Catanduanes is rugged, meandering and riddled with tourist spots that are blissfully uncharted by mass tourism. I’ve blogged this Catanduanes travel guide with itinerary and expenses to help you plan your trip to this underrated province especially if you are a first-timer here.
You won’t really run out of things to do in Catanduanes. After surfing in Puraran Beach in Baras, hire a motorbike and go gaga over the Instagram-worthy cliffs hugging its coast like Binurong Point and Balacay Point. Head over to Bato and pay a visit to theage-old stone Church crowning the town center. Travel farther until you reach the sun-spangled Sakahon Beach sprinkled with beautiful islands. Hike up Bote Lighthouse for a scenic view of the Bato and its coast. And while most tourists hightail Virac, the capital of Catanduanes, for the big swells of Puraran Beach, it has its own tourist attractions to flaunt.
But where is Catanduanes anyway? Catanduanes is part of the Bicol Region, located in the eastermost area of Luzon. This province is now being marketed as the Happy Island, but it was aptly dubbed before as “the land of the Howling Winds”. That is due to the fact that Catanduanes is the first landmass in the country to kiss the Pacific Ocean, making it directly open to the path of tropical storms entering the Philippines. This is also why planning your trip to Catanduanes is inevitable. Make sure to check the weather updates and the right season to visit to avoid getting drenced. Here’s my Catanduanes Travel Guide with detailed itinerary and budget for a 3 days 2 nights trip to help you plan your trip.
HOW TO GET TO CATANDUANES FROM MANILA
From Manila, Cebu Pacific is the only airline that flies directly to Virac, Catanduanes. I tried mock booking a month before the departure date and it appears the regular airfare is roughly PHP 2,551 (USD 50/EURO 42/SGD 68/MYR 215).
STEP 1: Several buses leave from Manila (Cubao, Pasay and Alabang) to Tabaco, Albay. Depending on the company, buses from Cubao and Pasay may pick up booked passenger in Alabang. RSL, Philtranco and DLTB have offices in Alabang in front of Starmall and they usually do this. So if you live in south Manila, you can ride in Alabang, no need to go to Pasay or Cubao.
Bus fare for air-conditioned buses ranges from PHP 840 (USD 71/EURO 14/SGD 22/MYR 71) to PHP 1,215 (USD 24/EURO 20/SGD 32/MYR 102) depending on the bus company and type of bus. Non-air-conditioned buses are way cheaper. Travel time is approximately 11 – 12 hours. Click link below for the bus schedules from Manila to Tabaco.
Alternatively, if you miss the bus to Tabaco from Manila, you can just ride any bus en route to Legazpi. At Legazpi City bus terminal, walk to the van terminal or jeep terminal and ride the van or jeep to Tabaco.
STEP 2: From Tabaco, ride a pedicab to Tabaco Port. Take note that Catanduanes has two ports: Virac Port and San Andres Port.
Ferry fare to Virac is PHP 320(USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 27) (air-con) and PHP 240(USD 5/EURO 4/SGD 6/MYR 20) (non-aircon), travel time is about 4 hours. I recommend Virac as a base due to the abundance of hotels there. Meanwhile, ferry fare to San Andres is roughly PHP 290(USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 24) (air-con), PHP 220(USD 4/EURO 4/SGD 6/MYR 19) (non-aircon) and discounted-Student/Senior Citizen fare is PHP 176(USD 3/EURO 3/SGD 5/MYR 15). Terminal fee is PHP 30(USD 0.59/EURO 0.50/SGD 0.80/MYR 3). See ferry schedule between Tabaco and Catanduanes below.
At Tabaco Port. Buy your ferry tickets and pay the terminal fee.
There’s also a fastcraft ferry from Tabaco to Catanduanes. Transit time is roughly 2 hours. See fastcraft schedule below.
TABACO TO CATANDUANES FERRY SCHEDULE
(If you’re using mobile, swipe to the right to see the arrival time)
|Tabaco Port to Virac Port||06:30 AM||10:30 AM|
|Virac Port to Tabaco Port||01:00 PM||05:00 PM|
|Tabaco Port to San Andres Port||08:00 AM||11:00 AM|
|Tabaco Port to San Andres Port||01:00 PM||04:00 PM|
|San Andres Port to Tabaco Port||08:00 AM||11:00 AM|
|San Andres Port to Tabaco Port||01:00 PM||04:00 PM|
TABACO TO CATANDUANES FAST CRAFT SCHEDULE
(If you’re using mobile, swipe to the right to see the arrival time)
|Virac Port to Tabaco Port||09:30 AM||11:30 AM|
|Tabaco Port to San Andres Port||12:30 PM||02:00 PM|
|Virac Port to San Andres||04:00 PM||06:00 PM|
- Ferry and fastcraft schedules may change without prior notice.
If you happen to ride the ferry to San Andres, once you exit San Andres Port, there are jeepneys waiting for passengers to Virac. Fare is PHP 20(USD 0.39/EURO 0.33/SGD 0.53/MYR 2). Be warned though that the jeep can get pretty full so better rush to the jeep once you exit the ferry unless you want to top load.
