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The Hidden Beauty of Catanduanes | The Happy Island



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





Three days before my travel to Catanduanes via Virac Airport. 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 spent almost 2 hours just calling the airline hotline and rebook my flight.



I fly to Manila via Kalibo, and I have to spend a night in Manila Airport for my flight to Virac is early in the morning. I waited for my travel buddy to arrive at a Domestic airport since he had 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 felt so sad because I saw the airport terminal was a washout due to the typhoon. But the good news is that the people around me are happy and recovering fast with the help of the present administration. We arrived Sunday morning, and the street was clean and quiet. 

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 and 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 to Marbina Falls, Bato Church, Binurong point, Balacay point, and drop off in Puraran Beach. The price was 1,500 pesos for two of us, but we declined because it was too expensive for us, so I bargained down to 1,000 pesos. He thought about it and finally decided to take the offer with confidence.



On our way to the first destination, the Marina Falls, we did a stopover at the gasoline station to gas up, and the driver asked for 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 for about 15 minutes just to photo ops. After that, we headed to Bato Church for an almost 20 minutes ride. From bato church, the driver told us that he would not push through are agreeing that he would drive us all the way to puraran beach because, according to him, his tricycle wheel got broken down, so the 200 pesos that we paid a while ago is not refundable because of the already gas up. We didn’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 with another driver to drive us, and he told us that we paid only 800 pesos, so we agreed to continue. After almost an hour of keeping the drive, we finally arrived in Baras proper to buy food and water before continuing our journey. 30 minutes later, we arrived in Binurong and our tricycle driver complaint. According to him, their negotiation is only from Bato to Puraran, and Binurong is not included in the package. To make the long story short, we overcharged, and we ended up paying 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 a minimum of P200. Our tour guide's 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 held 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 it Sunday. I can only say the word “WOW” and nothing else. Indeed the Philippines is a beautiful country, and I am proud of it. I was dreaming about the future kneeling and saying the word " WILL YOU MARRY ME" to my girlfriend and waited for her sweet "YES" hehehe unfortunately, I don't have one, I think the right girl for me is 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 felt hungry. I like the people of baras because they are caring and approachable. We talked to the parent of our tour guide ate lea because her mother was coming from Bacolod City and was the same local dialect; we told the story of what happened to us on the way that we overcharged, and he told us that we needed 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 asked a favor for them to borrow utensils to take our lunch before we left and headed to Puraran Beach. We have a great conversation with them and sharing some stories of Baras. 



My tour guide and I
We ride again in the tricycle going to Puraran beach, and it 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 took a risk to do surfing, so we hired an instructor to teach us for 1 hour at P350. Unfortunately, the water was getting low tide, and the soft coral was hurting our feet badly huhuhu. We ended up with 30 minutes, and the instructor decided to stop it, but it was okay because we enjoyed it in a short time.





Raw Abaca 


Boracay 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 slept again so that we had energy tomorrow.


Puraran Beach


I woke up around 6 am to roaming around the beach and to have 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 walked 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 talked to some of the passengers on board. Of course, I do a lot of questions. We ended up telling our story again about what happened yesterday. They are shocked because of the overcharge, they told us again to please report it to the tourism office because it will not, they will continue what they do for the visitor, especially to the foreigner.


I guaranteed them and promised to report it to 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, dropped off in the Provincial Capitol, and rode a tricycle to ARDCI Corporate Inn, where I booked my room for the night.


Upon arrival at the hotel and doing the check-in process, I talked to the marketing staff, Ms. Rona. When she asked about our travel to Catanduanes, I told her about what happened to us. She got worried and referred me to the hotel supervisor Mr. Antonio. 


I talked to Mr. Antonio about the overcharge that happened to us, and he assisted us to the tourism office. He called the office of 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 hotel's restaurant located on the 6th floor of the building, luckily the price of their menu is budget-friendly. I commend that the food is delicious, especially the eggplant with ground pork. I am truly sorry I forgot the name. Of course, before anything else, I also recommend trying their Vegetable Mango Salad.



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





My Travel Buddy, Ms. Carmel, and I
She also discussed with us the local government's plan to give the best effort to tourists like us, and they will make a tariff for both locals and foreign visitors. Ms. Carmel promised us that she would do her best that would not happen to anybody again.

We left her office with a smile because Catanduanes is a Happy Island. We roam around to buy some souvenirs 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 morning, we woke early and ate our breakfast because we had an early flight back to manila. I like our hotel they offered an airport transfer and nothing to worry about because Virac airport is just a kilometer from the proper.


My 3-day journey isn't enough. Maybe on my next visit, I will explore more places and municipalities. 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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