Verdant, rolling terrain leading to towering cliffs and gargantuan boulders constantly pounded by enormous waves will greet you after a good 20 – 30 minutes’ walk under a forested canopy. I was in disbelief for a moment and my senses were all in awe. I had to pause for a few minutes just to digest everything my eyes were marveling at. I was at Binurong Point – one of the island province of Catanduanes’ best kept secrets (no more).
I first saw a photo of this Batanes-like vista in Facebook posted by a friend’s friend a month ago. Since then, I have been keeping an eye on the possibility of checking it out myself. Two weeks later, it was featured in a television show. Videos were shown and that sealed the deal for me. So after my Apo Reef breakaway, I decided to make my way to the Land of Howling Wind the looooong way (since booking a plane ticket would probably cost me much).
Prior to this Catanduanes trip, all I honestly knew about the easternmost Luzon province is that it is frequented by typhoons. But since it is summer here in the Philippines, I am pretty much confident it wouldn’t be raining.
This write-up is just 1 of several posts I am making for my Catanduanes getaway. I opted to write about Binurong Point first as a lot of my friends have been asking about it (and going over the internet, the only information source on Binurong Point is that of Go, Catanduanes).
So how do you get to Binurong Point?
From Manila, the easiest/ fastest way is to book a flight to Virac (Catanduanes’ capital). Cebu Pacific flies every Monday – Wednesday – Friday (You can check out their website for specific time of flight). One may also fly from Manila to Naga (in Camarines Sur) or to Legazpi (in Albay). From these places, ride a bus or van that is bound for Tabaco City. Since plane tickets become pretty much pricey if you haven’t booked your ticket in advance, then you might want to do the longer route.
Which is – by land, then by water.
From Manila (Cubao or Pasay), one can take a Virac – bound bus (RSL Lines) or a Tabaco City (in Albay) bound bus (in case all Virac-bound buses are fully booked). Travel time is around 10 – 12 hours depending on Manila traffic and how many times your bus would want to have a stop. Once in Tabaco City, proceed to the city port wherein one has several options as to which sea vessels to ride. You may opt to ride a RO-RO (which takes around 4 hours or so, depending on condition of the sea) or go for the fast craft that runs around 1.5 to 2 hours only (caution because it really is nauseating)!
Schedule are as follow: (Fare ranges from Php150 child/senior citizen to Php300 for adult in an air-conditioned area).
|Tabaco Port to Virac Port:
Depart: 0630AM Arrive: 1030AM
Virac Port to Tabaco Port:
***For fast craft ferry: The ferry departs at 9:30 a.m. from the capital town of Virac and arrives in Tabaco City at 11:30. It leaves from Tabaco City again at 12:30 and reaches San Andres at 2 p.m. Finally, it returns to Tabaco City at 4 p.m.
|Tabaco Port to San Andres (Calolbon) Port:
Depart: 0800AM Arrive: 1100AM
Depart: 0100PM Arrive: 0400PM
San Andres (Calolbon) Port to Tabaco Port:
If your port of disembarkation is at San Andres (Cololbon Port), you will have to ride either a jeepney or a van that is bound for Virac. But if your route is a Tabaco – Virac route, then once in Virac you have the option of either riding a van or a jeepney bound to Baras/Gigmoto or any other towns of Catanduanes that passes by Baras.
Once in Baras, ride a tricycle or a motorcycle that will take you to Binurong Point. During my visit, I was staying at Puraran (also in Baras) so I had to take a motorcycle from there. Depending on your haggling skills, range of fare would be Php 300 – 500.
The way to Binurong Point is almost concreted with only about ¼ of the road unpaved. Upon reaching the registration site at Brgy. Guinsaanan, you will be required to pay Php20.00 registration fee and Php10.00 parking fee. A guide will be designated to you/your group. (I did have a little chit chat with the owner of the hut I stayed at Puraran. He mentioned that guide fee is at Php150.00. However, my habal-habal driver said that there weren’t any fixed amount yet so you could just give any amount).
The trek to Binurong Point is relatively easy and quick. Depending on your usual pace, it’ll take a good 20 – 30 minute walk under a shady forested area. Once you reach Binurong, you’ll be amazed as to how stunning it is. No need to compare it with Batanes or even Ireland because Binurong has its own charm and beauty.
The personal challenge when I was there (being a photo enthusiast) is which portion of the place should I photograph first. I felt my eyes confused several times and my heart skip every time I gaze at Binurong’s splendor.
I went there around 4 in the afternoon. It was a good time as the sun is no longer that warm, and good enough to provide natural light to my photographs. My guide said that the best time to visit Binurong is early in the morning as the sun rises at this side of Catanduanes. Have also noticed that the area can be a good camping ground. So I thought to myself, the next time I come and see Binurong, I’ll bring a tent a bunch of friends and together we will share the serenity of this stunning place.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan”…