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Capturing the Beauty of Catanduanes

For those who missed reading the Manila Bulletin's Picture Perfect section - 18 September 2010, Enigmatic Catanduanes: The Island of the Howling Winds by Edwin Martinez.

A group of five individuals from different walks of life recently gathered together with one purpose: To capture the beauty of Catanduanes.

An island that is often hit by storms and typhoons, Catanduanes is located in Region 5 and is accessible by air or land. The island itself has been carved by storms and has a coastline as rugged as Batanes, crashing waves from the east and still waters in the west.

Our safari was jam-packed with five days of waking up at 4:00 a.m. shooting all day with a strict itinerary, practically shooting half of the island. It was both a fun and fulfilling activity.

An hour and half from the airport, Puraran in Baras is known for its 10-foot swells. This is a pro-surfer’s paradise, facing the great Pacific and one of the few places in the Philippines which welcome the first light of dusk. A pipeline forms approximately 500 meters from the shore. From August to November, this place is stormed by surfers from other countries because the waves during this season are simply majestic.

The only air-conditioned rooms available in the area can be found in Angie’s Bed and Breakfast, a decent resort with nice rooms and clean bathrooms. The view is breathtaking since it’s about 300 meters uphill from the shore. Angie’s husband Lacy King is an American who fell in love with the waves of Puraran. He is a hardcore surfer, resort operator and part- time cook.

We also had a chance to meet Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua. On our way to the governor’s place, we stopped by Maribina Falls located in Bato. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been raining too hard in Catanduanes and the water level is low and the light is harsh. Maribina is one of the many waterfalls that can be found in Catanduanes.

Situated at the most Southern tip of the island is Igang. This is a perfect place for landscape photographers. With so many karsts and sea stacks, this cove is strategically positioned so that both sunrise and sunset can be shot creatively. But we only had the chance to shoot the sunrise. The most famous resort in this place is the Twin Rock Resort, with air-conditioned room, complete facilities such as a swimming pool and karaoke bar.

Catandungueños are known for their resiliency. Since the island is frequently hit by typhoons, the people would get back on their feet, rebuild their lives and move on. Just like any rural area in the country, the main sources of livelihood are fishing and farming, specifically abaca.

Transportation ranges from mini-bus to tricycle, with most of the road paved. You can easily hire a jeep or a van to discover the other wonderful coastal areas and mountains of Catanduanes.

You’ll never know. You might really hear the howls of the wind and the stories they tell.

(Special thanks to Governor Joseph Cua for his generosity and Engineer Fernan Gianan, president of the Catanduanes Camera Club for providing tips on location shots.)

Source: Manila Bulletin

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