Exploring Catanduanes: The Land of the Howling Winds

CATANDUANES
BINURONG POINT. This is Binurong Point, one of the best draws for travelers and tourists in the easternmost province of Luzon: Catanduanes. Said to be discovered only in December 2015 and opened to the public by January 2016, Binurong Point is being compared to Marlboro Hills (and other marvelous land formations) of Batanes. While they are similar in many aspects, I can say that they have significant differences as well. Binurong Point has its own charm, with its lush hills, rocky cliffs and breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean!

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

Catanduanes Map
Catanduanes as located in the Philippine Map (courtest of Wikipedia)

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

GEARED UP for Catanduanes!
GEARED UP for Catanduanes! It was actually dubbed as the “Land of the Howling Winds” but now, they’re gearing it up as the “Happy Island!”

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!

SAKAHON BEACH

GOLDEN SANDS.
GOLDEN SANDS. The sand of Sakahon Beach matches the more popular sand of Jomalig Island found in the province of Quezon.

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!

Hot sand, cool water
HOT AND COOL. Sakahon’s golden sand was hot the time we were there because of the sunny weather. That was in contrast to the coolness of its waters.
LOCAL FISHERMAN.
FRESHLY CAUGHT. We were glad to meet a local fisherman in Bote who has just finished catching fish near the beach of Sakaon. Look at those fishes he caught!

BOTE LIGHTHOUSE

VIEW FROM THE TOP.
VIEW FROM THE TOP. This is the view from the top of the Bote Lighthouse.

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!

STUNNING. Here’s another view from the top of the lighthouse.
COASTLINE. Here’s the coastline on that part of Catanduanes as seen in the lighthouse.

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!

BOTE LIGHTHOUSE.
BOTE LIGHTHOUSE. Descending from the lighthouse with Gary (IG: @dudeinorange)!

MARIBINA FALLS

MARIBINA FALLS.
MARIBINA FALLS. While this waterfall is beautiful, it will surely be more beautiful if more water is flowing through.

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.

TIERS
TIERS. Maribina has two tiers, though this is not very evident because of the amount of water flowing from it.

TALISOY BEACH

FACE OF JESUS.
FACE OF JESUS. Did you see it in this picture?

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

PERFECT PLACE TO RELAX.
PERFECT PLACE TO RELAX. Twinrock Beach resort is the best place to relax in that part of Catanduanes. No kidding, we spent most of the afternoon here just relaxing!

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!

LIFEGUARD ON DUTY.
LIFEGUARD ON DUTY. Can I be your lifeguard? Hehe.

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.

JUMP SHOT!
JUMP SHOT! While we intended to relax most of the time while we were here in Twinrock, we still made some time taking pictures!
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FAMILY TIME. Here’s a family while playing with each other along the beach of Twinrock!
Photo 15-08-2018, 5 40 10 PM
DIVING SITE. Here’s the pathway towards the diving site of Twinrock. Better be careful when trying this!

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.

With the experience that we had here, I do!

BINURONG POINT

RUGGED CLIFFS
RUGGED CLIFFS. This is one of my most favorite spots in Binurong Point. Look at these cliffs!

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.

LOVELY HILLS.
LOVELY HILLS. Our tour guide in Binurong is very good at taking pictures! He was the one who took this in one of the hills of Binurong.

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:

YOU'RE SUCH A DREAM TO ME.
YOU’RE SUCH A DREAM TO ME. Going to Catanduanes, the province of my grandfather, has always been a dream to me. I have always wondered what it felt like being there, especially with the stories he had shared while he was still alive. Imagine the happiness that I have felt when I finally set foot in Catanduanes, the province that was formerly called “The Land of the Howling Winds!” This picture reminded me of that feeling, because I couldn’t seem to contain that happines with my jump!
Where are you, Mr. Sun?
WHERE ARE YOU, MR. SUN? I was looking forward to seeing a beautiful sunrise when we were going here in Binurong Point that day. But, he did not let himself be seen because the clouds were all over the sky!

PURARAN BEACH

GOLDEN.
GOLDEN. Puraran Beach is another beach with fine, golden sand!

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!

ROCKY FORMATIONS.
ROCKY FORMATIONS. Just like the other beaches that we went to in Catanduanes, Puraran has rock formations along its shores.

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!

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OHH, CARAMOAN! I couldn’t contain what I felt when I first set foot on the famous, fine white sands of Caramoan. Our boatmen led us here in the amazingly beautiful Lahos Island, just one of the islands here that bears a world-class beach. What my eyes saw before made me made me run along the beach wearing a big smile on my face! I guess it was perfectly captured here in the picture!
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LOOK AT THESE COLORS OF CARAMOAN!
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ENCHANTED LAGOON. One of the features of Matukad Island is this enchanted lagoon that bears two mystical milkfish!

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

KUYA MUMU
KUYA MUMU. This is Kuya Mumu, our tour guide. Can you guess why his nickname is the Tagalog word for “ghost?”

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.

DAY 1

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.

DAY 3 

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!

CATANDUANES DUDES. Here with me in this picture are my two friends who went with me in Catanduanes. From left: Gary (IG: @dudeinorange), myself and Will (IG: @willianism09)!
CATANDUANES DUDES. Here with me in this picture are Gary (IG: @dudeinorange) and Will (IG: @willianism09) who traveled with me in the Happy Island of Catanduanes!

 

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