i first heard about caramoan in camarines sur a few years ago. it was dubbed the “next big thing” and the place slowly built its reputation by being the location of choice for numerous editions of the reality tv show “survivor”.
i had a few issues about going to caramoan as the first few friends who’ve ventured out to this place were mostly the backpacking types(read: used to roughing it). i’m not a princess nor do i demand the four seasons but i have my bare minimums – clean bathroom, running water and airconditioning.
dubbed as one of the country’s best beaches, caramoan is mainly a group of islands by the coast of the bicol province of camarines sur nestled in the pacific ocean. although its popularity has been rising the past few years, the numerous secluded islands will provide you serene white sand beach sanctuary. perfect for those not too keen to spot familiar faces. unlike boracay, this is not greenbelt with a beach backdrop.
this is what welcomes you as soon as you exit the naga airport. i kind of LOLd when i saw this. the copy was witty but i thought the fact that the governor is the one wakeboarding made for a good snicker or two.
getting there can be quite an adventure itself. the “easiest”(or most convenient) way is to fly to naga(45 minutes), hire a car to go to the pier at san jose(1 hour) then ride a boat(2.5 hrs to get to tugawe) to your resort.
i didn’t mind the plane and the car, but the boat ride was..let’s just say..not for the queasy. another option would be flying to virac, catanduanes. and you only do a 1-hour car ride and a 30-minute boat ride. that said, flights to virac are few and far between.
tugawe cove is in one of the bigger islands of the caramoan. picturesque with lush foliage, the cabanas are plotted along a hill and you are also assigned a butler for the whole duration of your stay. he becomes handy as the restaurant is up a very steep hill and you can just ask him to serve your food at your cabana. he can also arrange various activities for your party to enjoy like kayaking, island-hopping, etc.
although the resort itself is quite modern and clean, we had issues with the intermittent utilities – fluctuating power meant airconditioning was on-and-off and cable TV can be a bitch. i guess this comes with being in a secluded island and a yet-to-be developed tourist spot. you can see this as a good thing – the place is still pretty much untouched. the downside was – they’re not exactly charging loose change. ANYWAY.
my favorite part about the weekend was the island-hopping trip which took us practically the whole day. in that list i posted on the top 10 beaches of the philippines, i’ve been to 6 of the 10 and caramoan truly is breathtaking!
like i always say these days, let the instagrams do the talking.
beautiful islands with stone cliffs. it reminded me of ireland.
this was on one side of the island where the current season of US survivor was shooting. i found it funny/weird that as soon as we reached part of the island’s beach, some white guy on a speedboat wouldn’t let us dock.
the pacific blue waters were clear and inviting.
quite a number of islands had powdery white sand very much like boracay’s.
honestly, i think the photos don’t do the place justice. it was simply gorgeous!
apart from “communing with mother nature”, i was really about getting a summer tan.
and also about catching up on my reading. YAY!
a few friends were sort of upset because i wasn’t answering texts. guess what – globe signal on tugawe’s island was virtually nil which makes for an oddly refreshing experience. when was the last time you guys were absolutely disconnected? i kind of liked it.
i had to climb a steep hill just to text, tweet and instagram. a little bit of a sacrifice but this was the view from the peak of that hill. not bad, huh? i also spent some time in the infinity pool soaking up on the sun and the scenery.
the vacation had some bumps but ultimately it was an awesome experience. with so much yet-to-be-capitalized beautiful places like caramoan, the philippines can truly make its mark on the worldwide tourism stage. this trip alone reminded me of how gifted our country is with its natural resources. i can’t even say it enough-our country is BEAUTIFUL.
if only we get our act together and focus on important things that will boost tourism like infrastructure, transportation and utilities, tourists in our country can outnumber that of thailand or indonesia.
that said, if everything work out perfectly, can we truly say “it’s more fun in the philippines”? nah, don’t think so.
i woke up every morning to this beautiful view from our cabana. now how can you not fall in love with this?