Family Goals-Caramoan Island Day 1: East Side Island Hopping

Come South! Cam Sur! Ms. Millennial 2017 Julia Gonowon’s shout out beckoned my family to visit Caramoan Island. I was thankful to this beauty pageant in the noontime show Eat Bulaga as they highlighted the beauty of Caramoan. As such, I convinced them easily to visit one of the stunning islands in Bicolandia and I was so excited to bring them here!

the beauty of Matukad Island, my favorite island in Caramoan

the beauty of Matukad Island, my favorite island in Caramoan

Dubbed as the Emerging Paradise of the Pacific because of its pristine beaches, Caramoan is now one of Bicol’s pride. It is located at the tip of Caramoan Peninsula comprising ten principal islands and many islets. Aside from its stunning beaches, it has also caves, limestone cliffs and is famous for the shooting location of the competitive reality tv show Survivor.

the family that travels together, travels forever...

the family that travels together, travels forever…

I was so lazy to do the DIY itinerary for this vacation so I just searched for a package tour and stumbled at Al Del Rio Villa Resort owned by Kuya Allan and Ate Rose for a rate of P3,300/head. Transportation is not included for we will bring our car. This includes:

  • 3-day, 2 night-stay
  • island hopping for East and West sides
  • complete set of meal (2 breakfast, 2 lunch and 2 dinner)
  • unli coffee (3-in-1)
  • drinking water

What’s new in getting to Caramoan?

Good news for those who are afraid to ride the boat in getting to Caramoan because the rough roads are now pave. From Naga City, it can be accessible by cars and buses for three to four hours. But though most of the roads are pave, beware of the sinuous and dangerous curves.

me and my daughter as we head off to the mystical lake

me and my daughter as we head off to the mystical lake

Our trip

From Manila, our travel time in getting to Naga City took us 12 hours because of several stop-overs (mostly from eating hahaha!).Then from Naga, we consumed four hours in getting to Barangay Bikal in Caramoan. It’s good that my son relieved my hubby in this long drive.

Bench boy Kuya Pao? haha!

Bench boy Kuya Pao? haha!

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Bench girl Ate Shen? :)

We arrived at 5:00 pm in the resort. Ate Rose and Kuya Allan warmly welcomed us with a smile and 3-in-1 coffee. Later we took rest in our room.

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Lahos Island

At night time, we had a hearty dinner of laing (Bicol’s famous dish), adobong chicken, fried talakitok fish, sinigang na buto buto and plain rice. After a while, we strolled around in the vicinity until we reached Bikal Port. The serenity and the night cool breeze brought a feeling of excitement in getting back in one of my favorite island destinations.

Lajos Island, the vanishing island

Lahos Island, the vanishing island

We woke up early for our first island hopping. We ate our breakfast of fried hot dog, fried egg, fried langkoy fish, pandesal, plain rice and unli coffee. Indeed it was a heavy and yummy meal, enough to fuel up our bodies for the day’s exciting island hopping! Yipee!

Day 1: The East Side island hopping

These are the islands we visited in our first day.

Bikal Port is the other jump off point for island hopping

Bikal Port is the other jump off point for island hopping

Matukad Island

This my favorite island in Caramoan. It has the clearest water and with fine powdery sand. However, it is not only its main draw. The limestone rock formations added a charm to this island. The mythical milkfish on the hidden lake is a must-see. On my first visit, there was only one fish, now it is two. Unfortunately, I was not able to trek that time because of the long queue.

the stunning Matukad Island as seen atop the limestone rock formations

the stunning Matukad Island as seen atop the limestone rock formations

I coerced my family to see the milkfish but it was only me and Shen set out for the trek. It was a minor climb only but the sharp pointed rocks slowed down our pacing. I admired my daughter’s agility. She had no experience climbing mountains yet, but she climbed fast leaving me behind.

taking a rest after glimpsing the enchanted milk fish

taking a rest after glimpsing the enchanted milkfish

We did it in ten minutes in getting down the lake. We were so amused to see the two big milkfish swimming freely on the water. I was so excited to capture photos using my SLR. Unfortunately, they did not appear in any of my shots. Sounds enchanting right? Anyway, I was so happy seeing them alive. Haha!

