Double Happiness in Catanduanes (Carorian Adventure)

Poseidon Rock, really rocks!

There is something about Catanduanes that captivates me. True, it may not have the uber luxurious resorts complete with a red-carpet-at-the-helipad-welcome that Branjelina might have gone to, or some Michelin-starred restaurants where food is too pretty to touch. But maybe that is the whole point--in Catanduanes, you are free to be you; you spend your days living simply in an astounding backdrop you call Mother Nature and enjoy the company of friends who are genuinely warm and fun to be with. You enjoy your meals with your bare hands without confusing yourself which cutlery to use first, or what vino to pair a slice of Manchego. You wake up and hop on a boat not knowing where it will take you next--a secret lagoon, a marine sanctuary you accidentally discovered, or a hidden entrance to La La Land. You trek for an hour or so without knowing what's waiting for you up there in the end, only to find out that you have just arrived in, well, heaven...on earth.

That is what Catanduanes is for me--simple on the surface yet full of surprises. For the third time this year, my friends and I went to Catanduanes, the Happy Island, and in our case, our happy place. You ask me why go back three times in a row? The answer is obvious, there is so much to explore in this little island that a three-day trip is not enough. They say three's a charm, and I couldn't agree more. Maybe I can live here for a month and still have somewhere to go to. On our first and second times in Catanduanes, we roamed around the islands of Palumbanes and the towns of San Andres, Bato, Baras, and Gigmoto. Our third visit was set for an exhilarating Carorian Adventure and a visit to the town of Bagamanoc off the eastern coast.

Carorian Wonders
Carorian is a small barangay in the town of Bato. Fringed by spectacular rock formations and amazing marine life, Carorian is my newest favourite spot in the Happy Island. Tour operations just started very recently and the local government is very much into it. From Virac, Brgy. Carorian is about an hour away, driving through concrete highways except for a short part that was under construction during our visit. Boats and food can be arranged.

Welcome to Carorian
Our tour started very early because our guide said the waves might be unforgiving in the afternoon. By the way, since Carorian is nestled in the eastern part of Catanduanes facing the mighty Pacific Ocean, it is not advisable to go during the northeast monsoon season (amihan) months. This usually starts during from "ber" months to maybe February. The good news is, aside from the summer months of March to May, summer is extended here because the waters on this side of the planet is calm during the southwest monsoon season (habagat) from the months of June to August, except, of course when there's a typhoon or a low pressure area. If you want to beat the crowd, I suggest go on these months. Add to that, airfare to Virac is cheaper this time of the year because, of course, off-peak season.

No, she's not stepping on water; she had just jumped off that tall cliff!
From the jump off point, it took us only a few minutes to reach our first destination. Passing by the historic Japanese kaidan, we went to the other side where guests usually go for cliff diving. The rock was high (like a three-floor building as our guide said) that, even Shiela, our favorite guide-turned-friend from Catanduanes, who is used to jumping cliffs here and there, took many attempts before she finally let go and jumped into the water.

At the seaside falls with Glen and Jen
Not too far from the cliff is the seaside falls, where we enjoyed a dip into the brackish waters. It was very refreshing... and cold! A tip though, make sure you wear aqua shoes or anything non-slippery to protect your feet from the sharp rocks. And, while it is very "unfashionable", consider wearing leggings to protect your legs, too!

We were supposed to go to Patag Islet but we were advised that we would have to skip this as there still some issues to be resolved with their local government. Maybe another reason to go back then!

Replacing Patag Islet in our itinerary was snorkeling right in front of the Carorian jump off point. It was surprisingly beautiful! The highlight was a humongous brain coral amidst a very rich coral garden. Not too many fish but the corals are very much alive (and not bleached) and the visibility was amazing despite the gloomy weather. It was so deep by they way and might have a good potential for scuba diving.

One of our boatmen showed us where the giant brain coral is

While it was not part of our original itinerary, I must admit that I got enthralled with the snorkeling experience in Carorian. It is something I would like to go back to in the future.

The final highlight of our Carorian adventure was at the Poseidon Rock. As if we really saved the best for last, Poseidon Rock is spectacular in every sense of the word--beautiful formations, crystal-clear lagoons, and fabulous underwater scenery! The group unanimously agreed that this was the best part of our trip so far.

Poseidon posing like a king

On Poseidon Rock, with Mt. Mayon in the distance

The rock formations in Poseidon resemble the ones in Biri Island, Northern Samar--very unique and postcard-perfect. If you are going here, make sure you have enough batteries and memory space as I am sure you will never run out of spots to photograph. Have an underwater camera, too!

The lagoon

Slowing things down on Poseidon Rock
Natural pools abound!
With Shiela, our little mermaid tour guide

Jenilee on the rocks

Glen with his envy-worthy background

Snorkeling in Poseidon Rock

What we thought would be a half day affair turned out to be a whole day of fun! With a heavy heart, our tour ended at Sakahon Beach, another off-the-beaten path destination in the town of Bato. It was my second time in Sakahon Beach and between March and August, it had evolved from a bare cream-sand beach cove to a charming eco destination that now hosts glamping (glamorous camping) and a cute Volkswagen Kombi that can easily be turned into a bar.

Pagoda cold wave lotion, but push!

To view a summary of our Carorian and Bagamanoc adventures, watch the video below. And, ye, it is available in HD!

Up next, know how we got #shookt at the world's sexiest island as we go to Bagamanoc!

Dios mabalos Ms. Carmel Garcia, Shiela Idanan, Marjorie Avila, Kuya Alan and Kuya Rey 
for making our trip to Catanduanes an enjoyable one!!! Happiness on the Happy Island indeed!
Know more about Catanduanes. Visit their Facebook page here.


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