Sunday, April 3, 2011

Biyaheng Puraran, Catanduanes

Catanduanes is the island on the eastern part of Bicol. In order to get there, you need to ride at Tabaco Port in Albay. The fare costs around 250 pesos (ordinary fare as of 2010 of RORO Penafrancia Shipping Corp.). You have to get there as early as 5:30am so that you won't miss the ship. It took us around three hours. I got bored since there's nothing to do while on the ship but to chat and look at the endless sea. But the boredom was lessen upon seeing the beautiful island of Catanduanes. I never realized that I can still see a different kind of place in Bicol such as this. I should really explore my province then.
Catanduanes after three long hours! yehey! Photo by CG Guerta.
First sight of Catanduanes. photo by JedRosell
When we got to Virac Port, we took the old school jeep-like bus to Baras, Catanduanes (fare:45pesos/head). 
Photo by Jed Rosell. He was riding on top of the jeep.
When we reached Baras, my skimboard fell from the top load of the jeep so we searched for a hardware and found only one hardware exists in that place. We were hungry and there was no food available in the carinderia. Thank God there was only one open sari-sari store where we bought softdrinks, biscuits and canned food. Tip; bring lots of food if you will go there. Since we were new in that place, we didn't know that there are only two trips to and from Puraran so if you miss it, you need to wait till morning in order to get there. We didn't like to stay in Baras so we took the tricycle and paid 150 pesos. The driver took us to Puraran so we can save our time, get to the beach and follow our schedule so we could go back to Albay in the following day. The trip was really exhausting. We really should have gone to Caramoan or any beach near our place.
Upon arrival at Puraran, we ended up renting a cottage worth 300pesos (which is cheaper than we expected) at a resort we thought as Puraran Beach Resort (the one Jed saw in the internet) but it was just an unknown resort beside it. 
Miko in the hut. Photo by Jed Rosell
The beach was about 10 to 15 meters from the hut. As usual, seeing the nice Pacific Coast and knowing I was at the eastern-most part of the Philippines was really breath-taking. We swam, skimmed, took photos until late afternoon. 
The beach. Photo by CG Guerta.
Out of curiosity, we crossed the slippery cliff just to get to the part where a monument is placed.
Slippery cliffs.
The climb-able rocky side of the seaside mountain with the creepy monument. Photo by CG Guerta.
The monument.
There was this monument which served as a warning for people that a Japanese tourist died in that area upon falling off the cliff. So people who go there should be very careful. 
The dangerous cliff according to the monument.

This is me with the famous Puraran "rock" background.
Things were getting really creepy so after taking some souvenir pics, we headed to the safer side of the beach. Note: The waves were crazy at around 4-5pm onwards so don't swim if you don't want to drown. The undertow was really scary. Even the natives were not swimming. We spent the night taking photos and eating (We bought our meal at the canteen of Puraran Beach Resort), drinking and stargazing
Great place for skimboard practice! Fine sand +great waves. Photo by CG Guerta.
Surf boarding competition was also held at this place during late summer. My friends wanted to try surfing but there was no instructor available at that moment.
Stary night in Puraran Catanduanes. Photo by Jed Rosell.
The following morning, we spent the day swimming. 

Sunrise. Photo by JedRosell.
We left Puraran at around 9am to catch the 11am jeep to Barac and 1pm ship to Tabaco City, Albay. While waiting for the ship to depart, we ate at seafood restaurant at the pier.
The seafood restaurant at the pier.
The ship from Virac to Tabaco was OVERLOADED! as compared to Tabaco-Virac trip. I know that there was only one ship trip per day but they are not allowed to accommodate passengers that are more than their capacity. My gosh. It was an exhausting trip back to Albay. We were looking for a place where we could get some fresh sea breeze and not sweat breeze so we ended up sitting on a truck. 
On top of a cargo truck.
Though we enjoyed the beach, I think I will explore other beaches on the other side of Catanduanes next time.

Biyaheng Laiya

Exploring a place I am planning to go to is kind of really hard especially if you hardly know people who live there or even know something about it. Searching google maps or some travel blogs may be the only useful sites you wanna rely on. So, I decided to make entries on my trips in the hope of helping other struggling explorers so they won't experience the same difficulty we've encountered in our exploration.

My first entry is Laiya. Since Laiya is so far the nearest beach in our campus (University of the Philippines Los Banos), our academic organization, Philobioscientia, The UPLB Life Science Society, often spend our sem ender at some resorts there. Laiya has a website and since it really is not a remote area as compared to other provinces, getting there would be really easy.

How to reach Laiya: 
Manila -> South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) -> Santo Tomas Batangas -> Star Tollway -> Lipa. 
Pass C.M Recto -> turn right at P. Torres -> turn left towards Padre Garcia Public Market -> right to Batangas Racing Circuit -> drive to the town of San Juan. Upon reaching Municipal Hall -> turn right for Laiya. There's a big sign so you will never get lost. Plus, the people are really kind so it is okay to ask them if you're not sure if you're on the right track.
road to Laiya

There are lots of resorts in that area so you may pick which resort suits your budget. During peak season, it is really recommended to contact the resort so you can have your reservation. During our Ecology class, we picked the cheapest resort as we just did water and microbial sampling in the site. We just rented a huts which cost around 500 pesos  so we can have a place to leave our things. From my opinion, the most comfy spot in that place is La Luz since it is far most  beach so if you want a noise free place, I prefer that resort although their accommodation is quite pricey. 

When I was with my orgmates, we checked in at Kabayan Resort. At that time they have two trailer vans as "cottage" which costs around 10-15k/van, i think. During my batchmate's party, we stayed at Tivona Beach Resort. You can google it if you want to know the updated info re: accommodation.
 Sunset at Laiya
Fishermen catch fishes and shrimps by 6pm
 You really can't enjoy swimming at sunset. There are fishes and shrimps at sunset that will sting your legs while swimming. So instead of swimming, might as well watch the fishermen and do some photoshoot as they do some strategic way of catching fish.

What else can you do at Laiya:
snokeling (50-100/head boat rental)
You can go to the part of the sea where you can find lots of jelly fish and hold one.
You can skim but bring your own board. Note: It is not a good place to skim due to coarse sand and waves.
You can also place beach volleyball, rugby (provided that you have your own ball). You can also rent a kayak. Hmmm.. well, that's it.  Happy reading. :D
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