Alternatively, you can ride charter a tricycle to Virac PHP 250(USD 5/EURO 4/SGD 7/MYR 21) (one way) or look for other passengers to share the chartered tricycle.
HOW TO GET AROUND CATANDUANES
There are jeepneys and multi-cab around Virac to nearby towns, but schedule is erratic and they won’t leave until full. So if you want to tour around Catanduanes, you can hire tricycles (if you are a group) or motorcycles (if you are a solo traveler). I was able to hire a motorcycle in Bato and rates vary depending on your destination and haggling skills.
I paid PHP 500(USD 10/EURO 8/SGD 13/MYR 42)for a half day tour around Virac beaches and PHP 1,000 (USD 20/EURO 17/SGD 27/MYR 84) for a whole day tour in Bato (the driver doesn’t know how much to charge me that time, so I thought that rate is fair enough. If you are coming from Puraran Beach in Baras and you want to go to Binurong Point (also in Baras), you can hire a motorcycle for roughly PHP 300(USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 25) – PHP 500(USD 10/EURO 8/SGD 13/MYR 42), roundtrip.
BEST BUDGET HOTELS IN CATANDUANES
BEST BUDGET HOTEL IN PURARAN (BARAS)
Puraran Surf Beach Resort
Brgy. Puraran, Baras, Catanduanes, Catanduanes
BEST BUDGET HOTEL IN VIRAC
Marem Pension House
136 Rizal Avenue corner Rafael Street. Sta. Cruz, Virac, Catanduanes
Catanduanes Twin Rock Beach Resort
Igang, Virac, Catanduanes
Catanduanes Midtown Inn
San Jose Street, Virac, Catanduanes, Catanduanes
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN CATANDUANES FOR FIRST-TIMERS
Catanduanes has a mind-boggling list of tourist spots. I only mentioned below my handpicked list of Catanduanes top attractions for first-timers that can be covered in 2 -3 days, perfect for a weekend travel or long-weekend trip.
Museo de Catanduanes
Twin Rock Beach Resort
*If you are pressed for time to see all the beaches, I recommend the following: Twin Rock Beach and Marilima Beach.
ALSO READ: VIRAC BEST BEACHES
*Best to just hire a motorbike at Bato town proper to tour you to the above destinations, except Maribina Falls because it is out of the way. You can drop by there on the way to Virac.
* Bote lighthouse is about a 30 minute hike. Local kids may approach you to guide to the lighthouse.
When is the best time to visit Puraran Beach in Catanduanes? Surf season is from the month of July to October/ March to June is good for beginner surfers.
How to get to Puraran Beach from Virac
Option 1: Take the Puraran Jeep from Virac. But schedule is erratic and jeep only leaves once full. Fare is roughly PHP 45(USD 0.88/EURO 0.75/SGD 1/MYR 4).
Option 2: Take a jeep or van to Gigimoto and tell the driver to drop you off at Puraran. Fare is roughly PHP 45(USD 0.88/EURO 0.75/SGD 1/MYR 4).
Option 3: Ride the jeep to Baras town. Schedule is erratic too and jeep only leaves once full. At Baras Town, take a tricycle to Puraran Beach.
Option 4: Hire a tricycle all the way to Puraran Beach from Virac. Expect to pay around PHP 150 – PHP 200, one way.
How to get to Binurong Point:
From Puraran, you can rent a motorbike (with driver) to take you to Binurong Point. Roundtrip fare is roughly PHP 300(USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 25) – PHP 500(USD 10/EURO 8/SGD 13/MYR 42) depending on your haggling skill.
Once you reach the registration site at Brgy. Guinsaanan, you need to pay the PHP 20(USD 0.39/EURO 0.33/SGD 0.53/MYR 2) entrance fee and PHP 10(USD 0.20/EURO 0.17/SGD 0.27/MYR 0.84) parking fee. You will be provided a guide for your trek to Binurong Point while your motorcycle driver can just wait for you at the registration site. There is no fixed guide fee, but minimum is PHP 150 (USD 3/EURO 2/SGD 4/MYR 13).
Binurong Point access point is located inside a private property – the Kayandit Ranch. The trek to Binurong Point is an easy trek that will take about 20-30 minutes depending on your pace.
CATANDUANES ITINERARY (3 Days 2 nights trip)
Here’s a sample itinerary for a 3 days 2 nights trip in Catanduanes, perfect for long weekends. If you have limited time and you only have 2 days to spend. I recommend you pick Day 1 and Day 2 on the itinerary. You can just tweak the itinerary depending on your availability and budget.
