Here’s a travel guide to Catanduanes, also known as the “Land of the Howling Winds” and recently the “Happy Island.” I hope this will give you all the basic information you need to know about Catanduanes.
As a traveler’s destination, I feel like Catanduanes is still in its budding stages. Even Binurong Point — a pastoral cliff often compared to Batanes — has gained popularity only last year. Its local tourism branch is quite new, having only been established early this year, to accommodate the growing number of visitors in the area. Case in point: I think there is still much to discover in Catanduanes, and I wrote this knowing that soon enough it will need some major updates.
Catanduanes is one of our favorite provinces in the Philippines. It has scenic landscapes — pastoral cliffs, rolling hills — as well as great beaches and natural lagoons. I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Catanduanes as much as we did!
By the way, you can also read about our trip to Catanduanes here.
How to get to Catanduanes
The easiest way to get to Catanduanes is to book a flight to Virac. As of this writing, Cebu Pacific flies once a day from Manila to Virac, with a morning schedule.
It will take about 15-16 hours of land travel to get to Catanduanes.
- From Manila (Cubao, Pasay or Alabang), ride a bus with direct route to Tabaco (about P840, 11-12 hours). An alternative is to ride a bus to Legazpi (12 hours). From Legazpi bus terminal, ride a jeep or van bound for Tabaco.
- From Tabaco, ride a pedicab to Tabaco Port.
- Once in Tabaco Port, you can ride a passenger boat to either San Andres Port (P290 aircon, P220 non-aircon) or Virac Port (P320 aircon, P240 non-aircon). Travel time is about 4 hours. Another option is to ride a fast craft to either port in Catanduanes (P320, 2 hours). However, schedules for the fast craft are limited.
It’s best to get to Virac since it’s easy to find hotels and resorts there. Other attractions in Catanduanes are also accessible from Virac.
From San Andres Port, you can ride a jeepney to Virac or charter a tricycle.
See this infographic on how to get to Catanduanes.
When is the best time to visit
The best time to visit Catanduanes is during the summer months, from March to May.
How to get around
From Virac, there are public jeepneys, multi-cabs and vans to nearby towns.
For touring, it’s best to charter a private motorcycle or tricycle. You can specify which areas you would like to stop by. Rates vary depending on the destination. For instance, going to the nearby beaches in Virac usually cost P500.
Top Attractions in Catanduanes
Although most blogs talk about Twin Rock Beach Resort, Puraran and Binurong Point, there’s actually a lot more attractions in Catanduanes. You can do a lot of things in this province, including island hopping, surfing, trekking through rolling hills and visiting historical churches and landmarks.
Here are the best tourist attractions in Catanduanes. We’ve visited several of these already, as you’ll see in our itinerary in the section below.
- City tour: Virac Cathedral, Museo de Catanduanes, Virac Viewing Deck, FIAT House Inspired Chapel, souvenir stores
- Beaches: Twin Rock Beach, Mamangal Beach, Balite Beach, Marilima Beach, Talisoy Beach
Virac is the capital city of Catanduanes. Here you can find city attractions including souvenir shops. Virac is also known for its beaches. The popular ones are the Twin Rock Beach Resort in Igang and Mamangal Beach Resort in Balite.
To explore Virac, you can move around via public transpo or charter a private tricycle.
Virac is the jump-off point to other municipalities in Catanduanes: to Caramoran and Pandan (left) or Bato and Baras (right). From here, it’s easy to charter a habal-habal or tricycle to get to Bato or Baras.
- Palumbanes Islands: Bitaog Beach (Parongpong Island), Tignob Island, Calabagio Island
- Toytoy Beach
- Hitoma Lake
- Banban Falls
- Guiamlong Falls
- Natotoo Falls
- Lintig Falls
- Inalmasinan Falls
- St. John the Baptist Parish
- Campo Ermetanyo
The main attraction in Caramoran is the Palumbanes Islands, specifically Bitaog Beach in Parongpong Island.
For boats for island hopping, head to the port and just ask around for any fishermen willing to take you across the islands. If you’re staying in Coco Beach Resort, Ate Letty can help you find one. Rates are P1000-1500 for a small boat and P3000 for a large boat.
Coco Beach Resort: 0928 620 4592
How to get here:
From Virac, ride a bus or van to Pandan and get off at Caramoran. Travel time is 3 hours.
- Cagnipa Rolling Hills
- Tuwad-Tuwadan Natural Pool
- Hiyop Highlands view deck
These attractions are close to each other. Cagnipa Rolling Hills is a very scenic farmland in Catanduanes. From here, you can see Carangyan Beach in the distance. From Cagnipa Rolling Hills, you can climb down to the Tuwad-Tuwadan Natural Pool.
You can tour the attractions in Pandan via habal-habal for P800-1000.
How to get here:
From Virac, there are buses and vans to Pandan from 9AM to 1PM. There may be a late schedule at 5PM, but it’s best to confirm this first.
From Pandan back to Virac, the earliest van schedule is 4AM and the latest schedule is 12noon – 1PM only, except on Fridays where there are vans leaving at 3PM.
