Caramoan is a municipality located at the lower eastern part of Camarines Sur in Bicol Region. It is well-known as a gateway to the beaches, limestone cliffs, and islands โ€” which means you’ve never really been to Caramoan if you haven’t experienced island hopping!

Seemingly, Caramoan rose to fame as a filming location for a Philippine reality show. It became so mainstream and because we’re quite not into mainstream destinations, we’ve always skipped it. Until our li’l sis, who was an architecture student, had to personally interview important persons in Caramoan for her thesis and we had to accompany her.

Of course, since we’re there, we grabbed the chance to do island hopping. And we’re grateful that we did! That’s when we found out that Caramoan doesn’t need to become a filming location to deserve all the love and fame. Caramoan itself is a precious gem!

 

 

We only had a couple of days for leisure so there’s no question how we should spend our time โ€” Caramoan island hopping for sure! We did the Short and Long Trip separately. Some people prefer combining the tours, but for us it’s simply not our thing. We want to make sure we get to enjoy the place without having to hustle so much.

But if you really have a very limited time for island hopping or for any reason, feel free to do a combined tour. It’s just a matter of preference and there’s no specific rule for that ๐Ÿ˜‰

Note: We went here Feb 2018, so kindly check the updated local restrictions in Camarines Sur.
Update as of 9/18/2021: Caramoan is now open for tourists from outside Bicol.
Requirements: Negative RT-PCR results taken within 3 days prior to travel; Booking confirmation from DOT-accredited accommodation; Government-issued valid ID.

 

Caramoan Island Hopping – Short Trip

The Short Trip usually covers 4 islands: Cagbanilad, Matukad, Minalahos, and Lahos Island. But due to weather condition, we missed Lahos Island.

The tour started at 7am. While on the way to the first stop, we passed by a luxury resort in Hunongan Cove that looked empty (it was off-season). Unfortunately, we couldn’t dock there because it’s not open to public.

 

Hunongan Cove. Looks pretty but too bad it’s closed.

 

1st Stop: Cagbanilad Island

We sailed for few more minutes and then we reached our first destination. Cagbanilad Island is one of the nearest islands so it’s the usual first stop. Although for us, our style is exploring the farthest first (in this case, Lahos Island is the farthest from the port) while our energy is at peak, and then continue to the nearest ones. But as mentioned earlier, we cannot visit Lahos Island due to weather.

 

Touch down Cagbanilad Island. That’s Hunongan Cove on the other side of the ocean.
Jec and Diane atop a rock in Cagbanilad Island
Of course, it’s very unlikely that I won’t join them up there
Lost in paradise

 

Cagbanilad Island has a tiny beach and most parts of the island are rock formations and vegetation. It was a perfect appetizer for our first ever Caramoan island hopping trip!

Kuya Dennis, our boat captain, said there’s a good spot for snorkeling near the island but sadly the area was full of seaweeds that time. So we just took advantage of the island’s picture-perfect spots for those mandatory memorabilia. Not being able to snorkel wouldn’t let us down. Besides, even without those seaweeds, I still couldn’t swim due to womanly issues. So it’s a quits for the three of us. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

Suddenly missed my long hair
That sea foam circling Diane was awesome!
And I think a heart-shaped sea foam looks awesome too. No camera trick! Just pure nature!

 

We paused for a while to relax and appreciate the calming ambiance. We thought we deserve a quick break before heading to our next destination. Few more moments, we found ourselves getting enlivened once again at the sight of an island with expansive white beach โ€” Matukad Island.

 

2nd Stop: Matukad Island

Matukad island has a wider and longer beach, and whiter and finer sands. This is the main dish of our tour! Upon setting my foot on the island, I instantly ran to the beach. My instinct every time I get really excited. Who wouldn’t feel excited with this view?

 

Matukad Beach

 

I’ve heard there’s a lagoon here where a lone bangus fish resides โ€” such an interesting and bizarre story. But what I never knew was that the trail going to that lagoon wasโ€”what’s the wordโ€”traumatizing? Nah, I think that’s exaggerated. Let’s just say, nerve-racking? Di kami na-inform besh!

 

Can you imagine how we managed to climb up there?
Not so easy to pose for a photo

 

Yes we’re smiling, but deep inside we’re ranting…

Diane: May thesis pa ‘ko!
Me: Gusto ko lang naman makita ‘yung bangus Kuya!
Jec: *snap snap*

 

Kuya Dennis pointing to our next steps

 

Now you see how we managed to climb. Kuya Dennis goes up first, then he will instruct us how to climb easier by pointing out where to set our foot and where to hold onto, one at a time. It happened that I almost slipped because I held onto a branch of a tree that’s fragile. And from that point, I started to really listen attentively to Kuya Dennis’ instructions!

 

Kuya Dennis assisting us
We’re getting there!
At the lagoon. We’re not able to capture a photo of the fish.

