It has always been a dream of mine to go to my Lolo Ernesto’s province, the far-flung island province of Catanduanes. This August, I was able to finally fulfill that dream. And wow! Catanduanes is beyond doubt beautiful, from its fine, golden sand beaches to its towering rugged cliffs. Travelers who venture here are sure to yearn for more!
This is a 3-day itinerary in the province of Catanduanes with a whole day of side-tripping in the luscious beaches of Caramoan, which is already a part of Camarines Sur. Read on to learn how to visit these two provinces’ most beautiful and wonderful travel spots.
Catanduanes is an island province located in the easternmost portion of the Bicolandia peninsula, separated from mainland Luzon by Maqueda Channel and Lagonoy Gulf. It is bounded by the Pacific Ocean in the north and east sides, exposing it to frequent typhoons.
Characterized by low mountains, rugged cliffs and plains along the coast facing the Pacific, Catanduanes is the 12th largest island in the Philippines.
Did you know that Catanduanes was a subprovince of Albay before? It became a separate province on Sept. 26, 1945.
HOW TO GO TO CATANDUANES
Due to its geographical location, some people think Catanduanes is hard to go to, which is not the case. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines both have flights going to and coming from Virac. Cebu Pacific operates from Manila to Virac (and vice versa) during Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Philippine Airlines operates from Clark to Virac (and vice versa) during Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Aside from plane, you can also go to Catanduanes via ferry or boat. The province has two major ports, Virac Port and San Andres Port. They have ferry and fast craft services daily going to and from Tabaco City, Albay.
WHAT TO EXPLORE
There are lots of places to visit while you are here in Catanduanes. In two days that we were here (remember, one day was reserved for Caramoan, which is already a part of Camarines Sur), we were able to explore beaches, hike hills and marvel at beautiful rugged cliffs!
The first thing that came to my mind upon reaching Sakahon Beach was Jomalig Island because of its golden sand! Really, Sakahon’s sands gleam during the day especially when the sun is out and about! Even though it was about noontime when we reached this place, Sakahon’s waters were cool, which was just perfect for what we were yearning!
We spent some good 20 to 30 minutes hiking a hill to reach Bote Lighthouse where a splendid view of Catanduanes shoreline could be seen. It wasn’t a difficult climb, but it was tiring. The trail going there was steep we’d have to catch our breath after a while! Our guide said that going up is easier now because some of the rocky parts of the trail were already cemented. I was thankful about that and the weather- it was sunny all day!
We sure were glad upon finally reaching the lighthouse! We, of course, ascended the lighthouse and what greeted us was a stunning view of that part of Catanduanes! By the way, it’s all too windy up there, so if you’re planning to go up the lighthouse like us, you better be careful!
Catanduanes has several waterfalls and we managed to visit one: Maribina Falls. It’s easy to go here because it is just near the highway. After paying the environmental fee of P20, we went inside and walked for a few meters to see the falls. Maribina Falls consists of two tiers, and while it is certainly a beauty, it would definitely more beautiful if more water runs along its path. Our tour guide said that the water in the falls is being used by residents as their water source, and this has affected the amount of water falling down its tiers.
This beach is known because of its rock formations that resemble the face of Jesus. While we didn’t spend much time on this place, we somehow enjoyed figuring out the heavenly face the rock formations here are said to bear. Did you see it in the picture?
TWINROCK BEACH RESORT
After a tiring day of going to and exploring Catanduanes, we have set foot in Twinrock Beach Resort where I found solace for the first time in this trip. The resort is quite big. They have beautifully designed accommodations named after girls. They also have a restaurant where ordered a set meal of pancit, bread and pineapple juice. This snack certainly served our tummies full and satisfied!
After that, we went to the sunbathing chairs where we spent some time chilling, reading and dozing off! Haha yes, we were able to relax here after a sleepless night of preparing and going to Catanduanes.
Aside from the fine, white sand of this beach, Twinrock also features a cliff diving site where people who know how to swim can jump to.
