After a tropical typhoon cancelled our original planned trip several months ago, we finally found ourselves on Catanduanes.
As we arrived around before 6am at Virac City, it was no surprise that most establishments were still closed.
Luckily we found Blossoms Restaurant just about to open.
(Virac Blossom’s restaurant)
Consistent with my tradition, I tried to look for a local sample of hot cocoa drink.
Besides their sumptuous menu, the hot cocoa was one of the best I have ever tasted, it had a sweet taste mixed the small sting of its sourness.
(Blossoms Restaurant Virac hot cocoa drink)
Sorry I just had to instantly share that. Now on to the story.
Instantly right after breakfast, our Catanduanes exploration began.
Before riding the jeepney to Puraran Beach (our primary destination) we decided to visit Twin Rock Beach resort first and Bato Church, because this were only a few kilometers from Virac anyways.
Accessible by riding a tricycle, the Twin Rock Beach Resort is certainly one of the places perfect for those who seek for peace and relaxation. That is of course if you are lucky not to meet a foreign jackass (more of that in another article).
(Twin Rock Beach Resort Virac)
While Bato (Rock) Church, built in the 1800’s, on the other hand provides the opportunity to appreciate old architectural design. It certainly is one of Virac’s finest monuments and therefore a must see.
(Bato Church built in 1800’s)
On the way to Puraran we decided to sit on top of our jeepney transport, which provided us the best seat to fully view Catanduanes’ rural life.
Everything about the Catanduanes life revolves around simplicity, hard work and the magnificent view of nature as a reward.
It gave us a glimpse of the hardworking farmers surrounded by their lush farms and towering mountains, the fishermen and the silent ocean environment.
But the best sight of all was a nipa hut on which barely had enough land to be fixed on for it not to fall into the edge of a cliff. It had the best view of the spectacular Catanduanes oceans. I knew who ever the owner of the hut is, he deserves this simple joy in life for it’s assured that he is a hardworking man.
(Catanduanes’ simple life)
The smile of Aireen Tanael was a welcoming sight upon our arrival at Puraran Majestics Beach Resort. Her smile reflected everything great about Puraran.
Our own villa that is oddly simple and at the same time luxurious. Coconut trees where you can hang your hammock, to view the sky through its leaves.
(Majestics Beach Resort “Villas”)
(Tied my hammock under the coconut trees)
Warm local folks who would invite you to a 4pm volleyball game they have been waiting for the whole afternoon, even if they intuitively know that you suck.
Surfing in between and with plain view of two magnificent large boulders.
But there was one thing that her smile was not able to describe.
THE MAJESTICS WAVE.
A wave that deserves more of a frown and especially a growl than a smile.
(Majestics Wave. Photo Credit: Aireen Tanael)
It was a long paddle to the majestic wave from the shore, and the closer I got, the louder the sound of the breaking majestic wave became. From just being a tiny speck looking from Majestic Beach Resort, the larger it became. Face to face with the Majestics, I felt overwhelmed.
I have surfed large waves before, but those waves are not as intimidating compared the Majestics wave.
Firstly, the way it behaved was unusual for a reef break wave. As a reef break wave, I expected it to break almost at the same spot every time. That once I was outside the impact zone, I can rest and gather my bearings and confidence. But this was not so, the wave acted as if it was a beach break wave, it broke randomly all over the place.
What was funny is that I had the feeling that it preys after second-guessing surfers. The wave knows if you are scared or exhausted. It just doesn’t give you a chance to rest.
The Majestics demands that you be ready all the time.
Every time I tried to catch a breath, a wave came exactly towards my position. Once it sensed that I was exhausted and ripe for the taking, the Majestics unleashed a wave bigger than the previous ones after me.
Every local surfer in the lineup was telling me to calm down, just hold on tight to my board and try my best to get over the approaching wave. While assuring me that they would be by my side, they all duck dived when the wave was finally upon us. (Talk about the cons of having a longboard during such a time. :I)
(Locally made longboards. Neat!)
It was the first time I saw myself fully vertical on the face of the wave, which made me realized I was doomed. A split second after that realization, the Majestics slammed me to the water. (Felt like a powerbomb). And it didn’t help that it was December, where the Majestics is at the peak of its power.
Being at the mercy of the Majestics wave, struggling for life can only be described as discombobulating. That I was being sucked deeper and deeper to the sea floor, was the only thing I was certain about, amidst losing all bearings and the disorientation.
Comparing the experience to being inside a washing machine just doesn’t cut it. Being inside a grinder is more appropriate, with the jaws of the ocean chewing you slowly to pieces.
As soon as the wave set passed, I urgently swam up as fast as I can to the surface to have a heavy gasp of air. When I thought everything was over, I found myself stuck on the worst place possible, “on the inside”. With my surf leash being entwined to the reef underneath the water, the Majestics definitely had me cornered for the knockout blow.
Good thing Chris Tanael decided to accompany me during my Majestics surf attempt, if it wasn’t for his calming presence, I wouldn’t have been able to find a way to set my leash loose from the reef.
(Chris and Aireen Tanael of Majestics Beach Resort)
After I decided to paddle in and call it a day. The next day I found myself retreating completely back to Virac, still contemplating on the horrific experience while eating seafood at Sea Breeze restaurant.
(Comfort food finally. huhuhu. )
(Sea Breeze Restaurant. Glad to still be alive for Christmas.)
I was not able to surf the Majestics wave as I was cut at several places in the attempt. The experience even made me stop surfing for several months.
But now I got my “mojos” back. Time to work hard and soon I’ll have my revenge.
Day by day I feel more and more worthy to tame you, Majestics.
I’ll be more prepared the next time we meet.
(Until next time, Puraran Beach Catanduanes.)
(REMINDER ALWAYS SURF WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES. KNOW YOUR LIMITS. SURFING IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY. HONE YOUR SKILLS ONE STEP AT A TIME AND SOON YOU’LL BE SURFING THE MAJESTICS WAVE SAFELY)
(Nicco Lampa visited Virac and Puraran Catanduanes on December 2, 2011 until December 5, 2011)