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The Hidden Beauty of Catanduanes | The Happy Island



The island of Catanduanes is blessed with the scenic view. Last December 2016 when typhoon NINA hit the island and when I saw on the TV news everything is washout including their airport. I worried about the people of the island and of course my upcoming visit.





Three days before my travel to Catanduanes via Virac Airport. The Cebu Pacific Air announced that my flight was canceled/Change due to Tagaytay Radar Maintenance. I panic since my connecting flight back to Boracay Island is affected and Cebu Pacific is the only airline fly to Virac. I spend almost 2 hours just to call the airline hotline and to rebook my flight.



I fly to Manila via Kalibo and I to have spend a night in Manila Airport for my flight to Virac is early in the morning. I waited for my travel buddy to arrive in a Domestic airport since he has a flight from Iloilo. 


Virac Aiprot Terminal


The flight to virac will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes using the ATR aircraft/ Propeller. When we arrived in Virac I feel so sad because I saw the airport terminal was washout due to the typhoon. But the good news the people around me is happy and they are recovering fast with the help of the present administration. We arrived Sunday morning and the street is clean and quite. 

From the airport, we took a tricycle going to the proper and fare is P40 pesos to look for our breakfast and we ended up at Jollibee “Bida ang Saya”. After our light breakfast, we ride a tricycle again going to the tricycle terminal of Bato, on our way the driver offered us a tour all the way to Maribina Falls, Bato Church, Binurong point, Balacay point and drop off in Puraran Beach. The price is 1,500 pesos for two of us, but we declined because it’s too expensive for us so I bargain down to 1,000 pesos. He thinks about it and finally decided to take the offer with confidence.



On our way to the first destination which is the Maribina Falls, we do a stopover first at the gasoline station to gas up and the driver asks the partial payment and we gave 200 pesos.





The Maribina Falls is located in the Municipality of Bato just 15 minutes ride from Virac. We stayed at the falls about 15 minutes just to photo ops, after that, we headed to Bato Church for almost 20 minute ride. From bato church the driver told us that he will not push through are agreeing that he will drive us all the way to puraran beach because according to him his tricycle wheel got broken down, so the 200 pesos that we pay a while ago is not refundable because of he already gas up. We don’t have a choice, so I told him to drop us in the municipal hall and waited for a jeep/ van bound to Baras.



Bato Church

Our tricycle driver negotiates to another driver to drive us, and he told us that we pay only 800 pesos so we agree to continue. Almost an hour of keeping the drive, we finally arrived in Baras proper to buy foods and water before continuing our journey. 30 minutes later we arrived in Binurong and our tricycle driver complaint because according to him their negotiation between the two of them is only from Bato to Puraran and Binurong is not included in the package, to make the long story short we overcharge and we ended up to pay P1,400.








We don’t mind the charge because we don’t want to ruin our vacation and excitement to see a great view. Before anything else, we register first, then pay the environmental fee of P40 and get a tour guide at minimum of P200. Our tour guide name is ate Lea Brozula, I recommend her, here's the contact number +639060982521 she is very nice and entertaining. 


The adventures wait for us, we trek almost 30 minutes going to the view deck of Binurong. When we arrived, I paused and hold my breath because of the amazing view of the Pacific Ocean, rock formation and of course the cool air. 



That time there are few tourists despite its Sunday. I can only say the word “WOW” and nothing else, indeed the Philippines is a beautiful country and I proud of it. I was dreaming about the future kneeling and saying the word " WILL YOU MARRY ME" to my girlfriend and waited her sweet "YES" hehehe unfortunately, I don't have one, I think the right girl for me its on the way maybe she got stuck in the traffic of Metro Manila :(.


I don’t expect that they are four point which is tiring because of the direct sunlight when we visit, but it is worth it to take time and enjoy the single moment.






We decided to trek down after 2 hours because we feel hungry. I like the people of baras because they are caring and approachable. We talked the parent of our tour guide ate lea because her mother is coming from Bacolod City and was the same local dialect, We tell the story of what happened to us on our way that we overcharge and he told us that we need to report them to the tourism office for them to get punished, we don’t mind it because we only have a limited time and there is no time report it. 




