Bato Church Pathway

Path to Bato Church, Catanduanes

The morning exploration down south of Catanduanes in Igang and Lictin, made us real hungry when mid-day came. Out tricycle drove us back. Jun, our driver decided to drive along the coastal road so we could see the sights and communities on those part. It took almost an hour for us to reach Virac Town proper and stopped by One Two Sawa Eatery for lunch.

One Two Sawa Eatery

One Two Sawa Eatery in Virac

One Two Sawa is an interesting eatery. It’s not just your carinderia-type eatery as the rice and soup is unlimited thus the name of the eatery “One to Sawa” which in English is similar to “From one until you get tired of eating”. I know it may not look appealing on the outside but there’s in-room air conditioning which is convenient since the place is packed during peak hours of lunch and dinner. Food is reasonably priced and they got a really tasty fried chicken as well.

Bato Church Roof and modern altar

Bato Church’s Modern interiors

We headed northward this time to visit Bato, which is the town next to Virac. Our first stop was the magnificent Bato Church. Situated by the river, its beautiful old edifice welcomes visitors to Bato coming from the south. This massive structure took 53 years to build from 1830 to 1883 under six different parish administrations.

Bato Church Pews and Windows

Old walls, new pews

Bato Church retained its exteriors made of mortar and coral lime stones despite the test of time. It’s one of the dominant structures in the island with thick and massive walls. The interiors are a bit of contrast however as there were alterations done on the ceiling as well as the altar. It looks new but I did like the altar with renaissance style paintings on the wall and ceiling.

Bato Church by the river

Bato Church by the river

I think it’s just a few hundred meters drive from Bato Church until we reached the jump-off point to Balombong falls. The falls was inaccessible for some time since it stands on a privately owned ground. Now the large house built with a pool has been part of the lush surrounding as foliage started growing around the ruins of this old house. Jun remembered when he was young how he used the visit the places and also saw how a flood devastated the house that is now abandoned.

Balombong Falls

The gentle cascades of Balombong Falls

The good news is that the miniature falls is still charming. I can completely understand the previous owners on how they made their home revolve around this falls. It’s gentle and mild cascades is relaxing to look at. We took time to take pictures of the fools then moved out to visit another falls.

Balombong Falls

Balombong twin cascades

Maribina Falls is just on the border of Bato near Virac. It’s close to the main highway and walk able from our lodging at Monte Karlo Resort. The falls has been developed into a local park and has an entrance fee of Php 5 per person. There are concrete gazebos heading toward the falls.

Maribina Falls

Maribina Falls

The falls itself is tall and has segmented levels. The main pour has its own pool. I heard it is real deep that someone drowned there recently after an unsuspected flash flood of water poured through. So care should be taken when swimming on its waters. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely falls which I’m sure locals are enjoying.

Maribina Falls upper pool

 

The Maribina Falls was our last sight to see in Catanduanes as we would be leaving the next day. There was a storm approaching at that time as we were worried that we might get stuck here if it reaches the island before we left. Fortunately for us, even with the windy and rainy conditions, the CEB flight pushed through and we got out there in time, not that we wanted to leave early. In fact there are still some interesting places up north of the island that we would want to explore. Maybe a reason to go back to in the future.

Maribina Falls

Maribina Falls lower pool

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Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.