Travel To Puraran Beach in Baras, Catanduanes
From a four-day endeavor of touring the southernmost region of the Luzon Island, we took a detour in one of the Philippine islands which stares at the great Pacific eye to eye. Being nestled in front of a vast ocean made it vulnerable to typhoons and storms, therefore being named as the “Land of the Howling Winds”. Where there are howling winds, oceans and open seas, came along with are huge waves rushing towards dry land, and where there are waves, there’s, definitely, surfing. Situated in this island is a beach hideout where not only surfers are fond of, but outdoor and beach enthusiasts as well. Go face to face with the “Majestics” right here in Puraran Beach.
From the Port of Tabaco in Albay, we left our land transportation in our journey to Catanduanes. Being late and left for the first trip the day before, we woke up earlier this time but still found ourselves late. Just in the nick of time as the ferry’s platform was about to lift up, we rushed towards the vessel when a crew led us to the ferry’s entrance to the parking lot where we squeezed ourselves and bulky backpacks through trucks, vehicles, and cars approximately 2-3 feet apart. Up on deck, we dropped our packs and it was a relief – now we’re really going to Catanduanes.
Catanduanes revealed itself with a thin silhouette as we approached the island.
Catanduanes welcomed our approach with rock formations along the coast, huge mountains and hills on the backdrop. The vivid blue skies signifies a pleasant sunny day ahead of us. From a distance it seems a land far away from this country, it was quite a sight to see. Just got better when we arrived at the Port of Virac, where the colors of the water were azure and cyan unlike other ports in some parts of the country.
Rock formations along the Catanduanes coastline.
Clean port of Virac.
Buses, jeeps, and tricycles to several towns in Catanduanes await passengers getting off the Virac Port. From the provincial capital at the South, we head east towards the town of Baras where Puraran is located. The jeep-looking-bus or bus-looking-jeep was almost full so I had a spot in the roof with other passengers… bags, luggages, boxes, and huge tires. As we get out of town, top loaded passengers have to duck from time to time from hanging cable wires and tree branches. It’s quite hot as the sun rose higher but the wind kept me cool when the vehicle is on the go, and besides, I get a better view as we pass by mountains, fields, zigzagging roads, and lots of beaches.
Sitting on top of the vehicle as we made our way across the bridge.
Baras creates an impression of a ghost town since it was noon when we arrived. Most stores were closed, and nobody were around except for the tricycle drivers waiting for passengers. People may be under the comfort of their homes and away from scorching heat of the sun. It was really hot that day. We headed for Puraran Beach passing by mountains and steep ascends. The road ends on fine white sand with the smell of salt floating in the air. Finally, Puraran Beach. Note: If there’s an available Gigimoto bound transportation, take it and ask the driver/conductor to drop you off at Puraran and descend your way towards the beach. This will avoid 2 transfers, and it’s much cheaper.
After strapping on our heavy packs and supplies, we wander around the beach looking for a place to spend the rest of of our stay in this beautiful beach. In it’s fine white sand, I walked barefooted towards this small hut and asked for the caretaker. We got a small hut big enough for the 5 of us. We dropped our bags and got my board shorts on for a nice cool dip.
White sand visible in the shallow area of the sea.
A small hut at the beach.
Our P300.00 humble hut installed with its own private C.R.
As you head out to the open ocean, calm shallow water stretches about 500 meters (I’m not sure). But don’t be deceived by this shoal for a few more meters you’ll come face to face with the world famous “Majestics”. This 6-foot long barrel type waves ending up on sharp coral reefs cater to only advanced and expert surfers. Far out from the beach is a resting place set up for surfers who wants to rest and for spectators who wants to see the action up close and personal. If you’re a surfer looking for some nice secluded beach with majestic waves, Puraran would definitely satisfy your standards.
Surfer’s resting spot.
Later that afternoon, we took time to explore the area and wander around the rock formations at the northern end of the beach. Waves come crashing that afternoon so we were careful as we traverse the rocks to see what’s on the other side. A memorial stone stood on an edge commemorating a tragic accident of a Japanese national which happened in 2000. The incident serves as a safety reminder to prevent another tragedy to happen again.
The sun was out but the brightness never stopped. We sat by the beach enjoying the serene ambient of the evening. In the cool breeze of the night, we laugh and shared stories under the twinkling lights that shun from the heavens.
Memorial stone of Mr. Tetuya Ogawa.
“Tamisan sa Puraran 2010” starring CG and Malai.
Under the clear night sky
There’s no better way of kick starting the morning with a beautiful sunrise view in the open ocean while you sit on the beach. I took my camera and watched the breath taking view from a nearby open hut waiting for the beauty unfold as the sun kissed the beach and the rocks along the coast. Local fishermen get busy with their morning routine. I completed my morning with a refreshing morning dip in the cold water waking up my veins and tingling my bones. Too bad we we’re to leave soon to catch the last trip to Tabaco Port.
Unfortunately, the trip from Gigimoto to Virac was at 3 AM, and there were no tricycle terminal and tricycles passing by within the area. Luck was on our side when a small 6 seater van hitched us to the town of Baras. He was on his way to fiesta in a baranggay not far from Baras so we might as well hop in. It was a clear evidence of the old Filipino tradition of “Bayanihan” and a similar tale to the Holy Book’s “The Good Samaritan”.
Sunrise in Puraran Beach
View from the hut.
Monster jeep from Baras to Virac.
We arrive in Virac just in time to have a quick lunch before the ferry leaves. Beside the port was a restaurant which I forgot the name but remembered that they serve very delicious food that I want to savor the food longer longer unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of time to indulge in our meals.
Sadly, we only spent 2 short days in Catanduanes. This land of mystery and beauty has tons to offer the intrepid traveler given the time and money. There are mountains, falls and beaches waiting to be explored in this unspoiled island, faraway from urban decay. My next visit, I would allot 4 days discovering it beauty leaving no stones unturned, and hopefully you can tag along.
Now here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:
1. This trip was held in 2010 so prices may have changed, but just to give you an idea.
2. RORO Ferry from Tabaco City leaves at 6:30 AM and from Virac, 1:00 PM. Both charges P220.00 per person.
3. If you’re commuting from Manila, there’s a Philtranco (851 90 78-79) and Tawtrasco buses traveling directly from Cubao Araneta Center to Virac. (I’m not sure if they still have direct trips to Virac, help anyone?)
4. There are planes flying from Manil to Virac.
5. Buses from Virac bound for Baras cost P45.00. Then take the tricycle from Baras to Puraran which cost P150.00. BUT if there’s a Gigimoto bus, take it to avoid the expensive tricycle ride.
6. Our hut cost P300.00, but I don’t know if it’s a resort property or privately owned. Puraran Beach it’s not that big so try looking around whatever suits you. Camping is allowed since nobody owns the beach.
7. When you get off the bus, there are stores along the road so buy your supplies first before going down instead of ascending the steep winding road. Trust me, it is steep.
8. The Majestics are NOT for beginners.
9. Be extra careful when your exploring in the rocks to avoid any accidents.
11. Be safe and enjoy the trip.