We ask a favor for them to borrow utensils for us to take our lunch before we leave and headed to Puraran Beach. We have a great conversation with them and sharing some story of Baras. 



My tour guide and I
We ride again in the tricycle going to Puraran beach and will take another 20 minutes.  We checked in at Majestic Puraran for only P650 good for two people. The adventure never stops after a few minutes of rest we take a risk to do a surfing, so we hire an instructor to teach us for 1 hour at P350 unfortunately, the water is getting low tide and the soft coral is hurting our feet badly huhuhu, we ended up with 30 minutes and the instructor decided to stop it, but it’s okay because we enjoy in a short time.





Raw Abaca 


Balacay Point
I decided to take a power nap to recharge and I woke up around 6 pm because I felt cold, yes the weather in Puraran is cold for me to take my jacket, we ate our leftover food from lunch and sleep again so that we have energy tomorrow.


Puraran Beach


I woke up around 6 am to roaming around the beach and to have a breakfast on the main road since the food in the resort is pricey, endurance is much needed and be prepared. 



Brgy. Puararan 


After our bountiful breakfast we checked out in our resort and walk uphill going to the main road and waited for a tricycle to Baras proper, one of the local residences of the area offered a ride and we paid 100 pesos. 



Jeep bound to Virac


Upon arrival in the proper, we transferred to a jeep and waited almost 1 hour to fill up. While waiting for the jeep to leave I talk to some of the passengers on-board, of course I do a lot of questions, we ended up to tell our story again about what happened yesterday and they are shocked because of overcharge, they told us again to please report it to the tourism office because if will not, they will continue of what they do for the visitor especially to the foreigner.


I guaranteed them and promise to report it the office in-charge. The jeep finally leaves around 11 pm and the travel time to virac is approximately 1 hour. 


We arrived in Virac and drop off in the Provincial Capitol and ride a tricycle to ARDCI Corporate Inn where I booked my room for the night.


Upon arrival at the hotel and do the check –in process, I got talked to the marketing staff Ms. Rona, when she asked, regarding in our travel in Catanduanes, I replied and tell her about what happened to us. She got worried and referred me the hotel supervisor Mr. Antonio. 


I talked to Mr. Antonio about the overcharge happened to us and he assisted us to the tourism office, he called the office Ms. Carmel the tourism officer and set an appointment for us to get in touch with her. 


Before we go to the tourism office we eat our lunch first, in the restaurant of the hotel located on the 6th floor of the building, luckily the price of their menu is budget friendly and I commend that the food is delicious especially the eggplant with ground pork, truly sorry I forgot the name and of course before anything else I recommend also to try their Vegetable Mango Salad.



Our room in ARDCI Corporate Inn
We take a rest for a while and headed to the tourism office just about 500 meters from the hotel. I got talked to Ms. Carmel and tell the whole story and she got worried, I gave the number of the driver so that she will talk to him personally. 





My Travel Buddy, Ms. Carmel and I
She also discuss with us the planned of the local government to give the best effort to the tourist like us and they will make a tariff for both locals and foreign visitor. Ms. Carmel promised us that she will do her best that will not happen to anybody again.

We left her office with a smile because Catanduanes is a Happy Island. We roam around to buy some souvenir to bring back home. When we back to the hotel I went to the rooftop of the building and patiently waiting the sun to set.



Sunset at the rooftop of ARDCI Corporate Inn


The next day morning we woke early and eat our breakfast because we have an early flight back to manila. One thing I like to our hotel they offered an airport transfer and nothing to worry because Virac airport is just a kilometer from the proper.


My 3-day journeys isn't enough, maybe on my next visit, I will explore more places and municipality. I bid goodbye to the #HAPPYISLAND but my heart left.



Comments

  1. I think when I visit here I should go straight to the Tourism Office first. Or you should've asked your hotel to arrange your tour for you.

    :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. There really is very beautiful. I like their nature and landscapes. I would like to once again visit there

    ReplyDelete
  3. Indeed, this is the real beauty of nature created by nature itself without the participation of man.

    ReplyDelete

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