Throwback Travel: Caramoan in the Pre-Survivor Time

Traveled: February 2005

Me and my friends consider ourselves lucky to have experienced Caramoan before the Survivor reality TV show stint.  Lucky because there were no hotels in the immediate vicinity.  That meant that we had to pitch our own tents for an overnight stay at the beachfront, with an unobstructed view of the Gota Beach and the limestone cliffs.  That also meant a 10-minute walk from the beachfront to a public well in order to take a freshwater bath, and also cooking our own food from a bonfire.   Doesn’t that spell out a more genuine Survivor challenge?

We reached Caramoan via Naga riding a van to Sabang Port in Camarines Sur.  We woke up early for that ride but I was not able to sleep not because of the bumpy ride but because of the scenic journey.  I remember getting all excited upon seeing the all familiar perfect coned shape that is Mayon Volcano, even if it seems so distant. Lush mountains can also be seen along the way.

From Sabang Port, we had another bumpy ride aboard a passenger boat bound to Guijalo Port.   After reaching Guijalo Port 2 hours later, we walked quite a distance to the entrance to the Big Gota Beach, passing by picturesque mountains, a small community, rice fields, coconut trees and banana trees.

Gota Beach, Caramoan

Big Gota Beach had 2 small nipa hut cottages fronting the beach that time.  The views are reminiscent of the limestone cliffs of Palawan.  We dipped into the waters of Gota Beach a few moments after our arrival but that was not to be repeated after we discovered that we’ve got the company of not just one but a lot of little brown jellyfishes!

A short hike around the Big Gota Beach can take you to the Little Gota, which should not in any way be belittled as the beach and the views are equally beautiful.

Caramoan

(Some photos here taken by my good friend, Ning)

We spent the next day with an island hopping tour by renting a small pump boat.  That island hopping trip was never to be forgotten as I got my worst ever sunburn on that day.  That’s the result of going on an island hopping tour on a boat without trapal (or cover) and bringing a sunscreen lotion but forgetting to apply it on our bodies.  Part of the island hopping tour is also the hike up the Mt. Caglago through a 500 plus stairway.  On top of the mountain is an image statue of Mother Mary overlooking the Caramoan Peninsula.  I was surprised to see the current photos of Mama Mary’s image, which apparently had been replaced because the original statue had been badly damaged by typhoon and unfortunately had also been struck by lightning.

Island hopping, Caramoan

I would love to go back to Caramoan to explore more of the other islands and see how much things have changed.

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