Islands and Beaches
Choosy Ka Ba: 10 Reasons to Choose Catanduanes (A Hidden Gem)
Choose Philippines | Jul 23, 2015
Catanduanes is geographically situated at the easternmost part of the Bicol Peninsula, separated from the mainland Bicol by Maqueda Channel and Lagonoy Gulf. It is the Philippine land mass closest to the Pacific Ocean, making it susceptible to tropical cyclones.
In the early 1900s, Catanduanes was a sub-province of Ambos Camarines and, later, of Albay. Provincial autonomy was approved on September 26, 1945 and subsequently signed into law on October 24, 1945 by then president Sergio Osmeña.
Nowadays, locals dub it as the "happy island" and one will definitely leave the place with a smile after experiencing its white sand beaches, hidden coves, sublime falls, and majestic waves.
Here are 10 reasons to visit Catanduanes, tour the island for seven days or more, and prove to yourself that it is the "The Land of the Howling Winds, No More."
1) It is the home of world-class barreling waves.
Puraran Beach, an isolated cove in the municipality of Baras, is a world-renowned surfing destination. Locals say that on a good day, the waves can reach more than six feet.
It has its own swells coming in from the Pacific that break on an offshore reef. Dubbed as the “Majestic,” it has one of the “fastest, most hollow, and right-handed barrels in the world” (from majesticpuraran.com.ph). The term was coined by Hawaiian photographer Warren Bolster in the June 1988 issue of a California-based surfing magazine founded in 1960, Surfer.
In the May 2015 issue of the same magazine, a full-spread feature of came out with a blurb that says "Daniel and Mikala Jones recount their return to the island chain's long-forgotten gem."
2) It provides front row seats—at an altitude—for a majestic view of Mt. Mayon.
Perched on one side of Mt. Cagmasoso is a private residence (Alberto's Farm) that provides a vantage point to the most romantic sunset backdropped by the beauty of Daragang Magayon.
3) It has its own Batanes.
At the northernmost part of the island is a vast grassland overlooking the Pacific Ocean called Hiyop Point in the municipality of Pandan. You can talk to the locals and ride a carabao as you sing "The Hills are Alive."
4) You can feast everyday on humongous crabs.
The municipality of Bagamanoc has a number of fishing devlopment areas identified as the barangays of Quezon, Batabao, Quigaray and Suchan. Aside from the fishponds, large fishing grounds like the Bagamanoc Bay and Quigaray Cove also abounds.
5) Lobster is a common viand.
Unlike in the city where lobsters are served in fine dining restaurants with a steep price, a couple of fresh lobsters in Puraran Beach is priced at only PhP 230. A set meals of lobsters with vegetables & rice is also served at PhP 150.
6) It has a sexy rock formation.
Called "Boto ni Kurakog" ("Kurakog's penis") because of its shape, this rock formation is the subject of many legends in Catanduanes. One of which says that Kurakog is a giant whose body was washed away by the waves after a deep slumber. It was only the pointed column, rising at five meters above the sea, that remained.
7) It was once a naval base.
Thirty minutes from the main shore of Bagamonoc is an abandoned American Naval base tucked behind the turquoise water, white sand, and palm fronds.
Now called the LORAN (Long Range Aid to Navigation) Ruins, the base was used as an outpost to monitor movements in the Pacific Ocean. It was built in the early 1950s and abandoned by the Americans in the 70s. Local coastguards then took over before it was abandoned yet again. An old lady who used to be the laundrywoman in the station now took the reigns in telling the ruins' story.
8) It has a number of resorts perfect for a family outing.
Surrounded by water, a number of resorts are sprawled in the perimeters of the island. These include the three resorts in Puraran Beach in Baras, the Twin Rock Beach Resort in Virac, the Amenia Beach Resort in San Andres, and the Seashore Park and Carangyan Beach Resort in Pandan, to name a few.
9) It is home to a miraculous stone.
The Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel in Barangay Batong Paloway in San Andres houses a miraculous stone said to be bearing the face of the Virgin Mary. Not just any ordinary rock, the image is believed to have grown over the years starting from being as big as a thumb when one still needed a magnifying glass to see the mystical face.
10) Its underground cave was once a sanctuary.
Luyang Cave in Barangay Lictin in San Andres does not only house countless bats and colossal rock formations. With its winding paths and chambers, the cave was a silent witness to the massacre of locals who tried to hide from the Moro pirates in the early years of the 18th century.
Legend has it that the natives started a bonfire at the cave entrance in an attempt to ward off the invaders. Ironically, the winds howled and have blown towards the cave, suffocating those who fled.
Convinced to fly the island, yet?
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