Our trip to Catanduanes was anything but smooth. Five days of tracing its periphery aboard a motorcycle came with a trove of obstacles.
Yet, in spite of this, we forged ahead and were rewarded with wondrous views and marvelous vistas. Here are nine of them.
In the province’s capital of Virac lies Igang Beach. With the Pacific Ocean waiting beyond the shores, this beach is often submitted to vigorous waves but the waves make the place even more interesting. Watching it crash against the sea stacks and skerries that decorate the seascape is, perhaps, one of the most calming and, at the same time, exhilarating scene to witness. Come here at sunset and watch everything turn into gold.
If I were to make a list of the best places to see the sunrise in the Philippines, Sakahon Beach in the municipality of Bato would be right on top. The place makes for a perfect stage to welcome a new day. Furthermore, not only is dawn marvelous here, it’s also one of the cleanest shores you’ll ever come across. Lined with ochre sands, the beach’s waters shimmer; the wafting breeze pleasant and fresh.
Unrelenting waves barge against dramatic escarpments over at Tuwad-tuwadan Lagoon. This tidal pond is prefaced with verdant plains complete with grazing livestock. Its platform of jagged rocks looks out to the unabbreviated sheet of ocean’s spray that’s aplenty and unavoidable. The lagoon is in the town of Pandan, right on the northern tip of Catanduanes. Getting here would require about two hours of trekking then scrambling down an almost 90-degree drop. All would be worth it when you behold the idyllic view worthy of Johanna Spyri.
We happened upon Taprang-taprang Falls by accident. It was in the town of Panganiban—a place that we would’ve missed if our plan to circumnavigate had actually pushed through. But since we backtracked, we found our way here and what a blessing it was. Tucked in a patch of forest, this tributary runs with water like liquid silver. Because it’s somewhat remote and out of the way, not many people know about it. For the same reason, there’s a huge chance you’d get to have it all to yourself.
A giant’s unmentionables
Ilihan Point in Bagamanoc is famous for the curious attraction across its shores. Known as Buto ni Kurakog, local folklore says that the erect formation is the private part of a giant named Kurakog. He fell in love with a mortal, but perished when their loved did not prosper. It’s also fascinating—and a bit ironic—that the island on which it is situated is nicknamed Fertility Island due to the fact that childless couples apparently have their luck turned around after coming here.
Home to a number of inlets, it’s no surprise that the town of Viga is ripe with beautiful seascapes. Take Soboc Cove for example. This beach is framed with coppery sand and a sprinkling of rocks where local fishermen spend their afternoons. During a low tide, the retreating waves transform the shore into a pattern of ripples. The surrounding limestone faces also provide a natural shade, making it perfect as a siesta spot.
It’s not just coves that are plenty in Viga. Like a scene straight out of a fairy tale, Hardin Falls appears to be the perfect dwelling for druids. The actual cascade is, to be honest, nothing really special, but the surroundings are almost surreal. With a canopy of vines and lush trees, and water as clear as glass, the place has a sort of otherworldly vibes. The colors here are bright; the edges blurry. It makes perfect sense that its name translates into “garden.”
Two in one
You can’t discuss Catanduanes’s landscapes without eventually bringing up Binurong Point. This astonishing piece of natural architecture had put the province on the traveler’s map, and it’s not hard to see why. Found in the town of Baras, the ridge, reminiscent of the meadows of Tuwad-tuwadan, is adorned with tiny yellow and white flowers, and a carpet of grass that could put a manicured lawn to shame.
On top of this incredible terrain—or should I say below it—is a dreamy lagoon. Binurong has a hollow center and on it is an altogether different landscape. While above, green and blue is the theme, below, muted onyx and grays dominate the field. A freshwater pond—subterranean in origin according to the locals—lay reflecting the sky, and a concentrated sound akin to a bass drum booms all around. It’s quite surreal.
Just the natural landscape of Catanduanes would already leave you breathless. Even when everything doesn’t go as planned, you’d still think the place is being generous to you—what with all its incredible vistas. It doesn’t scrimp on beauty and the kind residents make the across its fold even more memorable.