Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Catanduanes wasn't actually on my checklist and by coincidence just an alternative choice when my booking for Dipolog with Ivy didn't push through. Whenever I hear Catanduanes, the first thing that comes into my mind is typhoon. You see, this province has long been battered by storms and lies in front of the Pacific ocean. And because the La Nina phenomenon was still on-going, I was prepared for the worst just in case my flight to Virac gets cancelled. Fortunately, it wasn't. The weather was very cooperative during our entire stay. Probably because my travel buddy Andie was also celebrating his birthday on our first day at Virac. Upon landing at the airport, I could already sense the simplicity of life at this place. Even its airport was very simple. The first place that we visited was Bato which has one of the oldest churches in the province.
Second on the itinerary was the Batalay Shrine which I didn't even bother to take a picture because I was very much disappointed to see that it was on its worse condition. On our way to the shrine was a better scenery though, as we passed by hectares of rice fields.
After the shrine we tried to find public transportation so we can go to our next stop which is the PAGASA radar station but learned that there was no way we could reach that place unless we hire a motorcycle. Good thing there was a local who agreed to give us a hitch and we just agreed to pay him Php150 which includes a ride all the way to Maribina Falls.
On our way to Maribina, we've noticed that the place is still unscathed by commercialization. Transportation after all was still not that much available even though much of the roads were already paved and developed. Nevertheless, I was able to appreciate this place even more because everything was still simple especially when we did our beach-hopping in Puraran, Mamangal and Igang (Twin Rock). What I realized here is that the more raw the place is, the more you could appreciate its beauty.
The east side of the province is a haven for surfers because the deep rumbling Pacific Ocean is its closest neighbor. Unfortunately we weren't able to try this activity because the waves are so strong and it's off season. :(
I never really expected much because all I know is that Catanduanes is a haven for surfing. Surprisingly, the 'land of the howling winds' is one of the most serene and laid back places I've been to.
How to get there
Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Virac. To get to Puraran (which I highly recommend), take a Baras bound jeepney for 1.5 hours (Php 35) and then a trike to Puraran (Php 150).