A year ago, my friend Thirdy Ballesca told about a secret beach paradise in the Bicol Region that has slowly gained its reputation as one of the Philippines’ Best Island Destinations. Haven’t been to any part of Luzon except the Mega Manila, the name of the place didn’t ring a bell in my ear. They call it Caramoan Peninsula in the Province of Camarines Sur. Googling about it, I found out that indeed my friend is right, Caramoan is a group of beautiful islands that awaits beach lovers and island explorers needs like me. A must visit Island Destination.
Caramoan is the only Island Destination in the Philippines that has been chosen by 5 different International Survivor Franchises as location set of the whole show/season.
Without any second doubt, a trip to these islands is on top of travel wish lists for 2010. And so the journey started. As they say, one should always come in full battle gears. So, I made arrangements prior to my visit to Caramoan. Luckily, I was able to get a very good package for the whole duration of my stay at Villa Julian Inn. At Php 3,200.00, I was assured with 3 days and 2 nights’ accommodation with full board 6 meals and 2 days of non-stop Island Hopping. I was so excited!
Coming from the City of Davao, getting there at Caramoan Islands requires a lengthy travel time. While in Davao, I was able to convince my good friend Victor Lim, Jr. to join me in this adventure. From Davao City, we flew to Manila. But since there is no direct flight from Davao City to Legaspi or Naga, from Manila we flew the next day to Legaspi City. This time we were joined by our Manila based friends Thirdy Ballesca and Yuan Patanao who served as our hosts and fellow travel companions. With the Promo Fare of different airlines these days, going to Caramoan is not as costly as I expected. Though the travel is a bit lengthy but it gives me the opportunity to see the other beauties of the Bicol Region. From Legaspi City, my travel buddies and I headed to Sabang Port in San Jose, Camsur where a commercial motorized pump boat carried us to Port of Guijalo in Caramoan. Our boat fare was Php 150.00. The two hours boat ride was a bit lengthy but with great view of the ocean, some little white sand Island we passed by and the beautiful mountain formation at one side bathed in the green lushes of grasses, it is worth the boat travel.
The boat ride going to Port of Guijalo gave us the chance to meet new friends and fellow travelers on the vessel. We made friends with Monet, Penny Lou, Cef and JR whose passion for beach adventures and nature trips is as soaring as ours. Truly, our zeal for a worthy travel made us instantly good friends sharing stories and tips of previous and future travels.
Upon arrivals at the Port of Guijalo, we were immediately welcomed by our tricycle driver that brought us to Villa Juliana Inn. On the way, he told us brief information about Caramoan and its beautiful Islands. I learned that it is the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur that invested so much in promoting Caramoan to international market – proof to that is the presence of different Survivor International being shot there every year. Roads were concretely paved; few first class resorts erected and extensive media exposures were made to promote the beauty of Caramaon – luckily, they all succeeded.
The 15 minutes tricycle ride ended up right at the doorstep of Villa Juliana Inn. We were warmly welcomed by the very hospitable owner Mr. Roger Reyes and his son, Jun. Not only that, our very sumptuous seafood lunch awaited us upon arrival - crabs, squid and fish.
We were only given 30 minutes to billet ourselves and our baggage and our first day of Island Hopping started.Caramoan Group of Islands gives Island Hopping a new meaning. One can enjoy its beauty in many ways. These and many many more on my next blog post.