Tag Archives: Camarines Sur

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!

 

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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!

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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! 🙂

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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!

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Caramoan, Philippines: West Peninsula Villas– A Nice Place to Stay in this Lovely Paradise

The villa is inside a baranggay in Caramoan, it will take you 10-15minutes to jump start your Island Hopping adventure. Although it may not be near the beach, our stay is worthwhile since hailing a tricycle was never a problem, especially if you stay in this place! The place is located near the red church which was built by the Spaniards during the 17th Century, and it is within the center of caramoan.

The villas are beautiful, roomy, has a cabled television, an airconditioning unit and an electric fan, and has its own bathroom which has a water heater. The place is also a wifi-zone (though I haven’t tried it). The decoration is simple yet relaxing. What we had are two single beds which we merged in to one in order to accommodate the three of us.

What is good about this place is the FOOD! they have big servings and all are delicious. It was always a sumptuous meal (Now, I remember how yummy they are! Yum!) You won’t get hungry when you go here!–trust me, this is true, that’s why I gained a couple of pounds when I stayed here! 🙂

Although we are 3 women traveling together, the food served is good for 5 persons or for 3 men….The food served is really is sumptuous, it is really like a festival or a fiesta!! Seafood (giant shrimps “sugpo” and crabs), pork and fish were served during our stay there. These sumptuous meals were only served during lunch and dinner time. Breakfast were the usual Filipino breakfast such as egg, fried rice, tocino, tapa or ham with free hot chocolate or coffee.

This place has its own karaoke and beer place where you can hang out during the night. And also this place was the one being used by the staff of Survivor TV shows. And actually each of the cabanas are named to each of the contestant of the said TV show. And there are also things used by Survivor contestants displayed there (e.g. ball, ladder etc).

As for the staff, they are very friendly and accommodating, you can tell them what you want and they will do it for you, for example, telling them to pack the left-overs (which were left untouched during the dinner) and reheat and pack them for tomorrow’s island hopping adventure. They also give you extra towel if you need one although they already provided you enough towels for your stay. They also cooked us french fries even though it wasn’t in their menu! Moreover, water is also provided; there is a big water dispenser there where you can get your cold or hot water for drinking.

As for the rates, i learned about their rates through my sister who asked how much was the rent there, and they said that one cabana/villa cost at around P1500 room rate only without the meals. Although I’m not so sure about the rates since I did not ask them personally, it is better to contact them directly or hire a travel organizer or buy a travel package. We bought our travel package to a travel operator there, and they put us in this hotel. We paid 4,300 for each persons for 3 days 2 nights stay all were included such as food, hotel accommodation, island hopping adventure tour etc.

I really had a nice stay here in West Peninsula Villas.

Tips:
1. Book early, especially during the peak seasons (march-May) as this is one of the best in Caramoan and tends to sold out immediately. For my trip, I actually did not expect that this will be the place where we will stay since I booked it through a travel operator in caramoan (Caramoan Haven). The tour operator said that this place is the priority hotel;  when there are available rooms they put their guests here.
2. Bring bottles for refilling water. Drinking water is needed for your Island Hopping adventure, you can refill them in the water dispenser found in the restaurant in west peninsula
3. Bring a Lot of Sunblock or tanning lotion (depends on what you prefer)
4. ENJOY!

Hope this helps!!

Room Tip: Contact and reserve to them early as possible (if during peak seasons, at least 1-2 months before your arrival in Caramoan)

 

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Caramoan, Philippines: How to Get To Caramoan?

UPDATED: APRIL 20, 2016. ive been to caramoan 3x including the time that I went last 2011.

I traveled to this place last September 2011. It is located in Camarines Sur, south of Manila. It is touted to be as the next Boracay.

