Travel Journal: Caramoan on a Budget

Caramoan for four days – one blissful experience indeed.

However, it took planning and coordination to ensure that everything was in order – from the bus tickets, to the itinerary, food, and accommodations, down to the things we had to bring so we can enjoy our vacation to the fullest. It was late in January when I received an email from Mommy Vids, an office mate of mine, and thank heavens for her because she literally took care of everything. She patiently sent us emails, even a list of things to bring. She was also the one who organized our Calaguas trip.

Our itinerary:

March 28
07:30pm Meeting at Araneta Center Bus Station (just right next to Shopwise Cubao)
08:00pm ETD from Cubao
04:30am ETA at Naga Central Bus Station, early breakfast at the station (per pax account)

1ST DAY
05:00am Pick up at Naga
08:00am ETA at Sabang port
10:00am ETA (Caramoan Port)
10:20am ETA (West Peninsula Villas) – Check in / Refresh
11:30am Lunch
12:30pm ETD from West Peninsula to Bikal port/jump off point for island hopping
-Tinago beach
-Matukad island
-Lajos Island
-Tinago beach
pass by Gota beach and Honunagan cove
05:00pm Back to West Pen Villas
07:00pm Dinner

2ND DAY
06:30am Breakfast
07:30am ETD (West Pen Villas to Tabgon) Visit Grotto of Our Lady of Peace
10:00am Start of Island hopping
12:00pm Lunch in an island
Whole Afternoon: Island Hopping
-Bag-ing island
-Sabitang laya
-Basud island
04:30pm Back to West Pen Villas
07:00pm Dinner

3RD DAY
07:00am Breakfast
08:00am ETD (West Pen Villas to Bikal Port)
08:30am – 12:00pm Manlawi Sand Bar: Lunch
Whole Afternoon:
-Cotivas Island
-Bugtong Island
-Lighthouse visit
-Other islands
04:00PM Back to West Pen Villas
– Visit Century old church
07:00PM Dinner

4th DAY
06:30AM Breakfast
07:00am Souvenir shopping at town proper
08:30AM West Pen Villas to Caramoan Port
09:00AM Caramoan Port to Sabang Port

We chose to travel by land to avoid the hassle of checking in at the airport, waiting for our flight, etc. By now I’m pretty much used to riding the bus and sleeping through the ride. It can get a bit uncomfortable but you can also book with a sleeper (executive) bus.
Almost everything went smoothly except for the lost ticket in Isarog Bus Lines, and thanks to the rude conductor, we spent about 15 minutes explaining to him that we have reserved and paid for our seats in advance and that we were all aboard the bus already.
Upon reaching Naga Central Bus Station, we were picked up by a van and for about two hours traveled to Sabang Port. There’s a two-hour boat ride after that, but don’t fret because you won’t lose sight of land and it’s not as scary as the boat ride to Calaguas.

Another minor setback that we had though on our way back home – the tickets in Naga Central Bus Station were sold out the day we were bound back to Manila. We had to go to Daet – DLTB Bus Co. and take the bus to Manila from there.

There were several instances when we didn’t follow the itinerary or jumbled the schedule; nonetheless, we visited almost all the islands on the list except for Baging, Bugtong, and Basud. These were replaced by Cagbalinad, Tinago and Tayak islands.

Accommodations:

We stayed at West Peninsula Villas which prides itself as “The Most Refreshing Haven in Caramoan.” I kinda agree and give it four out of five stars. What I loved about the place: the big pool where we lounged after island hopping (oo ayaw namin sa tubig), the food, especially the laing (it was the best laing I’ve ever tasted) and the crabs, and their yummy leche flan. Napaghahalataang matakaw ako. Of course, kudos to the friendly staff and the tour guide who patiently took our pictures, waited for us while we swam from the middle of the sea to the island (with life vests of course), and who answered all our questions about Caramoan. The resort gets plus points for their affordable rates and for the fact that we saw the production crew of Survivor as they were checking in a day before we left. Oh, and the small bar tucked in the corner of the resort. They sell beer for only Php40!

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West Peninsula Villas is at the heart of Caramoan
caramoan, caramoan camarines sur, west peninsula villas, caramoan itinerary
Survivor memorabilia – the staff and crew of the past editions of Survivor checked in at West Peninsula Villas

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caramoan, caramoan camarines sur, west peninsula villas, caramoan itinerary
The cottages/villas
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We occupied three rooms, here’s our room with two beds (there were ten of us in the group)
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There’s a pool table in the middle of the resort. Very nice!
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You can swim some more in the pool on the far edge of the resort if you still have the energy after a whole day of island hopping
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Laing, I love you! The yummiest laing I have ever tasted. I’m coming back for you!
caramoan, caramoan camarines sur, west peninsula villas, caramoan itinerary
They packed our lunch during our three-day island hopping. They cooked Bicol Express, adobong pusit, fried fish, and crabs for us.
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The Lake Bar at West Peninsula Villas where you can chill after a looong but thrilling day

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caramoan, caramoan camarines sur, west peninsula villas, caramoan itinerary

The only thing I dislike about the place – I encountered a freakishly big cockroach on the sink! I walked into our room, a bit dazed and sleepy after drinking at the bar and singing the night away, then found a cockroach crawling into the sink. I was panicking and praying that it won’t start flying, else I might run shrieking (I am perpetually afraid of and disgusted with this insect). My buddies in the other room had the same experience – only that the cockroach in their room was clinging on the curtain.

Our expenses for four days, three nights (I won’t be including the stuff I bought for the trip such as swimwear, toiletries, snacks, etc.):

Bus fare
-750php from Cubao to Naga
-150php from Naga to Daet
-650php from Daet to Manila

Accommodations (three days and two nights), food (three sets of breakfast, lunch, and dinner), boat and van transfers
-4,794.50php

Pasalubong – I am not a big fan of giving pasalubong, unless I am traveling abroad
-100php for two ref magnets

TOTAL: 6444.50php

Seeing the islands was worth every centavo I spent, yet I know that there are several other activities that we have to check out and try such as rock climbing and exploring other islands. Some friends sent me messages on Facebook right after seeing my Caramoan posts, asking how much I spent for the trip. Most of them were surprised that I spent around 6,000php only for a four-day vacation, and they started researching and booking their own trips.

If you’re interested to travel to Caramoan and experience sheer joy coming from island-hopping, eating, and swimming, head over to the website of West Peninsula Villas at westpeninsulavillas.com or contact them at +63 915 3295669 / +63 921 2642538 / +63 919 7901624. I’m pretty sure they will be more than happy to prepare an itinerary for you.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Journal: Caramoan on a Budget

  1. Al

    Hello,

    I’m about to book a package with e-philippines and I’m thinking of staying at west peninsul villas. How far away is the hotel to the island hopping port? Did you have to travel far to get to the beach?

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