Palumbanes Islands and Bitaog Beach: Hidden Gems of Catanduanes

Bitaog beach in Palumbanes Islands, Catanduanes
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Catanduanes is mostly known for its mountainous terrains and rolling hills. In fact, the middle area of this province is idle land. In here though, we found a secluded beach that can rival other famous beaches in the country — Bitaog Beach in Parongpong Island, part of Palumbanes islands.

We’d planned to go to Bitaog Beach last summer for an outreach event, organized by Alon ng Pag-asa. However, we failed to book a ticket to Virac on time, and I think the long travel time on a land trip wasn’t commensurate to the short days we’d be staying in Palumbanes islands. Months later, we finally pushed through with our plan to visit here.

Palumbanes islands, also called “Parompong” by the locals, consist of three islands and are an hour away from the port in Barangay Baybay, Caramoran. There are no regular boat trips here, but travelers can easily find a local fisherman and haggle a local day trip.

Island hopping in Palumbanes Islands

Bitaog Beach

The boat ride to Bitaog Beach is possibly the craziest one I’ve been on, more so than the ones in Calaguas and even Calayan Island, where we were at least secured with life vests and seated on a large passenger boat. The waves were strong, and there were times that we’d feel the boat tilt at least 90 degrees sideways. Parongpong Island looked close, but it took us almost a full hour to reach it.

Bitaog Beach in Palumbanes, Catanduanes
This boat can stand big waves. I hope. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

There was no other soul in Bitaog Beach when we arrived. The residential community is on the other side of the island. The water is a clear blue, and the sand is a light warm beige. There’s an open cottage and a hut, where travelers can stay overnight.

Bitaog beach in Palumbanes Islands, Catanduanes
Bitaog beach in Palumbanes Islands. (Photo by Hali Navarro)
Bitaog Beach, Palumbanes islands, Catanduanes
Caught! Building a fort in my legs in front of this clear blue expanse. (Photo by Hali Navarro)
Bitaog Beach in Palumbanes Island, Catanduanes
(Photo by Hali Navarro)

Like other places we’ve visited in Catanduanes, Bitaog Beach is clean of the usual tourist trash. We swam, floated, walked in the sand until the midday sun started burning our bare backs.

How best to describe our stay here? Pure bliss and relaxation.

Bitaog Beach in Parongpong Island, Palumbanes
Soft sands and sea shells. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

At the end of Bitaog Beach is an inlet that I really like. It has that eerie feel, and the fact that I lost one of my things here made me think there must be some nature spirit living in the area. Unlike the remaining stretch of Bitaog Beach, the water in the inlet is mostly calm and dark emerald in color.

Bitaog Beach inlet
At the inlet, with its dark emerald water. (Photo by Hali Navarro)
Inlet in Bitaog Beach, Catanduanes
I rarely use the word “exotic,” but yes. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

It looks as exotic as any Asian paradise would be.

Parongpong Island lighthouse

Before leaving the island, we trekked to the lighthouse. A lot of residents asked where we were going and wondered what we’d be doing in the lighthouse. For them, it must’ve been ordinary. For us living in the city, lighthouses are always a must visit.

Trail to Palumbanes Lighthouse, Catanduanes
Trail to the lighthouse.

The trek takes about 30 minutes. Local kids were asked to accompany us. We passed by fields with tall grasses with white seedheads. In the summit where the lighthouse is, we can see the the nearby Calabagio Island, an overview of the community below and rolling hills on the side.

View at Palumbanes lighthouse
View near Palumbanes lighthouse. (Photo by Hali Navarro)
Palumbanes Island lighthouse
Atop the summit. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

It’s the perfect view for a picnic, if only we bought some snacks.

Travel guide to Palumbanes Islands

How to get here

From Virac, go to the town center and ride a van or bus en route to Pandan. Regular schedules are from 9AM to 1PM. Get off at Caramoran and walk the remaining distance to the port in Barangay Baybay. Ask around for a fisherman who can take you to Palumbanes Island.

Island hopping rates

Island hopping rate in Palumbanes Islands is P1000-1500 for a small boat and P3000 for a big boat.

Aside from Parongpong Island, you can also visit Tignob Island for snorkeling and Calabagio Island.

Where to stay in Caramoran

Where to stay

It’s possible to go on a day tour in Palumbanes Islands. However, if you plan to stay overnight as we did, we recommend staying at Coco Batch Resort.

  • Coco Beach Resort, Ate Letty: 0928 620 4592

 

P.S. You might also be interested in these:

Here’s a complete travel guide to Catanduanes province. Here are other posts we’ve written about our trip:

 

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Bitaog Beach in Palumbanes Islands, Catanduanes

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3 Comments

  1. I can’t believe you had that entire beach to yourself! I love looking for hidden little adventures like this, thank you for including the “how to” if you want to get to Bitaog Beach yourself. I can’t wait to visit!

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