Caramoan is a municipality located at the eastern part of Camarines Sur, a province in Bicol Region, Philippines. The small municipality may appear simple and humble but it boasts of one of Philippines’ greatest natural treasures: Caramoan Peninsula National Park.
Caramoan Peninsula National Park may be one of the top picks by local travelers but it has also gained international attention when it was selected as the venue for the 25th season of CBS’s award-winning reality show, Survivor. The edition, Survivor: Philippines, had 18 castaways and were divided into three tribes named after three animals: Matsing (monkey), Tandang (rooster), Kalabaw (water buffaloes).
After said edition, the location has been a constant venue of the same reality TV show and sighting of shootings has been seen even up until 2017.
The national park is known for its group of islands, mostly aquamarine waters, stunning limestone formations, and white-sand shorelines. It would be best if you can at least allocate three days to do island hopping. Caramoan Peninsula National Park has 12 famous islands, here are some of them :
Normally the first island that tourists visit which makes it one of the busiest, too. The island’s cove-like shoreline is teeming with wooden boats on a busy summer weekend. It is also known for its Bangus (milkfish) / Hidden Lake, ideal for those looking for a little bit of limestone rock climbing. If you’d rather relax, then you can simply lie on its white powdery sand and enjoy the beach.
The locals call it the “Batanes of Caramoan” due to its wide expanse of green landscape and rolling hills that overlook the Caramoan Peninsula. The island, compared to others, has inhabitants who sell fresh buko juice (coconut juice) as you trek on your way up to the solar-powered lighthouse.
Small but enchanting. Lahos Island may be smaller than most islands in Caramoan but its defined limestones with the right amount of greenery, and its unique landscape make it one of the best islands in the Peninsula. It is also a great location to watch the sunset.
One of the bigger islands in Caramoan and was recently used as one of the shooting locations for Survivor. If the reality show is not shooting on the island, you can enjoy its long shoreline with just the right amount of trees to shade you if you feel like hiding from the sun.
Unlike the other islands, this one may be lacking o the usual limestone facade but is abundant with shoreline and sandbar. This is also a great place to wad in waist-deep water (or lower, depending on the tide) which is good for those who don’t know how to swim.
Here are top harv experiences you shouldn’t miss or at least experience while in Caramoan:
1. Sunset in Lahos Island
Lie on the sand and watch as the sun sets behind the silhouettes of the Caramoan Peninsula, with your loved ones, friends, or even all by yourself. Watch the sky’s hues transform to vibrant hues of red, orange, or yellow, and you definitely be in awe.
2. Stay in one of the island resorts
If you have the budget to spare, stay in one of the resorts located right in one of the islands. The cost per night for two persons can start from US$75 to $360 depending on the resort and the type of room you’ll get. Of course, nothing beats waking up in an island and seeing the sun rises from the sea.
3. Camp in one of the islands
If you’re on the adventurous side or maybe on a tight budget, you may want to pitch your tents in one of the Caramoan Islands. Pitch fee can range from US $2 to $5 and you can gaze at the stars all night.
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Philippines is an archipelago, and it may be a bit too difficult to go from one place to another. However, you may note the following simple instructions, either by land or by plane.
By Land: Travel Time 8 – 13 Hours
Ride a bus to Naga City from Manila, and alight at Naga City Central Bus Terminal. Bus from Metro Manila usually departs at night. Best to check Isarog, Philtranco, and Peñafrancia bus companies’ timetables online, for their exact rates and schedules. From Naga City Central Bus Terminal, take a Florencia, MRR, or Raymond Bus to Caramoan
By Plane: Travel Time 5 – 6 Hours
Fly to Naga City Airport and ride a public utility van to SM Naga. Then take a Florencia, MRR, or Raymond Bus to Caramoan.
Here are some tips you ought to know before going to Caramoan:
If you are staying in the town proper, look for an accommodation that is near the Caramoan Guijalo Port. Tricycle is the primary mode of land transportation in the town proper, to bring you from and to the port.
Look for tour operators with the best value. If you have specific islands you wish to go to, make sure to bring them up during the negotiations with the tour operator.
Most tour operators cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even land transportation in the town proper.
Best months to go to are between January to May on weekdays. Given the country’s tropical climate, it would be best to also check weather forecast prior to your trip.