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.
What is known in Catanduanes?
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.
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.
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.
Gushing with breath-taking rapids of crystal-clear waters, the gushing falls are located in the middle of rural surroundings and lush-green vegetation.
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.
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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