The plan was hatched about a couple of months ago: we will conquer the 3 C’s: Camarines Sur, Caramoan and CWC!
After our failed birthday trip last March, my friend AKG and I were finally able to push through with our CamSur trip last weekend. Although several forces had seemed to be bent on keeping us from getting there – our own lethargy in planning, a cancelled-then-rescheduled flight and the weather – everything eventually fell into place.
Day 1: Rain or Shine in Cam Sur
Our initial flight from Manila was supposed to be in the afternoon (we took this flight as it had been the only one with discounted fare back then), but due to some aircraft problems, we were able to get an earlier flight. This had been a very good break for us since we were able to fix a less hectic schedule. We left Manila at 6:35 am and arrived at the Naga Airport in Pili at 7:30 am. After some haggling with the drivers outside of the airport, we were able to book a driver for only P150 to take us to the van terminal at SM Naga going to the Sabang Port. Other taxi drivers were offering P1200-1500 just to take us there. I was so lucky as AKG seems really adept at haggling and all that.
Read more: What’s up in Cam Norte?
We arrived at SM Naga 10 minutes later and boarded a van to the port. We suddenly received news that there won’t be any boats going to the Guijalo Port in Caramoan because of the Southwest Monsoon. But still, we remained inside the van and endured the 2-hour long ride to Sabang Port. When we got there, we were greeted by the scene of a crowd of locals and tourists alike, talking about the boat rides to Caramoan. The Baranggay Captain was telling everyone that the Coast Guard will no longer allow the big boats to sail because of the nasty winds and rough waves. However, we were given hope when he said that the smaller, and therefore, lighter boats will be able to cross safely to our desired destination. The boat will cost P2500 (later on increased to P3000) and we needed another couple of tourists to share the boat with us. Fortunately, this couple that was with us in the van were willing to split the ride with us. So, off we went.
It must be noted that the boat that we rode was really small. It was like one of those boats that should only be used in rivers by fishermen with reels. There was only one bamboo outrigger per side and it felt like the boat will tip over with every wave that hit us. And hit us the waves did. It was like surfing but you are seated on a boat instead of being on a board. The waves were really huge and I screamed each time a wave hit us and splashed us sea water.
Read more: Surfing Baby Waves in Baler
Aside from being tossed roughly around the sea, this boat ride left us another souvenir: sunburnt skin. Before leaving Sabang Port, we had to waterproof our bags so we bought this garbage bag (P17) to put all our stuff in. And when we left, there had been a light shower and it was cloudy all around. But the mighty sun shone with all its 12-noon might halfway into the boat ride. My sunblock was inside my bag which was inside the garbage bag, and we couldn’t risk opening it with all the waves crashing around us. Thank God I had my jacket on so my arms and scalp and forehead managed to hide from the sun. But my thighs, nose and the lower half of my face were definitely roasted.
Read more: My worst sunburn ever from Burot Beach.
After two hours of that crazy boat ride with the sun frying every bit of exposed skin, we were able to cross the churning sea and get to the Guijalo Port without anyone falling over. Kuya Lito from Rex Inn greeted us and took us to the Rex Tourist Inn Garden with his “top down” tricycle-like thingy. I never got to know what it was properly called.
The Rex Inn Garden looks like a very promising resort. It is the fourth “annex” of the main inn and it was not yet finished when we got there. The swimming pool and volleyball area were still under construction, but the rooms were satisfactory – two big queen-size beds, one monoblock chair, one table, aircon, 2-channeled TV (ABSCBN + Living Asia), water heater and lots of hangers. The dining area is towards the back along a river that brings to mind the dining experience at the Loboc river in Bohol. The cruising effect will no doubt be supplied later on using the floating cottage that is currently under construction.
After washing up and having lunch, I felt extremely lethargic and just wanted to sleep off the afternoon. Which I did. AKG couldn’t sleep as I did though because the rain kept waking her up. She said that it rained so hard that it was a bit of a good thing that we did not insist on the Caramoan Island tour as previously planned.