|05:00 PM||ETD Manila to Tabaco, Albay by bus|
|05:00 AM||ETA Tabaco, Albay|
|05:15 AM||Ride pedicab to Tabaco Port. Buy ferry ticket to Virac.|
|06:30 AM||Ride ferry from Tabaco Port to Virac Port.|
|10:30 AM||ETA Virac Port.|
|10:45 AM||Ride a Virac-Baras jeep or Puraran Jeep. Schedule is erratic, so you may want to just hire a tricycle to Puraran Beach.|
|11:45 AM||ETA Puraran. Check-in to resort. Freshen up.|
|01:00 PM||Hire tricycle to Binurong Point.|
|01:30 PM||ETA Binurong Point. Pay entrance fee. Hire guide. Trek to Binurong Point.|
|02:00 PM||ETA Binurong Point. Photo op.|
|03:00 PM||Trek back to trailhead.|
|03:30 PM||ETA registration area. Motorcycle to Puraran Beach. End of tour.|
|04:00 PM||Surf in Puraran Beach.|
|06:00 PM||Back to resort/hotel. Freshen up.|
|07:00 PM||Dinner. Socials.|
|07:00 AM||Hire motorcycle to tour Bato.|
|07:30 AM||ETA Bato Church. Photo Op. Pass by Bato River. Photo op.|
|08:00 AM||Head to Bote Lighthouse.|
|08:30 AM||ETA Bote Lighthouse. Hire guide. Trek to the lighthouse.|
|09:00 AM||ETA Bote Lighthouse. Photo op.|
|10:00 AM||ETD Bote Lighthouse.|
|10:30 AM||Motorcycle to Sakahon Beach.|
|11:00 AM||ETA Sakahon Beach. Swim. Photo op.|
|12:00 PM||ETD to Puraran.|
|01:00 PM||ETA Puraran. Check-out.|
|01:15 PM||Late lunch.|
|02:00 PM||Tricycle or Motorbike to Virac. End of tour.|
|03:00 PM||ETA Twin Rock Beach Resort. Check-in at hotel/resort. Freshen up. If you don’t wanna stay in Twin Rock, you can stay in Virac and just take a tricycle to Twin Rock Beach for the day tour the next day.|
|04:00 PM||Swimming at Twin Rock Beach.|
|05:30 PM||.Freshen up.|
|07:00 AM||Swimming at Twin Rock Beach|
|08:30 AM||Check out. Tricycle to Virac Port.|
|O9:00 AM||ETA Virac Port. Buy ferry ticket to Tabaco port. Pay terminal fee.|
|09:30 AM||Ride fastcraft to Tabaco Port.|
|11:30 PM||ETA Tabaco Port. Ride pedicab to bus terminal.|
|12:00 PM||ETD to Manila|
CATANDUANES TRIP BUDGET
Here’s a list of possible expenses in Catanduanes (if you follow the itinerary above) to help you plan your budget. This sample Catanduanes budget is good for a solo traveler. You can lower down the cost if you have a travel buddy or you are traveling in a group as you can share the cost of tricycle/motorcycle rental, hotel and guide fee. Food and drinks not included in the calculation, a PHP 100 (USD 2/EURO 2/SGD 3/MYR 8) per meal budget would be safe.
|PHP 850 (USD 17/EURO 14/SGD 23/MYR 72)||Bus from Manila to Tabaco|
|PHP 850 (USD 17/EURO 14/SGD 23/MYR 72)||Bus from Tabaco to Manila|
|PHP 320(USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 27)||Ferry fare from Tabaco Port to Virac|
|PHP 320(USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 27)||Ferry fare from Virac to Tabaco Port|
|PHP 30(USD 0.59/EURO 0.50/SGD 0.80/MYR 3)||Terminal Fee at Tabaco Port|
|PHP 30(USD 0.59/EURO 0.50/SGD 0.80/MYR 3)||Terminal Fee at Virac Port|
|PHP 200 (USD 4/EURO 3/SGD 5/MYR 17)||Tricycle to Puraran Beach|
|PHP 450 (USD 9/EURO 7/SGD 12/MYR 38)||Puraran Resort/hotel|
|PHP 300 (USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 25)||Chartered motorcycle to Binurong Point|
|PHP 20(USD 0.39/EURO 0.33/SGD 0.53/MYR 2)||Entrance Fee at Binurong Point|
|PHP 10(USD 0.20/EURO 0.17/SGD 0.27/MYR 0.84)||Parking fee at Binurong Point|
|PHP 150(USD 3/EURO 2/SGD 4/MYR 13)||Guide fee at Binurong Point|
|PHP 1,000(USD 20/EURO 17/SGD 27/MYR 84)||Bato Tour (Bato Church, Bato River, Sakahon Beach, Bote Lighthouse, Transfer from Puraran Beach to Virac)|
|PHP 500(USD 10/EURO 8/SGD 13/MYR 42)||Virac Beach Tour|
|PHP 676(USD 13/EURO 11/SGD 18/MYR 57)||Hotel in Virac|
|PHP 5,706(USD 112/EURO 95/SGD 152/MYR 481)||TOTAL EXPENSES|
CATANDUANES TRAVEL TIPS
- Did you know that Catanduanes has this 1 tourist 1 tree campaign? You can drop by at Catanduanes Tourism Office in Virac for assistance. The staff there are really helpful, kindly send my regards.
- Surf season in Puraran Beach Catanduanes is from the month of July to October/ March to June is good for beginner surfers.
- Jeepneys have erratic schedule, best to just hire a motorcycle (if you are a solo traveler) or tricycle (if you are a group).
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