Quantcast
Latest Stories

Wind-swept, captivating Catanduanes

All around are greenery, cloud-draped mountains, a long coastline, rock formations, beach resorts, historical churches and caves

By

The tall tale is that the men of Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo were pursuing pirates operating in the Bicol Peninsula in 1573, whereupon they came to the dwelling place of a Datu and his family living in a place filled with flowers.

The flowers were called “burac,” subsequently changed to “birac.” And that is how the area became Virac, the capital town of Catanduanes.

Wind-swept, captivating Catanduanes, a big island province known for its frequent storms emanating from the Pacific Ocean and Puraran Beach, a byword among Filipino and foreign surfers, is easily among the most scenic provinces in Bicolandia, a region known for its natural beauty.

The province is a three-hour ride via Ro-Ro vessel from the Bicol mainland, entry point being the Port of Tabaco City, Albay.

All around are greenery, cloud-draped mountains, a long coastline, rock formations, beach resorts (check out TwinRock), two historical churches (the Virac Cathedral and the enchanting St. John the Baptizer Church in Báto, near Virac, circa 1883); and caves, including Luyang Cave in San Andres, “where natives were choked to death by Moro pirates in the 17th century.”

Places to stay in Virac include Rakdell Inn, Marem Pension House, Midtown Inn and Rhaj Inn Apartelle.

The provincial Governor is Joseph C. Cua, and Vice-Governor is Jose Teves Jr.

Representing the lone district of Catanduanes is Rep. Cesar Sarmiento.

ROCK formations

Catanduanes recently put its best foot forward with the month-long Catandungan Festival 2012, its 67th Foundation Anniversary. The slogan was “Sulong Catandungan sa Matanos ng Dalan,” a takeoff on President Aquino’s “daang tuwid” (Forward Catandungan on the Straight Path).

Highlights were a Kundiman Fiesta, streetdancing by schoolteachers and students capped by a “Festival of Festivals/Showdown.”

To the strains of a traditional Bicolano song, the men and women teachers from the different towns of the province danced the Pantomina, a traditional marriage and courtship dance. There was graceful movement of the hands, the women demure, and the men forceful when the choreography demanded it. There were chants, elaborate bows and mock chases.

In a real wedding reception, the guests were expected to shower money on the happy, dancing couple.

The street dancing of the students was understandably more energetic- frenzied at times—and served as an appetizer for the “showdown.”

With giant props, full costume regalia, drums and bugles, and icons of Mother Mary and the patron saints, the seven contingents showcased their dancing skills as well as the produce of their town (as in abaca, rice or crabs).

They performed key and lively segments from their respective town festivals.

Two contingents—from Viga, the defending champion, and Gigmoto—were nothing short of spectacular. As a judge, I gave slightly more points to the contingent from Gigmoto, if only because of the skill of their dancers and gymnasts.

The other jurors, however, gave the nod to the team from Viga.

My first-ever trip to the off-the-beaten track province of Catanduanes was arranged by the Provincial Tourism Office headed by Carmel Bonifacio-Garcia (0929-3998437). Email tourism_catanduanes@yahoo.com. Bicol Isarog (call Robert, 0917-5939811) has daily trips from Metro Manila (Cubao and Alabang) direct to Virac. Cebu Pacific flies three times a week to Virac.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Catanduanes , Travel

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DFNNJUSQGKWBIUVBKT2EARXV2Q manuel moran

    If everyone could have read ur memories, we would surely have an idea how beautiful indeed the Philippines is. Have read ur book!

  • http://twitter.com/Eraser_92 John

     ayos! featured na naman ang Catanduanes! mabuhay mga Catadunganons!

    –johnfernandez



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. How to enjoy Buntod
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  7. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  8. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer

News

  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  • 2 contractors fined P25,000 for delays in Edsa rehab
  • Luisita beneficiaries take over renters
  • 5 years of hard work pay off for top UP grad
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • Wearing Kate Moss
  • Sail into summer
  • Life lessons from the Ultimate Warrior
  • Young actor profile: Teejay Marquez
  • Win a shopping spree with mom–just post on Instagram!
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Professionals in the family business
  • Foreign funds flowed out in Q1, says BSP
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
    Marketplace