Category Archives: Caramoan

Caramoan: A Visit in a 17th Century Church

Visiting Churches in the Philippines is a must. Not only that most of the Churches has a long-entrenched history surrounding its walls and every pillars that holds it..Churches in the Philippines also differs in architectural style and materials used… that is why every Church in the Philippines is unique; and no two churches are alike.

My colleagues and I amid the beautiful mix of red and blue

If you are a Filipino, and you think that visiting this place is just another Church (the same old Church that you see everywhere) then I tell you that this place has its own charm; an old rustic feeling surrounds it.. And it somehow makes you go back in time and think about how many people have worshiped God in this place and how it stayed strong and intact throughout centuries.

Inside the Church

visiting this Church is indeed another experience. Not only that it is a lot older than me and you, it has a beautiful facade that will surely fascinate you.

And for architecture buffs, this place is something you wanna visit especially for old-style architecture. The Church was made using red bricks.

There is also a wide courtyard where a lot of Church activities may be done– like processions and other prayer-related matters 🙂

The old rustic charm of this place will surely captivate you!

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY OTHER POSTS ABOUT CARAMOAN/ ITINERARY/ HOTEL REVIEWS ETC. 

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Caramoan: Hiking the 527 steps towards a beautiful view

Other things to do in Caramoan is to climb this 300-400 steps towards the Mama Mary statue… If Brazil does have the Jesus’ statue which seems to welcome you when you arrive, Caramoan have this Mama Mary statue with her open arms seemingly welcoming visitors with all her heart.

The Beautiful Mama Mary amid the blue skies

The “grotto” as I call it can be seen when you are in the ‘high seas’ of Caramoan. It’s big and visible to the naked eye! 🙂

Climbing to get to this place is challenging because of the 300-400 steps, but the lush greenery is just gorgeous! Every single step you do makes you wanna pause and take a picture of the beautiful blend of green amid the blue skies

Steep Stairs that you need to climb! but just look at the lush greenery!

After climbing up this steps you will be shocked on what awaits your arrival…

All the climbing and sweating.. you will arrive to witness this beautiful scenery

This place gives you a birds eye view of the islands of Caramoan.

Look at the flowers! They are all blooming makes you wonder that they really welcomes you to their humble town of Caramoan!

And of course, Mama Mary!

Well, climbing this stairs is worth the visit! Having to see this scenery amid the beautiful green and blue landscape is simply amazing!

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY OTHER POSTS ABOUT CARAMOAN/ ITINERARY/ HOTEL REVIEWS ETC. 

Sabitang-Laya, Caramoan: Philippines’ Hidden Gem

This place is a hidden gem unknown to most individuals and has a beauty that will surely captivate you.

This island will also be found in Caramoan, Philippines south of Manila.

This island has a twin beach.. the Sabitang-Laya and Bag-ing beach, both beach has long stretch of fine sand. Although the sand here is not as white as the one in Matukad  but the sand texture rivals that of Boracay and Matukad. The sand is really soft to touch and it’s like baby powder! You will love rolling in the sand– just like what I did!

There’s also no lodging houses, hotels or any sign of development near the area.. you will notice that the only litters that you can see are from nature itself… seaweeds and seaweeds alone! Nothing else.. This is nature in its finest!

Sabitang Laya

What makes this a lot more different than the others? It is because of how long the beach is.. Moreover, there are 2 beaches, one in the left and the other from the right. Here is a picture for your reference (take note: I didn’t take this photo below:)

Sabitang Laya ang Bag-ing Beach: the twin beaches

Again, as you can notice in my previous posts, you can always see beautiful limestone formation while you traverses the sea to go to your island of destination.

While going to Sabitang-Laya we saw this beautiful limestone formation
Limestones
Limestones once again

Another characteristic of this island is on how wonderful the limestone and other rock formations found in this place. You will surely be captivated!

Limestones in the island itself

It may not be the whitest sand you can see, but it also has its own fair share of beauty--its sand is powdery as milk!

the Beach

Again, I have no words to describe the place, and I will let the photos speak for itself. All I can say is Sabitang Laya is definitely a feast for the eyes when you witness its rugged beauty.