- Binurong Point
- Balacay Point
Binurong Point and Balacay Point are pastoral cliffs and a favorite of sunrise viewers, although Binurong Point is the more popular one. Binurong Point is located within the private property of Kayandit Ranch. It requires an easy trek of about 20 minutes.
Fees to Binurong Point. Guide fee: P150 | Entrance fee: P20 | Parking fee: P10.
Similar to Siargao, Catanduanes is famous for its great waves. Puraran is its main surfing spot. In fact, every October, Catanduanes holds an annual surfing competition, the Majestic Puraran Surfing Cup. Surfing months are July to October. Beginners can also visit from March to June.
As above, you can visit these attractions in Baras via habal-habal.
How to get here:
There are various way to get here from Virac:
- Ride a jeep (about P35) or van (P100) to Baras town proper.
- Charter a private tricycle to Baras/Puraran (about P150-200 one way).
- Direct to Puraran: Ride a jeep to Puraran (about P45). Alternatively, you can also ride a jeep bound for Gigmoto and get off at Puraran (about 45).
- Bote Lighthouse and Sakahon Beach
- Bato Church
- Maribina Falls
- Cagraray Falls
- Poseidon Rock (located in the village of Carorian)
One of the tourist attractions in Bato is the Bote Lighthouse near Sakahon Beach. Sakahon Beach is negligible, but the lighthouse is worth a trek. It takes 30 minutes to reach the lighthouse. The trail is steep, so leave any heavy backpacks in your vehicle. Local kids will normally volunteer to guide you to the lighthouse. Don’t forget to give them a tip.
Similar to Tuwad-Tuwadan Pool, Poseidon Rock has unique formations and natural lagoons. There are also snorkeling sites nearby.
- Nahulugan Falls
- Dororian Falls
- Beaches: Sicmil Beach, Biong Beach, Macalanhog Beach
You can go all the way up to Gigmoto to visit several waterfalls and beaches.
- Ilihan Point
- Padre Falls
Bagamanoc is one of the least visited places in Catanduanes, but it’s worth visiting if you have time.
Ilihan Point is one of the most iconic spots in this province. It’s a phallic-shaped rock located in Bagamanoc Bay. It is also called “Boto ni Kurakog” or Fertility Island.
Catanduanes travel guide map
Here’s a map from the Catanduanes Tourism Board listing the current tourist attractions in Catanduanes. To download, click the image and then right click – save as.
5 Days itinerary to Catanduanes
Here’s a sample itinerary to Catanduanes, based on our trip.
Day 1 – Caramoran
Arrival in Virac airport
Ride a van or bus to Pandan and get off at Caramoran
Island hopping in Palumbanes islands (1 hour boat ride per way)
Check in at accommodation in Caramoran
Day 2 – Pandan
Check out of accommodation
Explore Pandan (Cagnipa Rolling Hills, Tuwad-Tuwadan Pool, Hiyop Highlands)
Check in at accommodation in Pandan
Day 3 – Puraran OR Bato and Baras
Check out of accommodation
Early van ride back to Virac
From Virac, head to Puraran
Surf at Puraran and/or charter a habal-habal/tricycle to Bato and Baras
Check in at accommodation in Puraran
Check out of accommodation
Ride back to Virac
Check in at accommodation in Virac
Explore beaches in Virac
Flight back to Manila
You can read about our experience in Catanduanes here.
Total budget and expenses
Catanduanes is one of the cheapest provinces we have visited. For 4 days in Catanduanes, our budget for 2 people is P4000 each (excluding airfare).
Where to stay in Catanduanes
There’s a lot of options on places to stay in Catanduanes, depending on whether you want to book in a resort, hotel or homestay.
Kemji Resort is a convenient place to stay in Virac. It’s about 5 minutes away from the airport. It’s artistic, with a pool and restaurant. Rooms are available at P1000-1100 for 2 people and P1000-1500 for 3 people.
- Casa Remedios Bed & Breakfast | Book discounted rooms here
For beach resorts in Virac, here are the most recommended ones:
- Twin Rock Beach Resort | Book discounted rooms here
Here are the best resorts in Puraran:
- Puraran Surf Beach Resort | Book discounted rooms here
- Majestic Puraran Beach Resort | Book discounted rooms here
- Pacific Surfer’s Paradise | Book discounted rooms here
Coco Beach Resort is located just across the Palumbanes Islands. The owner, Ate Letty, can help you find a boat for island hopping. Accommodation is P300 per night. For meals, you can order in the resort or go to nearby eateries.
Contact info: Facebook | 0928 620 4592
Carangyan Beach Resort is one of the best places you can stay at in Pandan. Rooms are available at P1500 (fan room) and P1800 (aircon).
Contact info: 0949 435 3044 / Official website
Did not find what you’re looking for? Search for other discounted accommodations in Catanduanes.
Things to know before you go
- Schedule of public vehicles especially to distant municipalities such as Pandan and Caramoran are limited. Take note of these before you plan your itinerary.
- There is minimal signal in certain areas in Catanduanes.
Do you have anything to add in this Catanduanes travel guide? Any must-see destinations you’ve been to or recommended accommodations? Feel free to post in the comment section below. 🙂
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