Moving from up from Bato, Catanduanes is the municipality of Baras. Made highly popular because of the surfing waves in Puraran which placed Catanduanes on the tourist map. Now with different areas of Catanduanes opening up and placed under the spotlight, we’ll discover that there is more to the island than surfing and the abaca industry. In the recent years, Binurong Point has been abuzz. Situated at the easternmost point of the island province, the area greets any storm head on coming from the Pacific seas. Resulting on a spectacularly rugged landscape sculpted by battering storms, waves and passing time.
With topography and geological formations sharing similarity with the often-visited by storm, Batanes, people are quick to coin Binurong Point as “Batanes of the East”. While I discourage naming places in reference to other places, I can’t blame people if they think so. Walking along the remarkable cliffs and pastoral hills does harken me back to Batanes. But this is just a small part of Catanduanes. As a whole, its a different island altogether. And Binurong Point also a small piece of similarity on what Batanes has to offer.
Hike to the Viewpoints
The jump-off to Binurong Point is at the coastal baranggay of Guinsaanan, Baras. About an hour away from Virac proper. The presence of a number of food stalls in the area shows how popular the place has become. Registration is required and a guide is mandatory. I like how organized they are here on handling tourist. Proper briefing an a guide per 5 pax group ratio.
The start of the trail is a short walk by the beach then a moderate climb up to a forest trail. With light rains the night before, the trail was damp and often slippery but manageable. The hike was short and easy, about 20 minutes at an relaxed pace until the open trail. There is no cover at the viewpoints so people going here mid-day, like what we did, should bring an umbrella or any form of sun protection.
The vast areas of green is exposed to the sun that’s why fishermen often bring their fish catch here to dry and preserve with salt. A process they call “buro” hence the name Binurong Point. In Bicolano, binurong also means “healed”. Which can also apply how a balm to the senses the views are.
There are four designated viewpoints but we only visited three. No viewpoint signages there but the guides would bring you to each which offers different vantage points and geologic characters. The first one we went to was at the view of the rocky coast and azure lagoons. A walk across a pond brings us to another cliff viewpoint with safely cordoned edges to avoid any deaths by selfie. The 3rd point was to a knife-edge ridge with chilling ravines on both sides. The last point we were told was closer to the rocks and crashing waves and better view of Zayao island.
Binurong Point deserved the attention it garnered for its sweeping views and landscape. I wouldn’t mind going back here at a better time. Probably for a sunrise shoot.
Puraran Beach Sidetrip
Coming from Binurong Point, we headed to Puraran for lunch and just relax at the beach. Finally some downtime on our last day of touring Catanduanes. It’s nice to see Puraran again. Nothing much has changed from my last visit which is great. We went back to the beach again to cool off by the rocky islets. Looking back at the last few days, I’m just more amazed by Catanduanes. There’s something for everyone here and I can’t wait to go back.
Getting to Binurong Point:
- From Virac port area, catch a van or jeep heading to Baras. Travel time is around one hour. Fare is P100 for a van and P35 for a jeep one way.
- From Baras town proper hire a habah-habal to Brgy Guinsaanan. Charge is usually P300–500 roundtrip for a passenger. Driver will wait for you. Tricycles are P50 one way only.
- From Virac, there’s also an option to hire tricycles. Charge ranges from P1,500–2,500 roundtrip depending on the number of passengers.
- At Brgy Guinsaanan jumpoff point, there’s an entrance fee of P20. Parking of P10. Guide fee is P200 for a group of 5 pax.
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.