That’s all I can say.. No words can tell how much beautiful this place and how lovely the whole Caramoan is! Everything is simply captivating!

HAPPY WANDERING! 🙂

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY OTHER POSTS ABOUT CARAMOAN/ ITINERARY/ HOTEL REVIEWS ETC. 

Tips and Things to do in Caramoan, Philippines

Caramoan is a peninsula, it consists of a lot of islands which you can visit and explore.

Here are the lists of things you can do while you are in this paradise

  1. Island Hopping–  anyone in Caramoan should do this! you should not miss the wonderful islands in this peninsula… Staying in your hotel is a no-no! Get out and have a tan! and choose the island/s that you wanna visit!
  • Most of the accommodations offered in Caramoan are located in their “bayan” or the municipality proper. Take note that staying in Caramoan proper, or the baranggay only means that you won’t be staying in a beachfront hotel, you need to travel 5-10 minutes by vehicle to have a glimpse of sparkling sand and water.  The wonderful islands here doesn’t have on-site accommodation or any hotels.. only sand, water and nature… but I learned that you can pitch your tent in Matukad Island.
  • There are beachfront hotels available such as Gota Beach Resort and Hunungan Cove, however, it is quite expensive. And these hotels are not located in the captivating islands themselves… They are located in another island (near the center of Caramoan). The beach in those hotels are nothing compared to those you’ll see during your island-hopping adventure.
  • Islands not to miss: 1.) Matukad 2.) Lahos—love the strong waves! 3.) Cotivas Island 4.) Manlawi Sandbar 5.) Sabitang Laya--here you can see a lot of gorgeous limestone formations

2. Gear up your feet while you climb  527 steps of stairs to see the wonderful Grotto and the captivating view of some islands in Caramoan… However, this is not for the easily tired people like me since you really need to walk in steep stairs.

3. Eat Kinalas. This is Bicol’s specialty and Caramoan has its own take n making Kinalas.

4. Visit St. Michael’s parish. a 17th Century old Church… it’s made of red bricks, which made it a lot more interesting! It’s a wonderful sight!

5. Visit the underground river! It’s small but after heaving to soak in salt-water, it’s time to rinse in fresh water…. Underground river is the best with its clean, cold yet refreshing water

6. Buy some souvenirs! And try their pilinut candies!!

Tips while you are in Caramoan:

  1. Book your vacation in advance, especially if during peak seasons (March-May), you should book 2 months before your travel, so that you can make sure that you have a place to stay.
  2. Bring sunblock to protect your skin (You will be outside most of the time, so tanning is inevitable). Using sun block will protect you from sunburn)
  3. Bring a lot of water. After swimming in salty water you might need some fresh drinking water to revitalize yourself to swim again… in short, to quench your thirst. It’s better if its cold. 🙂
  4. If there’s no food included in your travel package, I advise you to bring food (pack lunch) since the city center is far from the beautiful islands of Caramoan. You really need to take a boat to come and go. Moreover, there are no vendors or any establishment in the islands I mentioned. It’s only you and nature. Nothing else.
  5. Bring your camera.. The places you’ll be visiting are really photogenic!
  6. No bar, no nightlife, just karaoke and some beers… If you want all-night partying, go to Boracay and have fun there! Caramoan is nature at its finest.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY OTHER POSTS ABOUT CARAMOAN/ ITINERARY/ HOTEL REVIEWS/TIPS/PLACES TO VISIT/HOW TO GET THERE ETC. 

Cotivas Island: Simply Captivating

For our 2nd day in Caramoan, we continued our island-hopping by stopping-by in Cotivas Island.

Cotivas Island is an hour trip by boat from Caramoan proper. And according to our tour guide this island is the farthest among the other beautiful islands/islets of Caramoan. Actually I didn’t expect much about it because what I’m more excited about is the Manlawi Sandbar which we will be visiting next, but in my surprise this place really amazed me.

During our trip going to this island, there are also limestone formations which greeted us with its usual natural beauty. And the water also makes me wanna jump!!! It’s really a sight for the eyes! Truly nature’s wonder! 🙂

The beautiful limestone formations greeting us on our way to Cotivas Island

Beautiful Limestone Formations and the blue waters that makes me wanna jump!

