Are you looking for a great destination up north? The landlocked province of Nueva Vizcaya has some of the most breathtaking destinations outside the country’s tropical beaches.
The province is surrounded by vast mountain ranges; the Sierra Madre on the east, the Cordillera on the west, and the Caraballo on the south. This provides the province with an abundance of produce and natural beauty. Nueva Vizcaya also experienced significant Spanish rule during the 1800s and served as a fighting ground between the opposing sides during WWII.
The province is littered with historic sites, natural landmarks, and amazingly diverse people. Check out these 15 Best Tourist Spots in Nueva Vizcaya.
1. Imugan Falls
You can find Imugan Water Falls in the municipality of Santa Fe in Nueva Vizcaya. The waterfall is one of many that can be found in the Caraballo mountain range that feeds water to the Cagayan River. Imugan falls is a magnificent 35-foot cascade that crash into a shallow catch basin.
Rock formations surrounding the waterfall’s shallow pool at the bottom serve as a safe and picturesque picnic spot for day visitors. You can also take a refreshing swim and use the nearby toilet and washroom.
To get to Imugan Falls, visitors must first pay a small fee at Imugan Barangay Hall and then take a quick tranquil 30-minute trek to the falls through dense foliage on a trail paved by the local government.
2. Lower Magat Eco-Tourism Park
One of the best ways to experience the outdoors of Nueva Vizcaya with a big group is by spending a day or two at Lower Magat Eco-Tourism Park or LMEP for short. The park is located in the municipality of Diadi, the northernmost municipality of the province.
Run and developed by the provincial government, the eco-park is made up of a sprawling landscape of 1120 hectares. True to its name, LMEP can be found in the lower part of the Magat River. Perfect for big groups, you can rent a variety of rooms for an overnight stay, native houses, cabins, and huts.
You will not run out of activities in LMEP. Some of the activities include fishing, trekking, bird-watching, camping, and swimming all with the beautiful backdrop of nature.
3. Saint Dominic Cathedral
A beautiful example of 18th-century baroque architecture, the Saint Dominic Cathedral, better known as Bayombong Cathedral, can be found at Brgy. Salvacion, in the Municipality of Bayombong. The grandeur of the church is matched by its religious importance to the province and its rich history.
It was originally named The Church of St. Augustine, in 1780 soon after it was accepted by the Dominicans to be the mission center of the area, the church was renamed to its present title and the building of its cathedral took place. The cathedral was razed by fire twice and rebuilt.
Currently, the cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bayombong. The cathedral is an ideal spot to offer worship to visitors and explore its surrounding park.
4. Dumli-ing Falls
Located in Brgy. Balete in the municipality of Kayapa, Dumli-ing Falls is an awe-inspiring sight. The waterfall is the tallest one in Nueva Vizcaya reaching an elevation of 98-meters. Locals claim that Dumli-ing Falls used to be 120-meters tall but went down to its current elevation due to years of erosion and rocks filling its basin.
The waterfalls still make up for an amazing sight. Local legend has it that spirits used to live at the falls. One of the spirits introduced himself as Dumli-ing to one of the locals through a dream. The spirits disappeared in the 1990s after a huge earthquake hit the province.
Visitors need to hike for up to 2 hours to reach the waterfall, perfect for adventurous nature lovers.
5. Capisaan Cave System
The Capisaan Cave System is one of the unique attractions in Nueva Vizcaya. The cave system reaches 4.2 kilometers in length making it the 5th longest cave system in the Philippines. Located in Brgy. Capisaan, Kasibu, about 2 hours away from the National Highway, the journey will be worth it to spelunking enthusiasts.
Within the cave is a geologist’s dream. Hundreds if not thousands of rock and mineral formations can be found in the cave system including rare kinds of calcite formations. It also has a subterranean river inside so visitors should expect to get wet and prepare accordingly.
Visitors have the option to follow the halfway route or the through and through route with their guide. Expect to crawl, swim, and rappel as you go through the cave system.
6. People’s Museum and Library
Located just across the Saint Dominic Cathedral, or Bayombong Cathedral is the People’s Museum and Library. While in the Municipality of Bayombong, a visit to the People’s Museum and Library is a must if you want to learn about Nueva Vizcaya’s history and culture.
This quaint cultural attraction is housed in a historical building structure that proudly displays the town’s heritage. Build in 1906 and rebuilt several times, the structure we see today is from its last restoration in 1945. Before housing a museum and library, the historical building used to be the Old Capitol Building of the province.
Visitors can view the museum’s collection comprising Agriculture & Rituals, Accessories & Weaponry, Weaving & Textiles, The Ilocano Collection, and World War II. They also have an art gallery of local artists’ works.
7. Mt. Ugo
Mt. Ugo or Mt. Ugu encompasses the borders of Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet. Starting at the municipality of Kayapa, a full hike through the mountain will take two days to complete and is described to be of moderate difficulty by hikers and outdoors enthusiasts. Although it is lower in elevation compared to other mountains in the Cordilleras, Mt. Ugo likewise offers an enchanting trail through beautiful pine forests, native villages, and spectacular sites.