If there’s one great spot for sunrise, it would be here in Binurong Point. That’s according to our tour guide, Kuya Mumu. However, clouds were hovering in the sky when we went here, so only a glimpse of sunrise was what we saw. But it was okay, for what we have witnessed during our travel here was amazing.
Binurong Point is a haven for people who find bliss in edgy, rugged cliffs with a mesmerizing view of the ocean. With its many hills and varying landmark features, we were able to capture a lot of pictures to satisfy our hearts’ desires. Here are some of them:
Similar to Sakahon Beach and Quezon’s Jomalig Island, Puraran Beach has these glorious golden sands with rock formations at the side. It also has a view of islets with rocky features. in addition to that, Puraran is also known as a good site for surfing! So if you’re in the mood to surf, Puraran is the place to be!
SIDE-TRIPPING IN CAMARINES SUR
Did you know that it’s easier to go to Caramoan when you’re coming from Catanduanes? Yes! That’s why I highly encourage you to visit Caramoan while you’re already traveling in Catanduanes.
Should you decide to travel to Caramoan, visit my separate blog post to learn how to go there coming from Catanduanes. Meanwhile, look at these pictures that we have taken in the islands of Caramoan!
WHERE TO STAY
I highly recommend the place where we stayed while in Virac: Villa Tolledo Tourist Inn. For a group of three, we were already able to avail an air-conditioned room with two beds (a single bed and a large-sized bed) and a comfort room at the price of P1,000. They also have Wi-Fi access in their lobby/ dining area, where one can chill, watch TV or eat food (they have a small counter where you can buy food and drinks). A nearby comfort room for guests is also available so you don’t have to go back to your room if nature calls.
WHO TO CONTACT
I highly recommend Kuya Mumu, our tour guide for three days in Catanduanes. Even though we were not able to go to all the places we could have went to, he made sure that we were able to do what we really hoped to do while we were there. Here’s hic contact number: 0977-184-4497.
WHERE TO EAT
While in Virac, I recommend for you to dine in Sea Breeze Restaurant, which is located near Virac Port. They offer delicious yet affordable Filipino dishes. Their tangy sinigang and calamares are sure to satisfy your cravings!
LIST OF EXPENSES
I will list down the expenses that we made here as a group. Staying and going around in Catanduanes is not that expensive. It’s our side trip in Caramoan that took a big chunk of our budget so think twice if you really want to travel there while you are here in Catanduanes. Better yet, bring extra money so you won’t have to search for an ATM when you need it. Don’t worry, though, because they have ATMs here.
P1,500 – Kuya Mumu’s service (fetching from the airport to the inn, going around Catanduanes for the first day tour, going back to the inn)
P1,000 – Villa Tolledo Tourist Inn
P150 (P50 each) – Registration/ environmental fee in Bote Lighthouse
P320 – lunch
P150 (P50 each) – Twinrock Beach Resort entrance fee
P300 – merienda in Twinrock
P300 – Grocery buys (for snacks, etc.)
TOTAL FOR DAY 1: P1,140 per pax
DAY 2 – We spent our second day in the islands of Caramoan. Please refer to Caramoan blog to learn more about how much we spent touring the islands. For the sake of computing our expenditures during the first three days of this trip, I’d include it here: P2,088.
P1,500 – Kuya Mumu’s service (fetching from the inn going to Binurong Point and eventually, Puraran; then escorting us to Virac Port)
P300 – Tour guide fee while in Borongan Point
P10 – Parking fee in Borongan Point
P60 (P20 each) – registration fee
P10 – Gate pass in Borongan Point
P490 – Breakfast and snacks in Borongan Point
P60 (P20 each) – Entrance fee in Poraran Beach
P200 – Ferry from Virac Port to Tabaco Port
TOTAL FOR DAY 3: P876 per pax
TOTAL EXPENSES: P4,104 (this excludes expenses for pasalubong and other things not mentioned in the list)
That’s about it, guys! I have really enjoyed touring the province of Catanduanes and I hope I am able to inspire you to go there with what I have shared here. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me, or write them down below. Thank you for reading!