Unlike Matukad Island, Cotivas has a long stretch of white sand, and with coconut trees lining up adding a more tropical island touch….

Arriving in Cotivas Island… look at the tip!! and our camera cannot cover the whole island! It’s indeed a long beach!

The sand here is not as soft as the one in Matukad, but the view here is simply amazing. I was really amazed on how the coconut trees lined up in the island while on the tip of the island, there’s no trees only sand and beach! You can swim in either center, left or right —If only I can explain this better… forgive me, just let the photos speak for itself.

The Beautiful sea-scape of the island… see the three coconut like things, actually that’s us… our tour guide took the picture for us 🙂
Having a jump shot amid the beautiful view is just amazing… sorry, I’m not the one in the pic 🙂

By the way, in the picture above, you can see the tip of the island, where you can swim in either side left or right or even in the middle…

Here, you can also find some shells, and they are really beautiful… (refer to the jump show pic) And there’s no sign of development in the area.. No hotels.. no whatsoever… Only beach and sand… Only you and nature!

Just look at our pictures…as you can see we have the whole island exclusively for us 🙂

Tres Marias loving the sand! 🙂 we are on the tip.. don’t look at the people… notice how the waves meet in the pictures..

I have no more words to say… I’m just speechless… and I’m scared that whatever I say will just be an understatement. I’ll let you judge its beauty from your own eyes. Look at the pictures

This is one of the best islands in Caramoan. I hope you can also visit this place.

HAPPY WANDERING!

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY OTHER POSTS ABOUT CARAMOAN/ ITINERARY/ HOTEL REVIEWS/TIPS/PLACES TO VISIT/HOW TO GET THERE ETC. 

Matukad Island: Heaven on Earth

Well, to be honest, I’m not a beach goer since I don’t like getting a tan (I’m Asian, so being fair-skinned is considered beautiful). But going to Caramoan hooked me up to beaches. I’m so amazed how beautiful the sea is and how cuddly the sand can be

In my whole life, I’ve never seen a white sand beach, so this will be my first time.

So, now, I’m reviewing one of the islands we visited during our 3 day stay. Matukad Island (in bikolano or the local dialect in caramoan, it is called Going-Up or climb-up) it is called that way since you need to climb up to see the lake and the beautiful scenery there. Unfortunately, we spent our time swimming in this island and did not even try to go up to see the lake since we are scared to get bruises if ever we accidentally fell in the pointy limestone rocks —Sorry, we are so preoccupied in swimming and rolling to its beautiful fine white sand! It’s a pity though, since I also wanna see the lake 😦 Anyway, I’ll promise to myself that I should go back to Caramoan! 

The Matukad Island is the 1st island in our 3 day itinerary… But before getting into the island itself, the things to see while traveling to this marvelous Island is a sight to behold!

Limestone formations are lining up bit by bit while we are nearing Matukad Island… The turquoise water makes me wanna jump and swim!!! — fortunately, our tour guide prevented me to do so 🙂 or else I’m not here writing this blog 🙂 I know how to swim but swimming in a very deep water like that??? I might just be tired after paddling my feet for survival–I might just give up! hehe…  crazy right???

Upon arriving in the Island, I was just like “So, this is white sand” actually, I’m quite disappointed since I wanna see a literally white sand…. I mean the sand with the same color of a bond paper/coupon bond…  But my friends told me that this is what is called as a white sand and that the color of the sand here is whiter than the one in Boracay… so I was like “Oooohhh!” 

Although I’m quite disappointed (because I expected to see a coupon-bond white—white sand– Although I keep on telling myself that it’s already a white sand! as seen in the photos! I was really amazed on how fine the sand is… It’s really fine.. It’s like baby powder… actually, I wanna roll and roll there but I was so afraid of crabs or any kind of alien seafood and getting my skin pricked, so I just dipped my feet into the fine white sand and went swimming in the turquoise water…

The place is really beautiful, even though it isn’t a long beach, but the sand, it has the most powdery white sand I’ve ever touch and seen. And as our tour guide said, the sand here is the most powdery of all the islands in Caramoan.

