Exploring Caramoan Islands, Philippines

This post is the highlight of my trip to Caramoan, which is the island hopping. Caramoan is a peninsula  with beautiful  rock formations and lush small islands with white sand beaches scattered around. 


Upon arrival at the Paniman beach and hired a boat for the island hopping, I bought food for lunch in a nearby small eatery while the boat is being readied. I was advised to have my lunch first since it was almost lunchtime, but I was not hungry yet so I opted to bring along the food and have lunch in the island.  Immediately after we left Paniman, the approaching scenery was captivating. The rock formation that first to appear, was a good welcome start and really made me excited for the rest of the place has to offer. There were still props used by the Survivors show challenge  hanging on the rock formation wall. Caramoan Islands is now popular location shoot of Survivor shows from European countries. But the last one who just left the island is Survivor India.

The first island we touched base is the Lahos Island. It was low tide when we docked, the sandy beachfront is  shallow exposing the stones and corals, so it was not a good start to do swimming. But because of the shallow water, it exposes the edge of the island sharp thorny-liked rock surface. The island actually is two limestone formations cut in the middle by a sandbar creating a back-to-back beach. I did not attempt to climb up the hill since the rock is sharp and steep. After moving around this small island and managed to take photos, we left for the next island. 


 Matukad island has the finest white sand among the islands in this part of Caramoan. It is an ideal place to swim especially during high tide since is has a longer beachfront and has a wider seabed sand. Another attraction of the island is the lagoon nestled within the island. The lagoon is believed to be enchanted. There is a milkfish resident on the lagoon. They were used to be two fishes in the lagoon, a local resident pinned down one and brought home for dinner. Right after the whole family who partake the food died one after another in a mysterious circumstance. This has been narrated to me by the boatman who happens to be living in the same village of the family. To reach the lagoon, I climbed a steep sharp rock wall. It is a good experience to check the lagoon, it is amazing and a bit mind boggling how a single fish can live at the lagoon. The boatman mentioned that the fish is spotted there since the eighties and up to now it is still there, it approximately weigh around three kilos. Imagine how the fish can live that long, it must be something unusual, right? And while on top of the hill, it offers a beautiful bird's eye view of the beach below. I spent longer time here in the island, people watching, have my lunch, and do swimming.


 We left the island, and the boatman suggested that we headed to the next island where I can enjoy swimming more since the water level more deeper. But when we arrived I decided to skip it since I found the place dirty maybe because the sand is not as white and a lot of dry leaves have accumulated on the beachfront. Instead we side trip to Gota Village beach, but we did not dock because if we did, I have to pay Php300 for the customary entrance fee. We just passed by, same with the Hunungan Cove Resort, the resort owned by the province governor, as told by the boatman. And the boatman brought me to Cagbalingad island, the one facing the Hunungan Cove beach. It has a narrow beach and creamy sand, As it was still low tide in the area,  the boat struggle to dock and the boatman had to pushed the boat so as we can reach the beach. Because of that, I the beach was practically mine for half an hour until other boats came one after another afterwards. There is a coral garden few meter away from the beachfront, with a lot of colorful fishes that hang around. A good spot for snorkeling, I could have enjoyed my stay there should I have goggle. The boatman left me in the island, as they have to go back to their home for late lunch and refueling. So I was there for almost 2 hours swimming and just simply watching boats come and go. By the time I left the island, ten boats had docked as the water level has steadily rise up. That was the last island we have visited.


 And before heading back to Paniman, the boatman brought me to a nearby cave which being used as a sleeping quarter of the Survivor contestants. The cave has a very high ceiling with opening at the top, and has a very deep hole  below. So standing at the entrance, the view offers a very interesting perspective. By the way this cave itinerary was not part of the island hopping. What happened was after the fourth island visit, the boatman told we were heading back to Paniman. I caught surprised as there are more islands we have not visited. Apparently the price I paid covers only the nearby islands, and rest of the islands as a separate price tag. That give me reason for coming back to Caramoan.