If you are looking for a place where you can escape from all the work chaos, or maybe a new place you want to explore, then prepare your backpack and set your foot in Caramoan Islands. Yay!, you so deserve this. Caramoan is a group of islands situated in the lower eastern part of Camarines Sur in the Bicol region of the Philippines. Not known by many, but it is composed of different islands with which each has its own enchanting characteristics. Even I have been surprised by what I have encountered being there. I’ve been in Boracay and I must say that Caramoan is much more enticing with less crowded structures and minimal stores near the sea.
Islands to explore
After a long travel hour and sitting which will surely hurt your butts, the breathtaking experience and picturesque views will make it all worth it. So, here are some of the many reasons and places to visit in Caramoan.
Matukad is one of the smaller islands found in the cape of Caramoan. Just like the other islands in the vicinity, along with the beaches and surrounding waters rises a towering limestone cliff. But its fine sand that is comparable to Boracay’s makes it attractive to the visitors. It is true that in order for you to reach the top and have a beautiful view of everything, you must learn how to climb harder. So, we did climb the stone cliffs and yeah, achievement unlocked! The view is just amazing. It is a little crowded when we got here but it doesn’t make it any less beautiful. In here, the create-your-path path is applicable. There are no developed trails or handles so you better use your instinct for climbing. The stones are stiff and sharp hence, be careful not to get hurt(I’ve got several cuts from the sharp stone, ouch!).
Matukad Lagoon is famous for its intriguing mythical tale among the locals. “Giant Milkfishes” are swimming around this small lake. According to the people living in here, these creatures just suddenly appeared to this lagoon. Based on their story, long ago there were two of them here until someone caught one of them and brought it home to his family for dinner. It is said that the entire family died as a result of eating the fish. Since then, no one ever set their hands on those creatures. Composing myself and with proper motivation from my friend, I was able to climb the cliff and took a glimpse of the creatures. I got goosebumps seeing them swimming around the lake. It was like teleporting to another world.
Coiled to be the “Batanes of the South” with wide green fields, round hills, and blue waters. You can hike up to its highest peak to where a lighthouse stands and enjoy the breathtaking view of the island.
There is no other way to reach the peak but to trek, it was quite hot when we visited but then again, we were not disappointed. Ensure to bring a hat or an umbrella for sun protection.
Sabitang Laya is one of the two beaches that make up the two sides of the almost triangular island of Bagieng, while the other is called Bagieng. About two kilometers of white sand coasts and crystal clear waters are straddling around the cape.
Being amidst excitement and tiredness, we spent our time sitting on a rock formation while enjoying the sunset and the cold water. I am not sure what I am thinking during this time that I took a picture with a dead shellfish.
Manlawi Floating Cottage and Sandbar
Manlawi sandbar is a one-kilometer-wide sandbar during low tide located east of the biggest island group called Lahuy which completely submerged during high tide. There are few floating huts built for those who would like to enjoy the scenery while resting or having their meals. A unique experience indeed!
The rental fee of the floating cottage is 250php($4.8) for unlimited use. You just need to have enough patience until one hut has been vacated and be available for use. Imagine having your lunch in the middle of the sea. Locals are even selling Hala-halo in their floating boat stores which is a perfect dessert for hot weather.
Considering its calm waves and rental huts where you can rest and relax, it is always included on the island hopping itinerary. The rental fee of the hut cost 100php($2) – 200php($4).
The water is unexpectedly shallow even you walk further on the sea. You can see me in the picture enjoying myself under the sun just because I can’t resist it. Aside from these mentioned islands, there are still few which cannot be traversed due to “Survivor” filming and bad weather condition. But no worries, we still have next time.
The budget you need
With a budget of 5000php($96.5), ideally for a group consisting of four persons, one can stay at the island for 3 days and 2 nights inclusive of accommodation, tour, food, and fare(from Manila).
Ways to commute to Caramoan
Travel from Cubao to Naga by bus, travel period is approximately 9 to 10 hours. From Naga, ride a van or bus going to Sabang Port for 1 and ½ hours. Then, ride a boat from Sabang Port to Guijalo Port of Caramoan for 2 hours. You will need to ride a tricycle to reach Caramoan town where most of the accommodations can be sited.
Depart from Manila via Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines to Naga, travel time is about 1 hour and 5 minutes. Then, the same procedure as above, from the airport, ride a van or bus going to Sabang Port. Ride a boat from Sabang Port to Guijalo Port of Caramoan and lastly, ride a tricycle heading to the town. This option has less travel time but more expensive.
The overall experience is great and is recommendable. The island is surprisingly beautiful and recognizably untouched. See for yourself, see you Caramoan!