The place was really clean, really out of touch to the messy world of technological advancement, big cities and noise, it is really a rural place where you can relax. And here, you can actually build a tent and stay there for a night (though we haven’t tried it), you just need to ask permission to the baranggay captain (or the official in charge of the town).

There’s no hotel in this island, just a few town people, and you won’t see houses or any establishments near the shore… you can only see the water, the white sand, the trees and the limestones… such a beautiful sight!

Please… I’m telling you now, if you are going to Caramoan, and this island isn’t part of your itinerary, better that you find another tour guide or tour package since missing this in your island-hopping adventure is not a good idea, since this island has the most fine sand and most beautiful beach. It was said to be even finer and beautiful than Boracay itself. 🙂

HAPPY WANDERING!

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY OTHER POSTS ABOUT CARAMOAN/ ITINERARY/ HOTEL REVIEWS/TIPS/PLACES TO VISIT/HOW TO GET THERE ETC. 

Caramoan Haven: Tour Agency Review and Our Caramoan Itinerary

For our travel last September 3-5, 2012, I booked my Caramoan adventure with a travel agency named Caramoan Haven.

To view itinerary scroll down, you can click the links below to see my posts/reviews about that place.

During the time that I was looking for a place to stay in Caramoan, I suddenly came accross into this agency’s website and I suddenly saw their promo rates, which in effect, deeply enticed me to get their services.  At least, I wouldn’t be stressed in finding accommodations, boat, boatman, transfers etc during this vacation. If a vacation would be so stressful, then why call it a vacation? A trip should be stressed free! 🙂

Although honestly, I love being stressed sometimes, I’m such a masochist! hihi. But for this trip, I want it to be stree-free! 🙂

This agency is DTI Registered as stated by their website. Moreover, they only asked for P400 or $9.30 USD per person as reservation fee. We paid P4300.00 each or $100 USD for 3 days 2 nights adventure which include accommodation, tours, tour guide, boat rentals and of course food!

We reserved our trip by depositing the amount in their bank account. I actually don’t know why I trusted them so much that I just deposited the money right away… The proprietor was also shocked since I booked and paid immediately without waiting for him to send the itinerary… Woahh! Thanks be to God that they are indeed a legitimate travel agency, if not, I’ll be killed by my friends! – as in dead meat! 😦

We stayed in one of the good accommodations in Caramoan, The West Peninsula Villas. It is within the Barangay center. I made a review of this place. Click here. The Caramoan Haven booked us there, and I was so happy with the place and their service. 🙂

I was so amazed with this travel agency because I didn’t expect that a van will pick us up in Guijalo port, because usually (as seen in other blogs) the other tour agencies pick you up using a tricycle.

It’s a VAN! 🙂 so, can you see my hand in the window???

Another surprise.. is when I saw the boat that we are going to use for our island-hopping activity. Since we are just 3 persons traveling together I’m expecting a small boat which can ride only 5 people but in my surprise the boat that we used was really huge! It can accommodate 8-12 people! What a huge boat for only 3 travelers! We even compared a boat we saw which has 9 passengers on it, but it was obviously very small compared to our BOAT! then I mumbled to myself (with a mocking tone)–look at our boat, we have a larger boat than you have.. we are only three and you are nine! so poor of you! — Sorry, just being childish and proud during that time! 🙂

The BIG BOAT… I’m sorry this is the only pic I have for the boat, though in person it looks big!

Our tour guide said that they want their guests to be comfortable and also to be safe, so they got this big boat for our adventure 🙂 it is very nice of them!

Moreover, what made our trip memorable is that our tour guide named Eli was very accommodating and very “very” helpful! He was even our photographer! We gave him our camera and he started taking beautiful and amazing photos! So almost all of my photos was taken by this tour guide/photographer– and all I can say that he knows better than I do when it comes to photography :)He also informed us of everything we need to know. If you are asking if he is a good English speaker, I think he is since he is a College Graduate with the course of Education! 🙂

Our Tourguide/photographer.. see, he’s really a photographer!
Meet our tour guide/photographer ELI 🙂
Our Bangkero/ Boatman… Look at the crystal clear water, this is in Manlawi sandbar.. Unfortunately, it was high tide (Tune in for my other posts for my Caramoan Adventure, more beautiful photos to be posted!)

