Catanduanes The Land of The Howling Winds

by - Thursday, March 09, 2017

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Never had I imagined setting foot on this beautiful island, not to mention alone and explore this unknown province that I only read from our history books. This unspoiled island that has a lot to offer is a perfect hideaway to anyone who is looking for quiet, peaceful, and away from the city crowd of Metro.

Catanduanes is one of the provinces in Bicol Region that alongside with other provinces in the region offers a wide range of landmarks from nature trip to historical places and churches to world famous majestic waves.

Last year I plan on ticking-off all the provinces in Bicol Region. When I ended my day job I grab my pen and travel notebook and make my itinerary on the remaining provinces, thus include this emerald province in the east of Bicol.

I don’t know much about the place so I rely only to my research over the internet. Weeks before my trip I met a guy on twitter whose hometown is Catanduanes, I really take note of that for its an advantage to ask someone who is familiar with the place better than a locals.

Thank goodness that he was able to point out important details especially on how to go to the island the easier way possible. For the travel guide please see this link.

Catanduanes is not my first solo province to visit. But the pulse of my heart is a mixture of fear and excitement. But of course, fear always overthrown by my excitement and eagerness to explore such unknown place to me.

It was raining hard in Bulacan (where I live) and upon arriving in Manila the rain is still pouring like there’s a storm coming. It was August when I travel so I know rain is still around the corner and my only hesitations during that trip is that I’m going to an island and I’m going to travel there by boat. But a local from Bicol confirms that it is not raining in their place so I went.

I arrive around 4 in the afternoon at Ali Mall Cubao Terminal and choose Cagsawa Transit as per my friend’s advice. Good thing I tweeted him and asked him stuff about his place. Really, Cagsawa is one of the most comfortable bus I ride into. It was spacious and I can literally lay down on the seat without minding other passengers at my back. But oh well, I think people are on hiatus during this month for it rains a lot so passengers are quite few on this trip that leaves a lot of space for us to indulge on the bus.

It was a hassle-free 13 hours travel. We left Manila around 6:30 in the evening. Getting to Catanduanes requires passing through some provinces like Rizal, Quezon, CamSur, CamNorte and last is Albay where the port is going to Catanduanes.

By 6:30 in the morning the next day I find myself admiring the beauty of Mayon and I know I’m long way from home and excited on the following days to follow.

After securing fees I’m now boared on one of the RORO bound to San Vicente Port in Catanduanes. The sea travel lasts for about 3 hours. It isn’t my first time to ride RORO but it’s a first alone. I chose the non-aircon for I don’t mind really. I usually stayed outside admiring how a vessel maneuver over the sea creating a good sight. It was a bit gloomy that day but I love the wind touching my skin, it was so refreshing so I sat on the floor with my pen and notebook out and succumb myself to continue writing some poems.

Arriving at the port there are tricycle that will take you to the jeepney terminal going to Virac town proper. From town proper you can go to tourism to ask for the map and how to’s to wherever you want to visit on the place. I know you can ask for someone to accompany you, but to be sure you can ask the tourism about it.

My itinerary includes visiting a church, balacay point, and puraran beach and mamangal beach. But I swear, Catanduanes has a lot more than these.

quick stop at Virac Cathedral

After visiting the department of tourism and a quick stop at Virac Cathedral to pay my respect and say a little prayer I head to the inn where I will be staying for a night. Yep, this trip is limited so I need to make the most out of it. I stayed at Rakdell Inn, for complete details here is the link.

After stuffing my things in the inn, I immediately take a quick bath and grab important things to bring and start my adventure. But I had a hard time going from one place to another. Specifically going to Balacay Point. There is a jeepney that will go there but have to wait until it was full before leaving and it was already 2pm and the jeepney isn’t leaving yet. I’ve been sitting there since 12:30 and I cannot wait any longer. There are habal-habal for hire but is too costly. The cheapest was 700 and I can’t afford that much for just half the day. I sent a personal message to the guy I met on twitter and asked him if there’s any much more easier way and much cheaper going to Balacay and he immediately offers to take me there with his motorbike. He was like a life saver! Really! We met on the provincial capitol and head to Balacay Point.

It was around 2:15 in the afternoon when we left the Capitol and arrive at Balacay Point around 3:30. Yep that far. We were driving fast, I wonder how long it will take riding a passenger jeepney.

Balacay Point is a wonder. Facing the Balacay Island and the magnificent Pacific Ocean is just wow! I never thought I will be seeing such in front of me. I intend to do surfing but my budget is a little way off so I promise myself to visit the place again. Really, overnight is not enough! Here's a complete detail for the Balacay Point travel guide 

Balacay Is

the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop!!!

Going back to town proper we pass by this historical church which is on my bucket list and I asked him if can stop by so I can say a little prayer and take some photos of it. Ya know, for blog purpose. :P

Seeing part of the Catanduanes makes me crave to go to one place to another, truly, Philippines has a lot more to offer.

We were back just before sundown. I grab some snacks and head back to the inn and browse some destination before I head to my second province which is Sorsogon. I really wanted to go to Mamangal Beach, I woke up early the next day just to find out that it is dangerous going there alone even by taking a tricycle or habal-habal. So, all my dreams crushedown. Anyway all more reason to go back, eh?

I go back to the inn packup my things and ready to leave(?) not really, there is so much to this place more than the places I visit. Going back to Tabaco, I learned that there is a so-called fastcraft, faster than RORO, price a bit higher but still, time is our greatest opponent aside from money on trips. K.

Til we meet again, Catanduanes! I will definitely visit the entire island, I swear!

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Thanks for the wonderful message!