Catanduanes island

"Pearl in the Pacific"



Bantayan | Boracay | Catanduanes | Camiguin | Dakak | El Nido | Honda Bay | Malapascua | Pagudpud | Panglao | Pearl Farm | Siargao
Baguio | Intramuros | Banaue Rice Terraces



topview of catanduanes island surfing is famous in catanduanes

nice view of the island

bamboos on the beach

far view of the island

surfing on the beach

volcano

waves of the island

nice to surf

 

Catanduanes island is located in the easternmost part of the Bicol peninsula, separated from the mainland Bicol by the Maqueda Channel and the Lagonoy Gulf. It is composed of 11 municipalities, namely: Virac, San Andres, Caramoran, Pandan, Bato, Gigmoto, Baras, Panganiban, Bagamanoc, Viga, and San Miguel. There are 315 barangays all over the province and one Congressional district. It is indeed Bicol’s best-kept secret. It is the first land group of the Philippine archipelago to kiss the Pacific Ocean, making it directly open to the path of tropical cyclones, thus, the Catanduanes Island has been termed, “The Land of the Howling Winds.” The perfect time to visit Catanduanes is from the months of March to August when the weather turns dry. It is coolest and rainiest from October to the early part of January, hottest from March to May.

Catanduanes, which they also call, “An Eco-Adventure Paradise,” is for those who like nature at its best. The whole strip of this pearly island of the Pacific is almost untouched, unblemished, and unexplored. It has a long string of palm-fringed beaches and deep blue waters against a backdrop of luxuriant grassy mountains, and a totally laid-back rural charm and crowned with jewel-like island. It offers a totally laid-back rural attraction, a beautiful natural environment and plenty of easy action at a pace that is always relaxed. The local folks have always chosen a relaxed rural village life. They seem to be disinterested in rush development or any hurriedly rush into the modern world. As a result, the tourism industry is still in its early stages. But if you are interested in outdoor quest, an easy lifestyle among warm and friendly people and a general escape from the hysterical rate of urban life, Catanduanes is the ideal hideaway. It is a place where you could go back to simplicity and party in the absence of man-made anxieties and self-made entrapments; a total escape, they say.

Major Industries in Catanduanes Island includes abaca and lasa that flourished in the whole province. Native products made of abaca fiber like bags, lamps, utility boxes, handmade paper, among others, beautify the local souvenir shops and serve as local “pasalubong” and souvenirs. Lately, the original abaca fiber, commonly called “pinukpok,” created and woven by the locals of Baras, Catanduanes, has now found its position in the local and international fashion industry. This native fabric has shown its usefulness in the globally attractive designs and creations of the people in Catanduanes.

In terms of the language or dialect, Bicol is the native tongue but with various tones and distinctions, especially when one goes up to the northern towns like Pandan, Caramoran, and Panganiban. English and Tagalog are commonly spoken and understood.

You will be dazzled by the provinces' rugged and various landscapes, undiscovered caves, tamed white sand beaches and colorful marine life. You will never really expect such a wonderful gift of nature exists in this part of the country. Come, experience and enjoy the richness and wonders of nature in Catanduanes Island, Philippines!

What is known in Catanduanes?

Puraran
A promising surfing site in the town of Baras. It is the home of the well-known “Majestic” waves with its awesome long-barrel-type surf. Offshore waves are in their utmost shape during the months of August to September.
The surfing area also shows a marvelous view of mountains and bays. Photo fanatics could get great view of the sunrise in this area. For holiday seekers, this is a place for total relaxation, be in touch with nature, and simply, innovation and peacefulness.
Note that this is one of the wettest provinces of the country. Best April-June. Worst Nov-January

Pinukpok
Lately, the original abaca fiber, commonly called “pinukpok,” created and woven by the locals of Baras, Catanduanes, has now found its position in the local and international fashion industry. This native fabric has shown its usefulness in the globally attractive designs and creations of the people in Catanduanes.

