Sunday, April 24, 2016

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

180 degrees shift in traveling - From being a trip planner to a hasty wanderer.

In terms of travel personality, I am the type of traveler with the usual ready itinerary, advance bookings and complete travel stuff. Sometimes, it is good to deviate a little from this routine and just go on with the flow.

Cotivas Island

With rough information on how to go to Caramoan (by reading other travel blogs), we were crossing our fingers that we would be able to reach Caramoan without any bus booking or advanced purchased bus ticket at all, considering that this is in Bicol region. Yes, we were taking our chances for this trip since airlines are really costly if bookings are within the week of travel. Fortunately, our positivity paid off. For backpackers, Philtranco can be tried being the safe and oldest bus company to exist in the Philippines. They have routes all over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with bus terminal in Pasay, Manila. In this trip, we are chance passengers on the way to Naga with overnight travel time of around 9 hours.

When we arrived in Naga, we purchased in advance our bus tickets back to Manila to avoid any hassle. Isarog Lines offers comfort to Manila travelers as they have sleeper buses, lazy boy and extreme seat buses.

Manila > Naga (jumping point) > Caramoan town

From Naga to Caramoan and vice versa, there are 2 modes of transportation – via bus or via pumped boat. We took a bus to Caramoan then a pumped boat on our return to Naga in order to experience both routes.

Naga to Caramoan via bus is around 4.5 hours travel time; around 2 hours mostly in steep, curvy and winding road since the route is all over the mountain region of Bicol. Recommended bus is the Penafrancia lines located also in the Naga Bus terminal.

Caramoan (via Guijalo Port) to Naga (via Sabang port) is around 2 hours of sea travel. The pumped boat, which can accommodate around 60 passengers, will travel alongside the islands of Bicol. There is more comfort in taking the boat ride than the bus. This is the recommended transportation during summer, when the ocean is calm. From Sabang port, van ride is about 1 hour back to the Naga bus terminal.

Next is the accommodation. Thanks to Agoda, we were able to book a room in Caramoan a day before our travel. We have chosen Casita Mia as the 2nd travelers choice for apartels in Caramoan based on TripAdvisors review. We highly recommend this place for budget conscious travelers. During our trip, participants of the international tv series Survivor Denmark were housed in Casita Mia.

Caramoan town is a first class municipality in Camarines Sur. According to the locals, Caramoan started to become famous 3 years ago since it was chosen as the taping location of the internationally acclaimed tv series “Survivor”. Island hopping is the major activity in Caramoan, similar to Palawan. The picturesque view of the islands will entice you to visit it again.

The sandbar in Cotivas Island


The floating cottages in Bugtung and Manlawe Islands

In Naga, you may visit the Our Lady of Penafrancia, the Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC) and the restaurants recommended by the locals such as Bob Marlin and DJC along Magsaysay avenue.

Penafrancia Church


Bob Marlin

No comments: