Ilagan Japanese Tunnel
Ilagan Japanese Tunnel is a war tunnel that was used for defense, as a prison, garrison and a headquarter by the Japanese government and military officials. It's a man-made tunnel created by the locals through force labor. This tunnel is one of the tourist destinations situated in Ilagan City, Isabela. Aside from Ilagan Japanese Tunnel, the Giant Butaka is an attraction that welcomes everyone who passes by the highway.

After our backpacking adventure in Cagayan and Apayao, we headed to Isabela, their neighboring province - DAY 4. After check out at Hotel Joselina, as always, we had our breakfast in McDo and rode in a tricycle to Victory Liner terminal. Bought water and the bus ran on the highway passing by the different municipalities in Cagayan and Isabela. Using Google Map and my Project Noah mobile app, I was able to track our location -  a very precise location! Alighted at the spot before the Giant Butaka.

For the complete details of our itinerary, please click the links at the bottom.

Our first destination was the Giant Butaka, the plaza and I Love Ilagan signboard. We stayed there for less than an hour because we waited for a group of Singaporean students to be finished while the sun was hot. Took a lot of photos at the park.  At the park, there are several art works that are significant to the Philippine history, such as the blood compact and other events.

That's me sitting on the giant Butaka.

The "Butaca" is a common household furniture in Ilagan that symbolizes the "ipabalem" or the feel-at-home hospitality of Ilaguenos. When the Spaniards arrived in the valley in 1594, they have seen the Butaca in the affluent natives and adopted it by bringing a number of them in the mission houses in the Casa del Encomeinderos and Casa Presidencias for use in various occasions. It is usually made from narra and woven rattan.

After the Butaka experience, we asked the police on duty on how to go to Ilagan Japanese Tunnel. As instructed, we rode in a tricycle to the tunnel, very simple right? Upon arrival, we were welcome by the Japanese arch. By the way, the primary mode of transportation is the city are tricycle and jeepneys.

Also, upon arrival, we were approached by a girl to settle our entrance fee. The area is surrounded by a gorgeous landscape, flowers, trees, and  the breeze was cool and fresh. To complete the Japanese vibes, tourists and visitors can wear kimono, like what we did. Wearing the kimono wasn't easy because of its complicated design. Not only that, the fabric used for kimonos weren't linen or cotton, its a thick and heavy fabric. So, let's summarize, thick fabric of the kimono plus the sun rays is equal to sweat and #tiisganda.

Darwin Dalisay
My mandatory selfie. Mukha daw akong bola-bola sa 7-11.

Darwin Dalisay

After the challenging and #tiisgandang photo ops wearing the kimono, we entered the main attraction in the area - the Ilagan Japanese Tunnel. This is just one of the tunnels built by the Japanese in the Philippines. As mentioned above, it served as a garrison and a headquarter of the Japanese forces during their occupation in the country. Having said that, there are guns, weapons, bombs, and other explosives are displayed. Aside from the weapons, there are replicas of golden Buddha, coins, money, and other memorabilia. The tunnel has been repaired and preserved by the local government to ensure that the next generation can witness and experience the past.

Tourist can also buy furin bells or the Japanese wind bells and hang it.

Charles and Ria buying pasalubong.

We stayed and enjoyed the beauty and ambiance in Ilagan Japanese Tunnel. However, it was already lunch time and we were starving, so we headed back to the park. We asked the lady who collected the entrance fee if where can we ride a trike to the highway. She contact someone who brought us to Jolibee by the highway. It was a hot super sunny day, so we had no choice but to eat in the fastfood. Stayed there for an hour or more. Then, on the right side of Jolibee, we waited and rode in a Victory Liner bus to Caloocan.

End of our backpacking in Cagayan, Apayao and Isabela.

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