Luyang Cave
Feel the cool, damp air as you go inside this silent witness and tomb to the slaughtered natives who fled from the Moro pirates during the 17th century. The natives wanted refuge inside Luyang but the intruders traced them. The Moros uprooted sili (red pepper) plants abundant near the cave, added dried leaves, stuffed them in the cave entrance, and set the cave burning, suffocating the unfortunate natives. To calm down their troubled souls, a mini-grotto and altar were built inside. In memory of this massacre, a “Requiem Mass” is said every April 28 of the year.

The traveler could go on the town in the sight of the corridors of majestic and huge stalactite and stalagmite pillars and rock formations. Plus hanging from the ceilings and walls of the cave are numerous bats that rein the whole length of the cave.

Batong Paluay

The locals tell that the image of the mystical face of Our Lady of Sorrows has been found in a flooded stream near the barangay of Batong Paluay. The image was engraved on a piece of stone that has gradually increased in size. At present, one can sight the image with bare eyes, unlike before, when one has to use a magnifying lens. Its storage area has already been changed three times to accommodate the increasing size of the miraculous Mother Mary.

Bato Church

This marvelously situated construction greets everyone upon entrance to the town of Bato. It is the only remaining structure of its kind in the entire island. Despite the tests of time, wars, and destruction of natural calamities, it was able to retain its old glory of massive structure of mortar and coral stones. It took 53 years, from 1830 to 1883, to build this Church under six different parish administrators.

JAPANESE TUNNEL

This is the former radar site of the Japanese Imperial Navy during World War II

Twin Rocks

Splash in waters of incredible clarity beneath which lie sanctuaries of rich and colorful marine life. Its underwater coral formations offer an added adventure for spear fishing and snorkeling. Scuba diving, either as a fun-filled introduction or a recreational dive, is a very promising activity in this resort.

Virac Cathedral
The Church of the Immaculate Conception is located at the hearth of the capital town of Virac where one can be amazed at the stained glass windows.

BEST BEACH RESORTS

Amenia Beach Resort
Whirling with the touch of sun, sea, and sand, one can easily lose oneself and be drifted away while leisurely walking along the stretch of its powdery-white sands and dipping into its unquestionably tamed waters. The entire stretch of the shoreline summons visitors to take a dip in its pure waters and wave-combed sands. The well-manicured landscape by itself is so inviting for a relaxed, laid-back hideaway. Perfect for family and office outings.

Kosta Alcantara Beach Resort
Its shoreline is covered with fine white sand and its perfect blue waters never fail to entice visitors to take a dip. It faces the mainland Bicol where one could take a full view of the awesome Mayon Volcano. Accommodations are truly classy and elegant.

Emmalyn Paradise Beach Resort
It shows luxurious and world-class air-conditioned cottages, an orchid atrium, and a spring-fed swimming pool. Its complete line of scuba diving equipment makes it stand out from the rest of the resorts. Luxuriate in the comforts of truly high-end accommodation facilities.

Balite Beach Resort
The whole stretch of Balite and Mamangal continues to fascinate visitors with its unspoiled beauty – an advantage which the locals within the area are guarding passionately. The expansive beach is covered with cool and shady trees and blessed with fine white sands, both in the shorelines and in the swimming area. Provides an alternative area for recreation, fun, relaxation, and picnics.

Bosdak Beach Resort
Lie around in the glow of deep blue waters stretching like an expanse of warm silk that kisses the smooth sky. Complete with facilities like a swimming pool, restaurant and bar, and hostel accommodations.

Solong Falls
Private and relatively new, the waterfalls signal trekkers for a refreshing dip. Located along flourishing vegetation that grows under the damp mist of the clouds, creating forests with peaceful and ethereal beauty. It has several flowing waters flowing into natural pools. The highest has an elevation of 100 meters. Cottages are available for picnic goers and adventurers at a minimal entrance fee.

