Feeling like a Survivor Castaway at the Caramoan Islands

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

April 30 - May 3, 2014

The plan of visiting Caramoan had been in my system even before NJ, Marian, and I went out for brunch one Sunday morning. When the idea of a summer getaway had been raised during this particular pig-out sesh, it was no surprise that Caramoan was one of the top destination picks. Our first choice was Batanes, alas, my  current financial state will not allow it yet.

At any rate, we made a "pencil-booking" for a date: April 30 to May 4. NJ later informed Ninang Cmae of our plan, and after a whirlwind of haggling, financial constraints, failed beach body projects, and other miscellaneous brouhahas, our trip to Caramoan turned into something very tangible. We were all set even before I went to my Ilocos Adventure.

Unfortunately, while we were bound to a water fun adventure, Marian's work required her to be somewhere, I'd like to imagine, less fun. So the official headcount was eleven: Me, NJ, Ninang Cmae, Ninong Lem, Louie, Tita Sharon, Ate Faye, Mica, Ate Joyce, Kuya Mark, and Baby Audric.

Fast forward to our half-a-day road trip. I spent the entire journey serving as NJ's cuddle buddy - a role I played quite ineffectively according to her because I was apparently narrow and bony. Thanks a lot, NJ. Furthermore, the van we rented had a leg room comfortable only for a three-year-old, prompting me to occasionally latch my feet on to the slight gap beneath the back rest of the seat in front of me (sorry, Tita Sharon). My knees were also pressing into the very same back rest when I try to sit properly (again, sorry, Tita Sharon).

In any case, we arrived at Sabang Port at around 9 in the morning of May 1.

After a two-hour ferry boat ride toward Guijalo Port, we were met by Kuya Wenal who served as our tour guide/coordinator during our stay. Riding in a Caramoan tricycle, we proceeded to our lodging - Borebor Bar and Grill.
Bound for Guijalo
NJ, Louie and I went up our room and my travel lag immediately vanished when NJ rolled up her sleeve and showed us her sun-burned arm. My nose hurt from all the snorting I did. We weren't even in Caramoan for a day and she already had a tan line!
So how did she get all two-toned? Apparently, she fell asleep during the entire boat ride and, to her luck, the sun was shining contentedly on her side of the boat. Meanwhile, Louie and I were busy munching on some chips and enjoying the sea-spray. I still smile at the memory of that uneven skin tone. :)

So anyway, we had a nice lunch...

a quick bath, put our swimsuits on, took another tricycle ride...

got on an outrigger after the said ride...

then finally dropped our jaws at the sight before us.

A favorite set for the Survivor franchise, the Caramoan islands are truly something to be proud of. The islands and rock formations were like chess pieces painstakingly set up for a very epic checkmate. The aquamarine waters and the clear blue sky a perfect complement to the silvery gray of the rocky forms. Everything appeared sharp and crisp, both in person and on camera, all thanks to the blaring sun.

Moments later we docked on our first island.



So called because it served as a pathway for strong winds, the island was filled with jagged rocks that, I assume, were sculpted by both water and wind. We didn't stay long, only taking several pictures and dipping briefly in the surrounding water. The place was crowded so we went ahead to our next stop.
The whole gang + some random guy
Another picture with the random guy
Nice jump, Mica!
The sisters
Ready to get our beach on

Awesome Threesome
With Blocking. Hehehehe


Famous for the so-called prinsesang bangus living in a hidden lagoon, Matukad provides a breathtaking seascape. The view from the cliff where one can observe the mysterious bangus, was the very same used by the local government to endorse the place. Or so Louie had said.
A courtesy call to the Princess
The view from the hidden lagoon
Here, we took advantage of the picturesque background...

did a little rock climbing to see the Princess...

and laid on the sands - savoring the moment in general.


We only managed to visit two islands on our first day, which was fine considering how tired we all were from the long journey. We went back to our transient house and had dinner.

This meal with the whole gang had given rise to a running joke: Moom Manes. And our group was belatedly referred to as the selfsame. We're weird that way.

After a fulfilling meal and a heap of good laughs, we went to our rooms.
We are so organized
It is worth noting that my roommates and I were constantly on each others' throats. (Don't worry, we're all good friends. It was nothing serious.) We argued over petty things like lengthy bathroom usage, bandwidth hogging, which pictures to and not to upload, who sleeps where, unpleasant odor traces and surprise - excuse my language - farts. Well, truth be told, it was mostly NJ and Louie doing all the yakking. I merely looked on, amused by the whole ordeal. My only contribution to the entire argumentative discourse were the unpleasant odor traces and the surprise farts. I'm not gonna lie, I poop easily.

Anyway, the next day, I woke up early and was the first one to take a bath. I let my two roommates sleep while I was getting ready. They stirred to wake while I was rearranging my luggage, perhaps due to the fact that I was intentionally doing it all with as much noise as I could manage. Hehe.

After a bout of indecision regarding who should bathe next, considerable instances of eye-rolling and countless exasperated sighs, the three of us finally went downstairs to have breakfast with the rest our company.

After our hearty meal, we took another tricycle ride and another boat ride for a second round of island hopping.



Before stopping by the largest sand bar in Caramoan, our pump boat passed by a mangrove-filled area. It was beautiful.

Moments after being flanked by Bakawan, we arrived at the sand bar, which, at 9AM, was still mostly submerged in water. We settled on a floating hut, taking in the unimpeded view of the seemingly unending sea.

Several pictures later, we decided to ply the knee-deep water toward an exposed part of the sand bar.

Here, we took lots of photos. We also goofed off and my pledge of cartwheeling on places everywhere I go was born on this little piece of Caramoan. It started when NJ asked if I could "tambling" and because I did have a gymnastics background, I was confident that I could. And I did, with conviction. Hehe.

Here's me trying to position Louie in a hand stand:

It's obvious that I failed. Haha. Here's Louie successfully doing it for me:

Here we are making like Milo Kids...

And here's my attempt to imitate Louie's signature jump:
The benchmark
Close enough xD
Later on, when we realized we've been basking in the sun for too long, we went back to the hut to have our lunch (laing, beybe!).

We waited for a little while before moving on to our next stop because we were told that the water was too low for the boat to pass by on.



The water was so shallow, our ride decided to turn off its engine and just hover. The water was so clear, we could see the sands and starfishes.

And because we couldn't proceed without the boat dragging on the bottom and damaging clumps of corals, we got off and walked our way to the sand bar. We tread with caution because we happened upon sea urchins on the way to the shore.

The size of the sand bar was so huge, it wasn't hard to imagine that we were in the desert instead of the sea.

After bringing some wilting starfishes back to the water, we went ahead to our last stop.



Famous for being a great diving and snorkeling spot, Sabitang Laya made us experience swimming with the fishes and provided us a glimpse of the deep vastness of the oceans.

If you really really think about it, the whole experience is a little scary. Remember that the majority of the oceans remain unexplored. There could be a Kraken eyeing your buttocks while you are being lulled in amazement by the school of multicolored fishes for all we know. Oh well. You just have to trust that Mother Nature is not on a killing spree.

Anyhow, despite the morbid post-experience thoughts, I enjoyed snorkeling and making use of my Speedo snorkeling set. Hehe.

I know I speak for the Moom Manes Group when I say we enjoyed our Caramoan Adventure. We thank Caramoan Seascapers for making our experience special and highly fun-filled.

Cheers to the next adventure!

Photo credits: NJ, Louie, Mica, Ate Joyce, Ate Faye, Tita Sharon

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