When local photographer Ferdinand Buenavides Ocol explored Catanduanes in 2016, he discovered natural rock formations and beaches that are now collectively called the Carorian Wonders.
This island-hopping circuit takes you to six destinations: Carorian Beach, Patag Islet, Seaside Waterfalls, Japanese Kaiden, Poseidon Rock and Lagoon, and Pinta Beach. Each stop comes with a historical or mystical story that adds to its charm.
The Carorian Wonders Adventure
The adventure starts at Carorian Beach. A manmade bamboo bridge will lead you to the jump-off point where you’ll be greeted by the friendly members of the Carorian Wonders Community Guide Association (CaWCoGA).
There’s an entrance fee of Php50 per person, and you can rent a cottage for Php200 only. Overnight camping is allowed as long as you bring your own tent.
Island hopping packages for groups of different sizes are available: Php2500 for six people, Php3,000 for eight, and Php4,000 for 10.
The first stop is the Patag Islet. As its name suggests, this wonder is a stack of flat rock formations. A wide flat ground where you can enjoy a picnic right in the middle of the sea is surrounded by black boulders shaped like a trapped ship. There’s also a lagoon where you can enjoy a swim in the turquoise waters of the Pacific.
Second stop: Carorian Seaside Falls. Locals believe that there’s a mystic wonder that surrounds this low waterfalls.
Some days, it hides from visitors and only lets out tiny streaks of water, just like how the Mayon Volcano eludes its admirers by covering itself with clouds. Some days, it appears in its full glory with strong cascades that go straight into its lagoon.
If the waves are not too strong, the tour takes you to the Japanese Kaidan. It’s a manmade staircase that faces the sea and takes you to the path leading to the Japanese garrison. (“Kaidan” means “stairs” in Japanese.)
The fourth stop is the main attraction, the Poseidon Rock and Lagoon. This natural rock formation is famous for looking like the Greek god of the sea.
It’s an imposing structure that seemingly watches over the ocean. Powder white rocks that make it look even more majestic. Just beside the Poseidon Rock, there’s a lagoon where the water is calm and safe for lounging and swimming.
Last stop: Pinta Beach. This historic beach is believed to be where Father Diego de Herrera, one of the first five Agustinians in the Philippines, got stranded when his ship broke down at the Nagngangang Buwaya Point.
Here, he painted a cross to commemorate his stay and symbolize his faith. This is how the beach got its name.
The entire Carorian Wonders Adventure can be done in half a day. But because not a lot of people have discovered this gem yet, tourists are still allowed to stay at the Carorian Beach all day, enjoy snorkeling, and stargaze at night
Must-Try Carorian Dishes
Aside from taking care of the tour operations, the CaWCoGA accepts advance food orders for those who want to try authentic Carorian food.
They charge Php300 per dish plus the cost of ingredients. You can bring your own ingredients too and ask them to cook for you.
One of the Carorian specialties to try is taktakun.
Taktakun is an abundant seashell in Carorian. It’s prepared with no other than water as the main ingredient and left to be cooked by its own juice.
Another sea-to-table dish you should try is tabugok.
Tabugok is the local term for red octopus and is also the main ingredient of this specialty dish. Baby octopuses fresh from the sea go straight to the pan and simmer until they’re tender. According to the locals, it gets tenderized by its natural juice more easily.
How to get there
From Manila, board a flight to Virac, Catanduanes. If you’re traveling solo or with a buddy, you may hire a motorcycle (Php150) to take you to Carorian. Another option is to ride a tricycle (Php60).
If you’re traveling with a group, it’s best to book a tour with an operator and rent a van. Cost will depend on your agreement with the operator.
Outsource the Planning
For a seamless trip, you may leave the planning to DOT’s accredited tour operators in Bicol. Click on this link for a comprehensive list of agencies.
All tourist destinations in Region V have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit http://www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel on the Google Playstore.