Catanduanes Travel Guide

Overview of Catanduanes

Officially known as the Province of Catanduanes, Catanduanes is an island province in the Philippines' Luzon province of Bicol. The Philippines' twelfth-largest island is this one. Due to its frequent exposure to typhoons and severe winds, the island province of Catanduanes is also known as the "Land of the Howling Winds". The Puraran Beach in Baras, one of Catanduanes' top tourist destinations, is well-known for its "Majestic" wave and draws surfers from all over the world. Other noteworthy locations include Balacay Point in Bato, Binurog Point in Baras, and Maribina Falls in San Miguel.

Where to Go

Puraran Beach

Famous for its majestic waves, Puraran Beach is a paradise for surfers. The beach is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a serene environment for relaxation.

Binurong Point

This scenic spot provides panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the rolling hills of Catanduanes. It's a great place to enjoy the sunrise or sunset.

Bato Church

Also known as the Holy Cross Parish Church, this historical church in Bato is one of the oldest churches in Catanduanes. It features a unique mix of Spanish and Filipino architecture.

Maribina Falls

Tucked away in the municipality of Bato, Maribina Falls is a refreshing natural attraction. The waterfall is surrounded by lush vegetation, making it a great spot for a cool dip.

Himig Beach

A secluded beach with golden sand and clear blue waters, Himig Beach is perfect for those seeking a peaceful and less crowded environment.

Carorian Wonders

Explore the rock formations and tidal pools at Carorian Wonders. The area is known for its unique geological features and is great for photography.

Balacay Point

Another breathtaking viewpoint in Catanduanes, Balacay Point offers stunning views of the coastline and nearby islands. It's an ideal spot for nature lovers and photographers.

Mamangal Beach

This quiet beach is ideal for relaxation and unwinding. It has fine white sand and crystal-clear waters, providing a tranquil escape.

Palumbanes Island

If you're up for an adventure, consider taking a boat trip to the Palumbanes Islands. These remote islands boast pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and coral reefs perfect for snorkeling.

Catanduanes Museum

Located in Virac, the provincial capital, the Catanduanes Museum is a good place to learn about the history, culture, and traditions of the island.

What to Do

Surfing in Puraran Beach

If you enjoy surfing or want to try it out, Puraran Beach is the place to be. The beach is known for its powerful waves, attracting surfers from around the world.

Island Hopping to Palumbanes Islands

Arrange a boat trip to the Palumbanes Islands for a day of island hopping. Explore pristine beaches, coral reefs, and enjoy snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters.

Hike to Binurong Point

Take a scenic hike to Binurong Point and witness breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. It's an excellent spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.

Visit Bato Church

Explore the historical Bato Church, also known as the Holy Cross Parish Church. Learn about the rich history and unique architecture of this cultural landmark.

Chase Waterfalls

Discover the beauty of Maribina Falls or explore other waterfalls in the area like Talisoy Beach and Nahulugan Falls. These natural wonders offer a refreshing escape.

Relax on Himig Beach

Spend a leisurely day at Himig Beach, soaking up the sun, swimming in the clear waters, and enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings.

Explore Carorian Wonders

Discover the intriguing rock formations and tidal pools at Carorian Wonders. It's a unique geological site that offers opportunities for exploration and photography.

Caving at Luyang Cave

If you're an adventure seeker, consider exploring Luyang Cave. This cave system offers a thrilling underground experience with unique rock formations.

Relax in Mamangal Beach

Unwind on the serene Mamangal Beach, enjoying the peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle.

When is the Best Time to Visit Catanduanes

The dry season which typically spans from November to April, Catanduanes enjoys more stable weather with lower chances of rainfall. This period is ideal for outdoor activities, such as beach outings, hiking, and exploring natural attractions. The sea conditions are generally calmer during the dry season, making it a suitable time for water activities like surfing in Puraran Beach. The months of December to February are particularly popular for tourists seeking sunny days and clear skies.

The wet season in Catanduanes occurs from May to October, characterised by increased rainfall and occasional typhoons. While the lush green landscapes during this period can be visually stunning.

How to Get to Cantanduanes

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Catanduanes is by air. Virac Airport (also known as Catanduanes Airport) is the main airport serving the province. You can book a flight to Virac Airport from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.

Several airlines operate flights to Catanduanes, and the flight duration is around 1 to 1.5 hours. Upon arrival at Virac Airport, travellers can easily access various transportation options to reach your desired destination on the island.

By Sea

While Catanduanes doesn't have a direct international seaport, you can still reach the island by taking a ferry from the nearby provinces. The most common ferry routes are from Tabaco City in Albay or the nearby province of Camarines Sur.

These ferry trips usually take around 3 to 4 hours, and schedules may vary, so it's advisable to check in advance.

By Car / Bus

If you prefer a scenic land journey, you can take a bus or drive to Tabaco City, which is connected to the Luzon mainland by road. Buses and vans operate from major cities like Manila, Naga, and Legazpi to Tabaco City. Once you reach Tabaco City, you can board a ferry to Catanduanes.

Alternatively, if you prefer driving, you can take a private vehicle and board a Ro-Ro (Roll-on/Roll-off) ferry from Tabaco City to Catanduanes. The ferry ride typically takes around 3 to 4 hours.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

In Catanduanes, traditional taxis are not as common as in larger urban areas, and ride-sharing services like Uber and Grab may have limited availability. If you're in need of a taxi, travellers can usually find them in town centers or near transportation hubs.

By Car / Motorcycle

Renting a car or motorcycle is a popular and flexible way to explore Catanduanes. Several rental agencies on the island offer a range of vehicles, from cars to motorcycles and scooters. Having your own mode of transportation allows you to navigate the scenic roads at your own pace.

What to Eat

Catanduanes offers a variety of dining options suitable for every budget and palate, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Local Food

The local food scene in Catanduanes showcases a rich tapestry of flavours, reflecting the island's cultural heritage and abundance of fresh ingredients. Here are some of the notable restaurants such as Cafe de Au, Sea Breeze Restaurant, Fernando's Asian Cuisine and Sunday Blossoms.

Fresh Seafood

Catanduanes, being an island province in the Philippines, boasts a vibrant seafood scene with a variety of fresh catches from the surrounding waters of the Pacific Ocean. Here are some notable restaurants such as Sea Breeze, Park & Grill Restaurant and Delfinos Diner.

Western Food

While the local cuisine in Catanduanes predominantly features Filipino and Bicolano flavors, you can also find restaurants and eateries that offer Western-inspired dishes such as Park & Grill Restaurant, 205 Food Park, Nicole's Grill Resto Bar and Mel's Kitchenette.

What to Buy

When in Catanduanes, bring home the essence of the island with Pili nut treats, abaca crafts, seashell items, and local artwork. Discover regional snacks, herbal products, and fisherman's gear for a diverse array of souvenirs. Support local markets and artisans to ensure authenticity and contribute to the vibrant communities of Catanduanes.

Where to Stay

Catanduanes offers a range of accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets. In Virac, the provincial capital, you'll find hotels and inns providing comfortable amenities and easy access to local attractions.

For a more serene experience, coastal resorts along Puraran Beach offer stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere. Additionally, guesthouses and beachfront cottages cater to those seeking a more laid-back stay.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

When packing for a trip to Catanduanes, consider the tropical climate and the activities you plan to engage in. Lightweight and breathable clothing is essential due to the warm temperatures. Casual and comfortable outfits such as shorts, T-shirts, and sundresses are suitable for everyday wear.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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