To be honest, Catanduanes is not a renowned province in the Philippines until its Binurong point, known to be the Batanes of the Catandungans (people of Catanduanes), is publicized. There’s no reason for us not to include this on our travel list, and definitely with people we share the same passion and interests – travel and photography.
Last December 2016, Catanduanes was hit by typhoon Nina, the strongest to hit in Bicol region in 10 years. We were in Sydney when we heard the news that the province is greatly damaged and that it took out power, and government are uncertain when the electrical services would be restored, a snap in the news where there were houses and other infrastructures like schools and hospital destroyed. We prayed for their safety of course and that the tourist spots are not shattered not because we have a scheduled trip but for Catanduanes not to lose clamor from the tourists. Unfortunately, the destruction caused by the typhoon is still visible in some part of the province as of last week of January 2017.
We were in awe though how resilient the Catandungans are, and felt like they’re not in despair. But who would be, when you know you are blessed by the miraculous image lies in Our Lady of Sorrows chapel in San Andres, Catanduanes – according to beliefs, the Sacred image of “Dolor” was found perfectly imprinted on a stone with glossy surface.
Not only this would make them feel blessed, but the oldest church in the province in Bato town, St. John the Baptist church is standing still and no glare of damages. Obviously it has a good foundation when it was built in 1833.
Adding with the above work of God, is the Batanes’ Rolling Hills like, the Catanduanes’ Binurong Point. Our tour guide, ate Girlie, briefly discussed to us that it was a private property owned by a retired colonel. The Catandungans, who often go there, didn’t expect the response of the tourists. During peak season, there are more than 100 tour guides joining the visitors, as they trek to the Binurong Point.
It needs a 25-30-minute trek to reach the highpoint and it will greet you a lovely view. The green grass, rock formation, sea and waves complement each other. It’s like a painted landscape that was given a life, it’s surreal.
There are quite a lot of viewpoints, the third and fourth are something you didn’t expect. The restless waves sweeping the rock formation adds to its striking portrait and the lake surrounded by rocks and grass, what a beautiful creation.
Around 30 minute drive from the jump-off area of the Binurong point lies another viewing platform, the Balacay Point/Hiyop Highlands.
Traveling with your partner more often than not costs you extra than being with a group. And sometimes, it helps your relationship grow when you share the same passion and interest with certain people and yeah, you often love to be with their company also.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- By Air: Cebu Pacific offers direct flight to Virac, Catanduanes from Ninoy Aquino International Terminal 3, Pasay City.
- By Land and Sea: You can take a bus bound to Tabaco City, Albay from Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City or Pasay Terminal. Alternatively, take a bus bound to Legaspi City which takes 10-12 hours. Then, take a jeepney to Tabaco City which may take 30 minutes.
- From Tabaco City Seaport, take a RORO either going to Virac which may take 4-5 hours or San Andres which may take 3-4 hours. Ferry leaves at 6:30 AM and if you miss that, take the 1:00 PM ferry.
WHERE WE STAYED:
- Contact Details: (047) 252.9978 or (02) 404.4784
- The cheapest room costs 600php per person and 1000php good for 2. There are also rooms for 12 which costs 3000php per room per night.