Maribina Falls
Gushing with breath-taking rapids of crystal-clear waters, the gushing falls are located in the middle of rural surroundings and lush-green vegetation.

Batalay Shrine
The site of the first cross in Catanduanes, believed to have been built over the grave of the stranded Fr. Diego de Herrera of the Augustinian order in 1576, who died in the barangay of Batalay. A well, believed to have water, with healing powers can be found in this shrine. From the town proper of Bato, it would take only 15 minutes to reach this place.


Surfing in Catanduanes

Situated in the Bicol region off the coast of Legaspi City, Catanduanes is a rather out of the way island, but when the surf is happening, it is worth the attempt to get to. Surfing in the Catanduanes is pretty impressive and so it should be. If you look on the map you will see why. The deep rumbling Pacific Ocean is its closest neighbor. Waves travel a long distance before they hit land and the first land they hit is Catanduanes. If you include the numerous typhoons the island is renowned for then you can get a pretty good idea what the surf will be like. The only problem is that there can be long flat periods.

The best known wave on the island is called Majestics, located off a beautiful beach in the village of Puraran, which is in the middle of nowhere, two and a half hours from the capital of Virac. Majestics is a strong and fast right hand breaking wave that gets raves from surfers. It can be exceedingly dangerous. In fact two years ago a British surfer was killed there. All this really means is that only those with experience should try this wave. The wave is so dangerous because the reef is actually a shallow ledge. This means that the wave jumps out of the ocean very quickly and instead of rolling like Monaliza, it forms a fast moving bowl, which slams down into the shallow reef below. If you make a mistake on this wave you'll have one majestically big headache. If not I'm certain you will be very happy.

While Majestics is considered world class, the problem is that it does not come around that often. The best months to surf there are July, August and September. Many surfers hive walk for days and weeks to reach Puraran only to sit around looking at a flat ocean for days on end. There are several cottage style places to stay on the beach which offer package deals of meals and nipa huts for reasonable prices. A lesser known surf spot on Catanduanes, located in the village of Baras is called Moning. Moning can only be surfed at high tide and only from September to January. You may need to hire a fisherman to take you out to the break as it is quite far. The whole island is quite breathtaking with mountains touching powdery white beaches; even if you don’t surf it is pretty easy to lose yourself within the beauty here.

How to Get There

Getting to Catanduanes from Manila is not hard, in fact you can reach Catanduanes from plane, ferry or road transport from Manila, the country’s international gateway, and it really depends on how long you have available time.

Air travel
Travel time from Manila to Catanduanes is one hour and 15 minutes with domestic route
By Asian Spirit with direct flights daily.
The airport on Catanduanes is in the capital Virac.

By land and water
Take the bus in Cubao or Pasay, Metro Manila terminals and jump off at Tabaco Port. Philtranco Bus covers the 580 kms from Manila to Tabaco Port. The trip is a long one; it will take you all of twelve (12) hours.

Once in Tabaco Point you have three ferries to choose from to get yourself to Catanduanes.
Ride either MV Eugenia, Star Ferry, or MV Regina Shipping Lines.
Travel time is 3 to 3 ½ hours for MV Eugenia or Star Ferry, which dock straight at Virac Seaport.
MV Regina takes only 2 ½ hours to reach San Andres Seaport on catanduanes from Tobacco Port. From San Andres to Virac you can either jump on a Jeepney or take a trike, whatever your fancy.
To get to the capital town of Virac, passenger jeepneys are available at the seaport
Minimal fare of 15.00 pesos.
Tricycles are also available for rent at about 100 pesos.

Lately, Regina Shipping Lines introduced its bus services to passengers going to Manila
Fare: only 430.00 pesos, inclusive of the fare in the ferry.

TAWTRASCO offers its roll-on-roll-off service to its couch passengers in the ferry.
Bus station is in front of Ali Mall, Cubao.

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