The Walks of Kulot


I WOK’D in CARAMOAN.

Come South, Cam Sur!

Caramoan is slowly getting attention as one of the most sought after tourist destination in the country today. Its well deserved recognition can be attributed to the success of CamSur’s tourism campaign-promoting the province as a hub for water sports enthusiasts and a destination for island adventures in the Caramoan peninsula. Not to mention, Caramoan found its place in the map after the media hype it got for being chosen as the venue of the hit reality TV series Survivor by countries like France, Belgium and Israel. But with its instant popularity among local and foreign tourists, Caramoan remains to be an underdeveloped sleepy town and most of its islands unexploited from commercialization.

 A news feature in 24 Oras about Caramoan being chosen as venue of the French version of Survivor.

Rustic Simplicity

From Naga City, the heart of CamSur, it took us an hour by bus to reach the San Jose Port – an alternative drop-off point from the other port which is Sabang. From there, we rode a medium-sized outrigger boat going to the Guijalo port in Caramoan where a land transfer to our resort was arranged beforehand. On our way to the sentro or the Caramoan town proper, we passed by a long stretch of rice fields and coconut trees. The countryside breeze was indeed very refreshing. It was evident that development and commercialization hasn’t reached this isolated town which added more charm to the place.

En Route to Caramoan

Caramoan countryside. Aside from fishing, farming is the main source of livelihood of the people in this province.

When we reached the aplaya (seaside), I noticed that a community was living by the beach and there were only few resort type accommodations available mostly inns and guesthouses. I appreciate the fact that the place was still undisturbed from major developments. One can truly enjoy the rustic simplicity of the small town – no fancy bars and establishments – everything was back-to-basics. Even the rooms and cabanas of our resort were made from the indigenous nipa and kawayan and just a stone’s throw away from the rooms was the beach. The view of the islands and rock formations floating from afar was really inviting. After we unloaded our bags, we had a quick lunch and started our island hopping adventures to what is known to be the Survivor Islands.

Rock formations in the Caramoan peninsula

Discovering the Survivor Islands

Having been gifted with stunning beaches, hidden coves, majestic lagoons, turquoise blue waters and towering rock formations comparable to the islands in Palawan I was really looking forward to our island hopping tour. Unfortunately, one the most prominent and famous island in the Caramoan peninsula –Gota – which also houses the famous Gota Beach resort was closed during our visit because the hit reality TV series Survivor was filming in the island. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop us from exploring the other islands. Our first stop was the Busdak Beach which was just beside Gota. It was actually a cove embraced by rock formations covered with green plants facing the sea. The sand was not powdery white as I expected but we spent most of our time in this island playing frisbee.

Busdak cove. The beach embraced by lush mountains.

Island hoppers playing frisbee in Busdak island.

There was a part in Busdak beach close to the shore, where the sand's consistency was like mud because of seawater mixing with the fine sand.

Another prominent island in the Caramoan penisula is the Matukad Island. Aside from its near-perfect white sand, the view of floating rock formations from nearby islands is a sight not to be missed. But if you’re the adventurous type, climbing the steep and sharp limestone cliff from one side of the island is something you might want to try out. A mystic lagoon awaits the brave climber which according to our bangkero, a big bangus (milkfish) lives. Unfortunately, we’ve only known about this when we have already left the island so we were not able to check out the lagoon.

The fine white sand at Matukad Beach. From Matukad beach you will have a glimpse of nearby islands and rock formations in the Caramoan peninsula.

The limestone cliff on the right side of the "WOK" logo is the place of the mystic lagoon.

Rock formations near Matukad beach.

An interesting rock formation which looks like an alligator head near the Matukad beach.

Our last island stop that day was at the Lahos island. During our visit to this island, the production team of Survivor was setting up an obstacle course and we were advised that we can only spend 30-minutes on the island. Lahos was more akin to a sandbar but elevated from the sea. A shoreline can be found on both sides of the island and the waves were bigger. Compared to the other islands, the sand in Lahos is more fine and white.

The powder white sand of Lahos island.

Lahos is more akin to a sandbar but elevated from the sea. As seen in this photo are the Survivor staff setting up in the island.

Since we weren’t able to spend much time in Lahos we just decided to go back near Hunongan cove – a resort facility offering premiere accommodations in the island – where we spent the rest of the afternoon snorkeling in the open sea.

For more info about Hunongan Cove visit: http://www.caramoanislands.com or http://www.gotavillage.com

We got back to our resort just in time for sunset. I am always fascinated with this phenomenon as the sky suddenly transforms into a huge canvass and strokes of orange, blue and purple dramatically changes the entire horizon. The phenomenon evoked a feeling of serenity and added to the rusticity of the place as silhouettes of fishermen docking their boats on the aplaya and kids playing on the shore can be seen from afar.

The aplaya (seaside) at sunset.

The sky suddenly transforms into a huge canvass and strokes of orange, blue and purple dramatically changes the entire horizon.

Early the next day we headed to Sabitang Laya which is also one of the most popular island in the Caramoan peninsula. From a bird’s eye view, the island forms a triangular shape with two wide stretches of white-sand shoreline forming a letter V. Among all the islands we visited, Sabitang Laya is my personal favorite because of the expanse of its beach and shallow waters ideal for snorkeling and swimming. You can also take a nap under small trees which serve as temporary shelter and protection from the afternoon sun. At lunch time, we camped by the shore as our boatmen prepared lunch for us which included the Bicolandia favorite – Bicol Express. It was island life at its best!

The wide stretch of white sand beach in Sabitang Laya.

Island hoppers camping at Sabitang Laya during lunch time.

