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Published: April 30th 2009
Secret Location (caramoan peninsula shhhh)
Some of the guys in the group know a Filipino guy living in Singapore and he recommended a nearby beach/island getaway. It might be a popular destination for some Filipinos but our travel guide barely mentioned it and we couldn't find much on the internet. So we've decided to keep it anonymous in our internet posting. If anyone reading this is a traveler, I'd be happy to tell you, I just don't want to ruin this exclusive paradise by making it google-able online. Anyway, we left Legaspi and headed towards our destination! This time, all 4 guys were on top of the Jeepy and Eri was riding shotgun. We got another amazing view of the countryside on our way there and the ride seemed to pass in an instant. The road to our final location had been destroyed by a recent typhoon making the locaion only accessible by longboat ferry. We missed the ferry for that day as they only run at 5:30AM and 8:00AM. We decided to stay in this small town for the night and take the early ferry and watch the sunrise in the distance.
We ran into some locals who invited
us in to their place to sing some karaoke. We sang a few songs for a while and huddled under their small roof to keep out of the rain. After singing Alan Jackson's "Chattahoochie," which I'm sure they'd never heard, we took off to find some food. Our hotel had a kitchen and a bar which was of course empty expect for a small group of local guys (also karaoke singers). We ate some dinner and as the beers started flowing, we joined our new friends singing karaoke. It was a fun night and it was over before 11:30. The local people didn't stay up late but by 4:30AM the town would be fully awake. We knew it was time to hit the hay for the night.
We left early in the morning and saw a beautiful sunrise over the distant mountains. We watched as the sun rose higher and higher. I probably took 100 pictures just on that boat ride. We arrived at a port and decided to get some breakfast. We walked into a local shop with the cutest old lady working there. She sat us down and got us some really good breakfast - SQUID! Sounds
weird but it was delicious. She answered all of our questions about where to go and then we headed off.
We took a tricycle to the other side of the peninsula and got checked into a hotel. It was really near another fisherman's town that had boats available for rent for island hopping. The 5 of us rented one for the afternoon for P1500 ($30 USD). They took us to our first beach. We were the only people for miles and miles on this beautiful white sand beach. After being there for a while, we asked to go to another beach nearby. This one was a little smaller, but with deeper water for swimming and still no other people present. We hung out here for quite some time and after a while made friends with some of the local kids who there playing near to the beach. You could tell we were far away from anything because these kids didn't speak and English, while all the children in town spoke English very well. We left there after a few hours for yet another beach. This one had some beautiful rocks and coral to see as well as clear water.
Unfortunately, we weren't alone here, there were a whopping 6 other people there. After a while they left though and we were alone again. As the sun went down, we headed back to our hotel for some food and rest.
The next day, we wanted to explore the area some more. We went to town and rented a tricycle to take us around everywhere all afternoon. It was only P500 for 6 hours ($10) and I think we even paid more than we needed to. We went to an exclusive beach where they are filming a Bulgarian tv show. Eri talked our way past security haha it helps to have a girl in your group. Then our driver took us to a dammed up lake where were went swimming and walked around for about an hour. We left there and went back to the main port and took a small boat to a beach that was unreachable by land. We spent the rest of the afternoon there swimming and relaxing in the water. As we headed back, we came across a local karaoke competition. We grabbed some food and beer and joined the crowd to watch. Its safe to
say we didn't blend in. People kept giving us some weird looks like, "I wonder where these people came from." After the festival was over, the locals scattered and were gone in 3 minutes. Interesting. We headed back to the hotel and slept.
Eri and Ralf lef the next morning. After sleeping in the Belgians and I decided to walk to the central town. We walked about 3 miles, making friends along the way. All the people we met were very friendly and liked saying "Hey, Man!" or "Where you from?"
We had met a tourism officer the night before and he told us to check out this cave. We asked around and it took a while before we found someone who knew where it was. We couldn't reach it by tricycle since the road was so bad but we packed 3 of us onto the back of 2 motorcycles and drove an hour to the cave. We all expected to see at least a sign or something signifying there was a cave there but there was nothing. There was a local man, I'm assuming a farmer, with a lantern. We paid him P100 to walk us through
the cave. We walked through someone's backyard, then a rice field, and through a forest before reaching the cave entrance. We walked around in the cave, crawling through small cracks and holes for about 45 minutes before we emerged on the other side. It was amazing! And to think of how little known this cave was made it even more spectacular. We went to a nearby statue of the Virgin Mary located at the top of a hill to see the view of the mountains and islands nearby. It seemed like the view had everything you could want to see, the ocean, islands, beach, mountains, and even the beginning of a sunset. Gorgeous!
We headed back to our new hotel and then got some dinner. We had a few beers before finding a local basketball game going on nearby. We sat down and watched the end. It was really exciting but didn't last long. Once it was over, all the locals were gone again in less than 3 minutes. 60 seconds after the final buzzer the stadium was completely empty. Crazy. Then it was bed time, yet another early start the next day.
We woke up early to
catch the 7:00AM ferry back and followed that up with an 12 hour crammed bus ride to Manila, then an hour bus to Dao, and a tricycle to Angeles. Angeles is near the USAF base and was filled with prostitutes, I'm guessing to entertain the soldiers. We tried to celebrate Boris's birthday, but couldn't enjoy any of the bars because the normal clients were probably looking for a different kind of good time. We left and went to get some beers and after avoiding an unsolicited fight with a local, we decided this was not the town for us to be in. We went to our hotel and called it a night. It had been a long day and we were tired.
The Belgians left in the morning and I walked around Angeles for a while before I had to go as well. Angeles was much more enjoyable in the daylight. I got some food and a haircut for about $3 total. Nice. Then a $0.20 jeepney to the airport and I was outta there. Our trip kind of ended on a bad note, but all in all the Philippines were amazing! I can't wait to go back!
I'm affraid I have to sellout the secret since I don't often check the replies anymore. Good luck finding this place its awesome.
Trip Route: Jeepney to Sabang Port (we stayed 1 night) > Ferry to Guijalo Port (5AM) or just ask to go to "Caramoan" > Tricycle to Caramoan Proper and on to Bikal (north of town, where we rented longboats to see the beaches).
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