Matukad means to climb. Remember to bring appropriate footwear for this trek!

after several attempts of taking photo of the 2 enchanted milk fish, I did not capture either one of them

after several attempts of taking photo of the 2 enchanted milk fish, I did not capture either one of them

Lahos Island

This another beautiful island in Caramoan. Its uniqueness are the two big limestone rock formations where you can swim from one beach to the other. It has a clear water and creamy white powdery sand too. The docking area has stones and rocks on the sea bottom. You can swim to the other side up to waist level deep.

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Lahos was derived from the word “laho” meaning to vanish. The sand vanishes during high tide. On rainy season, boats cannot dock on the island. We were glad as of our visit, the stunning beach is in its full glory.

scorching summer heat, whew!

scorching summer heat, whew!

We chose a shaded part to feast our lunch which consisted of plain rice, grilled fish, rebusadong crab, adobong chicken, banana for desert and 2 liters of coke.

lunch time, yipee!

lunch time, yipee!

Cagbanilad Island

This one is a secluded beach, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. It has a small strip of sand and with stunning limestone rock formations. We did not hop on the island because we prefer to snorkel near the sandy shore. The water was calm and clear but there were only small fishes swimming under the water.

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Pao and Shen, the water kids

Busdak Island

This has fine strip of gray sand, big boulders and limestone rock formations. We were the only people when we hopped in here. Luckily, we owned the island for half an hour for ourselves. The water was clear and shallow and the sea bed has no rocks, perfect to laze under the afternoon sun.

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time for some peaceful rest in this island where the sand is gray but very fine

We were amazed to see a big rock thickly covered by an oyster shell. Meaning, the water can engulf the entire island during high tide. We enjoyed our afternoon swim here. Since this is the last leg of our island hopping, we immersed ourselves a leisure rest on the shady area.

the towering limestone rock formations in Busdak Island

the towering limestone rock formations in Busdak Island

Since it was so hot after lunch, we skipped trekking the hill in Tagbon Island where the Shrine of our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary is found. We only visited four islands but it was just fine since all had enjoyed the sun and sand activity for the day. Everyone had witnessed how beautiful the islands of Caramoan is.

the I Love Caramoan Marker near the town proper

the I Love Caramoan Marker near the town proper

St. Michael The Archangel Parish

The fun and excitement did not stop in island hopping. After eating our snack we head off at the town proper and explore. We visited the town’s red brick parish church which is celebrating its 400 years of faith. 

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Then we bought pasalubong goodies such as key chains, ref magnets, mugs, coin purse and t-shirts in a nearby souvenir store.

Our room:

We were late to reserve for two rooms. Fortunately, the available room (air-con) is good enough for the six of us. It has one double bed, one double bunk bed, private bathroom, Led TV, electric fan and small table.

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Al Del Rio Villa Resort

I commend the couple Kuya Allan and Ate Rose for being friendly and good hosts. Our room is clean and has a running faucet. They attended to our needs fast and with a smile. They even served us delicious biko for afternoon snack. Their staff is courteous and helpful. We spent our two nights swapping stories over a cup of unli coffee and cold beer. They have parking lot, which fits 3 to 4 cars.

getting ready for our first island hopping on the East side

getting ready for our first island hopping on the East side

the cute living room of Al Rio Resort

the cute living room of Al Del Rio Resort

Contact Info:

Durong-an, Barangay Bikal, Caramoan 4429
0929 508 9161; 09286562637

In getting to Caramoan:

By Land:

From Cubao, ride Raymond Bus that goes directly to Caramoan. Aircon-P980, Ordinary-P780. Travel time will take 13 to 15 hours.

From Naga, ride a bus bound to Caramoan (Raymond or MRR) at Central Bus Terminal. Fare – P220 to P230. Travel time will take 3.5 to 4 hours.

By Plane: 

If you want a fast trip, travel by airplane through Cebu Pacific bound to Naga City. It has a daily flight and travel time will take about 40 minutes. From the airport, ride a taxi  going to Naga City Bus Terminal and ride a bus bound to Caramoan (Raymond Bus or MRR, with fare from P220-230.

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