Sunday, May 24, 2015

Caramoan Overdose.

1-3 May 2015. Camarines Sur.

I do not remember the water being so calm when I first visited the peninsula in September 2009. In fact, during the island-hopping at the time, the boat almost toppled. This time around, the water was like this one big slab of smooth glass, reflecting the sky’s hues. Not even the boat’s balancing poles could disturb the calm. It was eerie, but I welcomed the silence of the water. Especially when the island the group was housed was a good two-hour boat ride from town.

Isla Soledad was in the middle of nowhere. It being our jump-off point, our island-hopping was thus limited to the islands the group deemed interesting; otherwise, we would have spent most of our vacation on the boat on the water. 

The usual islands we did visit – Lahus and Matukad. Despite the islands being populated with tourists, Lahus and Matukad retained their charm from six years ago. Lahus is known for the fine, white sand between two jagged limestone formation. Matukad is known for its beautiful rock formation accentuated by bonsai-like trees growing on the rocks’ cracks. What is new about Matukad is the lagoon that houses a mystical milk fish. One can climb the rock formation to view this lagoon. While I gave it a go, I was not able to have a glimpse of the lagoon because there were too many people climbing the rock.

Our Lady of Peace Grotto can be accessed by climbing about 500 steps as the grotto is built on top of Caglago Mountain in Barangay Tabgon. The heat may hinder you at first, but I highly recommend you take the plunge. The view on top of the mountain will make you forget you labored 500 steps under the scorching heat of the sun. There is a chapel beneath the gigantic image of Our Lady and I was told by the guide that every first Sunday of the month, mass is being held on this chapel. And the priest? Also has to climb the 500 steps. 

Another Caramoan attraction is the sandbar of Manlawi Island with floating huts that serve as lunch venues during low tide. These are the only structures in the area. The rest of the island is a wide expanse of fine white sand, clear blue water, and lush green trees. The sight was breathtaking.