The peaceful rural town of Catarman features a landscape that is a mix of sleepy municipalities, white sand beaches, wide rivers, unique rock formations, and rugged mountains in the background. There are many hidden gems in the area that you can explore so try to see as much of them as you can.
Catarman, the capital of Northern Samar, primarily gets its income from fishing and agriculture but is slowly starting to capitalize on the growing tourism industry in the town. Because of the natural beauty of the province, locals are getting plenty of opportunities for business and tourists are getting to see a unique side of the country. In terms of tourist spots, you won’t be running out of places to see. Beaches are plentiful and you can easily stay at affordable resorts that are perfect for those on a budget. There are also waterfalls, rock formations, mangroves, old churches, and lighthouses that you can explore.
You can either book a direct flight from Manila to Catarman, which is only available by advanced booking through Philippine Airlines. Or you can catch a flight from Manila to Calbayog or Tacloban and take a shuttle van from there to Catarman.
If you’ll be coming from Cebu, there are ferry trips from Cebu to Calbayog through Cokaliong Shipping. Once you’re in Calbayog, just ride a shuttle van going to Catarman. If you prefer, there are also ferries going to Ormoc from Cebu.
Bus lines like Philtranco, Silver Star, and Eagle Star have routes from Pasay and Cubao going to Catarman or Rawis. The bus trip usually lasts from 15 to 18 hours. Buses also operate from Manila to Tacloban if you prefer this route. Enjoy the long hours of land travel by soaking up the scenes of Bicol’s countryside.
If you’re in Catarman proper and want to explore the area, you can either walk, ride a pedicab, or take a tricycle. When you want to go to other municipalities, you may have to ride either a jeepney or a bus.
One favorite tourist attraction in Catarman is White Beach Resort, where most tourists and even locals head to if they want some vitamin sea. If you feel like there might be too many people, you can also try other beach resorts like The New Tamburusan Beach Resort, Binang and Cadio Resort, Haven of Fun Beach Resort, and Catarman Coral Dive Resort.
Other tourist sites like Capul Island Lighthouse Batag Island Lighthouse, and Lalaguna Mangrove Forest, can be found outside the municipality.
When you’re in Catarman, don’t forget to stop by the beautiful island of Biri as well. This top tourist spot is famous for its unique rock formations, cliffs, and boulders formed from the moving of undersea tectonic plates and carved from the ocean waves and winds. While you’re here, don’t forget to take a selfie or groupie with the stunning scenery as the background.
Try exploring some of Catarman’s unique natural wonders. One of which is the pink sand beach of Sila Island. Explore the bountiful coral reefs in the area through diving and snorkeling.
You can also go bird watching at Lalaguna Mangrove Forest in Lavezares, which is known for hosting a variety of migratory birds. Lagbangan Lake is an ecological tourist destination in Northern Samar and is also a place where you can watch birds. You can even go fishing here as well.
While you’re in the province, why not try to visit some of the beautiful old churches as well? You can go to places like Capul Church and Fortress, Our Lady of Annunciation Cathedral, Miraculous Medal Chapel, and St. Clare’s Monastery.
Aside from the churches, you can also try visiting the University of Eastern Philippines, the largest university by population in Eastern Visayas.
If you’re looking for a homey place with good coffee, free wi-fi, air-conditioning, and tasty treats, you may want to take note of cafes like Isla Cafe and Mitz Cafe. If you’re looking for restaurants with good food, you can try places like Kimbies Restaurant, Eusebio, Voltz Fastfood, and Our Nest Restaurant.
You can dance the night away in Bodega Billiards Bar and Disco. If you want a more chill vibe, head on over to Cobras Den Bar and Restaurant, Kamalig, or Tsiban, to grab some food and drinks and have a great time with your friends or family.
While you’re in Catarman, check out some comfortable and affordable lodging places like GV Pension Hotel, Bahay Pinoy Pension, Pink City, La Fortunata, St. Lorenz Hotel, Pineil’s Farm and Resort, Waway’s Pension, Sasa Pension House, Mijares Hotel, Aileen Lodging House, and UEP Hostel.
Try employing the services of a local guide if you really want to explore all that Catarman has to offer.
Although it’s always good to have an itinerary, don’t be afraid to veer away from it and experience the province from a local’s point of view.