Caramoan with Family (Day 2)

April 16, 2016. Our second day in Caramoan was spent island-hopping.

Caramoan is a large rural municipality in Camarines Sur where Caramoan National Park is located. It boasts not one long stretch of beach but hectares of jungle with a coastline that boasts many coves and beaches, and dozens of islands scattered over the surrounding seas.

The beaches are as diverse as their number. There are beaches that have white, powdery sand, beaches that have huge rocks, beaches that have coarse pebbles, beaches that are secluded by towering limestone rock formations and thick foliage, there are beaches that are visited by many, there are those that lend visitors tranquility in isolation. Take your pick. It will definitely take more than a day to hop through all these islands and coves. My family was only able to visit a handful of islands and coves during this particular day trip.

Traversing the seas to go from one island or cove to another is like a boatride through Jurassic Park with all the foliage and mountains. It was a scenic trip that I had expected from a trip to Palawan, but not from a trip in Luzon. It was pleasant surprise. It was not, then, a very difficult decision for producers of the reality-show Survivor, in its many syndicated versions across the world, to pick Caramoan as one of their choice exotic settings. (No Survivor cast sightings here though!)

Caramoan with Family (Day 1)

April 15, 2016. It has become a tradition for our family during the summer to take a trip to celebrate my mother and my brother’s birthdays. This year, we went to Caramoan, in Camarines Sur.

Our first day was spent settling in our resort accommodation and going on one of their beach-hopping tours in Caramoan National Park.

We took the first plane in the morning to Virac, Catanduanes, and a shuttle to Codon, also in Catanduanes. From there, we took a speedboat to Tugawe Cove Resort in Caramoan, Camarines Sur. Located near the tip of Caramoan peninsula, Tugawe Resort is situated adjacent a small village separated from the rest of the municipality and town proper of Caramoan by the jungles of Caramoan National Park. Its isolation lends the place a very peaceful and exclusive feel, but likewise makes getting anywhere else journeys by themselves. Mobile network signal is likewise hard to get by, but who would really need that if you’re after a quiet and tranquil retreat? The staff are very hospitable and friendly. From experience, they go out of their way to grant specific requests to make their guests’ stay comfortable and memorable.

Malalison Island, Culasi, Antique

April 16, 2009. Early the next day after we arrived in Culasi, we all got up early and went on a short drive from our friend’s home, to the beach near the municipal hall to take a pump boat to Malalison Island. The island is one of the three island barangays of Culasi, and is the nearest one to the coast, with a distance of around 4 kilometers. It was a 20-minute pump boat ride to the island. Ours, though, took longer because we requested for the boat to go around the entire island before docking at the main beach.

The island was a relatively small island, with still some unspoiled coves and rugged stone cliffs. One can probably enjoy taking a peaceful hike around the island, though that we weren’t able to do.

After around ten to fifteen minutes around the island, we finally dock at main hook-shaped beach. Our friend from Culasi told us the beach was comparable to Boracay (which incidentally was relatively near Culasi). Indeed, it was. Not better, but comparable. The sand was just as white, though not as fine or powdery, and the waters just as crystal clear, even clearer.

Best of all, we were the only ones at the beach. The waters can get deep immediately a few meters from the shore, however, so if you don’t know how to swim, you might not get too far away. Though, on the upside, one can go snorkeling right there and then. Though, we weren’t able to do that either.

After less than an hour in the water, I took a peaceful nap in one of the huts on the beach. Even if I slept on a bamboo table, I’ve never had a sleep that good in a while, after all the anxiety and stress over the Student Regent selection two days before. By lunch time, we headed back to the main town of Culasi, with the same pump boat. See, I had to get on my way back to Iloilo City because my flight back to Manila was that evening. Since Iloilo city was a good four to five hours away, I had to leave by lunch time. My other friends, however, proceeded to Boracay after lunch.

I sat on the side of the boat on the way back, with my feet on the water. It got pretty hot that afternoon, too.