CATANDUANES: Exploring the Catanduanes Isles in Bicol

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Catanduanes holds a special place in my heart because this is where our roots are. My mom was born into the Soria and Rojas families in Bato, Catanduanes.

I remember visiting Catanduanes when we were still kids and I was excited to go back and explore the southern part of the island from San Andres to Virac to  Bato, and all the way to Puraran in Baras.

Here’s a photo essay of our Catanduanes trip:



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Cebu Pacific has flights to Virac on Mondays, Wednesdays and the entire weekend. 

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The Virac Airport is small but the flights are on time.

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Marem Pension House (Marem Pension House Room Rates)

We stayed in a simple pension house in the center of the town in Virac.

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It’s an air-conditioned room with double bed, tv and clean restroom.

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All around Catanduanes you can see Abaca being dried, this being one of the biggest industries in the island.

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I love the island’s provincial life where you can still see kids climb trees as their pastime.

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On Sundays, don’t forget to hear mass (this one is the 6pm English Mass) at the¬†Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Virac.

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Virac is a rustic capital town and the arrival recently of popular fastfood chains, Jollibee and Chicboy, became the talk of the town.


From Virac, we visited the town of Bato before going to Puraran in Baras.

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One of the oldest churches in the island is the St. John the Baptist Church in Bato.

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The inside view of the 183-year-old Bato Church

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Its Blessed Sacrament.

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You can also climb up the belfry to see and appreciate the old Church bells. 

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It’s a nice photo-op moment…

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… with an awesome view of the Bato River separating Bato and Virac.

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Another must- visit church is the Miraculous Church of Batalay.

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The Holy Cross of Batalay Story by Mariano Goyena del Prado

When the passengers of the galleon Espiritu Santo set sail on November 18, 1575 from Acapulco to Manila, amidst wild cheers and cannon booms, little did they think that they would never reach their destination. But in the midnight of April 23, 1576, the galleon struck reefs of Nagngangang Buaya (Catanduanes) and was wrecked.

Among the survivors was Fr. Diego Herrera with the Augustinian missionaries Lesmes de Santiago, Francisco Villa, Francisco Martinez; a native Visayan, Geronimo Galves, and several members of the crew including some military personnel.

The survivors were stranded in Batalay, a native balangay located on the southern tip of the town of Bato, Catanduanes, where they were given shelter and provisions by the ruling datu. The friars started to preach the Gospel and to introduce new methods of agriculture and better ways of community living. The indios, however, accepted everything conducive to their well-being except the new religion, which they considered as an abrupt renunciation of their ancestral faith. The indios took to the neighboring forest. In no time, the Spaniards found themselves on the verge of starvation due to lack of food. This prompted them to set out in search of the natives to bring them back to Batalay. Sporadic encounters then ensued between the Spaniards and the natives with advantage to the latter for their familiarity with the terrain.

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(In Photo: Rev. Fr. Juan R. Lizaso, Jr., Rector of Batalay Shrine)

No sooner, in one night, the indios swooped down to Batalay, killing the Spaniards except Galves. Galves buried the dead and placed a wooden cross on the grave of Fr. Herrera. Tradition has it that a crystalline spring spouted at the foot of his cross which the natives regarded as a miracle and rumors that the spring waters had curative properties for all kinds of sickness spread throughout. Bishop Grijalvo of Nueva Caceres ordered the construction of a stone monument over the grave of Fr. Herrera on top of which the original cross was placed.

Then and there, they planted the cross, which is presently encased with a hard wood cross, now on the altar of the Batalay Chapel.

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People often visit the holy spring waters which is believed to cure diseases miraculously.


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We stopped by for a picnic lunch at Sakahon beach and …

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… to swim in the cool waters.

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Here’s our food for our picnic lunch

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The food was cooked on-the-spot just in time for our arrival, 

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with freshly-grilled seafood, and

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Fresh coconuts just harvested straight from the tree when we arrived.

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Thank you for the yummy Catanduanes Picnic Beach Lunch!


Check out the CATANDUANES Food You Should Not Miss to Eat:

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I love Catanduanes food specially their Mud Crabs and fresh seafood, Pili Nut (which is like Macademia nut), the Catanduanes Cacao, and different kakanins.

Catanduanes food uses a lot of coconut milk (gata) but not as spicy as those in other Bicol towns. 

I also love the scenic picnic lunch by the beach and boodle fight in Sea Breeze.

Your Catanduanes trip is not complete without trying these Catanduanes food:
CATANDUANES Food You Should Not Miss to Eat ūüôā


Finally, we arrived at Puraran Beach in Baras after a 45-minute drive from Sakahon:

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One of the top surfing destinations in the country today is Puraran in Baras, Catanduanes.

It is home to ‚ÄúThe Majestic Wave‚ÄĚ that top surfers from all over the world visit during the surfing season, July to October.

For non-surfers like us, we love Puraran Beach because the beach area is wide and not crowded, the beach-surfer food is yummy, and you can really smell and feel what clean air is all about. Just be careful because the island life in Puraran will seduce you to stay for a couple more days. 

Puraran is the top destination in Catanduanes — here’s a photo essay of our experience:¬†
CATANDUANES: PURARAN’s Majestic Wave (From a Non-Surfer’s Point of View)


Here’s a video summary of the Catanduanes Experience:¬†

Experiencing Catanduanes from The Cinematic Studio on Vimeo.



Catanduanes Surf and Turf Area 052 Food and Cultural Tour by ROUTE +63
Catanduanes Surf and Turf Poster

Catanduanes Standard Package at (P7,900)
1. Room accommodations (3d 3n)
2. Pick up from and to the airport
3. Van transpo for the whole tour
4. Complete meals (b-l-d) 3d 3n
5. Travel insurance
6. 1 hour Surfing lesson or skim boarding

Catanduanes Premium Tour (P8,900)
1. Room accommodations (3d 3n)
2. Pick up from and to the airport
3. Van transpo for the whole tour
4. Complete meals (b-l-d) 3d 3n
5. Travel insurance
6. Additional in-between meals/ merienda for three days.
7. Surfing and skim boarding fee
8. Souvenir items supporting the livelihood program.

Contact Information:

Facebook Fan Page: Surf and Turf Area 052
Mobile Number: +63 917 804-8429 (globe) and +63 918 588-4004 (smart)

Live an Awesome Life,

Follow¬†@antondiaz¬†and¬†Like our Official Facebook Page:¬†Our Awesome Planet¬†ūüôā¬†
If you have tips on awesome food and travel destinations, please email me at

Full Disclosure: Our Catanduanes trip was courtesy of the Catanduanes Surf and Turf Area 052 in partnership with Route +63 Travels. 

I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I have no business relationship with any company mentioned in this post or any organization promoting it.

As a policy, I don’t receive compensation from food and travel places we feature in the blog.¬†

P.S. Thank you all for a memorable exploratory food trip in Catanduanes!

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