The mountain has an unfortunate origin as a hiking destination. A plane of Philippine Airlines crashed on the slope of Mt. Ugo with no survivors. Rescuers found the crash along with mountaineers near the summit which paved trails through the mountain. Now it’s one of the most popular hiking destinations in the Cordilleras.
8. Balete Pass National Shrine
The Balete Pass, also known as Dolton Pass is a rugged terrain where the Sierra Madre mountain range and Cordillera connect. Because its strategic location is the only passage between Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon, the pass became the setting of much bloody fighting and death between allied American-Filipino soldiers and Japanese soldiers during WWII.
The fighting proved to be one of the deadliest in the region resulting in almost a combination of 17,000 soldier casualties from both sides. The pass is also named after General James Dalton II who was killed during the battle by a sniper.
The Balete Pass National Shrine commemorates those who fought in the battle. The shrine is located at the highest point of the pass and will treat visitors will great views.
9. Mt. Palali
A newer hiking destination in Nueva Vizcaya is Mt. Palali, a lush forested mountain bounded by the municipalities of Quezon and Bayombong. Mt. Palali is a significant landmark in the province. It was once the hunting ground of the Bugkalots, Gaddangs, and Ifugaos. Historically, it is also a crash site of WWII tora-tora planes.
Although somewhat lesser-known compared to other mountains, Mt. Palali as a hiking site is steadily gaining popularity for its great views of the province below. Outdoor enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised at the Jurassic-like unique flora in the mountain’s dipterocarp forest.
Start off point for hikers is at Brgy. Maddiangat at the Municipality of Quezon. The 6-9 hour hike will be a major climb for amateur hikers and is considered to be a 5/9 level of difficulty.
10. San Vicente Ferrer Church
San Vincente Ferrer Church, commonly known as Dupax del Sur Church in Brgy. Dopaj in the Municipality of Dupax del Sur is an 18th-century Baroque church. The church is declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines in 2001.
Built on 1773 on a more modest church structure, San Vicente Ferrer Church is currently the best-preserved church complex in Nueva Vizcaya. It is also one of the biggest and oldest in Northern Luzon with all the features of an Old Spanish brick church.
History lovers will have a great time visiting the church. A lot of its original architectural designs are well-preserved and intact with many features unique to the church. The church also houses a museum showcasing centuries-old church artifacts.
11. Lintungan Falls
Located at Brgy. Runruno in the Municipality of Quezon, Litungan Falls is one of the many dips into nature you can experience when in Nueva Vizcaya. What makes Lintungan Falls unique is its four-tier, with each level dropping into clear natural pools. The first three pools are open for swimmers but the fourth pool at the bottom is not recommended for swimming as there are no safe facilities for people to get in and out.
Lintungan Falls was first discovered by natives and was originally named Tub-oy Falls by the Igorots which means drop of water. It was then changed to its current name since its located within Sitio Lintungan.
To get there, you will need to ride a vehicle for 10-15 minutes following a paved road from the barangay hall.
12. Gulon Peak
Nueva Vizcaya is a hiker’s dream with the number of hiking trails and mountains in the province. Gulon Peak in the municipality of Ambaguio offers a hiking trail that is accessible for hikers from beginners to advanced. It is actually one of the most accessible hiking destinations in the province.
The starting point to the peak is at Brgy. Poblacion. Trekking through the lush forests takes 20-30 minutes overall to reach Gulon Peak. At the top, you can catch a panoramic view of the versed mountain ranges. The most amazing sight will be during sunrise and if you are lucky, a sea of clouds.
There are plans of developing outdoor sports like a rope course at Gulon Peak and other nearby landmarks.
13. Senora Falls
Senora Falls can be easily reached when you are at the municipality of Bayombong. It is a very popular rustic waterfall destination for both locals and travelers alike, so it is a must-see. The waterfall is 15 feet in height and drops down to a wide pool. Some parts of the pool are quite deep but there are shallower areas for non-swimmers.
During warmer temperatures, a dip into the pool is a great way to cool off. It is also a picturesque location to have a picnic with family and friends.
14. Salinas Salt Spring
Salinas Salt Spring used to be a magnificent site in Brgy. Manamtam in the municipality of Bambang. It was once a glistening white hill, a stark contrast to its forested surroundings at the slope of the mountain. Underground waterways produce the salt of the hill for millions of years which created the hill’s pristine white appearance. It was a popular tourist attraction since the Spanish colonial period.
The town also used the saltwater pools for fish farming and mine the salt for profit. However, the 1990 earthquake stopped the spring and rerouted the waters away from the hill. Monsoons washed the beautiful glistening white salt off the hill and left a dark rocky mound we see today.
Fortunately, new salt spring is discovered at a nearby hill in the barangay. The still-emerging salt spring is being protected for future generations and as a promising tourist attraction.
15. Dampol Bridge
One of the remaining historic sites in Nueva Vizcaya, the Dampol Bridge was built in 1818 by hand by the Isinays and other indigenous groups in the area. The historic unreinforced bridge has a single arch and spans the Abanatan Creek connecting Brgy. Dupaj and Brgy. Dumang. The red bricks of the bridge were made in an old adobe workshop near the St. Vicente Ferrer Church.
The bridge was close to demolition in 2014 as part of a road widening project if not for the protests of the Isanay and the local community. Today, it is a protected historical site.