Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Caramoan: Backpacker's Adventure Part-2

Guijalo port is your gateway to Caramoan. Upon your touchdown, line of tricycles are waiting to bring you to Centro- the commercial area of Caramoan. If you have no booking in the resorts, the centro is your best choice. Just walk along the main highway, you can see several inns, hostels and transient houses.

Holy Week is a peak season in Caramoan. So expect for a competitive rental for a night stay. Even the most affordable Inn had doubled its rate but considered to be the cheapest choice if you want a modest sleeping quarters when you relax at night. And since I'm alone, Mang Roger or Chong Inchiong' Villa Juliana is my choice. For P400 I had my double queen size bedroom. Rooms here was fully booked and this room is the only available. Room rates varies from 400 for non aircon and 600 with aircon and private CR. Starting April, they will no longer accept reservation. It's a first come first serve basis.

I have seen some renovations going on at Villa Juliana and painted everything in yellow including the walls of my room. Mang Roger told me that It was planned ahead to make sure the Inn is ready for their forthcoming fiesta by May 8. He said that more visitors will be coming and he wants to make sure that tourist would be comfortable during their stay. Here's some places to consider to those who wishes to visit Caramoan:

  • CMC Villa Caramoan - Look for the owner Ms. Marvie Cabrera. Rates start at P1,800 /day during peak season. With Aircon, Cable TV and CR. (0928-4825845)
  • Villa Juliana- Look for Roger Reyes. Rates start at 400 (non aircon) 600 (airconditioned).
  • La Casa Roa - 0917-5801850. Rates starts at 800-1,200
  • Kuya Jay Tourist - 0921-299-8866
  • Rex Tourist Inn - look for Mr. Rex Hernandez (0919-882-1879) 2 Single Bed Room - Php 1,400 per night with air-condition room, hot and cold bath plus cable tv. Single occupancy start at P650.
  • BC HomeTel - Ate Fely (0921-8357454)
  • La Playa Beach Camp (Paniman Beach front) call: 0919-8136766/0920-2816362/0918-6249091
  • Vista Del Mar Guest House (Brgy Bikal-near beach) (same no of La Playa)

Foods are not available at Villa Juliana, but if you are in a group, you can request for a menu and they will cook it for you. In the meantime, I decided to roam around the centro proper. Its almost 1:30 and have to look a place to have my lunch. Along the highway, I see a fine dining place called Caramoan Bed and Dine (formerly Camalig Grill). As the name suggest, it also offers transient. The food varies from Japanese cuisine to a regular restaurant menu. Mind you, you can also get a topping set for only P60. There's Lutong Bahay just across Camalig which also serve typical house blend from tinolang manok to your favorite adobo. If you are travelling by group you can also make reservations 0r paluto.

First Stop

After eating my lunch, I decided to walk back going to the church which I passed by when I arrive in Centro. Its the Parish of Saint Michael - a historic old church built in 15th century. Its wide grounds was also serve as mini park to the resident of this town.

I stayed for a while, recite some prayers and thank the lord for given the chance to reach this place. After a few shots with my Nica, I decided to roam around and have some chat with local villagers. I walk down to centro and think on where to go. It's only 3pm and I want to go to the beach.

Fortunately, I have met Kuya Inggoy Clores- a LARGA driver (single motorbike of Caramoan) and had become my instant tour guide to Caramoan. Beaches are kilometers away from Centro so, just for a tour ride back and forth I gave him P200. Gota Beach as of this writing is still closed. Survivor Israel is still shooting some scene and have to finish some final shots by May. We sometimes bump some service vehicles being rented and have seen some voted out contestant roaming in Caramoan.

Second Stop

We drove 8 kilometers going to Paniman Beach. This is the second closest beach from Centro. The roads are rough and its not advisable to travel during rainy season. It's getting stickier and muddy. According to Kuya Inggoy, It is much difficult if you're on a tricycle. One needs to get off during steep roads and push the tricycle when stickied on a muddy road. So, If you are traveling alone or want an easy ride, the Larga is your best companion.

Along Paniman beach front, I reach La Playa Beach Camp. It is the gateway to many beautiful white sand beaches and island hopping destinations in the Peninsula. By sea, any directions is only 15 to 25 minutes of fun boat ride and by land, is only 20 minutes away from the town proper. They offer camping gears in a 12 acre of empty space. They also have the accommodation in a native-made cottages, rooms, Club House, BBQ spots, ample Clean water supply, Shower and Restrooms. Rates start at 800 for single cabana and P1,500 for air conditioned rooms. If you have your tent, you can freely set it up and enjoy the view of the islands.

With this tour, I have made up a plan and Kuya Inggoy help me organize it. Aside from island hoping, I want to reach other places of Caramoan. So for my second day, I want to visit the Marian image of Mt. Caglago in Brgy. Tagbon. It's an 18-kilometers rough ride and will try to enter Kulapnit Cave if time permits. In the evening, I treat kuya for a cold beer and have a very informative chat about Caramoan. By 10pm he drop me off at Villa Juliana for we have a long day to start by tomorrow....view my Caramoan Gallery on FLICKR

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