Often battered and in the front-line of incoming storms, Catanduanes has often been out of the radar for most travelers in the Philippines. But this island province, unbeknownst to many, holds a lot of natural wonders and activities that would keep adventure travelers and nature explorers occupied. One would lead to discover pristine beaches, enchanting lagoon, stunning rock formations, sweeping cliffs, alluring waterfalls and age old churches. There’s something here for everyone.
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.
As if we were not wowed enough by what we found up north Catanduanes in Pandan, we ventured southeast of the Happy Island to find more amazement in the municipality of Bato. From Virac, it’s an 11km ride to the municipality of Bato. A familiar route on my first visit are the numerous waterfalls in the area, including Maribina Falls. But I never knew Carorian Adventure off the coast of Bato was something to rave about. We just got a taste and I’m already thinking when I’ll be back here.
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.
Not to be mistaken by the similarly sounding Caramoan in Camarines Sur, Caramoran is a municipality, northwest of Catanduanes. The name admittedly came from the former when people would point to the former which is just on the opposite side of the strait separating the provinces. Not to be left off as a shade of its homonymic neighbor, Caramoran, one of the largest municipality in Catanduanes, boast the idyllic isles of Palumbanes Islands and languid Hitoma Lake on land. This is the second part of my return visit to the Happy Island of Catanduanes in conjunction with the 2018 Abaca Festival.
It took me 12 years before I stepped my foot on back to the island of province of Catanduanes. And what better time than in the midst of their festivities. The 2018 Abaca Festival is on their 3rd year. The month long celebration aims to showcase their native abaca fiber or Manila hemp which is one of the main products of the province and source of livelihood. The month-long festival have pockets of activity culminating towards the 4th week of May. One of the much awaited is the Bicol Festival of Festivals Showdown where contingents from Bicol region participate in a dance showdown. A colorful revelry with heart pounding beats and awe-inspiring performance. An exciting return to what is now known as the Happy Island!
Often battered and in the front-line of incoming storms, Catanduanes has often been out of the radar of most travelers in the Philippines. But this island province, unbeknown to many, holds a lot of natural wonders and activities that would keep adventure travelers occupied. Staying there for 4 days and 3 nights led us to discover wonderful beaches, nice waterfalls and old churches. Here’s a handy summary of the trip.