The Catanduanes Reef Break is an event geared towards helping the locals of Catanduanes, specifically in Puraran, through providing proper boards and uplift their well-being – one local at a time. It is an event organized by Surf Catanduanes and Surf4Ezra, a non-profit organization (founded by High School batch mates and friends) dedicated to continue the advocacies of Ezra ‘Tisoi’ Efondo. The specific objectives of the Catanduanes Reef Break 2015 still remain: first, to generate funds that would enable our local surfers to buy quality surfboards, as well as to fund their travel expenses during competitions; and second, to foster, develop, and promote sustainable tourism industry in Catanduanes Island.
This year’s Puraran Surfing Cup is happening on October 8-11 and I will be there from October 7-10! Awesome! I didn’t get to go last year and ever since I went there with my parents and their friends back in 2008, I have always wanted to come back to watch the surf competition! No, not really the competition, just to watch the Majestics. We were there in July 2008 and it was absolutely flat. I want to see the Majestics for myself. I don’t think I will be surfing as I am grossly cardiovascularly-unfit and I have not surfed in 2 years. No, the short trip to Bali early this year does not count. It was more like paddle practice while being slammed by waves on the reef and getting bruised and scratched by corals and urchins.
I am flying from Manila to Naga the day before and will leave Naga on the 4AM bus to Legazpi. I have to catch the 6:30AM ferry from Tabaco port to Virac, and from the terminal, catch a public van going to Puraran. I am excited!
If any of you are interested, here are some helpful details:
Fly from Manila to Naga (and do the same as I will)
Fly from Manila to Legazpi
Fly from Manila to Virac
Flights take an hour or so via Cebu Pacific. Philippine Airlines also fly from Manila to Naga and Legazpi but not Virac.
Riding the ferry boat from Tabaco, Albay is one way to go to the island. Here is the schedule from Tabaco City Port to San Andres and Virac Port and Vice Versa:
Hey, hey! Surf’s up! Catanduanes is not quite as well-known as a surfing destination in the Philippines for the following reasons:
1. Catanduanes, the Land of the Howling Winds because of the frequency of tropical storms, is not easy to get to. Flights from Manila to Virac are few and expensive.
- Cebu Pacific has flights to Virac on Mondays, Wednesdays and the entire weekend
- Sky Jet Airlines recently launched flights to Virac and has flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
If not flying, the only other way to get there is to take the roll on-roll off ferry from the port of Tabaco in the province of Albay, which is 10-12 hours away by bus from Manila, covering 580 km (360 mi). You can cut this land travel short by flying to either Naga City in Camarines Sur or Legazpi City in Albay, to which flights are more than once a day and are also cheaper, and travel by land (less than 2 hours from Naga and less than an hour from Legazpi) to the port of Tabaco.
Several ferry services are in the Port of Tobacco:
- Regina Shipping Lines, has a ferry service from Tobaco Port to the seaport of the town of San Andres in Catanduanes. The voyage takes around two and half hours. From San Andres to Virac you can either jump on a jeepney or take a trike.
- MV Eugenia will take you straight into the seaport of the capital town of Virac and take about three and a half hours.
2. Puraran and the Majestics is not a place for beginner surfers. The waves are, well, majestic, in that they swell at the height of up to 10 feet on a 6 meter long barrel, and are only advisable for intermediate and expert surfers.
“The best known wave on the island is called Majestics, located off a gorgeous beach in the village of Puraran, which is in the middle of nowhere, two and a half hours from the capital of Virac. Majestics is a powerful and fast right hand breaking wave that gets raves from surfers. It can be extremely dangerous… because the reef is actually a shallow ledge. This means that the wave jumps out of the ocean very quickly and instead of rolling like Monaliza, it forms a fast moving bowl, which slams down into the shallow reef below. If you make a mistake on this wave you’ll have one majestically big headache. If not I’m certain you will be very happy.” – Source