Few weeks after I finally got the courage of submitting my resignation letter and bid goodbye to corporate slavery, I've already planned of visiting Caramoan which gain popularity worldwide after it hosted various series of the hit reality show "Survivor."
I flew to Legaspi from Cebu and spent there for 3D/2N. Its been my childhood dream destination to see and witness the almost perfect cone Mayon Volcano. Apart from the spectacular landscape scenery in Albay, i was also able to explore some caves and tastes their famous delicacies like "pinangat, bicol express and chili-flavored ice cream."
On my third day in Bicolandia, i traveled to Camarines Sur en route to Caramoan. I could say that checking out Caramoan is my principal agenda and one of the reason of choosing Bicol Region to be my first solo backpacking destination. I was not really excited for the beach itself but I am more excited to climb the towering limestone to get a good vantage point to see the neighboring islets in Caramoan.
How to go to Caramoan:
There are direct flights (AirPhil Express and Cebu Pacific) from Manila or Cebu to Naga which is the fastest getaway to Caramoan.
Get a bus or van from Legaspi Terminal bound for Naga and the drop off point will be Naga City Central Bus Terminal which is located near SM City Naga. Then from there you can take either a van (P100) or a bus (JC Liner, P60) to Sabang Port in San Jose. Travel time is 2 hours. If you take a bus make sure to ask the conductor if its heading to San Jose because other buses are bound for Goa only.
From Sabang Port, take a motorboat enroute to Guijalo/Caramoan Port. Fare is 120 pesos and travel time is 2 hours. Public boats in Sabang are only available from 6AM to 11PM. However, they have a special trip at 2PM depending on the number of passengers. So make sure that you are already in Sabang, San Jose before 11AM.
At the Caramoan Port, there are habal-habal or trikes that can take you to Sentro. Travel time is 15-20 minutes and fare should be P20. For your accommodation, there are several guesthouse or inns at Caramoan Sentro. I recommend Rex Tourist Inn or West Pen Villas.
The main activity tourists can enjoy in Caramoan is island hopping. Most of the guesthouses in Caramoan can arrange an island hopping tour for you. Other activities include snorkeling, rock climbing, and spelunking.
Those who are on a tight budget follow this tip:
Island Hopping for Matukad Group (Lahus Island, Hunongan Cove, Matukad Island and etc)
From Sentro take a habal-habal (P50) to Paniman Beach which is the jump off point for your island hopping (Matukad Group). Note: Since Caramoan is composed of several islands, the tour is divided into two: the Matukad Group and the Manlawi Group). In Paniman Beach you can rent a boat (P1500) for island hopping.
Island Hopping for Manlawi Group (Sabitang Laya, Cotivas Island, and Manlawi Sandbar)
From Sentro take a habal-habal to Bikal Port. From there, you can rent a boat for island hopping (P2000). Price varies depending on the size of the boat and your haggling skill.
If you want to get a guide Tope is highly recommended. You can contact him at 09185432434.