Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CAPTIVATING CATANDUANES - The Untold Story

My visit to Virac may be one of my most unforgettable. This is why.

The Virac Agenda:

Tuesday - our first day in Virac with my friend Marie. From the airport, the hotel service was waiting and we headed straight to Catanduanes Midtown Hotel where we had prior reservations. It is a mid-range hotel with spacious rooms and friendly staff. Shortly after lunch, we arranged our tour from the hotel reception for P1,500. For the whole afternoon we were able to go around and visited Luyang Cave in San Pedro, strolled along a nice river and old small church after Virac (I was not able to get their proper names), the Virac town proper itself – cathedral, capitol, and plaza. We were able to go to Twin Rock Resort which we found the location so superb that we booked a room to stay for the next day til our flight back to Manila on Thursday. We had a little tour of the place and gone swimming before going back to Virac town proper. Along the way we stopped by an old church in a place they call Antipolo – realizing that even in the remotest town Catanduanes you will find significant pieces of history, culture and religion.

We had dinner after the tour at the Sea Breeze Resturant, one of the few good restaurants in Virac a few blocks away from Midtown Inn and located at the pier.

Wednesday – we packed out things and as planned, transferred to Twin Rocks Resort. To get to Twin Rock, we have to hire a tricycle from the town and for P100. We planned to go to Puraran Beach that day and with the help of the resort’s nice receptionist we were able to use the Governor’s car and his driver to give us the tour to the north part of the island – for P1500 – not bad for a whole day’s use.

First stop – Bato Church. This very old church with unique architecture stood fronting the ocean. Perhaps that’s why it is the most popular church in Catanduanes.

Next – Puraran Beach. It took us some two hours or more to reach the place due to rugged road with some parts still under construction. We were the only visitor at the beach that day. We spent hours swimming and enjoying the waves and the white sand.

Next stop – Maribina Falls. This is the most accessible of the falls in Catanduanes and almost all locals come here to dive and swim and enjoy the clean and cool water coming from waterfalls. We joined them and likewise had fun swimming.

Going back to Virac – we headed again to Sea Breeze to have an early dinner (we only had biscuits and water for lunch – he he he) and waited until the sun went down. Then went back to Twin rocks and enjoyed the amenities and ambience. We concluded the day with a nice whole body massage courtesy of the nice receptionist. Yes! She was also our therapist that night. Multi-tasking, huh!)

Thursday – time to go back to Manila. The hotel service took us to the airport for free. We checked-in our luggages and waited for the plane to arrive. We thought the flight was just delayed after waiting for an hour until the ground flight attendant announced that the plane cannot land because of poor weather condition (it rained the night before and today was just very cloudy and zero visibility on the runway). This is how it is in Catanduanes indeed! Be prepared!

To the passengers’ bewilderment, some got irked and most, fuming (including us) the airline gound crews were not able to provide any help but to ask us to wait until Saturday for the next flight. HA HA HA

Of course that would not be possible. We have work the following day so we needed to think of another plan – much of the Amazing Race wasn’t it? With a little presence of mind – we headed fast to the Pier and fortunate to be carried by a ferry going to Tabaco, Albay. From there we went to Legazpi City to catch the soonest next available flight to Manila.

What a Catanduanes adventure! Will I be back for more? Of course!
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