Catanduanes Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

Called Isla de Cobos by the Spanish conquistadors in the mid 15th century, Catanduanes is an island province belonging to Bicol Region. The name “Catanduanes” is a Hispanized word that comes from the word tandu, a native beetle and samdong tree that are abundant in the island. Catanduanes is the 12th largest island in the Philippines, with some small islands and islets that make up the whole province. It is surrounded by Maqueda Channel, Lagonoy Gulf and Philippine Sea. Comprises of 11 municipalities with Virac as its capital, Catanduanes is a rugged and mountainous island and is a biodiversity hotspot. Dubbed as “The Happy Island”, it is an emerging tourist destination and home to a multitude of beaches, islands, caves, lagoons and waterfalls.

Where to go in Catanduanes

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Amenia Beach

Brgy. Palawig San Andres (calolbon), Catanduanes, Bicol Region, 4810, Philippines

Badak White Beach

Virac (capital), Catanduanes, Bicol Region, 4800, Philippines

Balite Beach

Brgy. Balite Virac (capital), Catanduanes, Bicol Region, 4800, Philippines

Balongbong Mini-Hydro Damsite and Forebay

Brgy. Sipi, Brgy. Guinobatan, Brgy. Sibacungan Bato, Catanduanes, Bicol Region, 4801, Philippines

Batag Beach

Brgy. Batag Virac (capital), Catanduanes, Bicol Region, 4800, Philippines

Batong Paluay

Brgy. Batong Paluay San Andres (calolbon), Catanduanes, Bicol Region, 4810, Philippines

Bitaogan Beach

Sitio Bitaogan Brgy. Pananaogan Bato, Catanduanes, Bicol Region, 4801, Philippines

Bosdak Beach

Virac (capital), Catanduanes, Bicol Region, 4800, Philippines

How to Get Here

By air: There are direct flights from Manila going to Catanduanes through Virac Airport. Cebu Pacific and PAL fly to the province; travel time takes 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Combination of land and water: Various bus companies operate air-conditioned coaches from Manila to Tabaco, Albay. From here, ride a ferry to reach the island of Catanduanes. Bus fare from Manila to Tabaco City starts at Php 1,000.00 to Php 1, 500.00 (inclusive of sea crossing). Travel time is around 10-12 hours.

Popular Food

A favourite bar chow (pulutan), sinalpungan are fried carabeef tripe.

This is a fermented fish sold abundantly in Virac Public Market.

(c) @amazingangelruth /

These are simmered pili fruits, usually dipped in kuyog or patis and eaten as viand. When dipped in sugar, it can be a tasty dessert.

(c) @philip_vixen /

Catanduanes’ version of bopis, cooked with kangkong (water spinach) stalks.

(c) @j0eel /

Ugob is a variety of jackfruit cooked in coconut milk.

What to Do

Enjoy aquatic activities
Surfing, skimboarding and river cruising are some of the water based activities in the province of Catanduanes. You can also try natural water slide in one of the province’s waterfalls or do an amazing cliff jump into the sapphire waters in one its lagoons.
Frolic on its beaches
Being a challenging place to go to, Catanduanes guarantees that its beaches are not crowded and remain unspoiled; thus having the beach all to yourself makes the travel to Happy Island a happy and worthy one.
Go trekking
Have a grand time admiring the astonishing view of the province and its surrounding islands by conquering its tranquil mountains.
Visit the province’s landmarks
PAGASA Weather Radar Station. Virac Cathedral. Batalay Mangrove Park. Museo de Catanduanes... these are just some of the interesting landmarks that tells a thing or two about Bicol’s best-kept secret island province.