Tag Archives: Caramoan Camarines Sur

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. 

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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! 

Caramoan, Philippines: Why Hire A Travel Agent?

Although I’m the “travel” agent of my family, friends and colleagues; which means I’m the one who arranges our trip without having to use local travel agencies— or sometimes I’ll be the tour guide myself…. For this trip, I opted to get a travel package for my Caramoan Adventure.

I made this kind of arrangement so that I can get rid of being stressed and looking haggard throughout the trip, even though I know that it is easy to come-and-around in Caramoan; however, the planning especially of the things like place to stay, a boat and a boatman, food, tour guide will make you crazy especially if you do this by yourself.

Having a travel agency to arrange for you your most awaited vacation is a totally good idea! Especially if you are like me, who is always the travel planner in your group or family —You know what, sometimes I get tired and angry too…although I enjoy booking and researching for the trip..sometimes I say, ‘I just want a vacation which I won’t think about anything else… just have fun and relax’

Getting a travel package is a little-bit expensive than DIY, since of course, you need to pay for their service for prearranging your vacation–from booking hotels, food, ‘bangka‘ boat, and others… But, since you are in a vacation and a paradise like this… why not spend some more in order to fully enjoy and relax! Don’t let yourself or your friend be stressed, just hire a travel agent— This will be my message for my friends who are looking at this at this very moment 🙂 Peace!

Below is a list of some travel agencies in Caramoan (click the link to go to their websites)

I’ll add more as soon as I can see other travel agencies 🙂 I’ll keep you updated!

What to look at when hiring a Good Travel Agency for your trip:

  1. Department of Trade and Industry Registered.
  2. With Bank Account named after the tour company (if none, then reviews from their previous customers in Facebook or other networking sites—this will prevent collusion and false advertisement
  3. Check the prices (If it is too low compared to other travel agencies, it’s questionable)
  4. The smaller the reservation fee the better it is, since if you cancel the trip it won’t be that ‘Ouch!’ or it won’t hurt too much; and your wallet will stay healthy 🙂

Happy Wandering! 🙂