Caniwara Cove, stony but enchanting

Enchanting Caniwara Cove as seen from Nagudungan Hill. Cibang and Cababaan Coves can be seen farther up.

Calayan Is. in red

Finally, I’ve set foot in one of the country’s hidden gems. I was on assignment in Calayan Island in the Babuyanes and in between, I got to enjoy this piece of paradise in this part of the Philippines. Though it was just a few days, it was very memorable. I’m planning a longer trip later this year. It was already three in the afternoon and the cliffs and mountains have cast a deep shadow into Cibang Cove when I awoke from my slumber as it was just such a breezy and cool place. I decided to separate from the group and do some photography in the area.

Rocks near the shore. CLICK TO ENLARGE

I walked to Caniwara Cove, trudging through the loose sand and was just awed in seeing the place. It is just so much different from where I bathed (Cibang Cove) earlier with its boundary with Cibang marked by a huge rock projecting upward. From that point to the edge of the cove, it’s all rocky.

Caniwara Cove is one of three, the other is Cibang and Cababaan that are found one after the other in this part of Calayan Island in the Babuyanes. Of the three, Caniwara Cove is closer to the town, has a sandy beach but, unlike the two, a flat rocky shore, more like a mesa, a table, shallowly and evenly submerged to a few meters to the sea marks this beautiful and enchanting cove.

Panoramic view of Caniwara Cove. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Fisherman looking for octopus and small fishes in the shallows. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Sea grass cover a small portion just at the beachfront and according to a fisherman that I chanced upon later, it’s possible to search for shells, small fishes and even baby octopus among the rocks.

A dead box fish picked from the shallows. CLICK TO ENLARGE

From a distance, the sea breaks into the rocks and a slow white wave tries to crawl to the shore. According to an Isla Biodiversity Conservation volunteer, the local NGO in the island, this area teems with migratory birds later in the year.

It’s just a perfect place to go birdwatching. To just sit at the white beach strip and gaze out into the shallows. When I was there, I saw a pair of big birds that I have seen only in that area. Behind me and at the perimeter of the cove where vegetation and trees make a buffer before the cliffs rise into the skies.

With Cibang Cove, this place just offers so much for the solitary wanderer. Its so beautiful, magical, and really heartbreaking to learn that later, cabanas will be built and a road, now in progress, will then link this pristine area to the town and tourists will mar its beauty.

Getting There and places to stay

Getting to Caniwara Cove is just the same as going to Cibang Cove. Check the details in the Cibang Cove post.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.


  1. Leave the Cube
    June 22, 2011 @ 14:11

    nsa dulo na pala ng Pilipinas to… pero mukhang worth seeing tlaga.

  2. estan
    June 22, 2011 @ 16:39

    yes, its almost at the edge of the country and is just like paradise 🙂

  3. » Nagudungan Hill, just out of this world! | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    June 22, 2011 @ 16:41

    […] when one is atop, and wow, the three coves: Caniwara, Cibang and Cababaan is spread right before one’s eyes. Its a scene from out of nowhere: the […]

  4. tina
    June 22, 2011 @ 19:53

    wow, ang layo na pala nito! Good job Sir! 😀

    Idol talaga mga photos mo 😀

  5. estan
    June 22, 2011 @ 23:02

    @tina, thanx 🙂

  6. » How to get to the Calayan Islands | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    June 25, 2011 @ 11:53

    […] travel. Just when you want to go back home after frolicking in Cibang Cove and enjoying the view of Caniwara Cove from the heights of Nagudungan, the sea gets rough and no vessel dares travel. Then your stranded […]

  7. » Personal thoughts on my Calayan sojourn | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    June 26, 2011 @ 13:10

    […] planning a longer trip later this year. I admit, places I’ve visited in Calayan: Cibang and Caniwara Coves and Nagudungan were the most pristine I’ve seen and been to. Its just so beautiful, a piece […]

  8. » Ang Langyaw’s article in PDI’s frontpage | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    July 17, 2011 @ 17:29

    […] Kabalikat, focusing on education, it showcases the beauty that the island has to offer: Cibang and Caniwara Coves, wildlife, adventure activities and […]

  9. » Where to stay in Calayan town proper | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    January 20, 2012 @ 0:32

    […] host can cook or arrange for food (of course, at added cost), directions to places like Cibang and Caniwara Coves and Nagudungan as well as help you in finding a vessel to ride Cagayan – Calayan – […]

  10. Helen Bucao
    April 8, 2012 @ 18:30

    can i use some of your photos as coverphotos of my Facebook Account? Calayan is my late father’s hometown. 🙂

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