During the Philippine-American War, revolutionary leader and president, Emilio Aguinaldo, retreated to Palanan, Isabela in the hopes that the town’s remoteness would let him continue his guerilla war against the Americans and would prevent his eventual capture. Fast-forward 120 years later, Palanan, Isabela is still one of the most remote towns here in the Philippines and can only be reached either through a 45-minute turboprop flight from Tuguegarao; or a 12-hour boat ride from Sta. Ana Cagayan or Dilasag in Aurora.
This soon may be a thing of the past as the government is now eyeing the construction of a 335-kilometer Pacific Coast Highway that will span from Sta. Ana, Cagayan all the way down to Casiguran in Aurora, passing by Palanan, Isabela along the way.
The new project will be called the Cagayan Valley Eastern Seaboard Highway or CVES Highway. Technical studies are currently being planned by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). DPWH Region 2 Assistant Regional Director, Alexander Nola, said that the CVES Highway project will be part of the bigger Luzon Eastern Seaboard Master Plan that will soon allow access (by land travel) to the more isolated towns of the region and provide speedy transportation of goods, new economic opportunities like tourism, as well as quick disaster response in the event of natural calamities.
The Regional Development Council Region 2 – the highest planning and policy-making body in the region – has also requested the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to provide funding for the pre-feasibility study and has urged the DPWH to endorse the project and make it as “high priority.” Consulting services for the formulation of the highway project and the Luzon Eastern Seaboard Master Plan is expected to begin this year.
This project, once completed, will give a new meaning to the current “North Luzon Loop” especially for us motorcyclists.