Straight from the airport, went to my first adventure, the Carorian Bato Islet Hopping.
The first time I set foot on the island of Catanduanes was almost two years ago. It was one of the road trips I had that year that I´d never forget. It was a 12-hour drive from Manila to Tabaco, Albay. Then aboard a ferry to San Andres, Catanduanes. Plus another hour of driving, then finally Virac. We went there for Lakabay Foto Tourismo of George Tapan. It was a travel photography class by George Tapan during the last Catandungan Festival. Bonded with the locals, I did gain new friends.
After almost two years of liking and commenting on each other´s posts on social media, I decided to buy plane tickets after seeing this post by my new friends.
I could not miss it. Straight from the airport, met with Sir Ferdie Ocol, (one of my new local friends) who was the one who discovered this beauty. Sir Ferdie is a photography enthusiast, was into birding or bird watching before got into discovering natural attractions in Catanduanes. While having breakfast we were conversing on how Carorian Bato Islet hopping came to life. An adventurer by nature, he was out exploring his home island and saw the potential of these attractions. Yes, not just this one.
The humble community of Carorian in the town of Bato is the starting point of the islet hopping. When Sir Ferdie was telling the locals that their place is beautiful and can be a tourist attraction they didn´t believe him. Like he was crazy to say that their place is amazingly beautiful. But he was persistent to enlighten them about it´s potential and how the community can benefit from tourism. Soon enough they believed him. The whole community is working hand in hand with the Barangay officials to maintain the everyday operations
Now, all aboard a boat with the crew and a tour guide off we went islet hopping!
First stop, Patag Islet.
Then to Carorian Japanese Kaidan. Kaidan is a Japanese word for stairs.
Then to my fav, Poseidon´s Rock.
The highlight would be the Carorian Cliffs.
Lastly, Pinta Beach.
There were interesting sights too.
Carorian Bato Islet hopping would cost Php 2,500 (roughly USD 50) for the whole boat rental, includes a tour guide and the boat crew and can sit 8-12 tourists. The guides are locals, mostly housewives and the boat crew are the fisher folks. And tourists can request a lunch meal to be prepared by other local help for the additional fee. Of course plus gratuity but not required.
Having seen Carorian´s wonders with my own eyes was beyond amazing. And knowing that the whole community is benefiting from this, is the greatest travel satisfaction a traveler can feel. Hope that they can sustain this and maintain balance. Kudos Carorian!
P.S. Thanks to Sir Ferdie and Ryan Cua (another local friend) for some of the photos.
Note to travelers: be mindful of the community, this may sound like a cliché, take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.
For more info about Carorian, Bato Islet hopping, check this out.