Traveling with a 10-month old infant, I opted to get a package, one I found on the internet. P5000 all-in for 3 days and 2 nights, including all the food, accommodations, tours, guides, and transportation from port and back and to all our destinations. It was a good enough deal.

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

We were supposed to stay at the West Peninsula Villas..

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

… but they were expecting the staff and crew of another series of Survivor. I forget whether it was Netherlands or Turkey or some other European country. They asked me if I was okay with staying in another inn.

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

I didn’t really think I had any choice in the matter.

And that is how we ended up staying in a room in the River View Vacation Inn.

River View, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

River View, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

It is two blocks away from West Peninsula Villas, where we ate all our meals, and right by the river, right next to the bridge.

River View, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

This is the view of the river from the inn.

River View, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

The river is clean enough for the locals to do their laundry in.

River View, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

River View, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

It reminded me of childhood when the women would go to the nearby brook to do their washing while the kids played and caught fish. That was before the CoSay oil mill polluted the river by dumping their waste right into the brook and killed all the life in it, also putting an end to the days of washing and drying clothes, as well as swimming at various times of the day, with my playmates and our dogs.

The inn is just a few meters away from the St. Michael Parish church, situated on the other side of the bridge.

River View, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Most of the people in Caramoan are Roman Catholics. They are proud and honored to have a historic old church in their town, built in the 15th century. The church’s history goes as far back as when Franciscan Missionary Fray Francisco dela Cruz y Oropesa dared to penetrate the dense forests of Caramoan Peninsula in 1867. He then founded a Christian settlement in a place called Balwarte. Upon turnover of this settlement to the Sagrada Mitra for administration in 1696, a chapel was built out of indigenous materials like nipa, bamboos and wood. Thereafter, the chapel underwent several repairs/renovations and a permanent structure was finally constructed only after almost 200 years. The building was constructed by slave labor out of adobe, local stones and clay under the supervision of well-known artisans and masons. The same building still stands, having withstood natural calamities like typhoons and earthquakes, and also the ravages of World War II. – Caramoan’s Unspoiled Beauty

St. Michael Parish Church, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

St. Michael Parish Church, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

This is my second time in Caramoan. The first was made back in April 2007. It was Holy Week and H and I drove the car all the way from Manila to Bicol. We met up with our friends, Roma and Amrei, who were already in Naga but staying in CWC. Altogether, we waited for the arrival of our friends Abet and Hash, and Nick and Kalai, by bus. But it was only Abet and Hash who arrived that night. Nick and Kalai’s beloved cat, Lolita, had given birth and died and they were devastated. They could not make the trip. [I can still remember waiting for Abet and Hash outside the Lucky-Nine convenience store in front of Plaza Quince Martires…]

Together with my brother, Carmelo, whom I had persuaded to go with us to act as tour guide, we went to spend one night in our little hut (recently ravaged by a super-strong typhoon) in the beach of Sabang in the town of San Jose.

We were up early the next morning to catch the 6AM boat trip from the Sabang wharf to the port of Guijalo in the town of Caramoan.

Waiting for a jeep by the side of the road that would take us to the wharf

We had planned on pitching up tents in Gota, so there I was, carrying a foldable mat. Alas, we left our tent in the car, which we left parked by the house in Sabang.

Back in 2007, there was no Gota Village just yet. Gota Beach was accessible to anyone who wanted to be there. There were no accommodations of any kind, and people just pitched tents. There was a little hut there that rented out tents for P700 per night. My brother thought that was really expensive.

We found Gota Beach really windy when we got there. It was also a little bit rainy.

In Gota, Caramoan.. windy and cold

Of course, it was photo ops galore. Here are a few of them.

H and Angku in Gota, Caramoan

UP Rep friends: Amrei, Roma, Hash, Abet, Angku, H and Melo

Angku in windy Gota Beach

Photo taken by H

We left Gota Beach, went back to town, back to the port, and took a little boat to a little cove somewhere where we spent the night.

It was an unforgettable night. Unforgettable because we had the whole beach to ourselves the entire night, we did not have a proper tent and a proper sleeping place. It rained some time during the night and we had a bad infestation of nik-nik (sand mite) that got us scratching and passing something that was called “Pain Away” all night, which really had no effect whatsoever.

We were on a boat back to Sabang my midday the next day, where we took the car and drove to the falls in Consocep in Mt. Isarog. It was fun nevertheless. Anywhere with my U.P. Rep friends is always fun no matter what.

I would willingly go back to Caramoan any day, any time, with anyone who cares to. Despite the difficulty of getting there, it is always worth the trip. Though come to think of it, it’s way easier to go to Coron or El Nido from Manila to Caramoan. More expensive, yes, but easier. 😉

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