Day 2: Caramoan Island Hopping Tour
We got up early the following day and the sun greeted us with all smiles. It was our island hopping day and it had been a success. We first went to Lahos, this island with a great land formation. Then next was Matungkad. We spent a considerable amount of time here because AKG did this rock climbing thing so that she could view a lagoon with a giant bangus. I did not attempt to do this rock climbing endeavor because the wall was literally vertical and the rocks were all jagged. I didn’t think it would be hard to climb up but I was really apprehensive about climbing down with my short legs and all.
Next stop had been snorkeling at a corrals area off the shore of Kagbalingad Island. We were totally unprepared as we forgot to rent snorkels from the resort and our tour guide only had one snorkel that fell apart with age. I don’t think I enjoyed this part of the trip that much, having seen plenty of better corrals in Palawan way back in 2009. After swimming around a bit, we headed off to this Caramoan coast to have lunch. Unfortunately, I could not remember the name of this beach. It was a cove with really fine sand. After waiting for the water level to rise, we went to Minalahos island. There we did some rock climbing to view a gorgeous lagoon that resembles that of Coron.
The beaches of the islands that we have so far visited were okay. The water was clear and the sand were fine, but the downside was that the sea grass grew too close to the shore so there was actually little space to swim around. So, we asked our tour guide to take us to a good beach. And after 30 minutes of deafening boat ride, we arrived at Sabitang Laya. The place was great! The shoreline is long and the sand was fine and the water was really good, warmer than on the other beaches. It was the best stop of all. ^__^
Day 3: CWC (CamSur Watersports Complex)
Our third day in CamSur is CWC day! I was really excited because I would finally be able to try wakeboarding! We got up really early to make sure that we’ll have seats on the early boat. We stopped for a bit of photo op. at the local church but aside from the roads, ports, and the inn, that was basically everything that we saw of Caramoan Island.
After arriving back at Sabang port, we had another van ride. It took us directly to the CamSur Watersports Complex. We got there at around 11am but our room wouldn’t be available until 2pm. So we headed to the dining area and got us some lunch. Food at CWC was really expensive. But, they did have wifi at the dining area.
By 2 pm we were already bored out of our wits watching these advanced wakeboarders do their thing at the circular water playground area. We claimed our room’s ticket at the lobby which was so out of the way from the main wakeboarding area. When we got to our container room, we were truly disappointed by the utter state of disrepair. There were water stains on the walls and dust everywhere. There was one queen-sized bed that covered about 70% of the entire room. The bathroom is a bit hellish. The water mixer is a bit fucked up so the water took a long time to heat up and once it got hot, it stayed scorching. Plus, there was no dipper! This became a big problem as we are humans and we need to do number 2, and washing is mandatory after. There was not even any movable shower near the toilet so one could just imagine the difficulty! It was really a rip off to stay there.
It was now high time that I try wakeboarding. So I strode up to the registration area only to find out that I am on a wait list for a go at the Beginners’ Area. I am #78 and they are only in #39! And this is group 39. I was really bummed about it but due to AKG’s encouragement, I still signed up and waited my turn. After about 4 hours of waiting, 2 bottles of Tanduay Ice and 38 wakeboarders, my turn finally came. We were about to head back to our room to take advantage of cable TV when my name got called. We went to the registration area, paid the deposit and headed back to the Beginners Area. My turn was supposed to be from 6:30-7:00 pm, then 7:30-8:00pm. There was a dinner break of 30 minutes but we stuck around and no longer left the area.
My first try had of course been a mess. It was really tough having to keep my toes up and balance myself and be pulled by a cable. On my third try, I was able to crouch my way to 3/4 of the lagoon-like practice area. Then there was the break. On my fifth try, I was able to wakeboard the entire length of the pool. It was exhilarating! In the end, I was able to complete 5 straight go’s, hurt my hand on the rough wooden handle of the cable, refrain from swallowing tadpole-y water, and slip on the muddy banks. It was really, really fun. ^__^
All in all, I had a really great time in CamSur. My long weekend had been well-spent and the long wait was well-worth it. Hopefully I could go back there again to experience all the other islands in Caramoan and do the advanced level at CWC.
Hopefully, someday. ♥
August 27-30, 2011