Bicol with kids part 2: Catanduanes
To get to Catanduanes from Legazpi, we drove 1 hour to Tabaco City (on a Sunday, which meant no traffic, woo hoo!) and caught the fast craft Eugenia ferry, which makes the ride to San Andres, Catanduanes, 1.5 hours, instead of 3 hours, like the other ferries.
Ferry costs PHP320 for adults and PHP145 for kids (age 5-11). There is a PHP30 terminal fee.
From San Andres, a driver from the AirBnB rental picked us up and drove us the 1h30 minutes to Puraran Beach, where we stayed for 5 nights.
You can also take a ferry to Virac, which is 1 hour from Puraran Beach.
To get back to Manila, we flew Cebu Pacfic from Virac. A tiny airport with a terminal fee of PHP100 per person.
ACCOMODATION IN PURARAN
Puraran Beach is known for it’s surfing. It was our first time trying surfing there, and it was great!
It’s a gorgeous, very natural beach:
We stayed in an AirBnB which a friend recently starting renting out, which we were excited to try. While it’s nothing fancy, it is the only house to stay in at the beach- the rest of the accommodation are rooms (bahay kubos) of the 3 resorts there. It’s a spacious house only a 2-minute walk away from the beach. It has 2-bedrooms with a bathroom each (1 bedroom on main floor, 1 bedroom on the next floor up). It is equipped with a lounge area on each level, and a kitchen which has all your basic necessities. The best part of the house- ok, there’s three best parts. One is the nipa hut on the top, roof level of the house- where we enjoyed hanging out while it was raining, where we star-gazed at night and where in the morning I would sit and listen to the chirping of the birds and sounds of the waves, seriously so many sounds! And watch the night sky turn into day. The second thing is the caretaker of the house, Onyong, and his wife. He is there for whatever you may need! Which for us, included rides in his trike and surfing lessons from him- he’s also a surf instructor. Oh, he also climbed a coconut tree for us to get us a buko so the kids could have a fresh drink after a hike we did. His wife is also available to cook and do laundry if needed. The third thing, is the house comes with 4 surf boards available for use. Which is a great deal, bc to rent one surfboard per day is PHP400.
A pic of the outside of the house:
Some pics of the inside of the house:
The view from the roof of the farmland next door. The green pathway leading up to the house:
The Nipa Hut at the roof, and a view at 5:30 in the morning:
A couple things to mention:
a) So I am saying the house is nothing fancy, but the more I think about it, for the area- it is fancy! In that in this area, you really are in the “bukid” as they say – wild land. I only realized how true this was, when the supermarket in Virac where they told me to stock up at was really, the only supermarket close by- an hour away. Not only that, there really was no wet market close by either. And I had to get our food from Puraran town, which is just above Puraran Beach- but all they have there are some sari sari stories… where the only fruit available is bananas, and the veggies available were limited to what someone brought from Virac that day. One time I bought the last three good carrots from the store. To get to Puraran town from the beach is a 3-minute trike ride, or a 15-minute hike up. This house provides a great way to be out in the bukid but have space, beds, bathroom and a kitchen to use, as well as a great nipa hut on the roof and an area on the ground floor where we put plastic tables and chairs out to be able to eat outdoors.
b) So if you do go here, do stock up on groceries and fruits and veggies in Virac before coming. There is yummy bread sold in the sari sari stores in puraran, freshly made by the bakery there. Also, anything special you need like sunscreen, diapers--- bring it all from home!
c) There are three beach resorts in Puraran to stay in, all basic and all right next door to each other. There’s Puraran Surf resort, Surfer’s Paradise, and Majestic Puraran resort. I didn’t go to Majestic resort, but we did eat many meals at Puraran Surf and one at Surfer’s Paradise. At Puraran Surf, the grilled fish, mixed veggies dish, potato and sweet potato fries (from freshy cut potatoes), the chicken curry, chicken adobo and pork sinigang were all very good. Meals were inexpensive, PHP 600-700 for our family of 7. Surfer’s Paradise is where we got two surf instructors from, for 150PHP/hour. They were helpful with the kids.
d) Another eatery worth mentioning is at the top of Puraran beach, there is a little shack called Pamplona Foodtrip which serves fruit shakes and where the nightlife of Puraran is at. Just kidding, it’s so quiet here! But it is fun to venture up there at night and talk with the locals and get food and sit in this shack. There’s popcorn for p5 a bag nearby, pork bbq for p10 a stick close by too. And we ordered chopsuey at Pamplona food trip which was also good.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO IN PURARAN?
1) Binurong Point – this is a beautiful lookout point that you hike up to and then have a view of meadows, cliffs and ocean all around you. It looks like what I imagine Batanes to look like. Take a trike for 15 minutes in the direction of Virac, and then there’s a turnoff for Binurong point. At the bottom of the hike, you pay P20 per person as well as for a guide (they said pay him/her P200 and up). The hike up with kids took us 45 minutes, and is hard work so you do want to go when it’s not too hot, like early in the morning). There is also hardly any shade at the top, so the earlier the better. Some people go there for the sunrise. Views at the top of the hike:
2) There’s another lookout point called Balacay, this is a 15-minute trike ride from Puraran, and is a minimal walk to the lookout point.
3) There’s waterfalls to visit about an hour away from Puraran called Hulugan Falls, and on the way, there’s a lagoon with tidal pools to go visit. Kuya Enyong, the caretake of the house, is also a tour guide;) He knows all these places and is the one who told me about them all and showed me photos on his phone, even though we didn’t end up going.
4) Because of friends being into Survivor, I was interested in going to visit the Caramoan islands from Catanduanes. Just FYI to get there, you have to go past San Andres to another port (Colon?) and take a 45-minute ferry. We were loving Catanduanes so much, we didn’t end up going.