The eastern island province of Catanduanes is ripe for exploration, a large, rugged, rural island with mile upon mile of majestic coastline. It has still barely felt the impact of tourism, although with eight flights a week from Manila and improvements to the main road around the island this is slowly changing. In fact surfers have known about Catanduanes for quite some time, attracted to the big waves off Puraran Beach on the wild east coast. There are also several good beaches within easy reach of the capital Boac, as well as other attractions like the immense caves in Lictin, while the undeveloped west coast offers the opportunity to blaze a trail into areas few travellers see. Most of all Catanduanes is a friendly, down-to-earth place to hang out for a few days, as long as you are willing to adjust to a slower pace of life and travel.

It isn’t all good news though. Filipinos think mostly of bad weather when they think about Catanduanes, lying as it does on the exposed eastern edge of the archipelago smack in the middle of the “typhoon highway”. Unless you are a surfer the best time to visit is from March to June, when the chances of rainfall are slight and the wind is less wicked. During the wet season (July–Nov) the island can be hit half a dozen times by typhoons, causing extensive damage to crops and homes and sometimes loss of life.

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