2017 was my island-hopping year. I achieved my dream to visit the Pacific islands offcoast of Luzon known as Four CAs: Cagbalete–Calaguas–Caramoan-Catanduanes. This island-hopping destination should be the second in my list but due to weather conditions last August, it was replaced by Calaguas, only turned out to be a solo trip (due to my housemate’s schedule conflict). Good thing I grabbed a promo return flight from Virac. Hence, the Caramoan-Catanduanes bundle solo trip.
If you heard of the international series called “Survivor”, then you already know that they shoot some of the scenes here at this quiet town within Camarines Sur province. Because of series’ popularity, this merely isolated fishing town became a tourist destination offering white beaches hidden on its peninsula and most especially on its scattered limestone-clad islands. Land travel will take 15 hours but it can be cut short with bus-ferry-trike/habal combination. I took the former because transfers were hassle and I have time to sleep at a bus, despite the bumpy ride Caramoan buses known for.
Then October came and finally embarked on a solo journey to Caramoan. By reading blogs and tips scattered on the internet, I decided to get the services of Kuya Ramil (09074351962) as he is known to offer good rates for backpackers. Why not give it a try? I booked a bus ticket (Php950) at Raymond bus in Cubao a week before my trip. There’s only one trip direct to Caramoan at 3pm and will arrive at town proper the next day at 6am.
While waiting for Kuya Ramil to pick me up, I visited the nearby brick church and said a prayer, for a safe trip at this quiet town.
Kuya Ramil came and fetched me at church’s gate via habal-habal (motorcycle). We stopped at market to buy food then head back to Paniman, where they live.
We arrived at Paniman and took a quick rest before heading to island hopping. I spoke with Ate Myrna (Kuya Ramil’s wife) about the tour. I initially took SHORT TRIP for a lower cost but there was no available slot where I can join, so she offered me “ROUND TRIP”. I was a bit surprised (as I haven’t read this trip before on blogs I’ve read) and asked me if I’ll take another island hopping the next day. I explained that I need to leave tomorrow for Catanduanes and I only have this wholeday to take island hopping. So she gave me this option that will include “all 8 major islands included in SHORT (usually at Php1500) and LONG (usually at Php2000) TRIPS” bargain at Php3000. In my mind, it would be worth it to visit major islands and have plenty of time to spare so I gave in. To my consolation, she gave me FREE cooked rice and accompanied me to buy viands at nearby eatery. I refilled my drinking water bottle as I was informed that it would be a LOOOONG trip. FYI, the trips on Caramoan islands are usually grouped into two: LONG TRIP and SHORT TRIP:
After visiting the LONG TRIP islands and taking lunch, we took off again for an hour-ride to the SHORT TRIP islands closer to Paniman.
Back to my accommodation, I was notified by Ate Myrna that I’ll be fetched and dropped at Guijalo port at 6am. The next day, I bid my farewell to Cruel family and their son Ramir took me to the port. On the way, we had quick stop at Caramoan marker and municipal hall.
I bid farewell to Ramir as he went back to Paniman and sat on the waiting area. Killing my time watching K-dramas on my smartphone, I saw the simplicity of life in Caramoan. I realized that sleepy towns can have other source of income aside from fishing and with tourism, we can help them as long as coupled with government assistance and responsible travelers like us. I guess the next time I’ll go back to Caramoan, I’ll try to visit other spots and islands, and be with someone else…hihi (n_n)