 

We saw a huge fish swimming in the lagoon and it was indeed alone. And as to how it got there, we have no idea. We’re not even sure if that’s the original lone fish that people have been talking about. It was also quite sad to see a living thing living alone. Nonetheless, it was a rare thing to witness.

The quietness inside the lagoon was noticeable because when we’re at the beach we could hear the sound of the ocean. It’s as if the surroundings were empathizing with the lone fish. I guess the silence contributed to that sad feeling, though the scenic view somehow compensates. It was good to experience a place as quiet and as untouched as this.

As we climbed back down, a gorgeous view of the beach greeted us. We did not see it earlier because we’re too focused climbing up. Jec told us to hurry so he could take photos of us while he’s still on top.

 

View of the beach
I can’t hear Jec’s instructions since he’s too far. But glad we still managed to take few snaps, and here’s one.
A small nipa hut by the beach

 

No other tourists dared to sail to the islands, maybe because of the weather and it was not yet summer. As you would notice, the waves were strong but it was sunny at the same time.

We enjoyed the beach as if we’re playing in our own playground. I wanted to stay longer but we need to head to our next destination before the tide gets low!

 

3rd Stop: Minalahos Island

Minalahos Island is one of the nearest from the port, just opposite to Cagbanilad Island. And just like the other two islands, it is adorned with towering limestone rocks comparable to that in Palawan.

It also has a tiny beach with golden fine sands. I could imagine it can get crowded easily since it has a very limited space for tourists. Good thing we’re the only tourists that time.

 

Approaching Minalahos Island
Jec feeling like a starfish
Tranquility

 

We thought all the island had was the tiny beach, until Kuya Dennis led us to the other side of the island. Few more steps and we were greeted by an ocean view from a different angle. And all we hear is the relaxing sound of the ocean as it hit the rocks where we stand.

 

The view from the other side of the island

 

This was our last stop for the island hopping tour and it’s near the port so we could spend more time here. However, we still need to drop by Gota Village for Diane’s interview.

But before we head to Gota Village, we had our lunch at an eatery near the port. That’s where we’ve tasted the most delicious and authentic Laing! That humble eatery doesn’t even have a name, but it gave us an unforgettable food experience. Nothing really beats authentic cooking by the locals!

We chartered a tricycle to take us to Gota Village. We did not book a villa there, but I was so excited to see the place!

 

Side Trip: Gota Village

This place was so pretty! I loved the quiet and private vibes inside the resort. The villas looked cute and they’re so many, though only few were occupied by vacationers.

Let me show you few photos that we took inside.

 

Cute villas inside Gota Village
Our pretty li’l architect
Villas near the entrance

 

You can book a villa at Gota Village Resort here.

 

So satisfying to see a cluster of identical villas
Mooore villas

 

So our first leisure day ended here, which means we only have one day left. And that was allotted for Long Trip Caramoan island hopping which I will share the story on my next post.

 

Travel Guide

 

How to get to Caramoan

By Land:

  1. From Manila, ride a bus going to Sabang Port. Raymond, Penafrancia, and Isarog are some that have direct trips to Sabang.
  2. From Sabang Port, ride a passenger boat to Guijalo Port of Caramoan.
  3. From Guijalo Port, take a tricycle to Caramoan Town where hotels and homestays are located.
  4. You can charter a tricycle to Bikal Port where boats for island-hopping are available.

By Air:

  1. Fly to Naga Airport
  2. From Naga, ride a bus or van going to Sabang Port.
  3. From Sabang Port, ride a boat to Guijalo Port of Caramoan.
  4. From Guijalo Port, take a tricycle to Caramoan Town where hotels and homestays are located.
  5. You can charter a tricycle to Bikal Port where boats for island-hopping are available

 

*Update as of 9/18/2021: Caramoan is now open for tourists from outside Bicol.

Caramoan Travel Requirements 2021:

Negative RT-PCR results taken within 3 days prior to travel
Booking confirmation from DOT-accredited accommodation
Government-issued valid ID

 

Caramoan Island Hopping Rates

Short Trip: โ‚ฑ1,500/boat good for 6pax

Long Trip: โ‚ฑ2,500/boat good for 6pax

Combined Tour: โ‚ฑ4,000/boat for 6pax

 

Where to stay in Caramoan

If you’re looking for a nice place to stay in Caramoan, here are a few suggestions:

 

Tugawe Cove Resort – Caramoan

 

Magindara Guesthouse – Caramoan

 

The Central Discovery Hotel – Caramoan

 

CMC Villa Caramoan

 

 



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Dea Mariano

About Author

Hi, Iโ€™m Dea! A traveler who loves good food and an electronics engineer based in the Philippines. Iโ€™m a huge lover of beaches and pink sunsets, and a worshiper of Godโ€”the source of my everything. I once wandered aimlessly in life, until Jesus found me! Now, I just wander around wonderful places while admiring His marvelous workmanship ๐Ÿ˜

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