The rain is coming! The weather suddenly turned gloomy during our stay at Sabitang Laya but after a while the sun was up again.

Low-tide at Sabitang Laya.

Before we left Sabitang Laya, we saw another group from the Survivor production team setting up tribal flags and props in the island. Maybe the set was for a reward or immunity challenge.

The opening credits of Survivor Serbia. One of the countries that shoot the hit reality TV series in Caramon.

One of the Survivor sets in Sabitang Laya island. (Disclaimer: This photo is for blogging purposes only and is not intended for promotion or publicity. The set and props is property of its respective Survivor franchise)

Immunity Challenge? (Disclaimer: This photo is for blogging purposes only and is not intended for promotion or publicity. The set and props is property of its respective Survivor franchise)

We had to rush to our next destination – the Manlawi sandbar which submerges under water during high-tide. Our boat was parked a few feet away from the sandbar because the water was shallow near the island. The water surrounding the sandbar was still and a bit murky because of sea grasses underneath. Nipa huts were built on the island where some tourists spend their lunch time and siesta.

The still waters and sandbar at Manlawi.

Fight Club Series at Manlawi.

When we got back to our bangka, we asked our boatmen where our next destination was. Unfortunately, he told us that because of the low-tide some of the islands were not accessible because our boat couldn’t pass by shallow waters. We just settled going back to Sabitang Laya and concluded our island hopping there. The other islands in Caramoan are Cotivas, Minalahos, Tinago Cove. The grotto in Mt. Caglago gives you a panoramic view of the entire Caramoan peninsula.

Bikal is one of the ports in Caramoan and is the main thoroughfare of outrigger boats for hire that bring tourists to the islands. Leading to the open sea is a mangrove forest.

Tricycles can be rented in Bikal that will bring you to the main town or sentro where inns and guesthouses are available.

A view of Bikal port from our guest house.

As an emerging tourist destination, I am sure that Caramoan will continue to gain attention from both local and foreign tourists. I just hope that in the coming years, it will continue to preserve its natural beauty untainted from the streaks of commercialization. The rural atmosphere complemented by the wonders of its islands is worth coming back to. I just hope the Survivor crew would take a break so we can explore Gota and its other islands!

*How to get to Caramoan:

From Naga City going to Sabang/San Jose port: Take a van, jeepney or bus from Naga going to Sabang port/San Jose port. Travel time is approximately an hour. Fare ranges from P60.00 (jeepney/van) to P80.00 (bus).

From Sabang port/San Jose port to Guijalo port in Caramoan: Ride an outrigger pump boat going to Guijalo port. Take note that the availability of boats is from 7AM to 12NN only. Travel time is approximately 2 hours and fare is P120.00*/per person (*subject to change without prior notice). Pay P30.00 environmental fee at the Guijalo port. Jeeps and tricycles are available at the Guijalo port that will bring you to the sentro.

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14 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Good day WOKS! would like to confirm lang po na kung may dala po kami sasakyan mapipilitan po kami iwan sa Naga yun sasakyan pag punta kami Caramoan? Help naman po ano magnda gawin travel to Caramoan..commute nalang po ba or magdala sasakyan? Kasi po aside beach gustong gusto po kasi namin ang roadtrip.. Thanks! Hope we hear from you soon..

Comment by Koonsy

Hi Koonsy,

I guess you can bring your car at Caramoan, maybe you can park at the resort where you will be staying. 🙂 I am not just sure if you can leave your car at Naga unless you have a friend or relative living there.

Hope I was of help.

Martin

Comment by walksofkulot

Good day po WOKS! just like to confirm lang po na kung may dala kami sasakyan maiiwan yun sasakyan sa naga? salamat po…

Comment by Koonsy

I always emailed this website post page to all my friends, as if like
to read it after that my contacts will too.

Comment by honest forex signals

Hey, Martin. I love everything about your blog. The photos, especially, are captivating. I’ll visit Caramoan this weekend!

Comment by ArisMape

Thanks for visiting 🙂 Glad you liked the photos. Enjoy your Caramoan trip!

Comment by walksofkulot

OMG I’ve been meaning to visit this place. I hope our plan will push through this year, come 4th quarter.

What gears do you have? Your photos are awesome. Kudos for a well-written, informative post!

Comment by Ken Michael Jon Taarup

Hi Ken,

Sorry for the late reply. I hope your plans of visiting Caramoan this year would push through. Regarding my gears, I own an entry level DSLR from Canon. 🙂 Thank you for the kind comments, I appreciate it a lot.

Martin

Comment by walksofkulot

Im looking forward to see these islands..planning to go there with other Pinoy Travel Blogger – Bagets..

Im darwin!

Comment by darwin

Hi Darwin!
Thanks for dropping by. I think I have checked your blog before, great blog btw! 🙂 Message mo lang ako if ever you need help sa Caramoan trip ninyo. Sana maabutan nyo pa yung Survivor dun..haha..

Looking forward to meeting you and other travel bloggers soon. Never pa ako nakasama sa mga ganun e..haha

Martin

Comment by walksofkulot

ganda ng mga kuha nyo sir.galing!:)

Comment by kill3rfill3r

Maraming salamat po! At salamat din sa pagdaan dito.
Visitied your blog nice photos too. 🙂 Sana marami pa tayong lugar na mapuntahan.

Comment by walksofkulot

Great article, Martin! More Power! More WOKS!

Comment by tokwa

Maraming salamat sa suportat! Siyempre, mas masaya ang WOK pag kasama kayong lahat. Hanggang sa susunod.

Comment by walksofkulot




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