I mentioned before that I had been to Caramoan Islands, but I still haven’t had the chance to blog about it. Thankfully, Travel Book. Ph hosted a bloggers contest wherein I won with fourteen other travel bloggers an all-expense-paid trip to Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Philippines.
I did not only got to revisit the captivating beauty of Caramoan Islands, but I was also able to meet fellow Philippine travel bloggers/ Travel Book.Ph blogger affiliates and Travel Book. Ph’s staff who are some of the nicest and jolliest people in the blogosphere. They really made the trip memorable. And I got to bring home friendship that I could cherish for a lifetime.
For those who don’t know about Travel Book.Ph yet, you may check them at http://travelbook.ph/. Meanwhile, for those who want to become a Travel Book.Ph blogger affiliate like me, you can sign up at http://affiliate.travelbook.ph/.
- Matukad Island
- Lahos Island
- Cagbalinad Island
- Yupakit Beach
- Bag-ing Beach
- Sabitang Laya
- Manlawi Floating Cottages
- Guinahuan Island
Aside from the prominent limestone cliffs, the beach of Matukad island itself was quite enjoyable too. The sand may not be powdery white, but the fine sand makes it a perfect place for picknicking and beach bumming.
2. Lahos Island
Apart from being one of the shooting locations of the Survivor television show, Lahos island is known for having a narrow strip of sloping white beach serving as both a division and a path between two beaches. Lahos is actually a Bicolano term for “pass through.”
The first side of the beach is where the boats dock and the gorgeous people land.
Meanwhile, the other beach is where one can freely swim. I enjoyed swimming here so much that I was only able to take this photo when we were about to leave.
The waters may look calm, but there are strong waves that pound from time to time.
We had a lot of fun on that side of the beach that our laughter can be heard from afar while we hold hands and jump together in the aquamarine water.
For those who don’t want to swim, having a mini photo shoot with Caramoan Island’s stunning rock formations is definitely not to be missed.
5. Bag-ing Beach
No visit to Caramoan islands will be complete without feeling like a castaway. Bag-ing beach offers that secluded experience with rowdy tourists seldom frequenting it. It is understandable as whenever a Survivor franchise shoots there, it becomes off limit to the public so it’s not as popular as the other beaches.
As I had been here before, I opted to stay on the boat to take some good shots.
What else to do in Bag-ing beach? Explorers may just walk on that long stretch of sand and their boat may just fetch them on Sabitang Laya which is just on the opposite side of the island.
6. Sabitang Laya
Sabitang Laya has gentle turquoise waters and a campground. It is also abounding in stunning backdrops so it’s not a wonder that it is the right choice for Survivor‘s castaways to live in.
Upon arrival, one of our boatmen caught a fascinating looking fish. Okay, before you get mad, please know that the fish was quickly returned to the water and what we had for lunch was grilled squid and laing.
While roaming around and taking photos of the place, make sure to get a photo on the other side of the cave-like entrance. I promise you that you won’t regret it.
7. Manlawi Floating Cottage
This is my favorite spot in Caramoan islands whether the Manlawi Sandbar is visible or not. I can actually stay here the entire day.
When the sandbar is visible, powdery white sand which seem to stretch beyond the horizon can be seen. The waters rise slowly letting one wade in shallow waters. Once the tide has risen, the cottages float. This gives a captivating dining experience to visitors.
As we went here on a high tide, the Manlawi sandbar had already hidden in plain sight. We still enjoyed the experience of eating at the floating cottages and frolicked in the turquoise waters.
8. Guinahuan Island
Beyond the captivating beaches of Caramoan islands, a place that must be visited also is the Guinahuan island for its scenic views.
There is a need for a short hike to the top of Guinahuan island for about ten to twenty minutes depending on one’s pace. However, it is all worth it as it offers a glimpse into the lives of the locals. The peak itself also offers a picturesque view resembling Batanes.
This modern lighthouse that guides incoming boats is one of the main attractions of the island.
The other attraction is the rolling landscape with the view of the South China sea on the left side and the Pacific ocean on the right side.
I heard that the beach on the right side with Pacific Ocean waves crashing in is called Liwan beach. It is only accessible by traversing the hills below as the waves are too strong for boats. On my return in the future, I hope I get to see Liwan beach with my own eyes.
- Make sure to leave before or by 8AM so you can fully maximize your day to see a lot of islands, or to catch the best time to see a place such as the Manlawi Sand Bar.
- Go island hopping with a group of people to save money.
- Bring eye goggles or snorkeling gear to see underwater.
- Be careful of rip currents. If ever you get caught in one, stay calm, float, and swim parallel to the shoreline until you get away from it.
- Never step on corals as aside from damaging it, you may run the risk of attracting a deadly snake called “walo walo” which leaves its victim dead within eight hours.
Directions to Caramoan Islands
Manila – Naga – Caramoan (By Air)
* This is the route I took on my visit to Caramoan Islands and I nearly got left behind the last boat as I still roamed around SM City Naga to buy a Mother’s Day cake.
- Take the earliest Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific flight to Naga (WNP), roundtrip airfare ranges from PhP 3000 to PhP 7500 (or 64.24 USD to 160.67 USD) | Duration: 1 hr & 5 min.
- Ride a taxi or van going to the van terminal beside SM City Naga. Or walk outside the airport and ride the public bus going to SM City Naga.
- Go to the East Bound Terminal or Van Terminal located at the back of SM City Naga.
- Take an aircon van to Sabang Port for PhP 150 (or 3.21 USD) | Duration: 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs.
- Ride the boat to Caramoan Guijalo Port for PhP 120 (or 2.57 USD) | Duration: 1 hr and 45 min. *Last boat trip is 11:00AM, but it may extend to early afternoon if there are lots of passengers. Chartered boats cost PhP 3,000 (or 64.24 USD).
Manila – Naga – Caramoan (By Land)
- Ride the night trip bus from Araneta-Cubao Bus Terminal or Pasay Bus Terminal to Naga City, bus fare ranges from PhP 650 to PhP 1,000 (or 13. 93 USD or 21.43 USD) | Duration: 8 to 10 hrs.
- From Naga City Central Bus Terminal, ride the Isarog or Penafrancia and just say to drop you off to Bikal | Duration: 4 hrs.
Manila – Caramoan (via Land)
- Book packaged tours. Suggested: Al Del Rio Villa Resort.| Travel Duration per way: 10 to 12 hrs.