Tag Archives: Caramoan Haven

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! 🙂

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)

 

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

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).

 

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