Featured Image – Twin Rock Beach Resort @ Igang Beach, Virac. Home to Catan Divers
When you think of the Bicol region, certain postcard-worthy images immediately come to mind, such as Mayon Volcano in Albay, the islands of Caramoan in Camarines Sur or the famed white beach of Calaguas in Camarines Norte.
The tourist spots in the island province of Catanduanes may not yet be as well-known as those in neighboring provinces, but there lies the charm.
Catanduanes is home to an array of stunning beaches and islands, lagoons, caves and waterfalls and other hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.
For fist-time visitors planning trips there, here are just a few of the scenic spots worth seeking out.
1. Puraran BeachCatanduanes is best known for being a surfing destination. The eastern coast of the island is home to the “Majestics,” a surfing spot facing the Pacific Ocean that’s often put on the same league as Siargao’s Cloud 9 among international surfers.
Non-surfers can still enjoy the sun, sand and view of the waves from the shore at one of the most famous spots, Puraran Beach. Chow down on simple island cooking and freshly caught lobsters and crabs from the native-style huts along the shore.
2. Binurong Point
One of the more recently “discovered” spots in Catanduanes popular on social media is Binurong Point, a cliffside view reachable by an easy hike from a rocky beach in Baras. Visitors come here to enjoy the stunning view of the coast and sea from four unique vantage points at the top.
For those with limited time who want a spot for sightseeing accessible by motorized vehicles like cars and motorcycles, Balacay Point offers a view of the Pacific horizon with Balacay Island on the left and Puraran Beach on the right.
3. Cagnipa Rolling Hills
Cagnipa Rolling Hills is a beautiful spot offering a pastoral view or rolling hills, the sky, sea, islands and coves in the distance. This scenic vista is reachable only by boat from Carangyan Beach in the northern Catanduanes town of Pandan.
After enjoying the rolling terrain overlooking the sea, head down to a concrete stairway from the hill to take a dip at Tuwad-Tuwadan Lagoon, a natural deep and clear pool enclosed by cliffs.
4. Palumbanes Group of Islands
From the main city of Virac where the airport is located, there are other destinations in Catanduanes you can head to for island-hopping trips, including beautiful beaches and undiscovered diving spots. Unknown to many, Catanduanes offers the most direct route to go island-hopping to Caramoan (geographically located in Camarines Sur), best known for being the filming location of several seasons of the hit reality show “Survivor.”
But Catanduanes has its own beautiful islands and beaches to discover. Palumbanes, a group of islands on the northwestern side of Catanduanes, can be reached by a 30-minute to one-hour boat ride from the sea port of Caramoran town (not to be mistaken with Caramoan).
5. Hitoma Lake
Hitoma Lake is another serene destination in Caramoran, the town in the northern part of the island province of Catanduanes, about 87 kms from the capital town of Virac. The lake offers a peaceful spot where you can enjoy meals prepared by the community aboard bamboo rafts and cottages.
Agriculture (growing rice and coconuts) and fishing are the main sources of livelihood in town and this is one of the newer offerings to help boost community-based tourism.
Carorian is a small village in the town of Bato where you can go island hopping to different spots fringed by rock formations and amazing marine life, a waterfall streaming from the side of the cliff and more. One of the highlights here is Poseidon Rock, an area with unique rock formations, crystal-clear lagoons and snorkeling sites nearby.
7. Bato Church
The picturesque St. John the Baptist Church, also known as the “Bato Church,” is the oldest church in the province. This quaint church is located right beside the highway parallel to the mighty Bato river. Built with mortar and coral limestones, the church has stood the test of time and weathered frequent violent typhoons, earthquakes and other natural calamities.
Direct flights are available from Manila to the province’s capital Virac. Tourists can also travel by land or air to Albay and take a ferry to Catanduanes.