BITAOG BEACH, CATANDUANES: IMPORTANT TRAVEL TIPS

Even though it is tagged as the 12th-largest island in the Philippines, Catanduanes could be one of the most unpopular destinations to explore in the southern part of Luzon. Nevertheless, it doesn’t fall short of thrill and places to explore for the adventure-seekers. The island has that silent charm that is just waiting to be experienced, one of which is the hidden Bitaog Beach in Palumbanes Island.

How to Get There

Much like any other hidden paradise, this beach isn’t easily reached. There’s about an hour to an hour and a half of trekking the forest, to the mountain, to the other side of the shore, to crossing mini-rivers, to passing through a mangrove forest before reaching the final destination that is the fine off-white sand Bitaog Beach.

Nearest Airport: Virac Airport (Catanduanes)

By Air
  1. There are flights from Manila to Virac, Catanduanes — your jump-off point to Palumbanes Island.
  2. From Virac, take either a bus or van going or passing by Caramoran; travel time will be about 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Alight at Brgy. Baybay then walk to the port; there will be several small fisherman boats moored at the port. Travel time would take about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the waves.
  4. Trek to the hidden beach.
By Land
  1. The way to get to Catanduanes is via Albay. Catch the daily trips of buses going to Tabaco City from either Cubao, Pasay, or Alabang (P700-850). Travel time is 12 hours.
  2. Head to Tabaco Port and ride the passenger ferry (P150-450) that leaves on two scheduled times only, 6:30AM and 1PM. Travel time will be 3 hours.
  3. From Virac, take either a bus or van going or passing by Caramoran; travel time will be about 3 to 4 hours.
  4. Alight at Brgy. Baybay then walk to the port; there will be several small fisherman boats moored at the port. Travel time would take about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the waves.
  5. Trek to the hidden beach.

 
You can also ride the bus going directly to Catanduanes from Cubao — Isarog Lines. This eliminates the hassle of having to get off at Legazpi and then going to Tabaco Port. This bus rides the passenger boat with you and then brings you to Virac proper from San Andres port.

 


Entrance Fee and Other Charges

  • Entrance Fee: FREE
  • Camping Fee: FREE
  • Cottage Rental Fee: As of writing, there is a rugged hut/cottage by the beach that served as shade and safekeeping of stuff.

Don’t Miss

  • Trek to the lighthouse on top of the hill and appreciate the view.
  • This rugged yet beautiful beach is ideal for beach bumming, swimming, and snorkeling.
  • You can also visit nearby beaches on Calabagio Island and Tignob Island.

Don’t Forget

  • Staying overnight needs preparation as there is little to no fresh water source at that part of the island. Let your contact/host know in advance.
  • Bring lots of drinking water. The trek is exhausting, especially if you started out later in the morning. The scorching heat of the sun will take a toll on you. It would be best to bring a good amount of water to last you for hours while you stay there.
  • Bring food, the trek back and forth would already take almost three hours of your time. You’ll definitely get hungry during transit.
  • Waterproof your belongings. Upon passing the mangrove forest, the water tends to go up to waist deep. We had to carry our bags over our heads to be able to pass through.
  • That part of Catanduanes is the one directly facing the Philippine Sea so the waves tend go stronger, especially towards the evening. We had to spend the night at the kapitan’s house because we came back from Bitaog Beach late and the waves were getting stronger to travel on.
  • Bring cash; be generous about it. There are no ATMs in the area as it is a quaint community.
  • If you’re going to Catanduanes via land, make sure to calculate the allotted hours of travel time and give generous amount of leeway for mishaps because most of the transportation systems in Catanduanes follow a strict schedule. Take note of the van/bus schedule going back to Virac.
  • Make room for adjustments in your itinerary. It usually rains here because this island is the first to face monsoon once it enters the Philippines. But a little rain won’t hurt anyone’s adventure.
  • Leave only footprints and memories, not trash.

If You Have More Time and Budget

  • Explore Palumbanes Islands. It is also a surfing attraction because of the big waves that visit parts of this island. You can go surfing at Puraran Beach, discover the beaches near Virac such as those in Mamangal and Marilima.

Where to Stay

There are decent and humble accommodations on Parongpong Island, but if you are planning to visit other places in Catanduanes, here are some of the recommended accommodations according to Agoda users (as of August 2017).

Photo was provided by the resort via Agoda.

For more options, search here: Catanduanes Hotels


Reminders

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