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
As a side note, Skyjet has hot deals for flights from October 15 onwards at Php2,500 one way. Check it out!
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.
Ferry in San Andres Port, Catanduanes. Photo taken in 2008.
M/V Star Ferry-1 Regina Shipping Lines Inc. At the Tabaco port in Albay. Photo taken in 2008.
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