And also, the proprietor, Gerald was very accommodating.. He was the one who is driving the van in the picture above. He was very hands-on with his business and very kind too..And since we finished our tour during our first day quite early, they suggested that we go swimming in the underground river! Take note, that the underground river is not part of our actual itinerary….

Actually, when I heard underground river, I was like “Really? There’s an underground river?” I was actually thinking of an underground river as big as the one in Puerto Princesa haha! 🙂

Since we are just 3 women traveling together, Gerald even joined us for a dip in the so-called underground river (p.s. don’t expect a big wild underground river just like the one in Palawan!).

Moreover, this travel agency also helped us to see the town during the night. We even ate some traditional food called “Kinalas” it is a noodle soup with some strange thing on it– I dare you to try! If you ever come here then I suggest you to ask them what’s inside.

They even arranged us a masseur. Since we are tired and the hotel doesn’t seem to have a Spa, We asked Eli if where we can get a massage and they said their cousin is a nice masseur… So we booked their cousin’s service after our dinner and she was really great!

AND… I will never forget how sumptuous the meals were! We are like prisoners who will be hanged the next day! We are eating like pigs! We ate, swim, ate, swim, then swim then ate, then sleep then ate, swim and so on…. The food that was included in the package were really A LOT! We didn’t even finish the food served during the dinner so we asked the hotel to reheat and pack it for our 2nd day island hopping. All I can say is that the food served was amazing! It includes yummy seafood like shrimps, crabs, fish and pork!

The Food is only good for 3 persons! and we are females! That’s a lot!

Moreover, I forgot to share to you that this travel agency is run by a family… Gerald and Eli are cousins…. as well as “Santino” and our masseur. They are really…really..really… great people! Actually, when we are with them we felt not like a Guest but we felt like we are part of their family.. We joked to each other, and had fun together… It was really a nice experience!

I just felt the real kind of Filipino Hospitality with them! They are really nice people and easy to talk to… When you are with them, you will realize that you are in good hands!

FOR THIS TOUR AGENCY I RATE THEM 5 STARS!! GOOD JOB!

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OUR ITINERARY:
Itinerary For 3days & 2nights package:
Day 1 (Arrival):

0930 hrs(ETA) Guijalo port (pick-up point) to town proper
1000 hrs Hotel/hometel (West Peninsula Villas) check-in/rest a bit
1100 hrs Lunch/early lunch
1115 hrs To Paniman/Bikal
1140 hrs Proceeding to Islands (Swimming)

  • Minalagos Island
  • Cagbalinad Beach
  • Matukad Island— best sand, click the link to see my post
  • Lahos Island

1200 hrs Lunch—
1300 hrs Island Exploration/Swimming
1700 hrs Back to Accommodation/Rest/Grooming
1930 hrs Dinner/Socials

Day 2:
0600 hrs Wake-up call/Grooming/Breakfast
0700 hrs Proceeding to Bikal Port
0745 hrs Bikal Port to Tabgon
0900hrs Grotto of Our Lady of Peace (527 climb steps)
1100 hrs Proceeding to Islands

1230 hrs Lunch………
1330 hrs Swimming/Island Hopping/Exploration
1630 hrs Proceeding to Bikal Port
1800 hrs Back to Accommodation/Rest/Grooming/Souvenir Shopping
1930 hrs Dinner/Socials

Day 3 (Departure):

0630 hrs Wake-up Call/Grooming/Breakfast
0730 hrs Church of Saint Michael (17th Century Church)
0800 hrs Souvenir shop
0900 hrs Proceed to Guijalo port

To Contact them:

If you have other questions, feel free to comment at the box below and I will answer your queries with all of my knowledge and as fast as I can..

HAPPY WANDERING!

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY POST ON HOW TO GET TO CARAMOAN, CAMARINES SUR!