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.
An alternative is to get on a bus to Legazpi (12 hours) and then head to Tabaco Port. From Tabaco Port, ride a passenger boat to San Andres, Catanduanes (3 hours). Boat schedules from Tabaco Port to Catanduanes are 7AM and 1PM only.
Getting around Catanduanes
From Virac, there are public jeepneys, multi-cabs and vans to nearby towns.
However, for touring, it’s best to hire a private motorcycle or tricycle so 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 places to see 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.
- Palumbanes Islands: Bitaog Beach, Tignob Island, Calabagio Island
- Hitoma Lake
The main attraction in Caramoran is Bitaog Beach in Parongpong Island. You can also do a side trip to the other islands in Palumbanes: Tignob and Calabagio islands.
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 bigger boat.
- Cagnipa Rolling Hills
- Tuwad-Tuwadan Natural Pool
- Hiyop Highlands view deck
Cagnipa Rolling Hills is a very scenic farmland in Catanduanes. From here, you can see Carangyan Beach in the distance. Just below Cagnipa Rolling Hills is the Tuwad-Tuwadan Natural Pool.
We love this area and recommend staying overnight in Carangyan Beach Resort. The beach is quiet and beautiful, and there are none to few guests during off-peak season.
You can tour the attractions in Pandan via habal-habal for P800-1000.
- Binurong Point
- Balacay Point
If you’re going to stay to surf in Puraran, these are the best resorts in the area:
- Puraran Surf Beach Resort: 0906 494 6651 / book discounted rates here
- Majestic Puraran Beach Resort: 0927 357 2665 / book discounted rates here
- Pacific Surfer’s Paradise: 09178 046 648 / book discounted rates here
Binurong Point and Balacay Point are pastoral cliffs and a favorite of sunrise viewers.
- 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.
- Ilihan Point
- Padre Falls
Ilihan Point is one of the most iconic spots in Catanduanes. It’s a phallic-shapped rock located in Bagamanoc Bay. It is also called “Boto ni Kurakog”.
- City tour: Virac Cathedral, Museo de Catanduanes, pasalubong stores
- Beaches: Twin Rock Beach, Mamangal Beach, Balite Beach, Marilima Beach, Talisoy Beach
If you take a flight to Catanduanes, you’re going to land in Virac. Virac is the jump-off point to other municipalities in Catanduanes: to Caramoran and Pandan (left) or Bato and Baras (right). Here you can go on a short city tour and, as most tourists often do, visit its beaches. The popular ones are the Twin Rock Beach Resort in Igang and Mamangal Beach Resort in Balite.
To tour Virac, you can use public transpo or simply hire a hire a private tricycle. From here, you can also hire a tricycle or habal-habal to take you to Bato and Puraran.
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.
Our trip: 4 Days itinerary to Catanduanes
This is based from our itinerary when we visited Catanduanes.
Day 1 – Caramoran
Arrival in Virac airport, head to Virac town center
Ride a van (or bus) to Pandan, get off at Caramoran (3 hours)
Island hopping in Palumbanes group of islands (1 hour boat ride per way)
Check in at accommodation
Day 2 – Pandan
Tour Pandan (Tuwad-tuwadan pool, Hiyop highlands)
Check in at accommodation
Day 3 – Puraran OR Bato and Baras
Early van ride back to Virac
Travel to Puraran
Surf at Puraran and/or hire a tricycle (or habal-habal) and tour Bato and Baras
Check in at accommodation
Ride back to Virac
Flight back to Manila
You can read about our experience in Catanduanes here.
If you want to follow this itinerary and commute as we did, take note of the schedules of public transpo especially to distant municipalities such as Pandan and Caramoran.
From Virac, there are buses and vans to Pandan from 9AM to 1PM. Others say there are still rides available at 5PM, but we have not confirmed this.
From Pandan to Virac, the earliest van schedule is 4AM but you’ll have to go to the terminal in the market to confirm this, as I’m not sure if this is part of their regular schedule. The latest schedule is 12noon – 1PM only, except on Fridays where there are occasional vans leaving at 3PM.
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.
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. You can check out the lowest prices of accommodations in Catanduanes here.
Coco Beach Resort, Caramoran
If you’re staying the night in Caramoran, I suggest Coco Beach Resort. It is owned by Ate Letty and is just across the Palumbanes islands. Accommodation is P300 per night. Food is also served in the resort.
- Contact info: 0928 620 4592
Carangyan Beach Resort, Pandan
This resort in Carangyan is a bit on the expensive side, but I guarantee that it’s worth it. It’s packed during summer, but during off-season there are few guests and you can enjoy the beach to yourselves.
Rooms are available at P1500 (fan room) and P1800 (aircon). There are also cottages at P300 each, although I wouldn’t recommend getting one for an overnight stay because of mosquitos and other insects at night.
- Contact info: 0949 435 3044 / Official website
Kemji Resort, Virac
We’d planned on staying in a cheap inn in Virac, but our tricycle driver suggested here instead. I consider this a good find, and it’s only 5 minutes away from the airport. They also have free shuttle service to and from the airport, if you have any heavy luggage.
Kemji Resort features artistic decorations — warm lights at night, round swings beside the pool and so on. It has pools and a restaurant, which serves reasonably priced good food. Rooms are available at P1000-1100 for 2 people and P1000-1500 for 3 people.
- Contact info: Facebook page
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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