Caramoan has seen different versions of the famous reality TV series “Survivor” – US, Sweden, Israel, Bulgaria, Serbia and India. I was hesitant to go to Caramoan because when I went to Palaui in Cagayan, most of the tourist spots were blocked from visitors because they were filming (even if they were not filming in the spots I wanted to go to). But unlike my sad experience in Palaui, I had the chance to go to some of the islands in Caramoan that were not used for filming. For the Caramoan itinerary and budget, please click here.
We started before 7 am since the islands are far from each other, a little bit different if you’ve been to Coron in Palawan where the “islets” are practically a stone’s throw away from each other.
Caramoan tidbit: Caramoan got its moniker when the Spaniards set foot in the virgin forests and found a lot of sea turtles, which is “carahan” in Spanish, thus the name, which has been used since the 17th century.
Back to the island hopping activity: I brought my own snorkel sets so I don’t have to rent and use used snorkels. You might want to bring yours too.
The boat I rented didn’t have the usual ladder used for island hopping so it was kind of challenging to go.
In the entirety of the island hopping trip, I didn’t have to pay anything for environmental fees. Unless I docked at Gota Village and really went there. Gota Village is a private resort owned by some politician (ain’t dropping names here), that would have caused me PhP 300 entrance fee.
Our first stop is a small island where I took pictures but didn’t swim. This is where I struck the deal with the boatman to go to the farther islands (like Matukad).
Then we went to Lahuy Island, and to Manlawi Sandbar and enjoyed the unexploited sea with floating cottages to boot.
My favorite island is Cotivas. It’s where we stayed for lunch, dipped for a swim and took some pictures 🙂
I bought the crabs from the boatman before we started the trip, and he (and his wife) prepared it. That’s extra cost though, but not as expensive when you buy it cooked at a restaurant somewhere.
We then went to Mt. Caglao so we can climb the famous steps leading to the church on top of the hill – overlooking the seas. Another newer church was being built in Tagbon too.
According to Ellie, the kind lady we took a ride with, there was a forest fire some years back that started from the bottom part of the hill and crawled its way up to where the chapel is. There was an on-going mass then and there was no way the people could go down the hill without suffocating or burning themselves. But before the fire could reach the gates of the chapel, the fire extinguished on its own.
Here are the photos I captured that day: