Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Beautiful Isles of Caramoan, Los Camarines I

I have yet to see the most amazing things in my country. I have traveled to a number of good places and heights, but getting to this part was probably one of the most jaw-dropping inter-island experiences I've had so far and I can't wait to see more of the finest islands of the Philippines.

After less than a week of coming from a three-day road trip to Daet, Camarines Norte, here now I found myself going back. This time further away-- to the isolated islands of the famous Camarines Sur, the Caramoan Peninsula.

Caramoan Islands is now known to be one of the best tourist spots in the Philippines, thanks but no thanks to the governor and his attempt to commercialize the place. The sad thing is, as I've talked with a couple of towns people, the community here has unfortunately become subject of politics and advancement for the benefit of private interests. I just hope it doesn't suffer the same fate as Boracay.

Retrospectively, Camarines Sur was referred by the Spaniards in the 16th century as Los Camarines for its abundance of camarins or rice granaries. It is the largest province and lies at the center of the Bicol Peninsula. Just to prove that, when I was in the Naga City port, I saw these being transported to the other towns. It was massive!

To get through the island, you have to take a rather amazing boat ride from Naga City for about one hour. I was nothing but happy to take the splashing waves upon my face together with the no less than brooding Mayon Volcano on my side and the little islets along the way, which also boasts for themselves.

Mayon Volcano was enormous even from afar. I didn't see its peak too so I was wondering if it's still in perfect shape.
The clouds were assembled like huge white dragons eating the volcano's head, very playful sight!

You will encounter thousands of these when you travel across the region. Los Camarines or Camarines Sur is actually made up of little islets and islands; and for all the time I've traveled back and forth, I couldn't stopped wondering what magic has formed all these beauty.

There were clouds and more clouds. The skies gave us a rather scorching welcome because it was too hot that morning when we arrived at the other side of the island. But even my high excited spirit was already burning me from the moment I stepped foot to this place.


After the boat ride, you will have to take a tricycle that can take on up to 13-15 passengers and go up on a long winding road for about 30 minutes to get to the center town. There are also no hotels here, but there are many rooms-for-rent for tourists. (got an air-conditioned room 24/7 for only 600 bucks a day! and with WI-FI!) It was a very decent room. You also have to be aware that there are outages in the town from time to time. We had experienced it twice when we're there.

Town folks and their sturdy ride!

I've always thought that province life is much much easier, and much more closer to nature.

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 The first day, of course, was spent roaming around the town and discovering places, like this 16th or 17th century church. I was lost in its rustic trance. You can see that some parts on the top was already reconstructed. Churches are probably the oldest and most historical place of every town or province, so be sure that you get to visit them. It was also stunning to me that they held the mass in their native language. Something new to my ear.

(Credits to Siwallyni for the awesome photo) I wasn't able to bring the camera this time.

My trip here was very impomptu, I barely had enough clothes to fill my original two-day journey, but I ended up to four days because we were stranded for one night in the middle of the sea. (Will tell you about it on my next post). It's all because I wanted to explore the place so much that the spirits of the sea have conspired to make us stay for a few more days. And I did not regret it.

During the entire island movement, I was only dressed with a swimsuit in a sway-ish dress, with only my blackberry, Dslr, and favorite Rayban sunnies with me and let me not forget Girlie Go's Samara necklace (Thank you!) Nothing more I need than my evergetic high-spirit!

All in one day, racing the sea back and forth, we visited more or less seven distant islands. I would never forget my exhilaration when I saw how impossibly clear the waters were, a perfect bluish-green giving me the once in a lifetime chance to see all the creatures underneath it.

Several limestone rock formations and mountainous terrains welcomed us during the ride to the first island.
You can see the corals and rock formations because the water is so clear. But this is so deep!

The sun is up, but the stars are falling.

It was almost noon when we arrived in this very amazing island called "Manlawi" or "Malawi". It was a paradise of nothingness. It's a white vast sandbar and when we came, most part of it was still submerged due to high tide.

According to the fishermen, that blue part marks the deep portion of the sea while the greenish shows the sand bars when the tide subsides. At around noon, we witnessed the water recede.

Had the most amazing lunch ever at this equally amazing floating kubo!

These funny looking creatures somehow found their way to my famished stomach!

What the fisherpeople caught we bought for a very low price. Free cooking!

A little tip for travelers: If you are going island hopping, you have to bring a lot of water because there is definitely no source of potable water, especially if you wanna stretch on your journey for the whole day. Mine lasted for two days. 

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