Caramoan of Camarines Sur in Bicol Region is now becoming famous for two reasons. First, it is blessed with islands with pristine white sand, caves, lagoons, islets and limestone karts formations. Second, it has been the site of the global reality game show Survivor by several countries, including USA in 2012.
Our Caramoan dream tour with my former office mates had finally come to reality after two years of planning. Ana will lead for she had been there last year. She took the same contact person Dra. Pua, owner of Florevics Tourist Inn in Solnopan, Caramaon. We were so thankful because the ten-person package rate of P2,000/per head was given to us though we were seven only. This includes boat transfer from Sabang to Guijalo (vise versa), land transfer, one breakfast, one packed lunch, one meryenda, one dinner and one night stay.
Our first day was a sojourn in my hometown in Albay because Sir Alex and Alma haven’t been there yet. By 5 pm, we were fetched by Kuya Rodel, Ana’s older brother in our last stop in Ligao through their van. He will accompany us and their mother Mama Gloria in Caramoan. We headed to Iriga in Camarines Norte for our dinner. We didn’t stroll anymore for everyone was tired already.
Mama Gloria graciously welcomed us when we arrived in Jenilyn’s Resort in Goa, few distance away from Iriga. Our one night stay in the resort was discounted because the owner was their family friend. Alma, Rose and me stayed in twin room (P1,200 regular rate). Sir Alex stayed in standard room. Ana shared a room with her family.
We woke up at 4 a.m, packed-up our stuff and off we went to Sabang Port by 4:30 am.
We were met by Ate Alice, personal assistant of Dra. Pua at the port. It was still dark but the port had busy people now. While Ate Alice was busy buying ticket we bought 3-in-1 coffee in a bakery and ate fried siopao which Mama Gloria bought in Iriga. Beside the bakery was a “talipapa” where I was amused seeing fresh Yellow fin tuna in a very affordable price of P50/kilo. How I wish I could bring two kilos back home. Mama will surely love it for a pasalubong.
We took the first trip at 5:30 am. There was no entrance in front of Boat Harry. To get inside, passenger will walk in a narrow walkway and will clamber on window side. My bag pack was heavy so I slid slowly so my head would not hit the edge of the roof. But as soon as I got my seat, I smiled happily because I was at the window.
Adrenalin rush hit me as soon as the boat moved swiftly. Hint of morning rays of the sun slowly streamed into the calm blue sea. I had an unobstructed view of the sea and the verdant mountainous landscape. It was a cool morning and the sea breeze was just so invigorating.
It was a two-hour safe and calm water ride. We reached Guijalo Port around 7:20 am. We were fetched by our tour guide Ryan through Dr. Pua’s service van. In our way to the town, we were greeted by a laid-back and unhurried life of Caramoan. The picturesque countryside view was ecstatic. I was craving for a more longer travel time but Florevisc Tourist Inn was a twenty-minute ride only.
Ate Alice accompanied us in our rooms. Ana, Rose and I shared in one room with one double bed and private bath room (P1,200). Ana shared with her mother and Kuya Rodel (same with our room). Sir Alex stayed in a single room (P600) with no private bath room.
We put our bags in our room and explored the house. We stayed a bit longer in the balcony and later I was left alone savoring the scent of fresh air. Oh I just love watching nearby houses and the locals in a peaceful place like this. Soon after we were called by the caretakers for our breakfast. What was served were plain rice, sunny side-up egg, fried soft dried fish, and again, coffee (one cup a day should be enough).
It seemed everyone was recharged after a heavy breakfast. We now prepared our itchy foot, our cameras and our spirits for our CARAMOAN DREAM tour!
Finally it is for real.
In Getting There:
1) There are buses in Pasay City, Alabang and Cubao bound to Naga City. Bus fare ranges from P800 to P1,000. From Naga Terminal ride a shuttle van (P90) going to Sabang Port. Then ride a boat going to Guijalo Port (P120) with environmental fee of P5. From Guijalo Port take a tricycle going to Caramoan town. (P25).
Note: There are no luxurious hotels in Caramoan Town, only homestay or tourist inn with affordable rate starting at P600 to P2,000.
Florevics Tourist Inn Rate:
Single Room – P600
Twin Room – P1,200 (3 to 4 persons)