An overlooked island paradise: Happy Island of Catanduanes

Puraran Surf Beach Bato Catanduanes

I had the privilege of exploring the islad of Catanduanes a couple of years ago. Just went there recently and I can’t wait to be back.

I´ve wanted to go on vacation for so long. Love the idea of being away from all the hustle of city life.  Plus the FOMO you´d feel from browsing socialmedia feed.

I am not from Catanduanes nor knew someone from the island before I went here for the first time almost two years ago. I wasn´t even sure on how to go to this island since I´m purely from Southern Tagalog but haven´t traveled the southern most part of Luzon. Yet I had lots of fun while traveling to this happy island.  And more than just having fun while on the happy island, I acquired new friends. After seeing a video made by these friends of mine, I then bought plane tickets back to the island, and it’s the vacation I have wanted for so long.

Day 1 was an early flight to Virac.

From the airport went straight to the small community of Carorian in the town of Bato with Sir Ferdie (one of my new local friends), and this is the starting point of the of an epic islet hopping

Carorian Bato Catanduanes

Everything you see is a feast for your eyes. From the bluest waters to amazing rock formations.

Of course a feast for the tummy too with these fresh catch.

Fresh catch for lunch.

Carorian Bato lunch

And just like the Carorian Bato Islet hopping, the resort I booked at Puraran Beach was another post shared on social media. It’s the perfect hideaway I was looking for. Time to chill.

Alon Surf Stay Resort

I mean, come on, look at this view!

Alon Surf Stay Resort is owned by a Filipino interior designer based in the US, no wonder why the property is picture perfect in every angle. Managed and maintained by Carlo and his wife Jen as the in-house cook and their two little angels. When I arrived, there was a family of six also checked in at the resort on my first night. Tired in a good way after a long adventurous day, I couldn’t wait for dinner.  Why? well, it’s because of this!

Catanduanes is blessed with seafood like, crabs, lobsters, octopus and more. So it’s like a feast every meal. 😋

Day 2 started the early, woke up around 04:30H to catch the sunrise at Binurong Point. I was accompanied by Edmond on a habal-habal (motorcycle) to the site.

Binurong Point Sunrise
Being an acrophobic, I was probably contemplating at this moment, if should continue and why did I even go here. 😂

The habal-habal ride would cost around Php 500 (US$10) plus environmental fee and parking. Guide fee is Php 200 (US$5) and gratuity is optional. En route back to Puraran beach, had nothing to do I finally tried riding the waves of Catanduanes.

Edmond was kind enough to teach me how to surf, and he’s bluffing on the photo btw.

Went back to the resort, to do my most awaited activity, chill and enjoy the view.

Alon Surf Stay
Was trying to fix my eyes on the laptop screen but I’ve got a better view in front of me!

There were occasional power and mobile signal interruptions occurred during my stay, Alon has a generator though, but I didn’t mind at all.  I then had a chance to chat with Carlo and Jen. They  started by asking me, “Blogger ka ba ?”  (Are you a blogger?) and I was like, “Pa’ano nyo naman nasabi?”  😂  (How did you guys come up with that assumption?) they replied, “Solo traveler ka kasi , pang-apat ka na nag-stay rito”. (You’re a solo traveler, and you are the 4th blogger to stay here.) Then our conversation went on and on until we talked about the recent typhoon that hit the island before summer. Wrath of the typhoon was still evident in some areas, they told me, they thought they were going to die. And then the aftermath, windows were broken and displaced furniture. Carlo, being an artisan, had a lot to repair.  He definitely did his job well because there’s no trace of it in the resort now.  Spent the rest of the afternoon reading a book, meditation and some watermelon.

While having dinner, there were still a couple of power interruptions then I realized there were fireflies! I can’t really remember when was the last time I saw one that’s why I was so amazed when I saw tiny lights flying around.

Day 3 was another chill morning I decided to take the public transportation going to Virac for my last night and meet up with other local friends. Left Puraran around 10:00 H rode a tricycle down to Baras properly to take the jeepney to Virac. I really wanted to immerse with the locals. The jeepney was almost full but a guy offered me his seat, (chivalry is not dead!) apparently he’s Edmond’s brother! Left Baras around 10:30H, riders were still picked up while on the road, and they’d sit on top of the jeepney.

Arrived Virac around 11:30H and checked in at Rakdell Inn.  Also the same hotel that I stayed in a couple of years ago. Spent the afternoon roaming around the town since it was the opening of the Abaca Festival had a lot to see around. Abaca Festival is annually held during the third week of the month of May. Catandunes is abundant with abaca trees, thus it’s their main produce.

Then went to meet up with other local friends. I literally gate crashed a children’s party! haha Kim, a local friend, was celebrating her baby’s first birthday and I saw Ryan (another local friend)  there too. Happy day.

Day 4, my flight back to Manila. I was already at the airport at around 05:30H since the flight would depart at 07:25H which was the only flight in and out the island. And it was delayed. Last minute change of aircraft due to high demand. No breakfast and bored I went out the airport. Had coffee at a small store in the airport premises. and walked around.

Virac Airport
This is the current state of Virac airport. Still not yet repaired due to the typhoon early this year.

I went outside the airport premises to take photos then I decided to wait for the bigger aircraft to land.

Right after I took this shot, I ran like a crazy person back to the airport to board. 😂 The security guard jokingly said when I passed him by, “Iwanan ka na ng eroplano!”  (The plane will leave you behind!) Around two hours delayed without breakfast off back to Manila.

Definitely downhearted that I had to leave but at the same time leaving with a HAPPY soul. See you again soon paradise.

Read this for updated flight, and ferry schedules.

Published by generosepomelo

Filipina travel agent turn travel writer / blogger / photographer.

12 thoughts on “An overlooked island paradise: Happy Island of Catanduanes

  1. All these posts about beautiful unknown islands in the country made me wish I was single and could leave in a whim to any destination I chose for the day! Haha! But on second thought, traveling is also a lot better with a partner and a little bugger!

    This sure is an awesome place to stay, and that view is just to-die-for! I sure would love to see that view every single day! I sure hope I can come and visit this place one day soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never knew that Catanduanes has beautiful rock formations. The place is one of the next big thing in tourism, with its wonderful nature, fresh catch, good produce and the products made from abaca. I hope the abaca industry will be boosted by our national government, it’s one the country’s finest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I’ve never been to Catanduanes and your photos made me want to go there. Also the seafood, omygahd! I now have FOMO too – and I hope I could go there soonest! Thank you for sharing your awesome experience. 🙂

    ♡ Aica B.

    Liked by 1 person

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