How does it feel to be at the northern tip of an island often first to be battered by storms when they enter the country? It feels strangely fascinating and fantastic at the same time. Pandan is the northernmost municipality of Catanduanes. And judging by the numerous photos of attractions posted on the billboard during our municipal visit, there are a lot to see here. From historical churches, gorgeous beaches, caves and jaw-dropping vistas. Since we had limited time, we visited what could be considered as the highlights – Carangyan Beach, Tuwad-Tuwadan Blue Lagoon and Cagnipa Hills.
Overnight at Carangyan Beach
Carangyan means “paradise” and its an apt name to describe this quiet golden sand beach cove. It feels so remote and special after a long journey. Our afternoon spent slowing down after being on the road for sometime. Each of us finding a spot to rest and unwind. Carangyan Beach Resort was our home here. They are well equipped by with several airconditioned bedrooms and cottages. I love that they have lounging areas by the beach and watch the cove’s warm glow as the sun rises in the morning. Or even gazing at the stars at night.
A couple of outrigger boats fetched our group to take us to Cagnipa Hills. Though the place is accessible by land, this was the faster option at the moment from where we are. It was around a half an hour ride hugging the rugged coast heading west. From the western tip, we docked on a beach and climbed our way up the hills.
Cagnipa Hills has a exhaust-relieving panorama of verdant hills, sloping gracefully to the view of the sea. A beautiful white beach cove marks as a centerpiece of the view. An ideal picnic setting for late afternoon wanderings. But it doesn’t end there. Walk towards the western cliff and find a stairway leading down to the rocks.
Tuwad-Tuwadan Blue Lagoon
It is worth the effort negotiating the steep stairway leading to the jagged rocks partially concealing a natural pool. Sheltered by craggy rocks from the battering waves, Tuwad-Tuwadan Blue Lagoon is a scenic spot to swim beside the the dramatic cliffs. It is deep enough for low cliff dives and wide enough for a crowd to enjoy the clear blue waters. There are small fishes trapped inside which is kind of amusing as they offer some dead-skin cleansing like spa fishes.
Pandan municipality is far north from the capital of Virac but its remoteness feels like the province’s last frontier. We’ve literally just seen the tip of what the municipality offers. I’m pretty sure intrepid adventurers would find more experiences to enjoy here.
Going to Pandan Catanduanes
From Virac Town Center, ride a bus (P120) or van (P150) going to Pandan. Travel time is around two hours. In Pandan register at the Municipal Office and ask for assistance.
Carangyan Beach Resort can also assist visitors on visiting attractions in Pandan. Aside from offering accommodations they can organize activities. Contact them at 0999.421.6563 or email them at [email protected].
For a hassle free travel, why not avail of a travel agency service to help out. DOT-accredited Island Escape Travel & Tours is a Virac-based travel agency that can organize tours to around Catanduanes. Contact them at:
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.