Simply Amazing (photo from Caramoan Haven)

If you’ve been to Boracay with its fine white sandy beach then this place also has its own fair share of beaches. And also… the beaches here is also fine, white, and sandy…. less the crowd and all-night partying in Boracay. This place is yet to develop… and the Camarines Sur government promised that this nature’s wonder will not be abused and that they will preserve the place.

Limestone Formations

Moreover, what makes this place unique is that it also has amazing limestone formations which rivals that of Palawan. So, coming here is like going to Boracay and Palawan at the same time.

The place is not that popular before, until one Survivor TV Show made this place as the setting of their series…

Now, Caramoan is slowly becoming a tourist spot in the country…

CLICK HERE FOR CARAMOAN ITINERARY 

How to get here?

FROM MANILA

  1. You have two choices either ride the plane (45 minutes) or ride the bus (8-11 hours)
  • Plane going to Naga, Camarines Sur costs aroung (P3,000 round trip ticket or $70USD. The plane will land in Pili, Camarines Sur, 30-40 minutes to downtown Naga City. And also, the plane they are using is a small plane, so expect a longer ride (than in legazpi, where they use airbus a319-20).
    • So after arriving in pili, there are vans and taxis where you can ride to get where your hotel is located.
    • the airport is quite near the Camarines Sur Watersports Complex (CWC) around 15 minutes van or taxi ride.
  • Bus going to Naga (P500-900.00 one way, $11-21USD for one way trip). I prefer that you will use the ever so trusted Cagsawa Travel and Tours.
    • the whole bus ride is around 8 hours, with one stop for weewee break (lol)
    • If you don’t need rest and go directly from manila to Caramoan, just ride a tricycle towards the Naga Van Terminal upon alighting from the Naga Bus Central Terminal and then ride a van towards Sabang. The trip starts as early as 6:00am.

2. Then go to Sabang Port (45 minutes to 1 hour travel) 

  • Ride the van or jeep going to Sabang Port (P120.00 or $3USD). The van terminal is in front of SM City Naga
    • The ride will more or less last for 1 to 2 hours depending on how fast the van is.

3. Then Ride the Ferry going to Caramoan (Guijalo Port)

  • The ride will take 2 hours
  • The ferry fee (this is a big outrigger boat) is (P120.00 or $3USD)
  • The first ferry leaves Sabang Port by 5:30 am and the last ferry leaves by 11:30 am. They have travel schedule every hour during that time frame.

FROM LEGAZPI

  1.  Ride a bus or shuttle bus in Satellite or Legazpi City Central Terminal going to Naga (180.00 or 4USD). The travel time will be 2 hours
  2. Then alight to the Naga Terminal and then ride a jeep or van going to Sabang Port (P120 or $3USD).
    1. please be reminded that the Naga Bus terminal is different from the Naga Van Terminal, so if you ride a bus going to Naga, then you still need to ride a trike or a tricycle to go to the Naga Van Terminal.
  3.  Ride the Ferry

OTHER WAYS TO GO TO CARAMOAN WITHOUT RIDING A BOAT/FERRY

My last time to go to Caramaon was last January 11, 2016, the day right after my 25th birthday. Since we were too tired to wake up at 5am, we decided to travel by land instead.

I will post other details regarding my travel in a separate post. So, here is the other mode:

If you are traveling by group then you can hire a van, and travel by land. The land travel takes around 3 hours from Naga City, and 5 hours from Legazpi City. You can contact your travel agency to arrange for your pick up or you can just go hire a van. The cost is from 2500 to 3000 for pick up (Caramoan Haven) for the whole van which sits 11 persons. And if you wanna hire a van for the whole time (back and forth) until your vacation ends, let’s say 3 days and 2 nights then it might be around 5000 to 7000.00 pesos.

If you are going to take public transport, you can ride a bus  going to Caramoan in the Naga Central Bus terminal. Philtranco and other buses travels to and from Caramoan, last trip is 11:30am.

Is traveling by land better: YES. (stay tuned for my next post about my land travel towards Caramoan).

 

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