5 Things To Do In Catanduanes Island
Long road trip, and long ferry trip ahead! Unless, of course, you decide to take the plane straight to Virac in Catanduanes. But hey, where’s the fun there? Catanduanes is on the eastern side of Luzon. From Manila, you’d have to endure 10 hours of land travel to Tabaco Port in Albay. From the port, you’d have to brave three hours amidst the unpredictable seas to get to Virac, the city proper. Quite a long ride, eh? Don’t get discouraged! All the long trip’s discomfort will pay off when you experience all the attractions and things to do in Catanduanes Island!
Here are five spots that will make your 13-hour trip worth it:
Batanes will always be the ultimate dream, yes, but Binurong Point in Baras, Catanduanes is a close second. A quick thirty-minute hike will get you to the breathtaking view Binurong Point has to offer. Seeing the vast seas, the lush greenery, and the beautiful rock formations, you’ll be in awe, and you’ll feel like shouting “I’m on top of the world!” Others scream “Walang forever!” but that’s a different story. Kidding aside, if you’re up for some jump shots with the barkada or for some me-time to ponder or write, Binurong Point is the perfect place for you.
You’re not on an island if you’re not going to the beach! Catanduanes boasts of its majestic beaches laced with fine, white sand, and beautiful rocks. Puraran beach in Baras, Catanduanes is known for its powdery sand and giant waves that are oh-so-perfect for surfing. Pro surfers will definitely have the best time of their lives on Puraran’s swells. But you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy the beach. They’ve got the best gears and instructors to guide beginners like you so grab your surfboards now!
If you’re up for some lazy time soaking in the dripping water, Maribina Falls in the Municipality of Bato is just for you. The cold, clear waters come from the mountains, dropping from about five meters high. The waterfall isn’t as big as others, just enough for a few tourists to linger around. Make sure you visit on weekdays because this popular tourist destination gets crowded on weekends.
Standing grand and elegant in a laid-back community in the Municipality of Bato, this oldest church in Catanduanes is a heritage site you just can’t afford to miss. Dating back from its construction in 1830, St. John the Baptist Church, or Bato Church, took 50 years to be completed. The stone church is considered a cultural gem in the region, receiving both tourists and pilgrims daily.
5Fiat House Cave-Inspired Chapel
A place for solemnity and prayer, this small cave-inspired chapel at the Fiat House in Cavinitan is a must-visit place for pilgrims. Its ceilings and walls resemble the caves with dramatic lighting directed at the altar. The solitude in the chapel is just what soul-searchers need for peace.
How To Get To Catanduanes
If you’re not the road trip type, you may opt to fly via Cebu Pacific, which has direct flights to and from the island on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Flights can go as low as PHP 1,800 on promo and can go as high as PHP 5,000 on regular fares.
If you want to go by land and you don’t have your own car, you may take the bus ride to Tabaco, Albay. You may choose among Cagsawa Bus, Alps Bus and DLTB Bus. Fares range from PHP 700 to 1,000, depending on class.
Manila–Tabaco trips usually take 9–10 hours so you might as well want to get comfortable rides. You may take the RSL bus, with ticketing stations at Alabang and in Ermita. The RSL bus takes you from Manila straight to Catanduanes itself. Tickets are at PHP 1,500.
At Tabaco Port, you may choose among the scheduled ferry trips of MV Calixta 2, MV Calixta 4, MV Calixta 5, and MV Eugene Elson to bring you to San Andres or Virac port in the island of Catanduanes. Ferry rides cost around PHP 300 for aircon and PHP 100 for non-aircon.
*Based on traveling by own car
6:00 p.m. – Pull out from Manila to Tabaco Port, Albay
4:00 a.m. – Arrival in Tabaco Port Albay
4:00 a.m. – Ticket payments, reservation for your vehicle slot at the ferry)
6:30 a.m. – Ferry to pull out from Tabaco Port to Virac Port
10:30 a.m. – Arrival at Virac Port
11:00 a.m. – Fiat House Cave-Inspired Chapel
12:00 p.m. – Lunch and Swimming at Maribina Falls
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
8:00 p.m. – Hotel
6:00 a.m. – Pullout from Hotel
6:30 a.m. – Breakfast
7:30 a.m. – Travel to Codon Port
8:30 a.m. – Boat travel to Caramoan Islands
9:30 a.m. – Explore the different beaches of Caramoan Islands
3:00 p.m. – Boat travel to Codon Port
4:00 p.m. – Head to Purpuran Beach
6:00 p.m. – Dinner by the Beach
5:00 a.m. – Sunrise viewing/Breakfast by the Purpuran Beach
6:00 a.m. – Surfing/Swimming at Purpuran Beach
8:00 a.m. – Binurong Point
10:00 a.m. – Bato Church
11:00 a.m. – Lunch near Virac Port
1:00 p.m. – Pull out from Virac Port to Tabaco Port
5:00 p.m. – Arrival at Tabaco Port
5:00 p.m. – Travel back to Manila
3:00 a.m. – Arrival in Manila
Philihappy Pro Tips
- If you don’t have your own car, rent a trike to bring you to your destinations for your entire stay in Catanduanes. Rent for a three-day trip costs around PHP 3,000.
- Book your hotel before heading to Catanduanes. The island is relatively small with just a few hotels, and they are usually fully booked as Catanduanes is becoming an in-demand island already. Rooms in high-end hotels like Catanduanes Midtown Inn, Rakdell Inn, and Ardci Hotel range from PHP 3,000 to 4,000. Cheaper inns like Marem Pension House offer as low as PHP 800 to 1,000.
- If you have your own car, upon landing at Virac Port, make sure you reserve and pay for your car’s ferry slot for your target date of departure. Car slots are on a first-come, first-served basis, and it’s always less hassle to have yours reserved way before.
- There is just one fast food chain in the island: Jollibee. If you can check in at an inn where you can cook your food, the better.
- Bring cash. ATMs are limited in the city proper.
- It’s cheaper to go to Caramoan Islands via Catanduanes! You may rent a boat at Codon Port in San Andres, Catanduanes. At PHP 3,000, the boat is exclusively yours as you explore the wonderful beaches in Caramoan Islands!
It’ll be a long journey; make the best out of your Catanduanes trip!