Aurora Province? Because the road is there.
Quirino, named after the 6th President of the Philippines, is landlocked, It has Nueva Vizcaya to the west, Isabela to the north, and Aurora to the southeast. Visitors go to Quirino for adventure tourism – – cliff jumping, exploring its many caves ( it is said that practically the entire province of Quirino sits on a syatem of caves). I had planned to stay overnight but chose to bypass after reading up, realizing I should spend maybe 2-3 nights for me to fully explore Quirino. That will have to be another trip.
I was crisscrossing Cagayan Valley and the towns of Isabela, photographing the beautiful old churches. Then I spent a night in Santiago City, intending to explore Quirino, and then decided to save it for a longer trip. Thus, unplanned, I inquired about the road from Quirino to Aurora – – whether it is now passable. I first heard about it and wanted to cross then from Casiguran in Aurora to Quirino, many years ago. When I was told that the road is good, I went on and traveled to Baler instead.
ORYZA HOTEL in Santiago City, my start off point
On the road to Cobarruguis, capital of Quirino
Destination: Maddella town hall
Santiago City to Maddela, the jump-off point to the Quirino-Aurora Road is 62 kilometers. And it was an easy 78 kilometers to Barangay Dinadiawan in Dipaculao, Aurora. I got on Waze and learned that it was going to be a mere 1 1/2 hour drive.
Ain’t no mountain high enough
I was imagining an adventure into the hinterlands. As it turns out, the road system is 95% complete and it was concrete roads all the way. Except for certain sections about to be concreted, or maybe just being repaired due to landslides. There are also slippages in many sections but, overall, road travel is safe. There are stones and pebbles piled up on the sides of the roads that are not passable because of the slippage – – – it is hollow underneath.
I felt comfortable especially after coming across many cars and SUVs coming from the other end. Then the road must be good all the way, I said to myself.
It is a picturesque route. Mountains and hills and rivers. For a while I thought I was along Kennon Road.
At the end of the mountain road is Barangay Dinadiawan in Dipaculao, a town I have visited many times before, next to Baler.
Dinadiawan in Dipaculao, Aurora
1.5 hours from Maddela to Dinadiawan, another 1.5 to 2 hours to Baler
Lunch was in a carinderia by the roadside at Dipaculao Poblacion.
And then I was back in Baler, enjoying my beer.