Bicol Bloggers was invited by Camarines Sur Governor Miguel “Migz” Villafuerte one sunny weekend to visit Gota Beach found at the Caramoan peninsula in Camarines Sur. Here’s my account of what transpired on those two wonderful days:
Up and about again at 4:00 am, we got ready to catch the sunrise at Gota Beach.
Though there was no clear indication of the rays coming through the jagged slopes, we saw how the light changed from dark to pink to orange signaling that it was indeed day break, another day has broken. And we were thankful for the opportunity to seize another day ahead of us.
Before proceeding to the restaurant to await breakfast, I went to the beach front first and marveled at the beauty of nature. It was low tide still so I managed to walk through a certain distance from the shore up until the coming soft waves gently caressed my feet. The vision was one to behold! The pinkish orange sky against the light blue horizon, the green tint of leaves glistening through the solid rock formations, the blue color of the sea from afar, and the white bubbles created by the waves as it reached the light peach sand where I stood — all are God’s work of art. The sound of the waves was music to my ears as was the early morning wind that kissed my already sun-burned cheeks. I wished the beach was that near our place so that I could make a quick dash to it whenever the going gets tough and the tough gets going. You know what I mean.
After the brief muni-muni, I went to the restaurant to order breakfast for the gang. There were no front clerks yet so I gently poked my head through the kitchen door and asked “Ma-order man pong breakfast.” (We would like to order breakfast). The man I called up appeared to be one of the cooks since really, at that time of day (around 5:45 am), there weren’t yet waiters or other restaurant crew. But, I placed our order anyway. I got me a cup of coffee to temporarily stave off the pang of hunger I was anticipating to feel.
The sun was already high and my watched said 7:00 am when our breakfast was finally served. A tip for travelers: ask what time breakfast is to be served so that you can place your order at the earliest time and get to enjoy your meal once the restaurant starts serving breakfast — on the dot. Another tip: you may opt to bring food and beverages in your cabins as you await your restaurant orders. However, bringing them into the restaurant area is prohibited (for obvious reasons).
After breakfast, we headed back to our cabins and got ready for island hopping! *squeals*
Our bangkero was already waiting for us when we arrived at the beach where the boats are docked. And off we went to our half-day adventure — island hopping!
Island No. 1 was Cagbalinad Island
The island was a rather small clearing of sand fronting Hunongan Cove with a big rock (the one on the right) where, with the proper angle, you can pretend to be cliff diving/ flying. We weren’t able to since another group came and made good use of the rock like I said.
I tried the underwater camera I borrowed from my friend and tested it but I guess, I wasn’t able to check the battery slot whether it was fit tight so water still came in. Sad. Still no camera. My friend said never mind and suggested to me to just enjoy the rest of the cruise. So I did.
The boat turned around and we were taken to Island No. 2 which was still Cagbalinad Island albeit more private and serene.
This is where I really opted to get wet and go underwater. I also practiced my floating skills (chos) here. I would have wanted to stay longer but according to the boatman, this spot somewhat disappears once the tides get high. Even with that, this sweet turn around spot is my most favorite since the place was much wider and we had the it all to ourselves!
We hopped to Lahos Island next.
As the name implies, the white sand between two jagged limestone formations at Lahos Island allow visitors to easily pass from one side of the island to the other side.
On the left is the rough and tough side of the island where waves crash through. Swimmers love it here since the waves do most of the motion of tossing and turning them up. On the right side of this picture is the soft side where the boats are docked while waiting for their passengers. Notice the transition of the water’s color from clear to blue green to deep blue? It indicates depth. This is what I love about this island!
As the sun was heating up, we joined the groups of people having a good time at Matukad Island.
The most amazing island I’ve ever seen in my entire life — Matukad Island has the finest immaculately white sand!!
I think it was the most populous in terms of visitors that day. A good number of boats were parked by its shore and tourists swarmed the whole stretch of the island.
Apart from swimming into the coral reef decorated sea and lounging in the sand, you may opt to climb the rock formation I’m facing and a beautiful lagoon will come into view once you reach its peak. I guess that’s why it’s called Matukad because you have to climb (tukad in Bikol) just so you could have the best experience of the island.
Lastly, we went to Busdak Island.
At Busdak Island, here I am fixing my sunglasses.
My head was a-throb because of the midday heat on top of our heads, and yes, hunger. This is not to mention the jelly fish scare and the tingling feeling on my right thigh after accidentally rubbing through the rope which anchored our boat to one of the rocks. After this shot was taken, I took shelter underneath the shadow of the leaves which grew from a tree on the island.
This was our last stop where we took our group jump shot!Island hopping rates at Gotta Village Resort are as follows:
Island hopping (7 persons maximum) PhP 2,200 – (Maralad Islands) Matukad, Lahos, Minalagos, Cagbalinad islands; Hunongan, Tinago, Tayak beaches
Island hopping (7 persons maximum) PhP 3,200 – (Manlawi islands) Sabitang Laya and Lahuy Islands
Back to back island hopping – PhP 5,000
Apart from island hopping, you can also enjoy other marine activities such as:
Kayaking (kayak rental is PhP 500
Cliff diving:* PhP 150 per dive; PhP 300 unlimited dive
Snorkeling (snorkeling set rental* is PhP 150)
Upon the other hand, there are also other extreme activities that may be enjoyed at the resort:
River trekking* to Umang Cave with rental equipment – PhP 500
River tubing* to Mandiklum Cave with rental equipment – PhP 700
Mountain trekking* – PhP 300
Mountain trekking with rappelling* – PhP 500
Intro to rock climbing* – PhP 700
Spelunking* – PhP 500
*Rates are per person
It was high noon already when we want back to our home away from home for the weekend. Still soaking wet from the sea water, we helped ourselves with the free chlorinated water by the restaurant to wash the salt off. Half of our gang went to the cabins to refresh, while the rest of us stayed and waited for lunch to be served.
After lunch and after refreshing ourselves, we prepped to go since home was four hours away. We couldn’t miss the daylight since the roads do not yet have lamp posts to guide our way.
So yaaas! Bicol Bloggers survived Caramoan!! (Double exclamation points para intense)
If ever you’re thinking of traveling around the Philippines, why not come South of Luzon and come over to Camarines Sur? We have pristine white sand shores for beach bums, jagged rock formations for cliff climbers, and tons of other water activities for all water babies (real babies and adults) out there. What’s there not to love about Cam Sur?
Come to Caramoan now and get the best dose of the beach Camarines Sur has to offer. ❤
You may also visit this website for more information about Caramoan.
Again, thank you very much Gov. Migz for accommodating us for the weekend. Way to go, young blood Cam Sur! 🙂