Bicol, the home of the spicy laing and of course, Bicol express. It was also my first destination for the year 2010 and I couldn’t wait.
My best friend and I agreed to go on a budget trip, which meant that we would veer away from travel packages and just wing it. I was honestly worried about how things would go considering that I thrive on plans and don’t really enjoy not knowing what to expect.
A and I arrive at Naga and head on to CWC which would become our home base in Bicol. Accomodations here are very affordable and the food is so-so but the ammenities are fantastic. A and I spent our afternoon at the water park where there was an inflatable obstacle course. It was such good fun trying those gigantic water toys and I bet that we probably burned enough calories to be able to eat guilt-free for that night.
For P200, you can spend the whole day here at CWC's water park.
After tiring ourselves our at the water park, we decided to get massages by the lake which cost us only P300.
Just recalling this day’s events is already making me tired…
This is where the fun starts. Taking from the receptionists instructions on how to get to Caramoan via public transportation, we head on to SM Naga and start our long journey. The terminal for the commuter vans is across SM. It’s very easy to find a van but it may take a while for it to fill up. We had to wait a good hour before we could leave. This 1 1/2 ride to the Sabang Port cost us only P90.
At the Sabag Port, we had to transfer to a banka to get to the Guijalo Port. There’s a banka that leaves at 7am, every hour until 10am. The last one leaves at around 1pm or until the banka is full. It’s best to catch the earlier boats as the waiting can eat up a lot of your time.
This had to be the most eventful ride during that day. Other than being carried into the boat, I was also very worried about capsizing since the bankeros were overloading the boat. To make matters worse, there were no life vests available. I honestly thought that I would die that day. Thankfully, the boat never went out into the open sea and just went around the island. But I have to warn you, this almost 2 hour boat ride is very uncomfortable. This banka ride costs P120.
Upon arriving the Guijalo Port at around 2PM, we take a very bumpy tricycle ride into the bayan. To ride a regualr tricycle will only cost you P20 but if you decide to get the “special” ride, you pay P150.
The bayan is very small and there’s only one main road which is called Centro. We asked to be dropped off at any restaurant since we hadn’t eaten the whole day. Fortuitously, we were dropped off at the home-stay that was recommended by someone from our banka ride. It turns out that this place has the best food in the bayan.
BED and DINE’s Chili Prawns (P190), Adobong Pusit (P120) which was the best i’ve ever had, and laing (P35).
BED and DINE’s food is unbelievably affordable and delicious.
Up at 5am, we took a 25 minute tricycle ride to the beach. Since tricycles only travel to the beach for special trips, you have no choice but to pay P150. Be prepared for a very bumpy ride.
At the beach, we met with our tour guide for the day and hopped on to our rented banka (P1,500 / whole day).
It started to be a gloomy day and the water looked very cold, but the Caramoan Islands still took my breath away.
Since we were to spend our day there, our tour guide asked us if we wanted food prepared and brought to the beach. Of course we said yes and ordered crabs, prawns, fish and laing!
Nothing beats eating by the sea.
The sun finally came out and stayed out long enough for us to get a tan.
After hours of tanning, our tour guide brought us to an island where we could drink buko for P10 each.
Considering the long journey unpredictable departure times, we decided to head back the next day. There were still some waits in between rides but going back seemed a little bit faster.
We left Guijalo Port at around 930 a.m. and arrived in Naga at about 1:30 p.m. It was so good to be back in the city that we decided to spend some time in SM Naga and watch a movie. FYI, SM Naga is very nice and clean. We would have totally shopped if we weren’t on tipid mode.
Day 5 :
From CWC, we head back to Manila full and tan.
I’m glad that I finally got to make the trip to Caramoan and am quite proud to have gone on my first “backpacker” trip. Seeing a new place and experiencing new things was definitely a great way to start the year. I will definitely go back, but probabaly during he summer and on one of those expensive tour packages. 😛